Family trip to WA (March 2017)

Our family came back from a week long trip to Western Australia (WA) during the one week school holidays and boy, was it fun and memorable. Okay, I have to be honest. Initially, I didn’t think the trip would work well. We have travellers spanning from 17 months old to 70 + years old and with such a diverse age group comes differing travellng styles and preferences. Thankfully, the family members are very accommodating which made the trip a pleasurable one.

We chose Western Australia because we thought it would be a nice place for families to rest and relax. It’s not too far from tropical Singapore and that means a shorter flight so if the toddler fusses, it would still be tolerable for all. WA has definitely much to offer, from the scenic view to farm stay to wonderful fresh crops for us to savour to wonderful shopping experience. How not to love it?

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This is our itinerary and this post is a summary of the trip, lest I procrastinate (again) and fail to record.

11 March | Day 0 | Flight to Perth

We boarded an afternoon flight and reached Perth around 6pm. The boy was fussy during the flight and he tired us out. Upon reaching the airport, we were told that the 12-seater van that we booked was damaged from the previous rental but they could offer us an 8-seater and we need not pay for the car seat, extra driver and we need not return the vehicle with a full tank of petrol. We took up the offer.

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By the time we reached our accommodation, the cousin and auntie-in-law who had arrived a few hours earlier, prepared dinner for us. Friends¬†came back to pass us some food stuff to tide us for the evening and morning the next day. We just need to eat and sleep. ūüėČ

12 March | Day 1 | Perth -> Bunbury -> Margaret River / Prevelly

We drove south to Margaret River and stopped by Lake Clifton Winery (none too interesting) and eventually had lunch at Bunbury Farmers Market. Goodness, I feel so happy just by looking at the fresh produce! After the lunch break, we continued our way to Prevelly where our accommodation was situated.

13 March | Day 2 | Margaret River Region

We started our day at Surfers Point, took some family pictures and headed towards Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.¬†The girl didn’t really understand what a lighthouse is until that day. And oh, what a wonderful feeling that was as you stood at the site where the two oceans meet.

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We proceeded to Jewel Cave and was mesmerised by it. I would love to visit the Mammoth cave but I think it would be too much for the older folks to handle. Had Fish and Chips at Augusta before heading back to our accommodation. Since the weather turned for the better, we took the opportunity to take a walk at the Prevelly Beach.

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14 March | Day 3 | Margaret River Region > Farmstay

The family headed out to amaze’n maze for some fun and run. We purposely chose this place for the kids. There were many activities (both indoors and outdoors) for the family to enjoy! However, the weather was rather gloomy and it started to rain, thwarting our plan to have a morning of family fun. Thankfully, there were indoor games in the cafeteria which could occupy both adults and kids.

We proceeded to Berry Farm because we thought we could pick some fruits. Alas, I got the information wrong but I heard the tea (scones and jam) was good and we settled for lunch at the cafe. The kids had a bit of outdoor fun at this space too.

There are many wineries in the Margaret River region but our family was not too keen to visit any (we are not wine connoisseur). We ended up at Leeuwin Estate Winery because it’s on the way to our next destination – Sunflowers Animal Farm & Farmstay!

What can I say about this farm? Fun for all!

15 March | Day 4 | Morning at the farm > Busselton > Perth city

We spent the morning feeding the farm animals, having a pony ride and riding on the tractor. Will write more on this.

We had to check out of the farmstay at 10am and head back to Perth city today. On our way, we stopped by Busselton Jetty to take a break before heading back.

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Back to the city and it’s time to do the grocery and shopping at Chemist Warehouse. During this trip, we cooked quite a fair bit to save cost and why wouldn’t we, really? The produce is so fresh!

16 March | Day 5 | Swan Valley

It’s a packed day today as we headed towards Swan Valley. First stop was Caversham Wildlife Park which is a must-go if you have kids. We spent the whole morning interacting with kangaroos, wombat, koalas, etc and watched an hour-long farm animal show. Got to milk the cow too!

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After lunch, it was driving from place to place – Margaret River Chocolate Company, Providore for jam tasting, Yahava to have our caffeine fix, The Grape Place to bring back some to munch and then it’s basically back to grocery shopping. We were dead beat!

17 March | Day 6 | Fremantle | Crawley Edge Boatshed | Kings Park Botanical Gardens

Fremantle to take a tour at the market and to dine at the famous Fish & Chip restaurants at the Fishing Boat Harbour. We chose Cicerello’s because a friend recommended it.

We didn’t really make any plans for today. Free and easy, that’s the way we like it. Someone suggested Kings Park and on our way, we stopped by Crawley Edge Boatshed to take a picture with it. Tourists, that’s what we are!

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And oh, Kings Park & Botanical Garden! We should have scheduled a morning for it. It’s sooooo beautiful and because it was mid-afternoon by the time we reached there and with the folks being tired, we didn’t get to do the Tree Top Walk in the end. What a pity! We did spend some time relaxing at the lawn and I contributed to the economy by spending on picture books available at Aspects of Kings Park.

