ACM | Finding the Missing Mouse

The plan is this. We would meet up with Faith’s playmates to visit Asian Civilisations Museum since there is a Children’s Season Programme going on – Once Upon a time in Asia: The Missing Mouse. The mummies would read the story to the kids and perhaps attempt to work on some craft with them.

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It didn’t happen that way. Not at all. In fact, when the kids met up, they were so happy to see one another they just played, in their own ways. It’s not the setting that’s important; it’s the company that counts.

Faith was so happy when she saw N and Mummy Ade that she rushed to meet them. From then now, the two kids were inseparable, holding hands as they walked towards ACM. The last picture? Faith was frightened by the millipede and N gor gor reached out to protect her. Awwwww…

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Young tourists

Singaporeans enter the museum free and once they were in this hall, took off their shoes and went running into the maze. It happened really fast and we, the moms, had not much time to react. However, since it is a small space, we thought the kids would be fine on their own playing and exploring and we ended up chatting at the bench.

img_0485Taking a break and a photo!

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The kids really had a jolly good time just running around in the maze. Kids at this age are so easy to please! They had so much energy that we didn’t bother to read them the story. Just let them have fun!

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Although this is a small space, the kids were entertained for 1.5 hours. Apparently, there are story-telling sessions in the afternoon and Fridays seem to be the best day to go! So if you haven’t been there, do drop by! Good for young kids, IMHO.

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We were all famished by noon. Thankfully, there is a cafe within ACM and ‘Kids eat for free’ yo! It didn’t take us long to settle for this place because…

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…there is a play area for kids within the cafe. Awwwwesome!

 Faith had her spaghetti while I had my overpriced laksa. The kids’ meal comes with dessert which was brownie and vanilla ice-cream for Faith and a vanilla milkshake for her drink. Not bad a deal at all. You just need to order a main and the kids could dine for free yo.

Such a playdate is soooo satisfying. The kids had their fun and the mummies got their rest. I need more of such outings.

If you still have the energy to go on, do pop by the National Gallery (Keppel Centre for Art Education) and have some fun in there too!

PS. Thank you Mummy F for the wonderful pictures!

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Dumpling making session

Friends. A few good ones are sufficient. They are your family when your kin is not around and because they are genuinely sincere in this friendship, they are willing to go through the ups and downs of life with you.

A true friend is your cheerleader when you meet with success and she can also be brutally honest in highlighting your wrongdoing so that you can improve and be a better person.

I’m blessed to have such friends and there are different ones at various stages of my life. At this current moment, I’m thankful to have a few SAHMs whom I can share my joy and struggles with.

The first week of May had been exhausting. I was battling with lack of sleep (and I think things will only get better in 5 months’ time), a baby who is teething and a threenager, on top of household chores and home learning preparation and activities. My friend who probably sensed that I was at a low point, invited me over to her place to have a chat and on another occasion, to have a dumpling making session. The chat did wonders because we women need to talk, and the dumpling making session satisfied our souls and stomachs completely.

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The dumpling skin was made from scratch too.


While we were watching T perform some magic, the children were in the playroom enjoying themselves. Awesome!
Homecooked food and wonderful friends. A terrific combination indeed.

What are some of the things that you do with your friends?

Opening party for Sew Into It

Over the weekend, I had the privilege of baking some sweet treats for the opening party of Sew Into It, a one stop sewing workshops and fabric store in Singapore. If you can recall, I sewed my first dress for Faith under the guidance of Amy, my friend whom I have met in Boston and one of the two partners who started this enterprise.

Initially, I wasn’t keen to bake since I wasn’t sure if I could cope with two kids now. But I couldn’t find any other baker friends who could bake for them and in the end, I decided that I should just try. Part of me wanted to play a part too in their opening party. 😉

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Karen, the other partner, requested for 50 cupcakes and a vanilla sponge cake with the party logo on it. Without the kids, I would have been able to bake and manage all these in a day. Now, it took a few days, including the buttons that were made from fondant. Thankfully, the sweet treats were completed by the stipulated timing.

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Welcome to the party!

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This is Amy who taught me how to sew the dress. When she shared with me her vision for Sew Into it, I was happy for her. She has wanted to use her skills to reach out to the less privileged which is really typical of her.

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Blessing others through Sew Into It.

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Sew Into It has courses for the young ones. So if you are thinking of getting your kids to acquire some skills in sewing, you might want to check out their website for relevant workshops?

Erm, Faith was just posing here. She is a bit young for sewing.

All the best for your venture, Amy and Karen!

A thankful spirit on a random Friday

I’m counting my blessings today because on looking back, the second year with Faith was a fruitful and exciting one because I was blessed with the company of wonderful mommy friends throughout that year.

