The changes in 10 months

FEB 2013

FEB 2013

DEC 2013

DEC 2013

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Then and now

 

EOY review | 30 stuff

It’s the last day of 2013 and it’s apt to look through what I have achieved from my 30 stuff’s list of things to do. 

(1) Breastfeed Faith for at least six months [Completed. I did it for a year!]
It has been my intention all along that I would breastfeed Faith exclusively for this amount of time and thus, I applied for 2 months’ of NPL to achieve that. But my gynae has suggested that I continue to do that for one whole year. And I did it! Not going back to work helps a lot and in the end Faith initiated to stop breastfeeding which was a terrific ending, IMHO. No guilt!

(2) Communicate with Faith using Mandarin [Ongoing]
Ken and I have talked about this and we have long decided that Faith should grow up knowing both languages well. Since Ken is the better English speaker between the both of us, I gladly took up speaking to Faith in Mandarin. While I am okay with conversational Mandarin, I’m definitely not good with reading. So it’s definitely back to learning the language again!

(3) Project ‘While You Were Sleeping’ [Completed]
This idea was conceived in my boredom in my initial months of caring for Faith which can be a lonely path, especially when your world is the apartment that you live in. It gives me real joy and excitement when I could bake when Faith was sleeping. Imagine the challenge of having to create something in that short span of time and then…the eating part!  Thankfully, the baked goods are appreciated too!

(4) Run with Faith [Completed]
I wanted Faith to grow up being secured and knowing that life is filled with all possibilities and fun (amid pain and suffering). I, myself, have witnessed how my own mom embraced life, toiling daily while taking time to pursue her interests. So, yes, I hope to share my passions with Faith and the first being running! I ran with her (in stroller) for Shape run. Bless them for having a new category – Stroller fun run!

(5) Run with buddies [Completed]
I find it difficult to find running buddies, especially now that I have to take care of a kid so time is actually not on my side most of the time. Still, I recalled the few runs that I had with my gfs and I thought I should continue to do that. Nike 5km run, completed!

(6) Attempt half marathon [DNC]
It’s far too ambitious of me to try a half marathon. Right now, if I could run a 10km, it is considered good. So, obviously, this is a Did-Not-Complete!

(7) Plan a family trip to Penang [Completed]

(8) Food/Photography post (Travelogue) of the Penang trip [Completed]

(9) Back to roots: Cook 5 Peranakan dishes [DNC]
Sadly, I only did one dish – Bakwan Kepiting. Never mind, I shall try again in 2014.

(10) Back to roots: Cook ONE Hakka dish [DNC]

(11) Read 10 books for 2013 [Completed]
Read 15 books according to my Goodreads account. 

(12) Attend Pilates once a week [DNC]
Signing up for a gym membership is a total waste of money, for me. So, the lesson learnt is to just sign up for Pilates class instead of a gym membership. 

(13) Capture the development of Faith through the lens [Completed]
I am one person who likes to reminisce and I do so through pictures. Faith grows up so fast and at times, I fail to capture beautiful moments that could be stored in  my memory (card). I hope to take good pictures of her and document her growth weekly. You are my wild is my inspiration.

(14) Shed the stubborn 3kg
I put on a total of 13kg during the pregnancy of which 9kg goes to Faith, placenta and whatever contents found in the womb. Am left with 2kg to shed but these 2kg are too stubborn to get rid of!

(15) Do something for mom to celebrate Mother’s Day [Completed]
I think I baked a cake for her!

(16) Document 10 Bento boxes [DNC]
This is a DNC since I didn’t go back to work in the end. ;(

(17) Bake 10 different types of bread [Completed]
Baking bread is therapeutic and I always learn something new from the process. Besides, a colleague has decided to turn to baking and I thought it would be good to share what I have learnt with her.

(18) To attempt FFWD at least 3 times a month [DNC]
I will still try to do so in 2014 as I’ve learnt much about French cuisine just by cooking through the cookbook every Friday and sharing with fellow Doristas. 

(19) Attend a musical [DNC]

(20) Attend a BSF seminar [Completed]

(21) Conduct a baking session for friends [Completed]
I have conducted a macaron baking session with a few gfs in Boston before we left. This time round, what would it be?

(22) A quest for early breakfast places [Completed]
Our family are early risers and we crave for good early breakfast during the weekends. Let’s see if we can hit 10 this year.

