Cakes made this week

The last week of May saw me making two fondant cakes for my friends. Just a month or two ago, I declared that I would not work with fondant in this type of humid condition but my heart turned soft when my friends asked me to bake for their niece and nephew respectively.

This first cake was a chocolate cake for a 10-year-old girl. I was told she was a precocious girl and after browsing some pictures on my FB, she decided to go for a simple design – one with bow and stripes on the surface. V (the birthday girl) likes the combination of turquoise, pink and white and it shall be done for her!

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There were problems along the way. Due to the hot weather, my whipped chocolate ganache didn’t stay whipped. In fact, it soon turned watery which was a great cause of concern for me as I need to cover the cake with fondant. As a backup, I made a batch of buttercream (wilton method) and applied it on the ganache (crumb coat and first layer) in the hope that it will help to crust. To ensure that the fondant will not turn soft and thus destroy the cake, I put double layer of fondant on the cake.

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The bow never materialised as it cracked as I was about to put on the cake. I should have stuck to the same brand of fondant that I have been using all along. The current one that I’m using doesn’t really do well in terms of drying and can be rather fragile. Thankfully I took a picture before it cracked.

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Panic set in of course. I had a few more hours before delivery and I had to think of an alternative design and fabric roses came to mind. Along with some blossom flowers, there were 10 flowers on top, signifying her age. And I thought it turned out better in appearance (or am I trying to console myself?). I thought this cake was rather mature looking, good for a grown-up in fact. ;p

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The 1.9kg chocolate cake decorated with fondant.

The second cake was a rainbow cake with chocolate ganache. My friend was easy about this. There was no need for much decoration except for some animal figurines for his 3YO nephew. I love making figurines and spent each night working on one since it is rather difficult to do so when the kiddo is awake. I had better do a good job for the figurines since they take the centrestage. The rainbow cake was baked and then put together on the day itself. Again, the chocolate ganache posed a problem since it got watery again in this weather although I have used the proportion of 1.5:1. Sigh! I should have just insisted on using buttercream since the 6-inch cake can get mighty tall and I need each colour of the cake to ‘stick’ well to the other.

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I actually had problem with the frosting and I panicked again. In the end, I decided to pipe some green leaves using buttercream to hide the ugliness and as usual, I place fondant on top so that the figurines could sit on it. The white fondant covering was intended to have a natural look in case you would think that I have made a mistake by placing it a little slant. I love the colourful letterings which was a last-minute idea that popped into my mind. At the 11th hour, I did the colourful bunting to complete the look.

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I actually like the finished product! My friend was happy and said that her nephew loved the animals and kept admiring them even after the birthday and this absolutely made my day! All the effort was worth it! Together with the figurines, this 6″ cake weighs 2.1kg.

20140526_192322Rainbow cake seems to be well-liked by many these days eh? A fad?

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My garden theme cupcakes. I certainly hope to do more to complete the whole series.

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 And the last cake for the week: Yuzu-vanilla lychee cake with whipped cream. I much prefer to use buttercream if you ask me since it won’t melt that easily in our climate. I did that for the lychee cake a few months back for a friend and received good review about it. I’ll post the recipe once I’m satisfied with the result. 😉

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Lychee cake with buttercream

Hong Kong | Hei Wan Dim Sum Specialist 喜運

Dim Sum is the quintessential meal experience of the Hong Kongers and is it any surprising that when we were in the city state, we had this on our priority list?

This time round, we wanted to go for a Dim Sum place in the neighbourhood and by that I mean not having it in some upmarket restaurants. The previous time when we were here, we tried Jade Garden which was fabulous. So my friend had a few Dim Sum places in mind and they are all in Tsim Sha Tsui area but unfortunately, when we reached the actual sites, there were no eateries to be found. Talk about changes! We travelled on, in search of more Dim Sum places. Thankfully, 喜運 still exists!

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To order, we just have to tick against the boxes of items on the menu sheet. Easy? Nah, not at all! The food items are all in Chinese characters and I have long given back my knowledge of them to my teachers. Thankfully, we have some proficient Chinese/ Cantonese folks in our midst and we left this important task to them. We just had to pay and eat!

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There are some basic Dim Sum dishes we will always order like (from top left in clockwise direction) Char Siew buns, Siew Mai, Fan Cheong and braised spare ribs.

