Out & About

Wanderlust: New Zealand and Australia

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

This November while most of the USA is getting ready for Thanksgiving we’ve decided to travel for 3 ½ weeks to a part of the world we’ve been wanting to visit forever. We’re off to Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia, and we’re booking flights now with our saved up funds and miles. We decided on November for a few reasons, weather wise it’s the equivalent of May in the States so it is an ideal time to go.

The kids will miss two weeks of elementary school but thankfully they can keep up with independent study and they have the week of Thanksgiving off as well. We decided it’s now or never since they will be too busy in junior high and high school for us to go during the school year and we want to be there in good weather. Also, my two American born cousins are married to Aussies and live on the east coast (one in Melbourne, one in Gold Coast) and we’d like to pay a visit to their families too. 

australia new zealand fiji

First stop, Fiji, I’ve been dreaming of this place forever.

fiji

Next up, New Zealand, land of beautiful landscapes and outdoor adventures.

new zealand

Finally, we would like to spend 12 or so days in Australia along the eastern coast from Melbourne up to Brisbane with a stop in Sydney in between.

australia

Many of you have been to or live in these countries, I would absolutely LOVE if you shared any tips on traveling here, and any recommendations on where we might stay and what we should see along the way so I can plan our route. Thanks so much for any input!

Weaver’s Winter Wonderland

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

Only 8 days left until Christmas friends, are you ready? Amidst the busyness, we took a drive last night to one of our favorite stops for Christmas light displays, and none is so great as Weaver’s Winter Wonderland which is located in the town just north of us.

For 20 years Scott Weaver has been adding to his collection of Christmas decor and each year he transforms his modest home in Rohnert Park into a grand castle featuring Disney characters and Christmas decorations that fill his property from the sidewalk to the rooftop, it’s such an amazing sight to see, people travel for hours all around Northern California to visit each year.

weavers winter wonderland sign

Weaver’s Winter Wonderland is so great, it won the Great Christmas Light Fight of 2014, featured on ABC. We arrived just before sunset, before Scott comes out to greet visitors and turn the lights on.

weaver home no lights

Once the sun sets, on come the lights and here come the people (hundreds each night).

weavers winter wonderland with lights

I asked Scott how many hours it takes to set up this Christmas display each year and he told me between him and his son they clock about 340 hours and it’s all to delight the neighbors and visitors each year.

For two decades, Scott has spent his free hours cutting characters out of plywood and hand painting them himself, and he captures the look and personality of each one. Scott invites visitors into his driveway and up his walkway and even offers them a look in his garage.

He disguises his roof with tiered pieces of plywood painted like a castle, and decorated with lights and characters. Feast your eyes on this home’s amazing display, it truly is a winter wonderland.

weaver roof

It’s the same with the front yard, everything beyond the picket fence is a stage of favorite characters we all love.

weaver winter wonderland castle

 

frozen castle weavers winter wonderland

 

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