I was often kept busy by playdates. We had regular ones, as well as ad-hoc ones invited by random friends. Because of that, Faith is mostly in the company of friends and warms up to others rather easily. The downside is that she gets bored when we stay at home and that could drive me mad when she acts up.

Nevertheless, I want to thank those friends who always open their place for the little ones to have some jolly good times. And I’m all the more grateful that they are ever so willing to share their toys with Faith.

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There’s B who has soon become Faith’s constant playmate. Whenever I feel frustrated, I know I can run to Mummy T who will always open her home to us. That’s not all. Mummy T and I always exchange toys and books and more often than not, I am the one benefitting more because Mummy T can actually open a bookstore with the amount of books at her place. So, I will often go home with quality English and Chinese books. Blessed!

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Faith also has the company of older kids such as K who came over to accompany her while I prepared lunch for a gathering for a group of SAHMs. Faith adores this older sister and learns a fair bit of stuff from her since she is five years older than her.

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Recently, Mummy J invited us and Mummy D to her place for a playdate and Faith got exposed to playing the piano. The talented A was so kind to Faith and spent some time getting Faith to appreciate music. I can absolutely see a fine young man in him!

20141202_112954In the company of A gor gor and Y jie jie

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There are also new mummy friends who invited us over to have playdates with their kids and Faith had a good time with the three boys playing puzzles, building train tracks and working on some Duplo sets.

20141204_113828 I am always thankful to have a group of mummy friends for our regular playdates and coop. I have learnt so much from every one of them and to think that we might not be together again the following year saddens me.

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Of course, Faith loves the company of her cousins whom she loves very much. She would jump with joy whenever she sees them.

Initially I thought being a SAHM would be rather boring but I thought wrong! My calendar can be kept full because of playdates but I’ve nothing to complain! The little one loves the company of friends and I really hope this will help her transit well when she goes to nursery the following year.

I’m also grateful to friends who are so willing to share their toys and books with Faith. We have few toys at home but because they share, Faith doesn’t lack.

So here I am. Looking back at the past year (Faith’s 2nd year) with great gratitude.

Thankful Tuesday: It’s more blessed to give than to receive

It first started out as teaching cake decorating to a teenager.

Turns out a whole group of girls with ages ranging from 9 years old to 15 years old were expecting to learn. Thankfully, I arrived at my friend’s place with sufficient fondant and equipment. It almost feels like conducting a holiday baking and cake decorating class for the kids. How exciting!

This is the group of sisters whom I grew up with in church and now I have the privilege of sharing some skills with them and their girls.

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Thank God for FY who opened her house who has air-conditioners installed in the living room! So perfect for a big group of cake decorators!

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After showing them the basics of using sugarpaste, they were eager to work on it themselves. Meanwhile, Pagon, who is an excellent baker got down to baking more cupcakes because the ones I brought were obviously not enough!

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Meanwhile, I stepped aside to watch the kids do the job while I resumed my mommy duties. The host also prepared lunch for us and the whole group of girls took a break before going back to decorating their cupcakes, this time round, using the buttercream that Pagon prepared.

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Pagon also showed us how to make marshmallow fondant. Rather easy to do!

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I had an awesome time teaching the kids who are so well-behaved! And definitely love spending some time with the very experienced mummies. How I missed them!

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I’m thankful for this opportunity to give because in the end, I realised I received more. Thank you, dear Lord!

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😉

A princess cake for a sweet girl

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This is the last cake for January. And after this, I shall be baking for my family.

20140127-062724.jpgA two-tier cake of chocolate batter was asked for but in the end, because I wanted to construct an ombre cake for the little cake, decided to tweak it a bit. The lower 7-inch tier was made of Devil’s food cake and the top 6-inch tier, an ombre cake.

Nowadays, I prefer to make the cake on the day itself if the collection is in the evening. So this cake was baked in the morning before our family went out for some activities and when we came back, it’s time to assemble the cake.

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Didn’t really take a lot of pictures since no time could be wasted!

But I did have fun with this cake and that’s important to me!

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Only the toppers were made a few days before since I need them to be dried before assembling them. For the flowers, having the plungers help a lot and I love the sprinklers which I attached to the flowers. Otherwise piping a small dot using royal icing will do the job.

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Ham and cheese bread (Tangzhong method)

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On the last day of 2013, I had the privilege of sharing how to bake yogurt bread with my friends of many years. It always gives me a very warm feeling when people are willing to learn from one another and when the product is being consumed. That is simply contentment, to me.

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Since I was making bread, I went on to make Ham and Cheese bread for Faith. Of all the kinds of bread that I have made, I still prefer those made with Tangzhong and brioche because the end-result is soft which makes chewing easier for Faith.

The following recipe is taken from Christine’s recipe and she has a wide and useful variety of recipes. Love her site. I’m going to record it here for future references.