It’s always a good idea to have Dim Sum with a group of friends because in that way, you can try more items and you are assured that they will all be consumed. Just imagine if it were only the hubs, Faith and I. We definitely couldn’t finish those delicious food!

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We had quite a quick flow of food since they got gobbled up by everyone at the table and we had to order more. Fried carrot cake, har gow (shrimp dumplings), Lotus leaf rice, etc…

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You can imagine how stuffed all of us were at the end of the meal. The best part is the bill didn’t come up to be hefty. After we split the cost among ourselves, we just need to pay S$10 per person. That’s really afforable!

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Can you blame us if we were all smiles?

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Faith definitely enjoyed the meal and had a good time ‘disturbing’ the elderly folks at the next table.

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喜運, Hei Wan Dim Sum Specialist
G/F, 65 Portland Street, Yau Ma Tei

Thursday Travels is a weekly column featuring sights and experiences from my wanderlust adventures, including staycations. These sweet memories need to be stored sand shared. 

When mums come together…

… they eat and chat.

The BSF group of last year came together for a meal today. This group really gelled a lot and we are still good friends to one another. A lot has to do with the leader, I feel.

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Many of us are homemakers and that explains the potluck dishes.

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Faith got to play with the Jie Jies…

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I thank God for these ladies who have been encouraging me during my first year of motherhood. It is definitely not by chance that we met. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Surviving as a SAHM for a 1st time mum

Faith turns 18 months old recently and that means I have been a Stay-At-Home-Mum for that same period of time. Woohoo! It’s quite unbelievable that I could stay sane for so long knowing how much resistance I had for this role in the past. And, to be really honest, I am enjoying what I am doing now. 😉

Here’s sharing with you my 10 survival tips!

1. Take a morning walk

I started bringing Faith out for morning walks since she was a few months old. It can prove to be a refreshing start for the day as we breathe in the fresh air and appreciate all that nature has to offer. In addition, there’s vitamin D from the sunlight too! It really makes me feel good to be in the outdoors.

2. Playground fun

When Faith was beginning to walk, I started to make it a habit to bring her to the nearby playground(s) so that she could expend her energy, interact with other kids and gain confidence through working on the obstacles. It is also a good opportunity to have some interaction with the other parents (we need some adult conversation, no?). After each session, the kiddo will normally get tired and nap rather quickly. That means I have time to do other stuff! Yay!

3. Don’t be paiseh (shy) to accept help

I used to think that being a SAHM, I need to be responsible for all domestic affairs, big or small, during the day when the hubs is at work. I took it upon myself to carry them out until I realised it is near impossible to do every single stuff  well when there is a kiddo who needs you most of the time, especially during the first year of her life. That’s when my parents and father-in-law come into the scene. Initially, I felt really terrible to have them help out since they are rather old but I realised that they actually want to spend time with the little one who brightens their day. My father-in-law, for example, is one awesome man. He would travel to my place without any complaints when we need him, play with Faith and then iron the clothes that are piled up like a mountain. On some days, he even helps to mop the floor! Do I feel bad? Absolutely! But the hubs has convinced me that this is his way of showing love to us and I would have to accept his kind gesture. So, there you go, if your folks or friends volunteer to take care of your little one, just take it up!

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4. Go and have ME time 

If you have heard fellow mums who told you that ME time is important and that you need to have some time away from the kiddo, do heed their advice. There are times when both Faith and I have enough of each other. She’s bored of me and I’m frustrated with her. That is when I know I need to chill and be away from her. So, #3 comes in very handy. I will call my dad for help who’s always so willing to see her grand-daughter while I go for a coffee break, to the library or just window shopping. These short moments of being away from her can be rather magical because I feel restored and rested and both of us are happy to see each other again!

5. Have a hobby!

I don’t believe that we have to centre our lives around our children as SAHMs. Yes, we have our responsibilities but we are also unique individuals with passions in life and they don’t have to stop when we become SAHMs. Start a hobby. Continue to do what you love. It could be craftwork, baking, sewing, blogging, etc (these can all be done at home!). I take my hobby – baking and cake decorating – further by going for courses. In this way, I could interact with like-minded adults and make more friends (being a SAHM can be rather lonely at times). Do I miss Faith when I’m away from her? Yes! And you bet I would always be the first one to fly home so that I can see her again.

