Putting up the Christmas Tree!

November 26, 2015

We put up the Christmas tree! Of course we didn’t care that it was not yet December, we would’ve put it up earlier if we could!

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Apparently, it was enough of a celebration for Michael to finally break into his Christmas present from me last year – a 21 year old Glenfiddich single malt scotch whisky. It was pretty tasty, even I (and I don’t like scotch) enjoyed a sip! Michael was a happy man!

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And he got to spend the whole evening with this crazy one…

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Ta da!

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Some our favourite decorations, mini-me graduation presents from Uncle Rick and Aunt Wendy! Not that the inscription is in any way true!

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Opening presents!

We have always opened our presents on Christmas night, as opposed to Christmas Eve night or Christmas morning like many of our other friends. Our rationale is that it allows us to collect all our presents in accordance with our get-togethers and we can open all our presents together at the end of the day.

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Family photo in onesies!

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It was really lovely to have Michael be able to join our entire family for the day, and then with us at home while we exchanged and opened gifts. ❤

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Friends and family were more than generous this year, thank you so much! Adults have always given the children ‘lucky red pockets’ so I received one from each of my mom’s 4 siblings.

And now opening presents!

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My mom is the oldest so she gets to open presents first 🙂

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Ou, Pandora beads!

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Hugs!

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Me too, me too!!

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My siblings pitched together to get me a great camera tripod, something I’ve been needing and wanting to buy for years. Additionally, they got me a whole bunch of other gifts! Thanks guys!

Yay,  a charm to add to my Pandora bracelet from my sister. Her note reads: In Celtic culture, ivy is symbolic of growth, renewal, connection, friendship, and opportunity.

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Have you ever tried chocolate flavoured cola? Because let me tell you, it’s pretty horrific. Don’t be fooled by the empty bottle, it’s because the syrupy liquid ended up down the drain!

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Mike and I always watch videos from the YouTube channel called RRCherrypie. We love watching them put together these Japanese mini edible meals and find the sound of mixing powder so soothing against the plastic tray. You will only understand this if you are familiar with the product and the videos, don’t laugh at us! Can’t wait to try this out! And in the realm of Japanese food, I also received some mini green tea and passion fruit KitKats! I would love to one day try all the KitKat flavours available in Japan, but for now, I can cross 2 off my list! They were nice, but I still prefer the chocolate one more.

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Received soooo many sweets like you wouldn’t believe. Including these Purdy ‘s Truffles and Goji Berry bar, also from my sister! Apparently, Purdy’s is a brand well known for its quality of chocolate but is not available outside the West coast, I will enjoy these!

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Caffeinated chocolate bars from my bro. Chocolate and caffeine, what more does a med student need?

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My mommy gave me a lovely fuchsia dress from Tommy Hilfiger, a nice addition to my clinical wardrobe! Also, a super comfy pair of black pants that I actually wore onto the flight home!

Michael gave me a Wilton piping set, something I’ve been wanting for a long time, thanks my dear! He also gave me a camera accessories kit but we decided to return it as it too came with a tripod, which my siblings already covered.

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Teavana teas from my cousins Janet and Kevin, will enjoy trying them and adding them to my tea collection! They also gave me a French Press which I didn’t take a picture of.

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Colette and her husbane Pete are old friends of my mom, look at the gorgeous card we received from them. Not to mention gifts!

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She even gave me gifts! A Burt’s Bees gift set with a lovely travel bag that I’m actually using for my flight bag. It’s cute, small and fits everything I need! Also a bracelet from Twilight Jewelry.

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Michael’s parents gave me a bagful of goodies, including a long and light snake-print scarf that I used repeatedly on the flight home! I think it will be perfect for Brisbane’s mild winter – Thanks Caroline and Greg!

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Every gift I receive, big and small, is valuable and sentimental to me. I hope you don’t mind, but I am not blogging about them to show off but to document these memories so that I may look back and read about it in the future. ^_^

This year’s Christmas was super special to me, in many ways, which perhaps I will elaborate on in a separate post. The time I got to spend with my family and friends, although short was very much treasured, especially because I may not be back in Canada for next Christmas. Thank you everyone for your love, time and generosity!

Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, I hope that wherever you were and the company you kept left you with joy and happiness!

Christmas Eve Traditions

December 24, 2014

For a few years now, since my dad passed away, our family has spent Christmas Eve with my grandparents. My mom usually has a turkey roasting in the oven during the day, we prepare side dishes, and after evening mass at church, we haul all the food over and enjoy a full turkey dinner at our grandparents’.

And this year was no different!

The turkey and some of the food

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My mom always makes extra stuffing on the side, with walnuts and cranberries, mmm.

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Buttering up some rolls!

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Perhaps my love for photography takes after my grandpa, who you will find always snapping photos at every opportunity, documenting moments with family to revisit time after time.

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Carving the turkey

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Family pictures!

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Having a first taste of the lime and banana liqueur my grandpa made. This was a recipe from his sister in Vietnam, where my mom and I had the opportunity to try some last year!

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Beautiful colour and clarity. Great flavour and not too sweet, yum!

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The other tradition we’ve developed is to take family photos on Christmas Eve.

Here are this year’s photos!

My sister with her turtle, Franklin.

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The ‘proper’ photo

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And what usually happens when we take family photos

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Happy New Year… of the Horse!

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Sisters.

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Franklin kept trying to escape from me.

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But would always lie perfectly still for my sister!

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Whether your Christmas Eve was festive or simple and relaxing, I hope you all thoroughly enjoyed it!

No excuse for not blogging!

Hi friends!

Yes, I have no excuse for not blogging, I am on vacation after all!

How is everyone doing? Getting excited for the holidays yet?

For once, I am (mostly) on top of Christmas preparations! That even includes putting up the Christmas tree by myself at the beginning of December, yay! Not to mention all my presents have been wrapped… which normally never happens until the night of the 23rd or 24th.

Here are a few scattered moments since my last blog post:

Remember when I said I was digitizing all our old photos? Well, I finished! But I have not yet organised them T_T

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Mum made delicious guacamole!

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Got the tree up and this was my first present wrapped!

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Grilled cheese on a panini grill

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Snacking

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Made some macarons with the bro. They were successful in that they had feet, but failed in smoothness and texture – overbaked and way too crispy! We’ll try again soon…

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One of my favourite fruit snacks – pineapple with salt and pepper, yummy!

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Don’t know what made my mom think this would be good – smoked oysters (from China) in a can by Clover. Needless to say, she tasted one and didn’t get further.

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A little bit of a lot going on in this photo

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It snowed so hard on Dec 15! 😦

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Which was also the day my sister came home for the holidays from Vancouver. Thank god my uncle (Cau Hai) drove us to pick her up… or we would’ve died on the road.

The flight was, of course, delayed. Our poor grandparents had to chill at the airport until close to 3am when Jenni finally arrived!

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December 16 – day after my sister came home. And Michael came up, finally! ❤ We went to see the Ottawa Senators vs St Louis Blues hockey game at the Canadian Tire Centre!

My sister, the biggest Toronto Maple Leafs fan… forced to wear a Sens jersey

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One of the most exciting games I’ve been to with the winning goal scored by Ceci in the last minute of overtime, yay! Note: I dislike hockey and have not watched many games in person.

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My brother “studying” before we left for the game.

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December 17 – breakfast with mum at Cora’s before driving her to work! Cora’s food was a disappointment, this is my 4th or 5th time going and it just… never wins me over.

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And homemade jajangmyun (Korean noodles with black bean sauce) that night! Mmm!

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Of course, Michael couldn’t visit Ottawa without having lunch at Play! Love the current menu options, although they have since increased the pricefrom 2 plates for $20 last year to $22. Still a great deal though!

Started off with house bread and frites with aioli sauce.

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Our first plates. beef laab / hoisin / jalapeño / daikon / romaine / ginger for Michael. So fragrant and delicious! Great contrast of flavours and textures, definitely a favourite.

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I enjoyed the pappardelle / chorizo / duck / celeriac / winter squash / shallot. Also very tasty! The pappardelle (broad pasta noodles) was cooked just with with really nice flavours but way too oily for me.

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Onto our second plates! rabbit meatballs / pork / cornbread / eggplant agrodolce for Mike. Tender and moist meatballs against fluffly cornbread made for a very hearty meal.

