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?

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[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? 😉

This week in pics

Monday, there was fellowship lunch with the ladies from BSF. I was truly encouraged by their heartfelt sharing about their lives and how God is working in their situations. Praise be to the Lord!

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Tuesday, da man took leave and spent the day with moi and child! Thank God for that! I love it when I have help and even more when we could spend time as a family. So, we decided to check out Gymboree but decided against it as the location is far from ours. Visited Kki at last and had my fill of their oh-so-lovely cakes!

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Wednesday, went to purchase ingredients before the baking class on Friday. The more I bake, the more things I learn. And there is yet so much stuff out here that I do not know! Feeling overwhelmed! Here was lunch, unagi rice burger served in such a manner. Bad idea ‘cos it got messy!

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Thursday, I finally got to meet my mom’s cousin who is a homebaker for more than 30 years. I felt a tad intimidated by her, this baking giant. She was making mooncakes and served us some. Though she has baked for so long, testing and revising recipes over the years, she still wants to learn and asked me to to go for baking classes with her if there are good ones available. Woohoo!

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Friday, I conducted a baking lesson for 20 people. It turned out…messy! Okay, I’m not used to teaching so many people and to complete 3 recipes in 3 hours is a challenge. On my own, it is definitely achievable but for those who are new to baking, it could be a challenge. So the lesson dragged on and I felt bad for the participants. Lesson learnt: Must insist on the number of recipes that I think is achievable for them. It was tiring but highly rewarding, in my opinion, because I love doing such things. When you see the happy faces, your exhaustion vanishes. But now, I need a break. :p Oh! And with this, I have completed one of the to-do list in my 30 stuff!

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The end of it all and more to come!

Goodbye 2011

2011 had been great, if not, one of the best years thus far. That’s mostly because of the people God has blessed us with who helped us to grow so much in our faith. Being able to pursue our interests helped to make 2011 a wonderful year indeed. So overall, 2011 was awesome.

We ended 2011 with the meeting up of our ex-colleagues at Fengshan Market, treating ourselves to delicious local food.

 Courtesy of D.

And of course, we got our keys to our new apartment. Hooray! That is a great gift from the Lord and we did not waste time in meeting up with our ID. Hopefully we could move in latest by April.

So, the summary of my 2011 to-do list:

1. Drive in Boston at least once on an outing Completed!
I’ve driven to Wrentham Premium Outlets and Plymoth when the family came in June! It’s fun!

2. Clock 800km mileage by end 2011 Not met!
I’ve clocked the least mileage this year. I guess it all boils own to discipline. =/

3. Food/photography trip to NYC Completed!
An invitation from S, it was euphoria initially until it developed into apprehension. After all, since knowing and getting together with Ken, the thought of not being with him even for a few days sounds gloomy. But when I thought about those trips I had with my gfs, I thought ‘why not?’.

4. Plan tour of Boston for family Completed!

5. Bake 10 different cupcakes Not met
Macarons have taken over cupcakes and I was so intrigued by macarons that cupcakes were ignored. Sorry!

6. Bake 10 macarons of different flavor Completed!
What an adventure! Though I have attempted 10 different flavours, I will still bake more! I’m hooked!

7. Go for baking class  Completed!
No culinary education doesn’t mean the end of the world. I have signed up for an advanced baking course that spans over 5 sessions from The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts and also other classes by Master Pastry Chef Delphin. Love these classes and I certainly hope we will have such classes in Singapore.

8. Teach baking of any item Completed!

9. Complete and write short reviews of 30 50 books Completed!
This is highly achievable since I have time here as compared to working life. I get most of my culinary information through such means and am so loving it! See my progress here! As of end Oct, I have read 55 books! What an achievement! =D

10. Half-marathon on/near wedding anniversary. Completed.
Ran the Boston half-marathon on 9 October.

11. Attend nutcracker in Boston. Completed!
It’s a tradition! Since I’m here, why not?

12. Attend a symphony in Boston. Completed!
Attended on 9 Dec compliments of the folks at PSIF! Thank you so much!

13. Go for pilates class and practice pilates Completed!
I know I have a weak back and I hope to strengthen it through such means.