6. The kitchen as a learning lab

I spend a great amount of time in the kitchen. Besides preparing meals, I bake quite often as well. We do not 20140501_120308have any playpen in our home and Faith is free to roam. However, she would much prefer to stay with me in the kitchen. So, I allow her to play in my territory and that includes a lot of drawer opening and playing with the baking stuff. I realised that the kitchen is a great learning lab for her. For example, she is often told not to go near the oven when I am baking and there was once that she disobeyed and touched it. She definitely learnt a lesson then and from then on, she would stay clear of the furnace when she knows that I’m baking. She helps me throw rubbish in the bin and puts bottles back into the refrigerator after I’m done with them. Recently, she gets curious with vegetables as I was washing them and tasted them raw.You should have seen her facial expression! But in the end, she was okay with the coriander leaves.

20140521_172329-MIXObviously, she does a good job in messing up the kitchen but it’s really manageable. I’ll clean up the things that she plays with but hey, I get to complete the cooking or baking! That’s a good deal, me thinks!

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7. One dish meal is still a good meal

Gone were the days that I could be bothered with trying out new dishes. Now, the meals that work for me would be those that could be whipped up in a pan, pot or cooker, much like throwing everything in a pot of stock and we have a decent meal! Thankfully, the hubs is not particular about what goes into his stomach.

8. TV programmes for Faith? Hi-5!

The hubs and I don’t really like Faith to be glued to the box and we do not allow her to play on the phone (not now). In fact, we seldom watch TV programmes. However, recently, we have access to Disney channels and we allow her to watch Hi-5 which turns out to be really helpful. Faith loves the show – the songs and dancing – and she could sit on the sofa quietly and watch the show by herself. Imagine how much chores I could complete in that 30 minutes! Awesome! I love Hi-5!

9. Be connected with other mums

I don’t think anyone can survive on their own. Parenthood is a tough journey and we would need all the support that we can have from like-minded friends. SAHMs have it tough in the sense that we do not have much adult interaction which can be really depressing. I find being connected with other mums helps a lot. My spirit is often uplifted after those meetups or gatherings because I know that I am not alone in this journey. Having more experienced moms in the group is crucial to me since I can learn from them as well. After all, I am a first-time mom and still a green-horn. 😉

10. Have fun

I say this with all sincerity. Have fun. I started out this journey with bitterness and discontentment, often thinking about how life would be like if I had not agreed to be a SAHM. But hey, now I don’t have deadlines to meet and I can learn together with the kiddo and have fun with her. Being a SAHM doesn’t mean you have to stay at home all the time. In fact, I find myself going out more often, bringing Faith out to play and explore. It’s like reliving my childhood too! There are definitely many downs but I have learnt that if I take a light-hearted approach to situations, I can stay happy and contented. Remember this: A happy mum = A happy child = A happy husband = A happy family! Does this make sense? Hmm…

I guess things would be a tad different if I have more than one child. Perhaps, having one is still manageable, eh?

The next mum to share is Angeline! She has been a stay-home mom for almost 6 years now. This beautiful lady is mom to two lovely children who have given her new insights to life as she now finds herself on a journey of re-discovery of the world through their little eyes. She shares her SAHM survival guide tomorrow on her blog, Simply Mommie.

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This post is part of a blog train hosted by Gingerbreadmum where 31 stay-at-home mums share their survival tips. We hope that you’ll find our tips useful and remember that you’re not alone!

Sisterly cakes

I’d like to think that I’m in the business of making people happy, hopefully, with my cakes. During the weekends, I had the immense privilege of baking cakes for my ex-classmate,A, whom I have not met since 15 years ago. What an honour!

She had asked me to bake two 6″ rainbow and ombre pink cakes respectively for her two daughters. Since it was a family celebration, they wouldn’t need a big cake which was fine by me. I love baking 6″ cakes because they are manageable. 😉 There’s no great need for any decoration. Birthday buntings will do.

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I started working on these cakes a few days before the delivery day. Since I have to take care of Faith in the day time, I could only do most of the jobs in the evening when she’s in bed. The buntings were done first using craft paper, washi tapes and decorative letterings.

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Next up were the cakes which could take a fair bit of time since each layer of batter was weighed and coloured and then baked.