For Tangzhong:
50gm bread flour
125ml water
125ml milk

To make tangzhong:

1. Mix flour in water & milk well without any lumps. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring consistently with a wooden spoon, whisk or spatula to prevent burning and sticking while you cook along the way.

2. The mixture becomes thicker and thicker. Once you notice some “lines” appear in the mixture for every stir you make with the spoon, it’s done. You get the tangzhong. Remove from heat.

3. Transfer into a clean bowl. Cover with a cling wrap sticking onto the surface of tangzhong to prevent from drying up. Let cool. The tangzhong can be used straight away once it cools down to room temperature.  Just measure out the amount you need. The leftover tangzhong can be stored in fridge up to a few days as long as it doesn’t turn grey. (Note: The chilled tangzhong should return to room temperature before adding into other ingredients. )

For the Ham and cheese bread:
Ingredients of bread:

350gm bread flour
55gm caster sugar
5gm/1tsp salt
56gm egg (equals to 1 large egg)
7gm milk powder (to increase fragrance, optional)
125ml milk
120gm tangzhong (use half of the tangzhong you make from above)
5 to 6gm/2 tsp instant yeast
30gm unsalted butter (cut into small pieces, softened at room temperature)

Fillings:
Ham, to taste
cheese, to taste
( I do think the types of cheese and ham (and even milk) that are used will result in different taste in the bread).
1. Using a standmixer with dough hook, combine all dry ingredients: flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast in the mixer bowl. Mix for about 10 seconds. Add in the wet ingredients: milk, egg and tangzhong and knead until a dough is formed. At this stage, add the butter and continue to knead until the dough passes the window-pane test – stretch the dough. If it forms a thin “membrane”, it’s done.
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2. Knead the dough into a ball shape. Place in a greased bowl and cover with a wet towel or cling wrap. Let it proof till it’s doubled in size, about 40 – 60 minutes.
3. Transfer to a clean floured surface. Deflate and divide the dough into four equal portions. Knead into ball shapes. Cover with cling wrap, let rest for 15 minutes.
4. Roll out each portion of the dough with a rolling pin into an oval shape. Sprinkle slices of ham and cheese evenly as much as you like. Roll from the upper, shorter end down to the bottom and seal the bottom well.
5. Arrange the rolled-up dough in a greased or non-stick loaf tin. Leave it for the 2nd round of proofing, about 40 minutes.
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6. Brush whisked egg on surface. I sprinkled some dried parsley flakes on the surface too. Bake in a pre-heated 180C oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and tin. Transfer onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

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!

😉

Weekend trip to Legoland

Our family travelled up to Legoland over the weekend with our cell group from church. As we wanted to travel up together as a convoy, we departed at 4pm and reached our hotel, Hotel Granada, JB, at around 7pm via the second link. We thought the hotel is well-located, with a fast-food restaurant just outside the building and Aeon JUSCO Shopping Arcade within walking distance.

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Faith warming up the JT and S at the hotel lobby.

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IMG_9022After resting for a while, we proceeded to our dinner place which was recommended by one of our cell members. We ordered quite a number of dishes and in the end, each adult only pays about S$10! Wow!

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The following day, before proceeding to Legoland, we hopped over to the mall to satisfy our shopping desire. We only had about 2 1/2 hours to do so and to have our lunch as well. Since it is impossible to have A & W back home, we went for this fast-food joint naturally. However, I must say, the standard has dropped and the portion, shrunk.

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Need my caffeine fix!

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It was drizzling when we reached the theme park. Thankfully, we brought umbrellas. However, even if you didn’t bring, you can loan from them!

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Watching the 4D show

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We did not take the rides this time round but we are definitely coming back again with our family and I’m sure it will be loads of fun then!

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Accident scene

Accident scene

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Love travelling in groups and driving up with these folks is all fun and laughter! Shall we have more?

IMG_2718The Christmas season is sure marching in furiously!

Thankful Tuesday

How do you think your kid(s) will describe you as a mother?

Maybe you might think that they would say that you are fierce, naggy and at times unreasonable? At one stage, these adjectives crossed my mind when I thought of my mom but if I were to search my heart, my mom is the best for me, a super mommy who cares a lot for me.

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In this [almost] one year of being a mother, I have experienced ups and downs, joy and bitterness and no doubt, exhaustion. But I know I’m not alone in this journey. The group of mummies from BSF greatly encourages me especially when we shared about our struggles and then you realised that your situation is really not anything bad.

We are all thankful for the many lessons learnt from the study of Genesis and how God worked in each and every one of our lives. So much to be thankful for and it will continue to be a journey of faith, love and hope for us.

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Love gatherings with delicious homemade food

My contribution

My contribution – Lemon tartlets with Korean grapes and mint leaves

An encouraging video. It’s not mother’s day but still, it’s good to be encouraged.

