CNY 2018

The Lunar New Year came too soon, as usual. I was barely getting into the hang of things and there we were, ushering in the Chinese New Year (CNY). I bought blocks of butter, intending to bake some goodies but in the end, I only managed to produce bread, for that is necessity.

Everything was a rush and there was little motivation to do more. I didn’t even plan any homelearning lessons regarding CNY. Years ago when Faith was younger, I was so enthusiastic about sharing with her about this festival but now, I’ll let the school handle for the mama could barely catch her breath.

In the end, we did do something, thanks to a Dayre mom who gave me some good ideas and craft supplies and Canon Singapore who sent me a box of goodies and craft for the kids to get busy with.

So we spent the first two days of CNY visiting relatives. It was tiring, with kids. Faith hasn’t been feeling well since the eve and she was feeling lethargic throughout. We had pockets of fun, since the relatives were all eager to play with the kids and that’s when the hubs and I could catch some minutes of rest.

Loving this set of pics with the kids so am putting them here for memories’ sake.

Going from houses to houses could be tiring for the kids. What’s there to do except to sample the CNY goodies and receiving hongbaos? So, we tried to sneak in some moments of fun for the kids.


The third day of CNY and the family decided to take a break from visitation to spend some much-needed family time. Yup, just us. Zipped down to Marina Barrage to get the kids to fly the kites, only to find the wind too strong and our skills too weak. Oh well, at least we tried.


No worries. We could always get the ball rolling.

I love the third day simply because we could spend uninterrupted time with the family and in the outdoors! Why is it difficult to do so on a normal weekend? Do we have too many commitments?

img_5830-1Anyway, from us to you. Have a great Lunar New Year!
2018 edition


Delectable Chinese New Year set dishes at Gu Ma Jia

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Chinese New Year is approaching! Have you make plans for this year’s reunion dinner? If you don’t want the hassle of cooking (and washing up of dishes) at home and wanted to just enjoy a scrumptious meal with your loved ones, do consider the Chinese New Year sets available at Gu Ma Jia, won’t you?

I had my first food tasting at Gu Ma Jia a few years back and I remember the food fondly because the dishes were fresh and of quality  and cooked just like the way my mom does. By that I mean the food was not too salty, too oily or laden with MSG. They were just authentic homecooked food.

For this coming Chinese New Year, Gu Ma Jia has come up with two sets namely ‘Peace’ and ‘Prosperity’ as if to remind us to spread peace and love between one and another while sharing our prosperity. 😉


We had the opportunity to taste some of the dishes last month and again, Gu Ma Jia has won our hearts.


The Ginseng Fortune Chicken is made up of  double boiled chicken, roasted pork, scallops, sea cucumber and fish maw with ginseng in a claypot. The overall result is a bowl of rich soup that will definitely bring a smile to everyone’s faces. You feel good just by knowing the premium ingredients that go into this dish. This is really good!


I love broccoli that is cooked right. At Gu Ma Jia, this vegetable is cooked perfectly and brillantly paired with macadamia nuts and fresh scallop. The crunchiness of the nuts adds a fresh perspective to the usual broccoli, carrots and scallop combination that we so often tasted in restaurants. This dish is light (not heavy on sauce) and I could taste the goodness of the individual ingredient in its authentic form.


One of the ways to test  if the ingredients served at a restaurant are fresh, order the seafood. These Stir Fry Prawns with Superior Sauce are so succulent that the usual I-don’t-like-to-peel-prawns me went ahead to undress them, just by using the power of the teeth and chopsticks. Fresh prawns are easy to shell, so they say.


I don’t think I need to mention about the freshness of this Steamed Red Grouper. This will be a dish which will be a hit with my mom who LOVES fish and is done just the way she likes it. It is truly fresh and it’s not a surprise since the ingredients are handpicked and quality checked by Gu Ma herself. I even packed the reminder of this dish so that I could make fish porridge with it. Don’t waste the meat and the sauce!


Normally I try to avoid Fried Noodles because they made me feel so stuffed. But this plate of noodles didn’t. I was told that this is a special type of noodles and it’s light on the stomach and I find myself going for second helping. Delectable!


Dessert is  this yummy Longan Wolfberries Sea Bird Nest which I like and appreciate. After having eaten all the delicious food, it’s always good to have something light and refreshing and this is not too sweet, which is good! Just the natural goodness will do!

Besides these two CNY sets, Gu Ma Jia also offers a special ala-carte menu during this festive season and they feature Gu Ma’s signature dishes and exclusive Chinese New Year delicacies.



For the complete list of the ala-carte menu, they can be found here.