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This is the ombre pink cake for the older sister. I didn’t smoothen the outer layer of the buttercream since I wanted a rustic feel to the cake. Adding small love sprinkles on top, I thought it completes the look of a rather romantic cake. ;p

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This is for the younger sister who is celebrating her 10th year. I wanted the cake to be a tad more fun and added the colourful sprinkles on top. At the end of the day, I just hope both of them would love what their mother had done for them and to eat the cake. 😉

Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden – Fun for all!

C and I decided to go to the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden since Sab can’t join us for the weekly playdate. I have not been to this garden before since Faith was too young to enjoy the facilities then but I have heard wonderful review about it! Today is the day! Faith should be able to enjoy some of the facilities.

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Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden opens at 8am and after breakfast, Faith and I went over to meet C and her two boys. There were busloads of kindergarten children visiting the garden today. Boy, it’s going to be crowded!

There are 8 magical spots in the garden but we only managed TWO in a span of 2 hours. Our first stop is the sandplay area at the tall tree house. The boys got down to play quite immediately while Faith still could not appreciate sand and stood on the mat for a mighty long time.

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After half an hour or so, we proceeded to the waterplay area. Faith followed the sound of the water and got to the right place! Good sense of hearing, you’ve got there!

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The waterplay area isn’t fantastic but they have a few small fountains which got the children all excited. Children just love water, don’t they? We spent an hour just in this area. Amazing!

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Soon, the waterplay area got crowded because the kindergarteners joined in. What fun! So much happy sound!

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Our outing was cut short due to an overcast sky. It’s going to rain soon! We quickly gathered the kids, cleaned them and proceeded to the entrance for our ‘picnic’. We had wanted to do so at the Botanic Gardens but had to abandon that idea due to the impending rain. Do note that food is not allowed in the garden but there is a small cafe good enough for some bites. The staff kindly allowed us to have our ‘picnic’ as we explained to them that our kids were hungry. ;p

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We had quite a feast – salmon sandwiches, carrot muffins, blueberries, bananas, avocado and raisins. Awesome, isn’t it? I brought along the new feeding range from Fisher Price and the bright colours did cheer us up!

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Would we come again? Oh, most definitely! We still have the other 6 magical spots to discover!

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To be honest, I actually enjoyed myself. I feel like I’m a kid again! #Idonthavechildhood

Hong Kong | L’hotel elan

Thursday Travels is a weekly column featuring sights and experiences from my wanderlust adventures, including staycations. These sweet memories need to be stored sand shared. 

Our recent stay in Hong Kong is at L’ hotel elan located in Kwun Tong, the new business hub and this is the fourth hotel of the L’hotel Group. 

Location-wise, this is not the most central. Thankfully, this hotel provides shuttle services which brings us to the sister hotel – Lodgewood – located in Mongkok.  By public transport like the MTR, it takes about 30 minutes.

Our stay has been most pleasant and I love the care taken by the service staff even before we stepped foot into the hotel on the first day. We were ushered into the hotel after we alighted form the shuttle bus (we took it from Kowloon station) and our luggage was taken care of by the very friendly concierge.

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I love it that this hotel provides all the basic toiletries that we need, right down to dental floss! Very few hotels provide that nowadays and dare I say, toothpaste and toothbrush too! I love the complimentary drinks that they have for their guests – UCC coffee powder – I like! And not forgetting bottles of coke, Pocari, beer, mineral water …

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L’hotel has a small gym and a small lap pool that is just outside the check-in counter (@34th floor). This is perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the hotel because not every one is so courageous to swim in front of arriving guests and service staff. However, since it has been raining every day during our stay (bummer!), we didn’t get to use the pool.

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We didn’t get to use the gym either but we helped ourselves to the fruits and snacks available at the lounge. Nice!

Initially, I thought that it would be difficult to get some decent food around the vicinity of this hotel since it is located in the industrial area but how wrong I was!

There is the Tsui Wah restaurant within 5 minutes of walking and we find ourselves having most of our meals there. I mean, the food is decently priced and delicious. Faith loves the fishballs and buns from that place and I, everything (except for their coffee)! According to my friend, one has to try their toasted buns drizzled with condensed milk. It’s real yummy!

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There is also a local restaurant which serves char siew rice and roasted goose, just to name a few. We went in, upon the recommendation from my friend and were surprised to receive big portions of the food. The Char Siew is really good and meaty! If you want to experience a local coffeeshop, this may be it!