A New Perspective For Moms from Elevation Church on Vimeo.

Play dates for Faith

At times I find that Faith can be rather lonely playing by herself while under the adults’ care. Putting myself in her position, I think I would love to hang out with peers my age. Thankfully, once in a while, my girlfriends would meet up and the that will be the opportune time for the kids (same year) to play together. I am hoping we can aim for more regular sessions!

Recent play time at the Chans

Recent play time at the Chans

Both Faiths playing with each other

Both Faiths playing with each other

The older Faith feeding the younger Faith

The older Faith feeding the younger Faith

Every Saturday, at CG, the kids will come together and Faith has another chance of play time with her mates.

Faith and Samuel, two months apart.

Faith and Samuel, two months apart.

Cathy playing with Faith

Cathy playing with Faith

Of course, I love it whenever my sis and her family come back for a visit and am hoping for her return in December, this time for good.

Cousins at play!

Cousins at play!

It’s nice to be kids.

A custom-made cake : hits and misses

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When a friend asked me if I would take up the challenge to bake a cake for his 5-year-old boy, I agreed rather readily. His request: A cake in the form of Captain America’s shield. No fondant. At least 2kg. To feed about 20 people.

Captain America? Who on earth is that?

And, thanks to google, I got the idea and came up with a draft.

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The actual work started a few days before the birthday celebration. I would be using 2 cake boards – one for the cake, the other as a background. The square board is to be covered with fondant with the wordings in blue. And then, the drying process begins.

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I had originally wanted to do a vanilla sponge cake with various colours (red, blue, white) but the daddy thought that the kids would not appreciate such an effort and so I stuck with the original. I thought the cake slicer and the lifter are of great use. It certainly makes life easier for me!

Another thing that I found out is that my mixer cannot do a good job in making a 10-inch cake batter; it overflows! So, now I know. The cake batter has to be divided to be baked in the oven as it certainly will overflow due to the rising agent.

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So, a fondant cake is NOT welcome and the better choice would be buttercream. I do not want to use royal icing as it will be too sweet for the kids. Of the 3 types of buttercream, I chose to do Italian Meringue Buttercream (IMBC) as it is the most stable and can withstand our tropical humid weather. Thankfully, I had learnt this method during my baking course at CSCA so it wasn’t that foreign. Having said that, I still did it with much trepidation. Thankfully, it was a success and the next step is to moisten the cake with sugar syrup.

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It’s a breeze covering the cake with IMBC. To make things easier for me, I use a special big tip to help me with the sides of the cake. Definitely easier. Reminder to self though: don’t be stingy with the buttercream. I had the tendency to ration the use of it and then in the end, realised that I had so much left. Spread more!

Crumb coat was done!

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Next is the design. So I do not own a compass to draw circles and have to rely on whatever circular stuff that I could get hold of. After that, piping gel was used to trace the design and to transfer it onto the cake. Please don’t ask me why I used a dark colour. I really do not know what had gotten to me to use such a colour. I SHOULDN’T!

After that, it was all about piping – stars and circles. Testing of skills.

If I am to bake another cake again, I’ll make sure that I will make myself free the day before collection. As I had a family outing, I had to place the cake in the refrigerator but when I took it out , there was condensation and it doesn’t really look too good on a cake with IMBC.

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I learnt and hope that you won’t make the same mistake as I.

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😉

Jadelyn’s 1st birthday

Our family was invited by Diana to her daughter, Jadelyn’s first birthday! How exciting! I may not have known the domestic goddess  for long but her friendly disposition won me over. By the way, she cooks and bakes great stuff. You should really explore her blog. A truly unassuming lady!

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Diana and her lovely family.

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Faith is too young to play with the older kids but she had fun with the balloons and treated herself to one!

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Diana prepared all these goodies for the little ones!

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Delish rainbow cake! How inspiring!

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Poor Faith can’t enjoy again. Next time, babe!

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A personalised gift for Faith. How thoughtful of the host! Thank you so much for inviting us!

Friday brunch with an old friend

I am one who believes that we don’t need many friends; just one whom you can turn to despite not meeting up often.

YL is one of them. Our meeting is often impromptu and this time, it is no exception. Since she stays near 112 Katong, we went over to Baci Italian Cafe to have our brunch, with the kids in tow.

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It’s rather quiet when we reached the cafe and there was only one other customer who was obviously enjoying her brunch at the big couch. The cafe has big open space and a kids corner which attracted Aly instantly.

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20130614-144421.jpgYou might be interested to know that kids eat for free here! But I would have to be honest – the food’s not all excellent and it’s self service for drinks. We had waffles and an omelette set. Perhaps, it’s just these few items that we tried that were not up to expectations. Having said that, it is really a good casual place to chill and spend the slow and easy morning with your friends.