(23) Bake and decorate a cake to celebrate my mom’s birthday [Completed!]
Ok, I can bake a cake but if you know me, I am real poor in decorating. It definitely couldn’t make the mark. But I’ll try and what kind of cake should I bake?

(24) Attend a Parenting workshop and blog about my learning [Completed]
Da man and I attended the Parenting with Confidence workshop and it has been really insightful.

(25) Attend a workshop on makeup [Completed]
I’m terrible at this because I don’t know how to. Besides, I prefer my face to be naked, bare. However, when I go to a function and realised how dull I look, I realised I should do something about it. Vain? Low self-esteem? Whatever. :p

(26) Make my own Bak Chang (Rice dumpling) [DNC]
But, who can teach me?

Dark Beer Pork Ribs

If I could drown my sorrows in beer, I would. Alas, I don’t drink but that doesn’t mean I can’t cook with beer. Recently, we were involved in a car accident and it’s totally our fault. We decided not to get the insurance companies involved but to settle among ourselves. Three cars were involved and we were the one…at the back. Arghhhhh!

To cut the long story short, we have to fork out a few thousands which is a big sum for a single-income family. My heart was aching in pain as I negotiated with the other parties. If only…if only. Sigh. BIG SIGH!

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Anyway, back to cooking with beer. My sister is hosting dinner this evening for the first time since coming back to settle for good. 3.5 years in a {not so} distant land can be trying for a mother with 2 kids. She has to deal with language and cultural difference and definitely a vast difference in lifestyle with no help at all. I’m glad she’s back.

So, I am cooking Dark Beer Pork Ribs which I have attempted and (the hubs) love. Instead of deep frying the pork ribs, I bake them in the oven since I’m not too keen on the idea of having an oily kitchen. They taste well still but I wonder what the effects would be like if they are deep fried.

Serves my family of 6 adults
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1kg pork ribs
1 stalk lettuce
some parsley, spring onion
2 tbsp oil

Marinade:
1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp dark beer
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp tapioca flour (to add last)

Seasoning:
50ml dark beer
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp tomato & chilli sauce
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce

1. Rinse the pork ribs and drain. Add marinade and mix well. Marinate for 3 hours.

2. Bake in a preheated oven of 180C for about 50 to 60 minutes, or until cooked through and browned.

3. Heat up a frying pan with 2 tbsp of oil. Add the seasoning and bring to boil. Add in the pork ribs and mix well.

4. Lastly, sprinkle with parsley and/or spring onion. Serve together with lettuce.

20131227-173904.jpgPacked and ready to go!

Blessed Christmas and a time of thanksgiving

This Christmas, I thought I’ll just look back over the year and to count my blessings. There are certainly some highlights which I want to pen down on this page.

1) Earlier in the end, I was invited by a CG-mate to attend BSF which I have stopped for more than a decade. I’m thankful I went because I met some wonderful ladies who helped in encouraging me in this motherhood journey, and of course in my Christian faith.

2) My resignation is perhaps one of the most major decisions that I’ve made over the years. I have never thought that I would call it quits after just one decade. In fact, I’m prepared to give to the education service till I depart from this earth. Well, perhaps this service is going to take place in another form which I’ve come to realise later.

3) I decide to make this personal blog more public by my involvement with the Singapore Mom Bloggers. As a result, I made a few good friends, learnt a great deal of stuff from very experienced and knowledgable mothers and did some shout-outs and advertising for certain retailers. Oh, we even participated in a stroller fun-run to review a product. Absolute fun!

4) At the requests of friends, I started baking cakes for birthdays. I’m thankful that they trusted me enough though I personally felt there is much to improve. In any case, this has fueled my passion for baking.

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5) To help a friend solve a problem, I was given the opportunity to teach baking to a class of 20 adults. It was just satisfactory only, in my opinion, but I was thankful that at the end of the day, the participants went back with happy faces and felt honoured to be given this exposure.

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6) I’m thankful that the dear husband supports my passion in baking and cake decorating by paying for all my courses this year. So, I’ve learnt a great deal in cake-decorating which I practise by baking birthday cakes for others. Towards the end of the year, I got myself a freelance job by teaching baking and cake-decorating to other enthusiasts. This is an awesome arrangement for a SAHM like me who needs some breather at times. To do the things you love is really a blessing.

7) The hubs and I attended a parenting workshop organised by our church and we decided to give back by serving in this area in church. We are thankful for such an opportunity and are excited to see what God has in store for us in 2014.