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There are also big shopping malls just one or two MTR stations away. Every evening after I came back from the seminar, we would visit these malls since it was raining and had our fill. Got to have Ramen @ Ippudo. How nice!

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All in all, this is a great hotel and I like it that the room is tidied and cleaned everyday, just like when we first stepped in. If not for its location, I would give it a 8.5 out of 10 rating, 10 being excellent. 😉

Thankful Tuesday | Faith’s 18 months old!

Today, we celebrate. Faith’s 18 months old and it’s quite a milestone for all of us, the little one and the parents alike!

It has been mostly joy spending time with her now. Ask me during my first year of parenting and you will get a pessimistic response. Now, she could do so many things with me. I don’t have to prepare any special diet for her when we go out because she is okay with the food served at the market, cafes or restaurant. This is a hassle that is off-loaded from me. Phew! The only thing that still bugs me is how messy she can get when she wants to feed herself. ;p

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I had the privilege to host a few SAHMs for our monthly meetup and this time round, Faith is the oldest of the kids. I should definitely do more of these meetups so that she could get to socialise with other kids!

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And the kids were fascinated with the baby boy or was it the rocker? We couldn’t tell. 😉

But oh, what a wonderful Tuesday!

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Linking up with

Loving buttercream cakes

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It has been raining rather often these days and this is no good news for decorating a cake with fondant at my place. So, whenever friends asked me to bake for them, I will promote buttercream cakes, for sure!

Over the weekend, I did one rainbow vanilla sponge cake for an 8-year-old boy. 6 inch and I love the size. It’s definitely more cumbersome to bake a rainbow cake since you need to colour the different layers for the batter before baking them. A weighing scale will help if you are into precision. 😉

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My usual proportion for the swiss meringue buttercream will not be sufficient to cover the cake. So I decided to add one more egg white with the same amount of sugar and butter. Works well but I guess we can do with more. So I guess I’ll need to experiment more with the recipe. For this batch, the measurement is:

130g egg white (4 large eggs)
135g sugar
227g unsalted butter, soft but still cold, cut into small equal size of cubes

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More recently, I find myself loving the use of ribbons to cover the base. The collection is growing at quite a steady rate, I must say. Since I would be using a toy superman figurine on the cake, I put a layer of fondant on top before placing another layer just for the decorations. It’s suppose to mean that superman emerge from the clouds… Hmm, did any one of you get it?

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All the wordings were done a day before since I need them to harden a little. Tylose powder is added to the fondant.

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Building this cake in stages takes the stress away. I must say I quite enjoy making this cake!

Where to, next?

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Borrowing some winter clothing for the lil one. Guess where we will be heading to?

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And a beautiful picture of my CGL’s wife and the lil one. Sweet moments.

Playdate #3

After a few weeks of break, we finally resume our playdate! And I learn about exposure, age-appropriateness of any activities and readiness of the child.

Our plan is as follows:

– Circle time: Welcome song and introduction of the colour ‘Green’
– Storytelling and Craft
– Teabreak
– Quiet time
– Practical life
– Sandplay
– Goodbye song

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This time round, I hosted the playdate and after the Good Morning song, we shared about Green and brought green items to show the kids. Hopefully, they can register that colour in their minds.

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C read the story ‘Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?‘ by Eric Carle and I thought that is really a wonderful book. Since there is repetition in the story, children can expect what’s next. I like the big illustration too and our little children could even name some of the animals.

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The follow-up activities require the kids to match the animals using the cards provided by C. Of course, this activity has to be guided by the adults. Faith wasn’t able to do the matching; she’s not ready for it. But the older ones, like R could do so and I heard him make the sound of the animals too. Maybe I’m just not patient enough with Faith. In any case, I’m going to continue doing this activity with her!

IMG_2979Homemade matching cards by C.

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Teatime and I nearly fainted. Faith was dropping bread crumbs and cherries everywhere! I know she’s still working on her motor skills but I’m not good with the mess she’s creating! Arghh!

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The individual station for the Practical Life segment remains more or less the same but C introduced the clothes pegs today as she wanted the kids to work on their ‘pincers’ skills. This proved to be challenging for the kids but they did well for the other stations. I did see an improvement in Faith for the matching of the bottle caps to their respective containers.

