Friday flips | Little Miss, Big Sis

It must be tough being my daughter.

Maybe because I’ve no help at home, I expect Faith to be able to take care of herself, dress herself, feed herself, etc and I find myself unable to tolerate any ‘accident’ from her.

I forgot that she’s just a 39MO girl and that her motor skills, be it fine or gross, are still developing.

The other day, she peed out of her potty, thereby dirtying the floor and she got screamed at. I had cleaned the toilet twice that morning and thinking of having to clean it again irritated me.

I rushed out dinner that evening, thinking that I could finally relax since the hubs would be back soon and the girl had to knock the bowl of soup over. Oh, the table and the floor! Oh, oily stuff! Oh my! 

I lashed out at her, “How old are you already? Are you still a baby? Can’t you eat properly?”

I lost it. Awful mom!

She had to endure my madness that day and I felt like a terrible mom. Oh Lord, I can’t do it anymore. 


Little Miss, Big Sis by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Peter H. Reynolds

When I regained my sanity after a much-needed jog, I realised that this girl that God has blessed me with is indeed a wonderful gift. This book ‘Little Miss, Big Sis’ tells why.

She’s my great supporter when I was pregnant with the boy and together, we received her brother with joy.

She adores her brother from day 1.

Her love for him never wavers, no matter how much scolding she got because of him.

She sings to him, knowing that he will appreciate her songs.

And yes, this is true.

Not only does she supports her brother, she supports me by helping out whenever I need it. It could be simple things like getting a handkerchief to clean the drool off her brother’s mouth or clearing up the bathtub after cleaning the boy.


When I saw this book in the library, I knew I had to borrow and read it to Faith. The words are simple and the illustrations clear. Young children would be able to understand the story easily. Faith could identify with the experiences in the story. The above picture was taken rather spontaneously when I was reading to them. The girl was giggling all the way.

I think it’s only right to commend her for a job well done. She is truly a Little Miss, Big Sis.

I thought this book is good for girls who have been promoted to be big sisters to their siblings. We could also help them to anticipate what is to come as the baby grows. Manage their expectations, I say.

Linking up with

Growing with the Tans Friday Flips

Friday Flips: Chinese New Year related books

Two more weeks to Chinese New Year (CNY)! Are you busy spring cleaning your homes or spending time baking those delicious pineapple tarts?

For me, I’ve been trying to share as many stories on CNY as possible to Faith, as well as items related to the festival, like hong bao (red packets), lanterns and Chinese greetings.


The following are some books that I find are relevant to the festival and suitable for toddlers. They are found in our local libraries.


Location: Junior Lending Picture Book
Call number: English LIN

imageThough this is a book on colours, there is information such as dragon, drum and firecrackers which you can share with your child.

Location : Junior Lending Picture Book
Call number: English THO


This is a book on numbers but provides a little information on CNY. I thought it is suitable for Faith who is learning about numbers now.

Call number: English THO


Since this his page talks about the Chinese greetings, I got Faith to work on some craft and to learn this new Chinese word.



imageThis is a complete story on the Chinese New Year and it could be pretty long for a toddler to sit through. It’s still good to read to them.

Call number: English ZUC


 Call number: English KAT

imageI don’t recall having fortune cookies as part of the CNY tradition and I only came to know about it when I was overseas for a while. This book makes me want to bake some fortune cookies too. Good to teach the different days of the week towards the end of the story.

Call number: English BIT

I’m pretty sure there is a whole lot more collection of storybooks that touches on the CNY theme. Do you have any to add?

Linking up with

Growing with the Tans

Read, read, read.

I’ve been on a reading feast lately. The fact that I could go online to Boston Public Library (BPL) and request to hold the books that I want makes life so much easier. I read some reviews of a book and then hop on to to see related and recommended books and then back to BPL again, clicked on the books that I want them to hold for me and within a few days, a notice was sent to me, informing me that the books are ready for collection. Oh! The goodness of technology!

And with so many books lying on the armchair, I’m in a race to finish them. Well, for some, I realised after reading a page or two,that they are not quite what I’m looking for. I’m not in the mood for novels. In fact, I don’t really like novels in recent times. My literary palate has since evolved to prefer memoirs, writings about food (oh, the fascinating things you can learn!) and of course, picture books.

On picture books, I am impressed by the writings of Allen Say and Peter H. Reynolds. I’m absolutely certain that there are many talented writers out there but since I’ve just wiped out most of their series, I could only comment on them now. But nope, I’m not going to write reviews about them since you could source for them in the WWW. Just google. I’m probably just keying some stuff to build up my teaching resources. =p

Good discussions could be generated based on the stories by Allen Say. I love Grandfather’s Journey, Tea with Milk, Erika-san and Emma’s Rug. When you read the first three books, you can’t help but wonder if the characters are all related and I suspect so. There’s a lot to discuss about moving to a new land, culture differences and adaptation and the related struggles one faces. They serve as good discussion points since migration (whether short or long term, temporary or permanent) is something which is too rampant these days. Good teaching resources can be found here.