14. 10 different types of sandwiches! Completed!
No evidence to show though. =(

15. Reread NT again I believe we have completed.
I’m doing various BS from NT and I realised over the years that I know so little about the Bible. There is so much to learn about the Almighty and while I would not be able to know everything, it does no harm in wanting to know more since His word is living and gives us life!

16. Visit apple farm in Autumn and bake one dessert from the picked apples!Completed!
It remains as one of the best outings I have had in New England.

17. Complete the tutorial on Pastries Completed!
Look for the tab ‘pastries’.

18. Do a tutorial for brioche Completed!
Look for the tab ‘brioche’.

19. Learn elementary French Japanese Not started at all. 
I guess this is not a priority at all.

20. Complete my home-based culinary programme Will always be work-in -progress…
I suppose this is an unrealistic goal because you can never learn enough. It’s always a work-in-progress and the more you read, the more you discover that you have so much more to learn! It’s just like reading the Bible. You can never say, “I know it all”. So this goal, I  conclude, is a badly crafted one.

To-do list

February is coming to an end and March is marching in in all its grandeur! That signals the arrival of Spring too! Hooray!

February had its ups and downs and I’m kind of looking forward to a new beginning as March approaches, thereby prompting me to pen down some of the to-do lists for the rest of the year.

In no order of importance since the thoughts came to mind randomly, mostly while on the train:

1. Drive in Boston at least once on an outing
I’ll take public transport anytime but I guess I have to take a plunge in this since I’m here.

2. Clock 800km mileage by end 2011
If we do the sums, it would be an average of 80km per month, 20km per week? And I’ve not even started any distance since 2011 rolled in. Well, I think it’s achievable though. =p

3. Food/photography trip to NYC
An invitation from S, it was euphoria initially until it developed into apprehension. After all, since knowing and getting together with Ken, the thought of not being with him even for a few days sounds gloomy. But when I thought about those trips I had with my gfs, I thought ‘why not?’.

4. Plan tour of Boston for family
Ken’s family is coming in June/July. I need to help plan their trip here! Interesting!

5. Bake 10 different cupcakes
Cupcakes got me started on baking and it’s time to have a little fun with them. And I might want to pool in resources from the internet too, just to have a write-up on the topic.

6. Bake 10 macarons of different flavor
I had my first attempt in 2009 and have always wanted to learn more about it. They are wonderful to look at too though I might still need time to appreciate them.

7. Go for baking class
No culinary education doesn’t mean the end of the world. I have signed up for an advanced baking course that spans over 5 sessions from The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. Hope I can learn precious stuff there.

8. Teach baking of any item

9. Complete and write short reviews of 30 books
This is highly achievable since I have time here as compared to working life. I get most of my culinary information through such means and am so loving it!

10. Half-marathon on/near wedding anniversary.

11. Attend nutcracker in Boston
It’s a tradition! Since I’m here, why not?

12. Attend a symphony in Boston

13. Go for pilates class and practice pilates
I know I have a weak back and I hope to strengthen it through such means.

14. 10 different types of sandwiches!
Need to pack dinner for Ken who has night classes. I shall prepare them the Pret-a-manger way!

15. Reread NT again
I’m doing various BS from NT and I realised over the years that I know so little about the Bible. There is so much to learn about the Almighty and while I would not be able to know everything, it does no harm in wanting to know more since His word is living and gives us life!

16. Visit apple farm in Autumn and bake one dessert from the picked apples!

17. Complete the tutorial on Pastries
I’ve just started on quick puff pastry but there is so much more to learn! The books that I’ve borrowed excite me and I think I should record all these information.