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Originally, we wanted to bring the kids to the playground at the reservoir so that they could play with the sand. However, there was light rain before the playdate and we had to change the plan. So, we decided on art and got the kids to create their own artwork using paint and sponge. Faith didn’t want to work on it. I guess this is the first time that she’s introduced to this and would need some time for her to participate. Ok, time to get those Crayola’s washable paint!

noqLooking forward to the next playdate already!


Reminder: Don’t forget your entitlement to an exclusive 15% discount on all purchases at NoQ Store when you use code LYNNLLY at the checkout. This discount is valid until 31 July 2014.

Playdate #2
– Playdate #1

PME teacher seminar

Last week, for four full days, I was working real hard at the PME teacher seminar in HK. This is the first time that such a seminar is conducted in HK and I’m thankful that I was nominated to attend.

It was truly stressful as we had to recreate what the instructors had shown us within a short time frame. Everyone was on their toes. No one had the time to chit chat or to have a break. The only real break was for lunch. Other than that, we were all working fast and furiously.

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It was great learning from the very experienced instructors though. The techniques were somewhat different from what I have learnt previously and it’s certainly enlightening. I’m truly humbled by the whole experience. Everyone around me was skillful and passionate about this craft and it can really be overwhelming.

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And at last, at the end of the 4th day, we could finally relax because it signaled the end of the seminar. You could immediately sense the relief among the participants and smiles returned on the faces.

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My fellow baking instructors with the experts.

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Fun shot. We are the only group who asked for that kind of shot.

Would I be an approved PME instructor? I’m not sure but what I’m certain is that I need to keep working at it and be good in what I’m doing. And if I want to make sugar flowers look real, I need to study them closely. There’s so much to learn!

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Fisher-Price® Play IQ Workshop

Carrie Lupoli is back! Yay!

If you don’t have a clue of who I’m referring to, she’s one of the more engaging presenters I’ve come across in the many workshops and conferences that I’ve attended. Last year, I had the privilege of attending the Joy of Learning workshop by her and this year she is touching on the topic on PLAY and how it is important in developing healthy brain. It’s definitely a topic that I’m interested in because I believe in the power of play and am looking forward to what she will be sharing.

Four areas of content will be covered at this Fisher-Price® Play IQ Workshop:

1. Introduction and Goal of Parenting
2. Play IQ – The Theory
3. Play IQ – The Benefits and the Basics
4. Play IQ Learning Tournament

The workshop is open to parents with children up to 5 years old and expectant mothers only. It will be held on  31st May 2014, Saturday, from 9.00am to 2.00pm. Registration starts at 8.45am.

Venue: Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital. 38 Irrawaddy Road, Singapore 329563

Cost: $50 per person (inclusive of light refreshments). Each participant will receive a goody bag worth more than $100 and a chance to win Lucky Draw prizes.

To register or if you need more information, you can email tofisherprice@asiaprwerkz.com

I’ll be attending and hope to meet some of you there!

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Motivational Monday | Open my eyes, dear Lord

It’s back to the routine again after a week in Hong Kong. Today at BSF, this song was sung and my heart was stirred. I think the Lord is trying to speak to me but I’m not sure what it is at the moment. Holy Spirit, please reveal to me in Your time.

Sharing the lyrics with you that mean so much to me.

Open my eyes, that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.

Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready my God, Thy will to see,
Open my eyes, illumine me,
Spirit divine!

Open my ears, that I may hear
Voices of truth Thou sendest clear;
And while the wave notes fall on my ear,
Everything false will disappear.

Open my mouth, and let me bear,
Gladly the warm truth everywhere;
Open my heart and let me prepare
Love with Thy children thus to share.

Linking up with

www.ajugglingmom.com

Foodie Friday | On Fussy Eaters and Chocolate Almond Cupcakes

[This post contains a discount code on all book purchases at NoQ Store].

I haven’t been blogging about Faith’s 16th and 17th month’s progress. She is growing well. However, if there is one thing that really bothers me, it would be the fact that she has developed pickiness in foods.

Naturally, I’m concerned because she used to be a voracious eater and was willing to try ALL sorts of food. She loved to eat but all of a sudden, she decided that her favorite salmon isn’t going to be part of her diet and that she currently goes for bread more. She can articulate 面 包 (bread) really clearly by the way and she keeps repeating it until it irks you. She quite dislikes most forms of meat which is a cause of concern for me. Feeding her can sometimes be a chore and frustrates me to the core because she will spit out the food that is offered to her. I can almost hear my innermost being scream “NO!!!!”.