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18 March | Day 7 | Hiding at the malls, departure day

We had wanted to return to Kings Park in the morning. Alas, it rained and the next best thing to do is to seek shelter at the malls РWatertown Brand Outlet Centre and Belmont Forum Shopping Centre since it is near the airport.

It was a good trip although it could get tiring especially for the little boy and the older folks. Many times, the boy was extremely clingy and cranky but thankfully, we had the family members to help out. We are blessed to have good cooks (my aunt and cousin-in-law) in our midst so we could still enjoy homecooked food even though we were on vacation. ūüėČ

So where’s next?

Completion of our first Safari Zoo Run 2017

Over the weekend, our family participated in our very first Safari Zoo Run and it was indeed an enjoyable morning spent! We chose the 2.5km family dash because the girl was just 4 years old and we wouldn’t want to drag an exhausted girl all the way to the finish line. Moreover, we brought Daniel along. 5km run can wait.

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Our run was the last category to commence at 9.30am which is a comfortable time for young kids! However, that would mean that parking could be an issue. We made our way and reached an hour before the starting time but had a slight problem looking for a carpark lot. Thankfully, there was valet available.

img_7251Reached finally and all eager to start!

We were among the last few families to assemble at the start pen and were at the last wave to be flagged off. We had to wait for another 15 more minutes but it was all necessary due to safety reasons. This being the ninth year for the Safari Zoo Run, we could definitely count on the expertise of the organisers in making the run a smooth and safe one. Just imagine the bottlenecks if all of us started off at the same time.

Thankfully, the weather was superb that day.

Flag off! It was a pleasant start to the run because the participants were all gracious and friendly and looked out for one another. It was really a joy to see so many parents participating with their kids. Faith was all excited and started running in the beginning but slowed down soon after. We were expecting complaints and whines but thankfully, the animals distracted her!

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She got all excited along the way as she could view the various creatures. ‚ÄúMama, come and see! Look!‚ÄĚ So our family dash was interrupted by the need to gaze at the animals and you could just sense the kids‚Äô wonder and amazement. Daniel who was in the running stroller truly enjoyed the sights.There’s wasn’t much fuss from him. It is, after all, his first time to the zoo!¬†

Doesn’t look like a run at all! Families were stopping along the way to snap pictures!

Waterpoints that weren’t crowded

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I must remember to pack in snacks when we participate in a similar type of run the next time round because the kids cried for food after just 1km of activity.

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The family dash was truly an enjoyable experience for us. We met the lions, white tiger, kangaroos, monkeys, polar bear and many more which made our run a tad longer than expected. After we reached the finish line, the girl still wanted to see more of the animals which was totally possible since participants were entitled to free admission to the zoo and River Safari on that day. The Safari Zoo Run provided us with not just great family bonding opportunities but the chance to share with the girl about wildlife conservation.

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Did you know….

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And with that, we completed our first run for the year as a family! We had an awesome experience throughout. The collection of the race entry pack at Marina Square was smooth and fast and the race itself was fun and totally enjoyable. Well-organised. Thumbs up!

Oh yes, we even got to visit the Zoo-Rassic Park where the girl had been asking to visit. We certainly are looking forward to participate again! 

Disclaimer: HiVelocity Events has kindly sponsored our family with the Safari Zoo Run Race Slots so that we could experience the race for ourselves and share it with our readers. No monetary compensation is involved and all opinions are my own.

 

CNY 2017

And so Chinese New Year 2017 ended in a jiffy.

It came rather abruptly too. Before we could get a hang of the new year with its new schedule, we were ushered into the year of the Rooster. This year, I didn’t manage to purchase new clothes for the kids but thankfully they received new sets of hand-me-downs which served us fine. No time to bake CNY goodies but were given tubs of them from friends and aunt-in-law. No mandarin oranges too because my mom would not be celebrating CNY since my grandma passed on a few months back so my supply of the ‘kam’ was cut.

Still, we had our reunion dinner and the steamboat dinner by my mom was a meal I always look forward to since we only have this once a year.

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House visitation is something I DO NOT look forward to because it can be so tiring but surprisingly, I find myself enjoying a wee bit this year. Perhaps it’s because the kids enjoyed mingling with the relatives (even though they only meet once a year) or maybe because they were behaving all right. I couldn’t decide.

We did have fun. And our tummy kept exercising from all the CNY goodies that we consumed. Goodness!

But the highlight of this year’s CNY has to be the meetup with the folks of the youth fellowship whom I grew up with. Though I have moved on to another church, my friendship with them stays intact.

We had our worship session just like how we used to have when we were youths, we played the same old silly games and laughed our hearts out and we still share the same love for God and with one another. They are family indeed.

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These are the two brothers whom I look up to. Both are funny to the core but when it comes to the Word of God, it’s all seriousness.

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So much fun and laughter that night.