8) I’m thankful that the little one is growing healthily and happily. Though there is much frustration (which cannot be helped, I guess), there is greater joy in seeing Faith grow. Now, the question is ‘Shall we plan for #2?’. That itself is an issue that we need to commit to the Lord.

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9) I’m thankful for my family and that they are all healthy. Each one of them has brought joy in my life. I can’t ask for more.

10) I’m thankful that our family of three is safe. Just a few days ago, we were involved in a car accident but thankfully no one was hurt.

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What are you thankful for this year?

Christmas wreath pull-apart cupcakes

Often, when we bake cupcakes, we will lay them out on trays or cupcake stands. How about a different way of presenting them?

I did a pull-apart version for the Christmas wreath. This is made for a celebration for the SAHMs!

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I made these vanilla cupcakes first and lay them out in the shape I want.

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Then, I apply mint frosting using a star tip, making sure that the frosting of each cupcake touches the next one.

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I thought this is actually good enough after putting some Christmas sprinkles. But since I have made some figurines and decoration using fondant, I put them up when I reach the site.

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There you have it. The completed version.

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And this is how you eat it, just pull each one apart and pop it into your mouth!

😉

Faith @ 13 months old

Oh Faith, the period between the 12th and 13th month is oh-so-interesting!

Diet

Initially you gave Mama a scare. Right after your 12-month’s injection, you lost appetite and 20131223-170929.jpgrejected all forms of milk. I was anxious and looked for alternative. I shared with friends about your condition and one of them recommended a yogurt bread recipe to me. Thankfully, you took to it very well and since then, you love bread, on top of the Char Siew Pau that you so love. A week later, your appetite came back and you wanted milk! These days, you would want to drink a bottle once in the morning when you wake up and before you sleep. And each time you will utter ‘ne ne’ and point to the milk bottle indicating your need for it. When we are preparing it, you will imitate our action of shaking the bottle. Adorable! You love grapes and strawberries. Mama suspects it’s because I ate a lot of these fruits when you were in my womb. Hah! As usual, Mama feeds you salmon, cod fish and threadfish porridge for lunch whenever possible and thankfully, you don’t reject them. 😉

Physical development

You seem to be working on your fine motor skills now and love shredding tissue/toilet paper, bread and whatever not and then Mama has to pick up the pieces for you. Sigh!

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You love working out on the steps too. Each time Mama goes into the toilet, you will follow suit and climb up and down. Recently, you surprised me by climbing up and down a big step in the playground very quickly, all by yourself. You don’t seem to have any fear but Mama panicked at that point. I was so worried you might fall! Also, a day before you turned 13 months old, you showed us that you could take a few steady steps by yourself. Well done! So, now you can actually find your way to the kitchen from the living room. Hah!

Social development

Till now, my greatest concern is your social skills. I know I have to bring you out more often so that you can meet people and not be scared by them. So, Mama has intentionally brought you to the market, supermarket, playground and the library. I think you love the library the most and love interacting with fellow kids in your own way. It’s a delight to observe you do your stuff without my interference.

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Your cousins are finally back…for good!

 

Recently, Mediacorp has this very catchy advertisement for the Christmas season and it certainly helps you in articulating ‘Pa Pa’ well. Everytime when you hear the music play, you will stop in your track, listen and then flash your smile. So cute! Of course, you will go ‘Pa pa’ a lot which makes Mama jealous. Hey, where’s ‘Ma Ma’? ;p

I’m happy that you are growing well and happily!

[Review] Home-cooked goodness at Gu Ma Jia (姑妈家)

Question: If you have a friend visiting Singapore for the first time and would like to try some local home-cooked food, where would you bring him?

Well, for me, I could certainly whip up a few dishes or get my mom to do that but that would mean too much of a trouble. Just think of the preparation and washing up! In any case, perhaps, our culinary standard may not be up to the mark and eating out is the better option. So, we can try the hawker centres or some fancy restaurants but allow me to introduce a casual Chinese restaurant that serves delicious home-cooked food that would bring smiles to your guests.

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Located at Sennett Estate and within walking distance from Potong Pasir MRT station, Gu Ma Jia (姑妈家)aims to provide her customers with a variety of delectable home-cooked food made from the freshest ingredients hand-picked by Gu Ma, the owner, and her IMG_9009culinary team. Gu Ma herself has more than a decade of cooking experience selling her signature chicken rice and wanton noodles before setting up Gu Ma Jia and there is nothing more joyous than sharing delicious home-cooked food with her customers and getting them to enjoy family bonds over meals together. Any home-cook will definitely agree to that.