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BACI Italian Cafe
112 Katong

Mom bloggers meetup…

…and a Raspberry & Lemon Gateau recipe.

Recently, our domestic goddess wannabe, Diana, has enticed the mommy community with her mouth-watering food which leaves many of us hungry and the keyboard soiled with our drools. Her power has motivated Mabel of Amazinglystill to rekindle her love for baking and the goddess invited us to her abode for a chill-out session.

So what do mom bloggers do when they meet up?

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IMG_4058Photo-taking session… (we are bloggers after all!) and makan! It’s tea-time!

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I could only manage this photo of the baked goods but Natasha of Quirky Affairs could do a way better job than me. A reminder to self: Improve your photography skills!

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The two little ones who are one day apart could only watch.
So I baked this cake but only brought about 1/2 of it to goddess’ place. It’s better to eat when it’s just baked. Oh, I’ve learnt a new thing today. Snow powder is a better choice than confectioner’s sugar if I want the powder to last longer. But wait, what is snow powder?

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Raspberry & Lemon Gateau
[Source| Cakes: Delicious recipes for a happy life by Marina Neri]

Continue reading

When mothers unite…

…you will never be hungry.

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It is my privilege to host the lunch fellowship today for my BSF group of ladies. My job is easy – just open my home and serve drinks and rice. The rest will be taken care of by the others.

Boy, do we have a lot of scrumptious food and most of them home-made (with love!). At the dining table, conversations are spontaneous and generally, the mouths do not get to rest. I love that we share about our lives and since we are all mothers, stories about our children, life at home, etc, are exchanged. We encourage one another and offer comfort to those whose spirits are down.

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As for Faith, she has been really cooperative and good. I suspect she was listening to our conversation. Inquisitive girl =)

Weekends :: 23, 24 Feb

I’m on half-load on weekends and I’m loving it.

picasion.com_e887db04403cac9325211271fcb3670aSaturday saw Faith and I accompanying da man to his workplace and I became a passenger at last! Ken was nervous about driving along the highway but I believe he should be able to drive with ease with more practice.

In the afternoon, while I busied myself in the kitchen, baking the strawberry cake for the cell group later in the evening, Ken spent time with Faith by reading and introducing rock music to her! The whole time when the music was on, Faith was listening intently and enjoying it at the same time. Sigh! It seems Faith prefers rock to classical or jazz.

IMG_2617Even when the hubs was ironing the clothes, he did not spare Faith the rock music and the kiddo literally rocked herself to the music.

La femme finally met up in full force! One does not need many friends but just a few who will be there for you when you go through the ups and downs of life. Sadly, the time was too short as we need to go back to my in-laws for ‘Yuan Xiao Jie’ dinner.

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Dinner @ in-laws. Koko cooked so many dishes and each time, we have to cry out to her to cook less. For me, I need to detox for the next few days. Nah…

IMG_2652Eunice making Kway Pie Tee for us. Wonderful lady!

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Dad entertaining Faith by singing to her. 

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Da man reading newspaper (sigh!) and Gabriel preparing Yu Sheng. Nice guy!

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IMG_2664After Yu Sheng, there’s still Peranakan food!!!

Happy Yuan Xiao Jie, people!

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Jan dinner in Feb

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This is the bunch of ex-colleagues at HQ who still make it an effort to meet up once a month over meals. We brought Faith out, half afraid that she would be cranky the whole night but she’s ok! Thanks to the hubs who carried her around to view things (she’s uber curious) so that moi could have a peaceful dinner and thus ate too much in the end. =(

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The most interesting thing about this steamboat is the condiments. So many different ones, 12 of them, all mixed together as one. The ingredients are fresh and I love the sliced marbled beef and the various balls available. Love the drunken ginseng chicken soup base too. I would say very little (or no) processed food is served. Why of course, you pay the price for it too!

The night was still young as they proceeded to have dessert after that. For us, it was way too late for Faith’s bedtime, actually for us too. =p

Lao le (old already).

Imperial Treasure Steamboat Restaurant
#01-21/23 TripleOne Somerset
111 Somerset Rd.

Survivor: The first day

Many have told me that in order to catch some sleep, you need to sleep when the baby is in Lala land and you have to work around her schedule.

I concur with the latter statement but to catch a wink when she’s asleep? I can’t seem to get around to doing that!

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Friday. The first day that I was on my own. The hubs has gone back to work and I was absolutely certain that I could manage on my own. Breakfast was no longer prepared by Jenny but thankfully, SIL bought cupcakes from Twelve and I indulged in one, along with a cup of milo, a habit that Jenny had left with me (she adores MILO).

Thereafter, it was breastfeeding Faith, soothing her, expressing milk, cleaning and sterilising bottles, bathing Faith (phew!), washing her clothes and cleaning the floor. All these take up time, especially the first two activities.