18. Do a tutorial for brioche
Same reason as above.

19. Learn elementary French
This is inspired by sis who is determined to learn Bahasa Indonesian.We might be heading to Montreal and I thought knowing a little French might help. Besides, knowing some French might help in my understanding of cooking certain food and in baking.

20. Complete my home-based culinary programme
I started off last year and then got lost mid-way. Let me think how I can restart it. Though I know more than when I first began, there’s still so much to explore and it fascinates me each time I learn something new. It’s a feeling that I have not had for the longest time.

30 Stuff

I made this 30-stuff list on my birthday last year because I’m rather bo-liao but hey, this is like a challenge, isn’t it? Or like a life game! Anyway, I will be coming out with my 30-stuff list again for 2011. Contribute if you want. They must be SMART. 30 because I’m already in the 30s club.

1. Complete a biathlon. I’ve not attempted one before. I didn’t attempt it after all as I decided to stay off the sun in the beginning of the year in preparation for the customary wedding. =(

2. Complete an overseas marathon. I’ve completed! In 4h 56 min! Not a good timing but completed nonetheless.

3. Conduct Facebook and sms lessons for dad.  Dad didn’t want to learn…Sigh.

4. Clock in 750km for 2010. 828km for this year.

5. LASIK I did it in April and I have no regrets!

6. Walk through the whole Bible We are only at the 3/4 mark.

7. Read at least 12 books for the year  I have definitely read more than 12 books and most of them cookbooks. =p

8. Treat hubs to a musical. We watched Beauty & the Beast!

9. Set up e-bay account. I sold 2 trainers via togoparts!

10. Bake Matcha & Azuki Swiss roll . First attempt, here.

11. Perform a storytelling session for kids Performed during Christmas 2009

12. Sell off Ken’s TREK bike by Sept 2010. Not able to. We didn’t manage to sell off the bike. =(

13. Sell off exisiting shades by August 2010. Another task not achieved.

14. Complete the study on Proverbs 31 and aspire towards becoming the woman God wants me to be.

15. Organize hard disk’s info according to year  Not according to year but by subject-matter. Good enough.

16. Sew a top for a dinner. Not able.

17. Chicken rice @ Malacca I learnt to make chicken rice myself. Maybe that counts?

18. Finish HL products before we leave in Sept. Could not.

19. Have customary wedding. Yap! Had on 21 and 23 March!

20. Run a race with La femme. Ran the 10km @ Adidas Sundown Marathon but what a letdown!

21. Cook and document 30 different dishes on the blog. This suggestion is contributed by Ken and yes, I’ve completed this project!

22. Rollerblade with Peggyand/or EK. We bladed on 3 Jan 2010!

23. Complete a short course in BostonI’ve attended a one day course on cake decorating at Le Corden Bleu!

24. Compile all the poems that Ken wrote me. Not yet!

25. Do a canvas painting. Couldn’tdo it.

26. Prepare a dish/dessert once every month for CG for a period of 6 months. Have completed that by July! =)

27. Complete reading a Chinese book.  I have not read a single Chinese book since ‘O’ Levels. This is going to be a GREAT challenge. OK. It is not lao fu zi that I have in mind but a autobiography of Rene Liu which I bought many years back in China.

28. Something for K. I don’t know what that is honestly but I want to think that the best gift to him is that I’m happy whenever I’m with him; He doesn’t need/want anything besides that =)

29. Treat hubs to a spa. He is always the one who treats me. I want to give him one! Mission failed. In the end, it’s still him who treated me.

30. A car-free day every fortnight till August. I am debt-free as of July! Woo hoo! It’s a wonderful feeling to be debt-free! FREEDOM!

*_*

I’m so tired…from baking.

I set out to bake the Matcha Roll Cake after service and then went over to Connie’s for another baking session. In the end, I was exhausted, rushing from place to place. Baking the whole day is really not easy…maybe I will get better with practice?