The restaurant isn’t big on interior design if you are concerned about the ambience. I can see why. The main focus is the food and the company you are dining with. We had the privilege to be invited for a dinner at Gu Ma Jia and were treated to her signature dishes.

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The Assam Fish Head ($28) is one dish that I would certainly order, not just for a visitor, but for my family since it is not something that we would consume on any other day. The spicy and sour Assam blend gravy is surprisingly light on the tongues and I can certainly attest that the fish is fresh. I think my mom would love this. 😉

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Kyoto Pork Ribs ($20) and Yuan Yang Kai Lan ($10/$15/$20) are two of my personal favourite. The pork ribs are flavourful and tender the way I like it. This is a MUST-ORDER. For the Kai Lan, I like how the leaves are deep fried to perfection and that the stems are cooked just right, with the crunchiness effect. Even the hubs who is not a vegetable-lover, likes it.

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Another one on my favourite list is the Clay Pot Chicken with Ginger and Sesame Oil ($15/$22/$28). This appeals to me because the combination of ginger and sesame oil will definitely not go wrong and also it reminds me of home – Mom uses this combination to cook her chicken too. Did I mention that the chicken is really, really tender?

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The other two vegetable dishes are 8 Treasures Vegetables ($12/$18/$24) and Crispy Bean-Jal ($12/$18). The 8 vegetables that make up the former dish are lotus, black fugus, carrot, celery, vegetarian abalone, lingzhi mushroom, cashew nuts and snap peas. Sounds very healthy eh? The Crispy Bean-Jal is made up of fried brinjal and French beans and it’s my first time having brinjal prepared in this way. Quite a clever twist to the usual way of making this dish, at least to me. 😉

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The Hot Plate BBQ Sotong ($18) made an initial good impression on me because of the tangy sauce which can be a good complement to the rice. It is spicy at the right notch and not overly sourish.  The squid was cooked just well but I feel it lacks the bbq-effect which is my preference. If you don’t mind that, this is a rather tasteful dish!

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You will have to order crabs if your friend is visiting, no? I will and that evening, we were treated to White Pepper Crab and Buttered Salted Egg Yolk Crab (@ seasonal price). I’ve had my share of pepper crabs and I’m thankful that the ones served at Gu Ma Jia are meaty and succulent. It is also not too pepper-ish which is great for those who are not into spicy food. However, I’m more attracted to the Butter Salted Egg Yolk Crab, a version that I don’t really get to eat often. Even the hubs who is not a crab-lover went for a few rounds! IMHO, this is another dish I will definitely order.

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Dining at Gu Ma Jia feels like an intimate family affair. The warm and hospitable Gu Ma and her daughter welcomed us and made us feel at home. When the former realised that there were young kids among us, she quickly made the kiddos delicious fish porridge. I’m not sure if the porridge is in the menu but I would order it for myself because it is wholesomely good! Faith wasn’t feeling well that evening but she definitely enjoyed her meal!

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Nakayla and Faith, with Gu Ma and her daughter.

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We had an awfully good time just catching up with one another and everyone felt so at ease. You almost feel you are at home. I guess that is how Gu Ma wants for her customers to feel when they dine at this restaurant.

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So, this is the group (Cherie & hubby, Mabel & family and Estella & hubby)  that went down that day. We had a good time, didn’t we?

Do pop by this humble restaurant if you miss and crave some authentic home-cooked food. Perhaps, for the coming Chinese New Year, you might want to consider Gu Ma Jia as they are holding some promotions.

GU MA JIA FOOD POT ( 姑妈家 )
Sennett Estate
45 Tai Thong Crescent
Singapore 347866
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sg.gumajia
Website: http://www.gumajia.com.sg

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Disclaimer: My family was invited to Gu Ma Jia (姑妈家) for a food tasting session. No other compensations were given. Opinions stated are mine. Do note that taste buds differ from persons to persons. 😉

Sugar art disaster on a rainy day

As if working in a humid area is not bad enough, it just had to rain when I was working on some  Christmas figurines.

It all started rather well as I worked on a reindeer…

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It was a rainy day that day…

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And the reindeer perspired, and then went through a process of melting…

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A second reindeer has to be made and this time round, I placed it quickly into a container, complete with a desiccating agent.

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These two are preserved, and I made another Santa.

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The collection of Christmas cake/cupcake toppers.