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So, in that one day, I have learnt to shower in 7 mins or less (before she cries) and managed to do up three dishes for the full month celebration with ex-colleagues from TDD. Unfortunately, with a baby, I couldn’t have quality conversation with the guests as Faith was rather cranky that night (change of routine with the guests). But I’m pleased to announce that I have survived… the first day! Now, my back is aching and my wrists sprained. =( I need my yoga and pilates sessions!

first month

family first month

When the CL left

The day Jenny (Confinement Lady) left, I felt a tinge of sadness.

That would be the last day that she would prepare my breakfast at 7am sharp and it was always bee hoon with vegetables and lean pork cooked with ginger. It was also my last practical session for bathing Faith. Before she left, she washed all outstanding clothes, cleaned up the whole apartment, scrubbed the toilet and returned the kitchen just as it was on the first day she stepped in. Impressed. And then, she left, leaving me with a big pot of pig trotters cooked in vinegar. ❤

Thereafter, I was on my own. Thankfully, the hubs came back in the afternoon to make sure that I wouldn’t be overwhelmed.

Life with a baby is so different. I become very mindful of time and make sure that we will not be out for too long lest she asks for milk (shopping and feeding is still a very new concept to me). Before we knew it, the whole afternoon was gone after we  did some grocery shopping!

Thankfully, Faith is relatively easy to look after. She wakes up for milk and then goes back to sleep. At night, she only wakes up twice which is manageable for me but I must say it is tiring.

Faith has also gotten used to breastfeeding now. Phew! Right now, I just need to practise how to do so when I’m out.

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And the following day, I had a Ngoh Hiang party on her full month with my colleagues. Managed to prepared four dishes to go with the Ngoh Hiang, thanks to the hubs who helped in one way or another. Didn’t manage to bake though. Sad!

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What a nice way to spend her full month. There was much laughter in the apartment though it was a tad too loud. Wonderful times. Thank God for that. =)

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Lafemme meetup

Finally! It was so long overdue! Since Ken and I came back from Boston, I only managed to meet up with them once. Thankfully, Sha was able to gather us again before Faith comes out and this time @ Quek’s.

I’m thankful for friends like them whom I can share with even though we may not meet up often. The friendship built over the years is definitely a gift from God.

Thank you for making time to meet up. =)

Words of wisdom from a SAHM:
– Don’t centre your entire life around the kid. There are other things to be mindful of.
– While routine helps a lot, some flexibility is needed too.
– Don’t be too fussy over certain things.

Connie’s big-eyed Ray

Ken getting some practice

Busy Sat

Of the days of the week, Saturday remains the most hectic but fruitful one.

Finally managed to catch up with dear friends from STB over breakfast at Riders Cafe. It is a tranquil area overlooking a horse ranch which can be a treat for kiddos. They seem fascinated by the 4-legged animals. Thankfully, we were early and got a table at the balcony. Time seemed to come to a standstill as we savoured the beautiful morning. All three of us had ‘The Usual’ which comprises Eggs, Back Bacon (I changed to spinach) , Breakfast Banger, Mushrooms, Tomato & Sourdough. The meal was hearty and the service good. It’s kid-friendly too.

20121028-164839.jpgThen to the visit to the gynae. I’m officially at the 36th week now. Congratulations! It’s been about 9 months! Received the hospital admission letter from Dr Poon and the nurse commented that this is like a graduation cert. Hahhaah. Faith only gained about 200g since the last visit and her weight is about 2.3 to 2.4kg. Sigh. Dr Poon said she’s on the small size but nothing to worry about. She’s still not engaged and he predicted that it might happen after 37th week. Heartbeat is good and he also examined my inner left thigh since I complained that it has been painful. Probably a muscle strain and not the tendon which is okay.

Weight: 60kg
BP: 109/64

Went back home and started to make Japanese Cotton Cheesecake with fruit topping for the CG while the hubs cleaned the floor and do up Faith’s cot. One thing at a time!

Didn’t know that it was T’s and F’s birthday but thankfully the cheesecake can serve as birthday cake for them. Our CG has grown in terms of the number of children. Think would need to supply more food now.

Photo credits: Jac Ng

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Marking the end of Alpha

For about 8 Fridays, the hubs and I have been involved in the Alpha course, reaching out to the young adults. Yesterday marked the end of the course, though  by right, we should be travelling up to Johore for the finale session. However, none of our group members indicated going and we thought it might be meaningful to have a closure at our place.

Decided to have Okonomiyaki because it is an easy and hands-on dish. It can best be described as a kind of savory pancake. Often translated as an “as you like it pancake,” okonomiyaki can contain a wide variety of ingredients such as cabbage, meat, seafood, corn, bean sprouts, okonomiyaki sauce (which is kind of similar to steak sauce), mayonnaise, dried bonito flakes, green onion, pickled red ginger, dried seaweed powder, and tempura crumbs.. Basically, you take some batter with cabbage tossed in, add some savory items from the list above, cook on a hot pan, then top with fixings and sauces.