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She loves fishballs, Char Siew Pau (BBQ bun), bread, biscuits and fruits and doesn’t mind vegetables. But I can’t always feed these to her all the time. Issues of picky eating are related to how the child’s taste buds function. The five different taste buds have different levels of sensitivity, with one of those taste buds typically extra sensitive to a particular flavour. That is often the major factor in the emergence of pickiness and why some kids don’t like certain strong flavours in some vegetables or meats. The important thing is to keep trying the food with the little one, perhaps by varying the temperature or texture of the food, or by combining it with other foods that she likes.

And I did that.

I subscribe to how the French bring up the kids with reference to food, that we have to keep getting the kiddo to try the food because a child can’t be determined to dislike a particular food until they have tried it at least a dozen times. I am also aware that between the age of 12 to 24 months, it is actually the time to introduce the widest range of foods, colours, textures and flavours to a kid and is said to be the decisive year when what a kid eats will shape her eating habits for the rest of her life.

*Alarmed*

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Thankfully I stumbled upon this book which contains 300 easy-to-make meals. There aren’t a lot of beautiful photos of meals but when you really read the contents and look through the varied meals found in there, you realised that you are in for a treat. A lot of the recipes contain salmon, sardines, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, soybeans, seaweed and eggs, among others, *think high DHA Omega-3 fatty acids*, and I love how the author creates meals using ingredients found all over the world. It’s education for me too!

I went on to try and adapt some of the recipes. I find myself being inspired to create those dishes which are easy to prepare.

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My stir-fried macaroni with salmon and seaweed is inspired by her buckwheat noodle soup with seaweed and salmon while the steamed tofu meatballs are inspired by her sesame chicken with tofu and seaweed. There are so many other recipes that I want to try like Norwegian fish cakes, quinoa soup with cod and coconut mango millet bake, just to name a few.

The following is a Chocolate almond cupcakes recipe. The original recipe uses sesame seeds. Since I cannot be entirely sure if Faith is allergic to sesame seeds, I have switched it to ground almond. Thankfully, Faith likes them! They are not really sweet and for a while, I thought the little one would reject! Phew!

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Ingredients:20140428_141748
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 cup ground almond
2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Slivered almond for decoration

1. Preheat oven to 190 C.

2. Prepare muffin tray with cupcake liners or use cupcake cases.

3. Sift together the cocoa powder, flour, flaxseeds, sesame, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

4. In another bowl, mix together the eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, brown sugar and vanilla until well-blended and smooth.

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5. Slowly add the flour mixture into the egg mixture and mix well.

6. Fill each cup 2/3 full with the batter and then sprinkle each with a few slivered slmond.

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7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, and let cool.

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Just for you, dear readers: noq
If you are interested in this book or any other books, you can get them from NoQ Store. You will be entitled to an exclusive 15% discount on all purchases at NoQ Store when you use code LYNNLLY at the checkout. This discount is valid until 31 July 2014.
Nope, I’m not paid to advertise for this book. I just find it useful and want to share it with you! But we did get a few books for Faith via NoQ Store since they are more reasonably priced than the ones at the bookstores. Go on, get yourselves some books! 😉

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Reference: 
Shino, M. (2012). Smart bites for Baby: 300 easy-to-make, easy-to-love meals that boost your baby and toddler’s brain. Da Capo Press, Boston, MA.
Loh, C.G. (2013). Parenting without borders. Surprising lessons parents around the world can teach us. Avery.

Splash, splash!

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One of the skills that I want Faith to acquire is the ability to swim. So, the hubs and I finally called on our friends who stayed in a condo nearby and asked if we could use the swimming facilities and it’s an absolute YES! Yay!

Initially, our dear girl was afraid. She did not even want her legs to get wet and held on tightly to the hubs.

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We had to coax her and made so much laughter just so that she would think it is fun.

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We bought this float for her at one of the stores near the wet market at $12. She didn’t want to go in at first but I kind of forced her to sit in it and then started making chirpy sound to entice her. See her unwilling facial expression?

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In the end, our friends’ daughter came down and played with her and Faith got used to the water. When we went to the children’s pool, she was all smiles. Thank God! Hopefully, we can make this a weekly affair!

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Relaxing at the jacuzzi. I like this condo! I like my friends even more! 😉