F’s first visit to the library

Ken and I love the library and we can spend a lot of time in it browsing the books. He will be flipping through sci-fi/fantasy novels while I will be at the cooking section. Naturally, we would like Faith to visit and like being in the library.

So, today, I brought her there. Thank God she wasn’t noisy, just babbling some unintelligible stuff. When she was at the children’s section, she broke free (and I let go) and started exploring the area. I think Faith loves the library! She soon treated it as her playground, greeting the older children and using the chairs to help her support in her walking. The folks around her were amused by her!

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I’m hoping she will browse the books and select one for me to read aloud to her but she soon wandered off.

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What are you doing, peeps?

Back to the books again!

Back to the books again!

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Just look at her – practising her walking. Well done!
I guess we will be going to the library weekly now! Yay!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

The weekend saw us busy ourselves with the decorating of a ….Christmas tree!

It’s our first time having a real tree, courtesy of the sister-in-law who wanted to bring on some cheer to the folks. It’s rather fun, I must say!

On reflection, I’m thankful that the SIL bothered to do such things. In our busy and practical society, many of us tend to forgo such activities and would rather rest during this season. After all, we have worked hard throughout the year, so why do this? Gimme a break, you might say. But, it does lift the spirit, in my case, at least. I guess it all boils down to the heart attitude. If you decide that all these are unnecessary, and is a total waste of time, then perhaps you will go to the event with a hardened heart, a downcast spirit and a grim face. And this does affect the company you are with.

The Christmas season should be welcome with wide open arms. It’s a time that we remember that Christ came, to bring hope to the fallen world. It’s a season of giving, not just of material goods but of ourselves. He came so that we might have life, life abundant (John 10:10).

So, peeps, let’s bring on the Christmas cheer… 😉

The little one was involved as well!

The little one was involved as well!

Faith was intrigued by the baubles and stayed entertained by them throughout the session.

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Step-by-step, we’ll make it. The guys setting up the lights.

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And then, the star!

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We dressed Faith up in santa’s clothing which a friend sent over to us. How apt! But the little one wasn’t very comfortable in it!

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I sent some cheer by baking an adaptation of the peppermint mocha cupcakes.

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And so, the Christmas spirit is definitely here to stay…for a while, at least. 😉

[30 stuff] My breastfeeding journey

IMG_2022The first item on my list of 30 stuff is to breastfeed Faith for at least 6 months as recommended by most sources and I’m happy to announce that I did so for a year! And now I’m free!!!

The motivation behind breastfeeding the little one is both of nutritional and economical reasons. Breastfeeding, as commented by many, is the best form of first food for the baby and I didn’t want Faith to get her source of nutrients from FM unless I really could not breastfeed. This expectation did pose some stress on me (and I suspect many mothers) and I couldn’t get Faith to latch on for the first few weeks. Thankfully, there is the pump and I saw how miraculous the human (women) body is – we can actually produce milk! Pardon my ignorance but I really am amazed!

I finally engaged a lactation consultation to show me the way to get Faith to latch on and the latter could do so quite well on the spot! The week after that was really about more attempts on latching and having a supportive husband and confinement lady helped a lot! So, in the end, Faith could latch on and I had surplus of milk which was stored and given to my nephew! Hah!

The art of feeding Faith anywhere...

The art of feeding Faith anywhere…

The journey after that was smooth but a challenge to get Faith to drink from the bottle soon arose. When I had to place Faith at my Dad’s, it was ultra stressful for me since Faith refused to drink from other sources. After a few months of trying, she finally relented and I could relax a little. Having said that, I still rushed home to feed Faith because, well, the breasts were engorged. This, too, was stressful. Imagine going out and half the time, you are thinking about your breasts and Faith. Not exactly relaxing, I must say.

Just when I wonder when I would stop breastfeeding, Faith showed signs of resisting the boobs by biting my nipples and not drinking much from them. I guess it’s because she has learnt that there are more food out there to taste and she isn’t going to be contented by merely the milk. A few days after her 12-month’s injection, she totally refused my boobs. Is that it? The end?

And yes, it is!!! She has initiated it and I don’t have to feel guilty about it. The weeks after that saw me reducing the frequency of expressing the breastmilk and I guess now, I can say it’s almost the end of the journey for me! I can wear more dresses now without having to be concerned about breastfeeding! Woo hoo!

With that, I could go back to my jogging routine without having to feel embarrassed about those bouncing boobs. Yea, I got laughed at by some ignorant boys, BOYS! It’s back to the good old times again!