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I chose the pork belly/edamame/Thai sauce/apricot/red bell pepper/onion. The flavours danced across my tongue… easily our favourite dish of the day! Crispy pork belly on a bed of wonderful delights with a good amount of heat. Unfortunately, the sauce in this dish was too oily, which was worse than my pappardelle because the pork belly is already so fatty. Still a delight though!

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And finally, guess who!

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Christmas Eve with the Grandparents

Our pretty Christmas tree with presents!

We went to church tonight and also cooked up a yummy turkey dinner to have with our grandparents!

But before that, we took some family pictures. You’ve already seen the “proper” family photo in a previous ‘photo of the day’, here are the better looking ones 😛

I love turkey soo much, seriously.

The spread

Family picture!

Time to eat!

My mom after a drink, her face suddenly matches the colour of her sweater 😛

A family photo courtesy of my grandpa

My grandma was also in the middle of baking and filling many many Banh Xu (aka Choux-Crème)… these are super delicious and a hit with anyone who tries one!

We ended the night back at our house opening presents. I received such lovely presents, will have to write a separate post about them once I’m back in Australia and have taken pictures of them! 🙂

Photo #298: Holiday Gifts

December 22, 2012

This year, I finished buying and wrapping all my Christmas presents before December 24th. My gifts were first under the tree, woo hoo! How nice it is to be done a few days early and not have to stress out about it, I should procrastinate less often 😉

How about you? Are you ready for the holidays yet?

Photo #295: Gift of the Day

December 19, 2012

I had a lovely visit and catch up with my ‘front-door’ neighbours today: Dinesh, Kiran and their 3 children Sahil, Khristee and Angelea (great names right?). The youngest, Angelea who’s 5 years old, took it upon herself to gift me with one of her pieces of art, which I thought was super adorable. Thanks again! ^_^

 

Halifax Day 7: Tea and a Christmas Treer

December 10, 2012

Continuing on with our last day!

This is the Market Hall on the way back to our car from Salty’s

We returned home to bum around until our coffee date with Michael H at 4pm. If you don’t remember from a previous post, both Michaels used to work in the same lab and now both are in med school 🙂

We ended up meeting at Just Us!, a certified organic fair trade cafe.

Mike and I opted for jasmine green tea. I really liked the fact that they gave us a timer so we could steep our tea for an optimum period of time.

The cafe had a good atmosphere and service. Very beautiful and spacious Victorian property, there was an upstairs level as well, and catered to many students.

And look! I took a picture this time! Michael^2

The date was over too quick. Until next time! I hope you, your wife and children are doing great 🙂

Totally wish there was a cafe like this back in Brisbane so I could come to study. I would be here multiple times a week if that were the case!

Just Us! Coffeehouse on Urbanspoon

After tea and saying good bye, we again, went back home to chill. A lot of laziness today, haha. In the evening, we were invited over to Dan R and Leigh Anne’s new house for dinner and to help them decorate their first and real Christmas tree.

Leigh Anne, Mike and I put up the lights while Dan picked up some yummy take out Thai food. We shared some laughs, ate good food, had some wine… and then Dan butchered the tree (he perhaps shouldn’t have cut off some of the lowest branches, but he had no evil intentions!). Haha, maybe Dan had to feel Leigh Anne’s wrath after we left but we think the tree turned out nice! These pictures were also taken earlier in the night before the decorations were put up, so it was even prettier by the time we left.

The lovely Dan and Leigh Anne and again with Mike

Can’t wait to hear all about and see all the wedding pictures you guys! 😉

Packing was waiting for us when we got home that night, which we couldn’t put off any longer because we needed to leave at 7am the next morning. Got to the airport around 8:30am, our flight wasn’t delayed for too long and before we knew it, we had landed back in Ottawa.

It was such a pleasure meeting everyone. I had an amazing time in Halifax, loved the city. And a huge thank you to Bill & Nina and to Matt & Laura for their generous hospitality.

Everyone, please let us know if you’re ever in Australia… we’d love to see you there!

Until next time… 🙂

And that marks THE END of my week long vacation in Halifax.