The young ones ( and I really mean young; they are about 10 years younger than us!!!) took turns to make the pancake and it was fun doing that!

First D tried, under the watchful eye of A.

A, the masterchef took over.

And then, D, who seemed quite experienced!

Last but not least, A and L, who did an awesome job too!

Don’t look down on these pancakes; they can be very filling!

We also took the chance to celebrate L’s birthday yesterday. It’s a simple cake that I’ve made but not up to my expectations. It’s the chocolate used, a slightly lower grade than the ones I used in Boston. Hmmm, good ingredients count a lot!

What radiant smiles!

A short video on the art of okonomiyaki (rather funny).

Meetup @ PS cafe

Perhaps the day that I feel like a housewife.
The morning class was cancelled since the tutor has fallen ill and  I spent the morning doing assignments instead. Lunch with TW, Kuek and ET at Dempsey.

My glimpse into a homemaker’s life. Perhaps, it won’t be so bad after all? Having said that, I’m not sure if I’m keen to stay at home all the time. I need interaction with people!

The cafe was filled with the lunch crowd even though it was near to 2pm! Gosh! Don’t the people have to work??

Truffle shoestring fries

Lulu’s leftover lasagne

PS Turkey Cranberry sandwich

Kuek’s Portbello mushroom with Moroccan couscous (nice!)

Fish and chips

It has been busy, busy and real busy for the past few weeks. On one hand, I’m thankful that I am attending the July cohort for MLS  since we all know full well that the second semester is hellish but having to juggle between work and studies is no easy feat. Years ago, I could do my part time post grad studies while working full time but now, I feel my energy dipping. Each day when I reach home after school, the body is already tired. My mind is filled with images of undone work and assignment but I couldn’t start my engine.

Friday afternoon signals the end of the week for studies and after collecting my new passport (but can’t travel!!!), decided to reward myself with gong cha and go straight into vetting of papers and writing my own PP which took an incredibly long time (haiz! why do we need to do this??!!)

Saturday morning saw me returning to school for r***ing and then catching up with the GS gang in the evening. It was a good evening of catching up with old friends and the conversation revolved around cycling, work and family. It’s always good to catch up with friends!

Maya explaining to us the dish served for housewarming for the Indonesians – Nasi Tumpeng. She got her caterer friend to prepare the delicious food for us. Yummy!

And Vic baked us a decadent blackforest cake. It’s a pity that the LCB-trained Vic decided not to open a bakery after all. Thankfully, she will still bake for friends!

On the way back while driving along ECP, I was greeted by the fireworks display from the NE show. It was beautiful, an amazing feeling. As I caught a glimpse of the sight, I couldn’t help but be thankful that I’m a citizen of this city in the garden. We are not perfect. Indeed there’s so much improvement to be done. Instead of merely complaining and always asking the government to do something for their people, perhaps it’s time to ask ourselves how we can give back. The progress of the nation does not solely depend on the government. Every one of us needs to be involved.

Yes, I’m a proud Singaporean. And no, I didn’t take this picture (I’m driving!). This pic is sent to me by my course-mate who was there for the NE show. Beautiful!

Housewarming #2

I wish the new oven is my friend. As it is now, I have yet to fathom the true temperature even though it is reflected on the knob. My baked products either come out overcooked (thus looking less than palatable) or undercooked but giving the impression that it is charred.

Over these few days, I have discarded the bread that I have baked and yesterday, the orange almond tart which was meant for my friends at STB.

Sigh! Despite that, I’m glad to have a short catch-up session with our ex-colleagues, many of whom have moved on to schools after the stint. We seemed to have drifted a little but that’s rather expected. Hopefully, the meet-up will continue…

This time round, only food is captured.

Simple fare

Dorine bought cupcakes from Twelve Cupcakes. Always a crowd pleaser.

Something chinese and my green tea financier

Instead of egg mayo with ham sandwich, I did it with choux pastry. My version of egg and crabstick mayo with ham profiteroles.

Ken bought Oreo Cheesecake and I must remember not to use serrated knife to cut it.

JJ and JL intrigued by the butter cookies that are shaped like dogs.

Housewarming #1

So the housewarming season begins!

It started off with our CG and as always, I was a tad anxious over all things small and big. “Will there be enough food?”, “Would they be bored?”, “What shall we do to entertain the kids?”…

All these worries were unfounded, of course, because the adults were busy catching up with one another and the kids were happily chasing one another down the hall and into the short corridor between our rooms; they had gone ‘crazy’. It was a pleasant noise, an indication that all were engaged.