And just when I thought I could enjoy this form of freedom, folks asked me when I’m trying for a second one. But..but… I just came out of this cycle and haven’t had enough time to rest and enjoy! Give me a break? 😉

Why I chose to be a SAHM & a year on

9510_636076903098590_1055072763_nYou know what? This post has been in the draft section for a long time. I’m thankful that I didn’t publish it earlier because if I had done so then, that post would be filled with bitterness, frustration and much tears. I’m a much calmer person now and happier, no doubt. I guess I can finally say that I have embraced being a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM); I even introduced myself as that to a stranger recently. 😉

To tell you the truth, I have never thought of being a SAHM. It’s never an idea that I toy with. After Faith was born, I struggled with staying home the whole time with a baby. Faith wasn’t a fussy infant but I just couldn’t stay in one place for too long. However, I did make a decision to be one in the end. There were a few events and considerations that led to this decision:

(1) Both K and I felt that taking care of our kid is our responsibility and it is not right to leave this task to others. This led me to negotiate a part-time work scheme with my boss. I was hoping to work in the morning and then come home in the afternoon onwards to take care of Faith. However…

(2) The part-time work scheme couldn’t work out since I was holding some responsibilities at work and would inevitably need to attend certain meetings. After working out the hours and be realistic about it, I probably would be having a full-time workload and getting a part-time work scheme’s salary. The working hours would still be from 7.20am to 1.40pm, without meetings. This won’t work out. Yes, I’m an educator.

(3) I love my job. I believe it’s my calling. From past experience, I could immerse myself in my work, working from 7am till 11pm. With a kid to take care of, I know I can’t do that. Both would need my attention. Something has to give. So, I reckon that my calling, in this season of my life, is to take care of Faith.

(4) This calling was confirmed during a Bible Study session. I believe God has spoken then – very clearly – about this issue. All I need to do is to trust and obey. Submission to the One who holds the future is the only thing I can do. If you want to find out more, do tell me!

(5) The following incident also prompted me to make the decision to be a SAHM. I was back at work after my No-Pay-Leave so I left Faith with my mom in the morning. When I went back home in the afternoon, she raised the white flag and commented that she couldn’t handle. Basically, she couldn’t stand being with Faith the whole time and she actually looked more tired than before, just in that few hours. That basically sealed my decision. I couldn’t leave Faith to my FIL as he is rather well-advanced in age and might not have the energy to take care of her. Putting Faith with a nanny or infant care or even hiring a helper is not an option for us. So, yes, being a SAHM is the way to go, for now.

Being a SAHM proved to be difficult and I experienced a steep learning curve. Ask my husband, I was most unhappy when I became one and it did cause a strain on our relationship. Faith was a great baby, easy to care for, but I guess I was just adapting to the change in lifestyle and the 24/7 parenting duty. Ken was most understanding and would accommodate me, giving all the assistance I need.

Thankfully as Faith grows, things get a tad easier. I got the hang of being a SAHM and more importantly, I have the support of my family members. My father would not hesitate to take care of Faith when I ask for help. In fact, he’s delighted to be able to do so. Mom said Faith has brought him much cheer. My in-laws would also come and spend time with Faith every week, giving Ken and me some time to ourselves.

Things are certainly getting better. We are a single-income family so we have to be prudent in terms of handling our finances. No grand overseas holidays but staycation and Malaysia are not too bad either. Once in a while, the hubs will still pamper me and give me the green light to do some shopping. Oh, in fact, he has never interfered. But well, I guess, with this SAHM status comes with some restraint in terms of spending. Yup, I’m proud to say that I’m a bit wiser now in terms of spending habits. And I’m thankful that we can still be generous towards others even with less disposable income. After all, it is more blessed to give than to receive!

Whether we are a SAHM, PTWM, FTWM or whatever titles out there, I believe we have calculated the cost, both tangible and intangible, in making this choice. Being a parent is a tough job but it is certainly a gift and a privilege and I’m still learning to give my best to God in this area.

Bakwan Kepiting

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Oh no! It’s already December and I have not attempted any Peranakan recipes which I have aimed to do so by the end of the year. If I am to work on any recipe right now, it has to be Bakwan Kepiting, the hubs’ favourite, or so I thought.