And then there are the three lovely picture books by Peter H. Reynolds. The illustrations are adorable and attractive to kids surely. The story, though simple causes the readers (yes, even adults) to ponder deeply. Let’s take ‘So Few of Me’ for instance, a story that depicts a busy boy and no matter how hard he worked, there was always more to do. Sounds familiar? In the story, more Leos (the busy boy) arrive but the question is  ‘Is more of him the answer, or is there a simpler solution to Leo’s overscheduling woes?’ The boy’s eventual solution might perhaps help us reflect on our wish of having more time. The other 2 books – Dot and Ish – are brilliant materials to teach kids (and even adults) about each individual’s creativity and finding their own voices. Though simple, each of these three books carries a big message.

There are also books which I’ve borrowed and then after flipping through a few pages, decided that the story does not entice me (though reviews about them are raving). One of them is ‘I don’t know how she does it’ which is about the topsy-turvy life of a working mother. I know it is now being made into a film starring Sarah Jessica Parker. I guess I just have to wait to watch it on the big screen rather than to understand the story through reading.

More later…

From the bookshelf: Chinese food made easy

I actually enjoyed this cookbook. Not only are the recipes easy for one to comprehend, the chef explains the whys of doing certain things. Perhaps, it’s easier for me since I grew up having had Chinese food and mom constantly telling me the whats and hows. Thus, her explanation enlightened me.

For Chinese cooking, it could seem rather daunting at first when one looks at the list of ingredients involved. But once we have got everything in place, the cooking is super easy and fuss-free, and sometimes even fast.

I have tried some of the recipes and am intending to improvise more to suit my tastebud. I appreciate the information presented at the end of the book and I thought the part on the order of ingredients and timing for stir-frying informative.

Add the Chinese essentials such as garlic, ginger and chillies first. Secondly, add the meat or seafood, and then lastly, the vegetables, with a few sprinkles of water to help create steam. This order of cooking helps to retain the bite of the vegetables. An important note to remember is to dry the ingredients before you add them to the wok or the oil will spit, and if there is too much moisture, the ingredients stew rather than ‘fry’. When you make a saucy stir-fry and use meat marinated in sauces, just hold back the marinade until the very end of the stir-frying process to make sure it doesn’t all evaporate, and again you don’t want to stew the food’.

Simple info and this is just a small nugget found in the cookbook. Like this!

Happy holidays!

Let’s take a break. Sometimes, it’s good to have the college stuff – the sausages, hamburgers and chips.

Happy holidays, everyone! My Baking Boot Camp book has just arrived! Time to devour!

From the bookshelf: Profiles from the kitchen

“No one thinks it’s silly to invest two hours’ work in two minutes’ enjoyable; but if cooking is evanescent, well, so is the ballet. ” ~ Julia Child.

I love the profiles mentioned in the book. Love the humble beginnings and their associations with food. They had direct contact with the kitchen and held high regard for the craft.

The life of Julia Child as depicted in the book made me believe that anyone who has a great interest in the culinary arts would be able to do well in it no matter where or how you started. She was a normal salaried worker until she met and married Paul which saw the beginnings of her interaction with cooking. Of course, her stay in Paris helped to fuel that interest and she soon saw the rapid development of her passion.

I was rather inspired by her life story and thought I could be like her too! I would be flying off to Boston and would have every opportunity to work in the kitchen! And I remember that I had the DVD of Julie & Julia which made a very enjoyable night on a perfectly normal weekday.


From the bookshelf: Becoming a Chef

Andrew Dornenburg & Karen Page

I’m so glad I got to read this book at a time when I was deciding if I should attend culinary school. I was instantly introduced to the culinary world, knowing about chefs of yesterday and current ones. One of the best parts was the advice by many different chefs who have climbed the ranks through on-the-job learning; they were able to give different perspective to attending culinary school. I also love the many quotes in the book. Every aspiring chef should read this book.

Now I know about James Beard, Alice Walters and caught a glimpse of the lives of chefs. I salute them for their passion despite the long hours in the hot kitchen. Many do not make it big nor do they make big bucks yet they continue the journey because they love food and to make people happy.

In short, between schooling and apprenticeship, Madeleine Kamman had this to say ~ A school puts a seal of approval on a graduate, but so does a good master. After teaching two generations of American chefs, both in the classroom and at the stove, I remain a great advocate of the European system, which combines schooling in the daytime and restaurant work at night, for it is fitting and demanding preparation to practice a profession, which I believe to be the most demanding existing.

A must read. Additional quotes I love:

Continue reading

From the bookshelf…

Even if you are not in culinary school, you should enrich yourself with the necessary knowledge. Actually, all the more you should do so when you intend to venture into this world on your own. Unfortunately, I can’t bring these along to Boston, so Boston Public Library, I’m counting on you!