             

Wanted to run with hubs after the baking session with the gals but by the time I went home, I was really not in the mood for any runs. Sigh!

#10. Bake Matcha & Azuki Swiss roll
I wanted to attempt #10 of my 30 stuff. It was my first time trying to do the Matcha thing and of course, I did so with much anticipation and trepidation. What if it is a complete flop? Hubs was always so encouraging, telling me not to worry about things that might not even happen. The cake turned out ok but could be better. I did have problem with the cream as it didnt really turn stiff. But I’m still pleased with the result! =)

30 Stuff

#8. Treat hubs to a musical.

I treated hubs to Beauty and the Beast by Wild Rice Production. I must say it was a great show, hilarious and heart-warming at the same time. I thought it reminded me of the early days of our courtship. It reminded me of the fact that you cannot judge a person by his appearance. Ken was not the tall, dark and handsome guy I had hoped for but his heart was and still is full of gold and pure. WYSIWYG. That’s him. Nothing pretentious, everything true.

Although he is still not tall and never will be, he is dark now and handsome in my sight!

I love the show and definitely hope he likes it. =)

New start

I was back on the saddle again after a 4-month break from it. The air from the tyres was completely gone and it felt so good just to pump it again! Of course, it was also my first time donning the new GS jersey! Woohoo! Bad news was I was riding at a very very slow speed. Tortoise man!

And I have set up another blog  to document the recipes that I will be attempting from now on.

Today I baked chocolate chip/macademia nut/raisin cookies for CG. My first item to contribute to the fulfilment of list no. 26 of my 30 stuff.

#26. Prepare a dish/dessert once every month for CG for a period of 6 months.

30 stuff

I spent my first year of my 30s in a very marvellous way. As I am coming to the end of the first year, I thought it would be fun to list down 30 things that I would do for the following year. These things should cause me to get out of my comfort zone and that I have not attempted before. They should be SMART and I have a total of one year to accomplish them (for those that I did not give a deadline).

The following are stuff I would attempt once I turn 31 (verysoon). =D

1. Complete a biathlon. I’ve not attempted one before.

2. Complete an overseas marathon. NY or SC in KL.

3. Conduct Facebook and sms lessons for dad. So that he can communicate with us while we are overseas.

4. Clock in 750km for 2010. I will be hitting around 700 after the marathon. So this will be 50km more. Too little?

5. LASIK

6. Walk through the whole Bible

7. Read at least 12 books for the year

8. Treat hubs to a musical. I don’t think I have the chance to do so yet.

9. Set up e-bay account. Loads to sell.

10. Bake Matcha & Azuki Swiss roll

11. Perform a storytelling session for kids

12. Sell off Ken’s TREK bike by Sept 2010

13. Sell off exisiting shades by August 2010

14. Complete the study on Proverbs 31

15. Organize hard disk’s info according to year

16. Sew a top for a dinner

17. Chicken rice @ Malacca

18. Finish HL products before we leave in Sept

19. Have customary wedding. Duh.

20. Run a race with La femme.

21. Cook and document 30 different dishes on the blog. This suggestion is contributed by Ken and I should not have attempted to cook these dishes before.

22. Rollerblade with Peggyand/or EK. This is beyond my control since either of them has to be available to come out with me.

23. Complete a short course in Boston. If we are going there after all.

24. Compile all the poems that Ken wrote me.

25. Do a canvas painting.

26. Prepare a dish/dessert once every month for CG for a period of 6 months.

27. Complete reading a Chinese book.  I have not read a single Chinese book since ‘O’ Levels. This is going to be a GREAT challenge. OK. It is not lao fu zi that I have in mind but a autobiography of Rene Liu which I bought many years back in China.

28. Something for K. Secret.

29. Treat hubs to a spa. He is always the one who treats me. I want to give him one!

30. A car-free day every fortnight till August. That is also the time when we should sell off the car.