Bakwan Kepiting is a Peranakan soupy dish that comprises minced pork, bamboo shoots, crab and prawn meat. Ken’s auntie will often cook this dish as she told me that it is his favourite. As a good wife (ahem!), I should really make an effort to make them. In the Singapore Mom Bloggers’ community, there are quite a number of Peranakans and one of the mommies, Adeline, had posted this recipe before and I promised myself that I would attempt one day. After going through the recipe, I’m personally surprised that there isn’t much sauce to be used for marinating the meat.

So, here I am, making Bakwan Kepiting for the dinner! Do visit Adeline’s page if you want to make this dsh. For me, I’ll just post the photos to remind myself the steps to making them.

Ingredients: Prawns, Crab and pork, all minced. Bamboo shoots, thinly sliced.

Ingredients: Prawns, Crab and pork, all minced. Bamboo shoots, thinly sliced.

Add cornflour and egg and mix. Leave aside for flavour to blend.

Add cornflour and egg and mix. Leave aside for flavour to blend.

Shape the marinated mixture into balls. Prepare the soup based using preserved soy bean paste and garlic cloves.

Shape the marinated mixture into balls. Prepare the soup based using preserved soy bean paste and garlic cloves.

The outcome: The hubs returned and told me that this dish is really not his favourite. It is his, based on what his auntie thought. Sigh! That revelation aside, I find the meat balls too smooth, and lack texture. Perhaps it’s because I have asked the stall-holder to grind the pork twice making the minced meat really, really minced! It’s a bit different from how Ken’s auntie made but still delicious nonetheless. Oh yes, the crab meat? I bought the canned type and it is rather expensive. Well, I guess it has to be since what is inside the can is really purely crab MEAT.

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I’ll attempt this again… for my in-laws the next time.
1 out of 5 Peranakan dishes attempted. 4 more to go!

Thankful Tuesday | The birthday weekend

So, I did have a birthday celebration after all. The awesome hubs decided to pamper me the family with a staycation! Here’s recording some of the things that I’m thankful for in case I forget… again!

Don’t laugh at me. Some of the stuff are really unimportant things but hey, we should be thankful for them!

After the session at Gymnademics (which I will share in detail for the next post), we had a rather authentic Korean lunch. I went for my favourite Bibimbap. It’s love at first taste after I had it in Seoul many years back. This one at Auntie Kim’s Korean Restaurant is authentically good!

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And we checked into Quincy Hotel, a boutique business hotel located in the heart of the shopping belt of Orchard Road. In fact, it is just about 10 minutes’ walk from Paragon shopping mall. I must say I am impressed by the services provided by this hotel. We were led to our room by the guest relations officer who also presented us with a bottle of wine and a smile all the while. The room is clean and big for a boutique hotel. I appreciate the king-sized bed and the rather spacious toilet which is complete with a rain-shower and bathtub. And those selection of invigorating Molton Brown’s bath amenities? Who can resist?

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Our weekend savers deal includes a cupcake baking session and the hubs and I had a go at it. We had fun!

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The hotel provides an all-day dining at the restaurant, courtesy of Dean & DeLuca and Modesto’s. However, if you are bored by the selection, you can always head out, like us! So, that evening, we had a glimpse of the Christmas lighting along Orchard Road. Personally, I have not done this for a good number of years! How embarrassing!

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View just outside Ngee Ann City

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We came back to the hotel and had a light dessert. Faith was so tired that she fell asleep in the arms of K. At last, we had a wee bit of couple time. Oh, how I miss those days – chatting without having to be concerned with the child. And then, a nice surprise awaits us – the hotel presented me with a Tiramisu cake for my birthday! So the hubs had told them that the staycation was meant to celebrate my birthday and they actually bothered to do something special. Great job, Quincy!

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The breakfast selection is one of the better ones I have had. It’s buffet, no doubt, but they looked much palatable and…freshly cooked.

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We had a dip at the infinity pool after breakfast. Since it was a Monday, we had the whole pool to ourselves. Pity that the water was cold else we would have stayed in there for a while more!

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After the swim

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This is how Faith entertains herself.

Our staycation came to a close as we checked out at 3pm. Overall, this weekend was a relaxing one and it was made better by the good service rendered by the hotel staff. Highly recommend Quincy Hotel (nope, this is not a sponsored post). By the way, parking is complimentary no matter how many times you go in and out of the hotel. Awesome?

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I need more of such staycation!

Signing off - The Queks

Signing off – The Queks

Linking up with

This year for birthday…

there isn’t any great celebration. But what is precious and memorable is the fact that I have my family with me, healthy and happy.