Do note that there will be session timings for the set menu on the actual day of the Reunion Dinner on 27th Jan 2017:
:: 1st session 12pm – 2pm
:: 2nd session 2.15pm – 4.15pm
:: 3rd session 6pm – 7.45pm &
:: Last session 8pm – 9.45pm

In case you are uninformed, you can also have Gu Ma Jia’s delicacies delivered to your doorstep okay? Do check their website if you are interested!

Gu Ma Jia
45 Tai Thong Crescent
Sennett Estate Singapore 347866

Phone: +6285 2023


A look at February

I’ve been meaning to blog but fatigue found me. There are meals to prepare, dishes to wash, floor to clean, clothes to wash, bedsheets to change every other day (Dan poos A LOT), homelearning resources to make, lessons to teach Faith, classes to send her to, BSF and parenting workshop’s homework to complete…and the list goes on. Life as a SAHM can be so mundane, so uninteresting and so tiring. The fact that Dan needs to be carried in the day time adds to my exhaustion and I find myself on my two feet the whole day. That terrible teething period is too painful for him, I guess.

So much has happened in February and I really ought to record them.

::::The Lunar New Year::::

I don’t have a love for the Chinese New Year (CNY). It was fun when I was a child. I remember accompanying my parents to the market to make some final purchases on the eve of CNY and everywhere would be crowded with people. My mom would buy a new set of clothes for us and we helped to do spring cleaning and decorate our home.  I love having steamboat for reunion dinner and till this day, it remains the ONE thing that I look forward to. I suspect my parents had intentionally done all these to help us create memories and to know the Chinese traditions. Sadly, we do not have such practices anymore apart from the steamboat and to a certain extent, CNY has lost its meaning. Now, as a parent, I wonder how I should help the children preserve this part of their heritage and I find myself doing some of the things that my parents did when I was a kid.

Reunion dinner at the in-laws and it was Faith’s maiden lohei, with Dan looking on with interest. Bakwan Kepiting, a dish my Peranakan aunt-in-law would make each reunion dinner, is one that I look forward to; it makes me drool.


Home visiting. I dread it especially when you have young kids. Surprisingly, it was pleasant and somewhat enjoyable this year. Faith was enjoying the company she had and Dan was sleeping his time away. Bliss.

For the first time, I hosted my family. I totally don’t know why I haven’t done so previously. When I asked them why they didn’t want to visit my place during CNY, they replied, “Because you didn’t invite!”

Goodness! I didn’t know that we have to stand on ceremony, even with our own family.

:::: Faith @ 39 months old | HFMD ::::

The Friday when Faith’s school was celebrating CNY celebration, the principal called me in the afternoon to inform me that she had direct contact with a pupil who had contracted HFMD. My heart sank as I heard that because I have a baby at home and i wasn’t prepared to deal with a sick baby (I honestly wouldn’t know how). They had to be separated as much as possible and by that, I mean the baby would have to stay in his room the whole time while the older one roamed about in the house. Both K and I were worried because we didn’t want the disease to spread to the other kids should Faith really contracted It. We had to inform our relatives and try to distance the girl from the others. All the while, she was really active and didn’t complain of fever or ulcers until…she had two big red spots…on her nose! IS THIS A SIGN OF HFMD???

She did have mild HFMD according to the doctor. There wasn’t any fever, just one ulcer each at the back of the throat and on the mouth, in addition to a few small red spots on her foot. She’s as active as before and I’m thankful to have the in-laws to come to our place to accompany her while I took care of the baby and the household chores. Loss of appetite? Nope. In fact, it was better than before!

At 39 months old, Faith suddenly took a great interest in writing. I would print copies of worksheets on letters and the Chinese characters and leave it on the table and she would wake up or return from school and occupy herself with the ‘task’. It was a time-saver for me.

She’s getting more independent as she grows older and look for things to occupy herself when I was busy with cooking or the baby. Oh, how I love this age!

Resources for worksheets:

Note: It is better to continue to work on children’s fine motor skills before getting them to work on writing. Read more here.

During the last two months, I realised that Faith could memorise the Chinese characters at a faster pace and she could read a few simple readers by looking at the characters (not memorising anymore). This gives me great joy! Many times, I feel that I am fighting a losing battle (I still feel this way) because English has become her dominant language even though she started off with Mandarin. We have made little progress and I have to remind myself to continue to speak to her in Mandarin (which is more difficult for me).

The girl has been showing much love to her baby brother and I’m really thankful for that. She enjoys her music class, loves the outdoors but I’m not so sure if she appreciate artwork. We’ll see.


And yes, I managed to bake a cake for an adorable 1YO girl! So many things have happened and it’s quite a chore to pen them down. I’m glad I could go this far, heh! February looked quite fine to me and I hope it’s been good for you!

Marching on to March now!

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?

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Growing with the Tans