For record’s sake, we ordered 3 sets of shepherd’s pies (classic chicken, classic beef and teriyaki chicken) from a company I adore, a packet of potato chips, 30 BBQ chicken wings from Blk 85, my version of salad (complete with parboil cabbage, quail eggs, baby tomatoes and black pepper cocktail sausages with oriental dressing) and Konnyaku jelly. Two bottles of ice wine and sparkling wine and TH’s Pecan Pie completed the whole dinner menu. I tried making green bean casserole but failed miserably and the whole portion didn’t make it to the dining table. Something was just wrong!

Above: The uncles at the corner.

Note: I must remember to take pics of food!

The reason why they were in the kitchen is because they wanted to get the cork out of the wine bottles! Waiting…waiting…waiting…wine connoisseurs.

The whole experience had been wonderful. It would have been perfect if not for the very warm weather. Everyone was perspiring, poor them but the conversation was really spontaneous which as a host, you would very much want that to happen.

The Sngs gave us a housewarming gift which I found meaningful and encouraging. With the gift comes a note and I found comfort in the words. What a wise woman Jo is and I guess only a person who has experienced similar-type- of- situation (in this case a mother) with Godly wisdom could deliver such a message. Oh! And more maternity clothes! Yipee!

   

I love having guests over even though it means stress for me. The hubs can attest to that. Hah!

TGIF

9 Dec is one of the most memorable moments in 2011. Needless to say, this day was spent with many precious friends and of course, the hubs.

The morning was spent transporting the beloved standmixer and some other baking and kitchen stuff to VBH. We have decided that the good folks at VBH would be the best new owners for the standmixer and decided to let it go. Packing it into the box, there was no doubt a tinge of sadness that swept over me. After all, it is my first standmixer and one which the hubs so readily bought for me upon our first few months into Boston to encourage me to pursue my interest. Bidding goodbye to this faithful friend is difficult but I’m sure it will serve greater purposes in future.

Having been in Boston for over a year and this day, we finally made our way to the Symphony Hall to catch Boston Pops in action. The tickets were gifts from our small group in PSIF and sweet A wanted to help me fulfill one of my 30 to-do items and it was completed this day! The 2-hour performance was better than expected and the hubs and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Evening. It was our last session with our beloved small group. Looking back, we have had very good memories with them. Somehow, this group has an unexplainable attraction and I believe it has to come from the good Lord. Love and a constant desire to know God. That’s what it is. And this day, dear Nat celebrated my birthday by teaching me how to play the ukelele and bought a cheesecake for me! I’m soooo touched!

Blessed =)

Farewell party with PSIF small group

It’s never easy to say goodbye especially to friends whom you have come to love so dearly. This group of friends has supported us throughout our time in Boston and we have shared much joy together. A, the party planner, has designed this English afternoon tea party with a White Elephant Gift Exchange activity and it was so much fun! A, if you are reading this, I just want to say a big thank-you to you!

English Afternoon Tea. A theme thought of by A who had recently visited UK for her honeymoon.

This picture has all my favourite people in it. They are the Changs whose company we really enjoyed (they are really funny people), the Yims who is a dynamic couple and are a blessing to so many and QT whom we have got to know these past few months and is really a gem (it’s a pity we do not have the opportunity to know her more).

This couple has been of absolute help to us. Countless help.

And a box of handmade chocolates from L.A.Burdick from A. I ❤ you so much and we really had fun during the activity. I’m so going to conduct this activity in any future party back home!

And thanks to these good fellas, K and I would be attending a symphony soon! Yay!

The wedding

Since coming here, I have missed at least 3 of my friends’ wedding. Before I was married, I disliked attending weddings, finding it a waste of my time. But since I got united with da man, it has a whole new meaning for me and missing my friends’ weddings saddened me (see how marriage can change a person!).

All was not lost as we got to witness R and A’s wedding yesterday. It was beautiful, the bride no doubt, but the whole ceremony gave God the due credit and that’s splendid.

We may have only known R and A for about a year but they have indeed made an impact on our lives through their dedication to the Lord and His people. A, especially, like what her college friend said to us during the reception, is hard not to like and indeed, we love this wonderful woman to bits. As she entered the sanctuary all dazzling in white and marched down the aisle to Canon in D, I found myself overwhelmed by emotions. Tears just welled up. And I’m not the only one. I heard Janet sniffing and her eyes watery. A, you have such magical powers over us!

The wedding reception at Harvard Club was with so much fun, especially the dancing part. The atmosphere lightened as we enjoyed one another’s company. The couple gave the first dance (and boy, did they dance well!) and the older folks joined in with such enthusiasm and energy! How could you not want to participate? It was an awesome sight! Yesterday was just beautiful with wonderful people and an amazing God.

Blessed marriage, R and A. And…the journey has just begun. Smile!