And I did what I love – I taught the baking of Mint Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes to some folks. Isn’t that a great gift?

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Oh birthdays…they only remind me that I’m getting older and hopefully I would be wiser each year.

So my prayer would be “Teach {me} us to number our days, that {I} we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

20131208-080341.jpgRich decadent valrhona dark chocolate. Hmmm…
Who can resist?

WW | #ilovewhatido

“When God closes a door, He opens another…”

I’ve been a SAHM for a year now and though it was a big adjustment initially, I’ve grown to appreciate the moments that I could spend with Faith and to witness her many milestones.

A year later, it’s time to shed this title. I consider myself blessed to have found something that I love to do and which gives me the flexibility in terms of time to commit to it. After all, I still need to take care of Faith who is my priority.

Here’s what…

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Linking with

Yogurt bread

All thanks to the little one, I have found another bread recipe that is both suitable and easy to bake. It’s also a bonus that they are really, really very soft!!!

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The other day, I was mentioning how Faith does not want to drink milk anymore to my Church’s cell group members and one of them, an early childhood educator, shared a recipe with me. It’s from her coursemate who always feeds them with bread and other goodies. So I popped over to the link and love the ingredients used – yogurt and milk! They are what Faith needs now!

To make the bread more substantial in terms of taste and nutrients, I have added 1/2 tablespoon of Chia seeds and 1/4 cup of raisins.

This is my version:

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250g bread flour
15g castor sugar
3g salt
3g yeast

(B)
100g flavoured yogurt ( I used Yoplait’s yogurt @ room temperature)
60g fresh milk (at room temperature)
25g egg (about half an egg)

(C)
30g butter at room temperature

(D)
1/2 tbsp Chia seeds
1/4 cup raisins

1. Place ingredients in (A) into the standmixer and using a dough hook, mix them for about 10 seconds.

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2. Add in ingredients in (B) and mix, on medium speed, until a dough is formed.

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3. While continuing to mix, add in (C) and mix on high for about 5 minutes. Towards the end of the mixing, add (D). When the dough does not stick to the sides of the bowl anymore and has passed the window pane test, it is ready.

4. Turn out the dough and give it a final few kneads, shape it into a ball and place it into a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth or cling-wrap and leave it to proof in a warm place till double its size (about 1 hour).

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5. When proofing is completed, punch down the bread dough to release the air.

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6. Divide the dough into small portions of about 70g. Shape each portion into a smooth ball and placed them into a loaf pan.

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7. Cover the loaf pan with a cling wrap and allow the dough to go for second proofing until double its size again.

8. Egg wash the top of the buns.

9. Bake in preheated oven at 170-180C for 20 minutes until the top turns golden brown.
10. Remove bread from loaf pan to cool completely.

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I suspect I will be using this basic dough for other flavours! Yay!

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And this is Faith, enjoying {shredding} the yogurt bread.

Sleep-training and a change in diet

There have been some changes in Faith’s sleeping and eating habits recently.

Last week, we finally conducted sleep training on her. It was painful, to me. Her cries were so pathetic and I nearly, at that instant, dropped the plan to sleep-train her. But we all know that this will ultimately be for the good of everyone so I’ll just had to bear with those wails.

It got better by the third night. Faith was learning to self-soothe and could get herself back to Zzzzz land. The hubs did all the training, not me. I merely sat on my bed, waiting anxiously for her to stop crying. By Sunday (yesterday), the hubs and I could get a more restful night.

With sleep-training comes a change in her diet. The day after the first night of sleep-training, the little one suddenly decided to stop feeding from my boobs. I should have seen that coming since she has been eating more solids and biting my nipples. Ouch! Now, Faith doesn’t even want to drink formula milk and also finds the yogurt that I give her funny and pushes it away.

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This does pose a problem, at least to me. How would she get the calcium that she needs?

Thankfully, she loves, loves bread and last Saturday, a friend passed me a recipe on yogurt bread. So, you can expect me to bake more bread like milk bread, cheese bread and the like.

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And now, I must busy myself with coming up with more Faith-friendly recipes! The above is pumpkin soup with broccoli, yogurt and cumin added. All thanks to the SIL. I added steamed sweet potato and chia seeds as well. Power food!

By the way, I really love the travelling spoon and fork set from Pigeon. They are the right size for Faith to handle and she could immediately use them to feed herself. Phew! All the other spoons are too long for her to transfer the food to her mouth. These are just the right size for her at this point in time!