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Because it’s the year of the Rooster, I got Faith to paint a picture of a rooster figurine and since she’s into everything rainbow, she chose to paint it with multiple colours, just like the middle rooster figurine. She still couldn’t draw well but I invited her to draw some small parts of this picture, such as the beak and the crown. The objective of that ‘lesson’ is really to get her to blend the colours, something which I want her to continue to work on. I had wanted the little brother to join in the fun by getting them to do finger printing for the bottom part of the painting aka the ground but the brother was distracted by other stuff so in the end, Faith did everything. Mighty pleased with it. ūüėČ With guidance, of course.

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We ended CNY with a scrumptious dinner by the aunt-in-law. It’s a yearly affair for this beloved lady who would always present us with delicious homecooked food twice for CNY. Blessed, aren’t we?

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That basically sums up our CNY 2017. Hope you guys have had fun too!

Goodbye 2016

I was telling my hubs that 2016 seemed like a blur to me. Each day, I was so busy that there wasn’t much time to pause and reflect, let alone read. I wasn’t updated on news or what’s happening to my friends because every moment when the kids were awake, I had to be with them or be in the kitchen churning out food.

Yet, I know 2016 was jam-packed with activities and memories both good and bad. I had a wonderful time teaching Faith and loathe the fact that she would be in K1 next year and before I know it, she would enter Primary School and my time with her would be minimised…by a lot. I felt sad just¬†by thinking of that. Many times, I toy with homeschooling my kids but I also know my patience would be greatly tested and perhaps in the end, I would morph into a witch. So, for now, the answer is ‘NO’.

2016 is a year of making new friends and deepening the friendship of old ones. I would never have imagined that I could make friends at my age and that we could get along so well. But yet, God knows what I need and granted me some good company and for that, I’m immensely thankful.

I managed to get a few sponsorships and media invites this year which made my life more interesting. I’m truly thankful for these collaborations but come 2017, I would love to focus more on homelearning and reading to upgrade myself. I¬†thought of enrolling myself in some online Montessori or early childhood courses but again, the fear of the lack of time prevents me from moving ahead.

This year, however, the hubs and I dedicated our time to learning more about raising kids when we attended the 15-week-long course (GKGW) and also a family seminar by the Tripp which helped me view parenting from God’s perspective. Parenting is tough and we desperately need God’s grace to bring up the children in His ways.

I wonder how 2017 would be like…

A year older…

I turned one year older this day ¬†and both my kids were not feeling in tip-top condition. It wasn’t anything serious but they have been coughing for weeks and I wanted them to fight it. But Faith had a pair of swollen eyes on Sunday evening, complaint of stomachache and ear ache that night and broke out in rashes all over her body yesterday. It’s time to visit the doc. Both of them.

We had wanted to visit her in the morning but we were too early and decided to go for a hike. So it’s to the tree top walk we went!

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It’s Faith’s first hike and we had to manage our expectation, that it would be a pretty slow walk.

Don’t think a stroller can do a good job and it’s babywearing for Dan! He looked displeased but actually I think it’s comfy because he fell asleep minutes into the walk.

The city girl was amazed by the nature and stopped every few minutes to exclaim over the slightest thing. Ants, leaves imprinted on the board walk, sounds in the nature, the canopy… There’s so much to explore in nature!

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This teacher in me will use every opportunity to teach. Signboards on the way are good teaching aids.

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As expected, the girl grew weary about 2.5km into the walk. But hey, that’s a good start for a 4YO!

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We had to think of ways to energise her. Singing gospel songs help! Or pretend that you are a superhero!

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We made it! But this was only the halfway mark!

On the return leg, everyone’s tired. Faith couldn’t walk any longer and needed to be carried. Thankfully, we could always treat her like a backpack.

We took 3 hours to complete the 6km walk. Tired but happy would be my description for that morning. I’ve always loved the outdoors and it’s definitely wonderful to be able to so on my birthday.

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That evening, we made it to the doctor all right. It’s viral infection, as diagnosed by the doc. The swell and rashes are symptoms of the infection. Dan’s cough was worse than Faith because his immunity was weaker.

Both are on antibiotics now.

This birthday, all I want is for my family to be in good health. Not too much to ask for eh? ūüėČ

Oh yes, if you are keen to participate in the Safari Zoo Run 2017, do take note that the early bird rate extension is till 9 Dec 2016 and do remember to use the code SZR2017BGPRFAITH10 for a further 10% discount. This unique code is valid till 15 January 2017.

Safari Zoo Run is back!

2016 is coming to an end soon and I am looking forward to the new year and a whole new adventure with the family. And I am so excited that we will be participating in the Safari Zoo Run for the very first time next year.

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Safari Zoo Run was conceived to commemorate Singapore Zoo’s famous matriarch and one of Singapore’s most loved animal personalities – Ah Meng the Sumatran orangutan, who died of old age in February 2008. Through this run, the zoo hopes to encourage family bonding and raise awareness on wildlife conservation.

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The theme for Safari Zoo Run 2017 is “Run for Wildlife” which focuses on raising awareness for wildlife conservation. Four animal icons will be featured – Ah Meng the Orangutan, Chawang the Asian Elephant, Canola the Manatee and Sunny the Hornbill. Each animal icon team supports an endangered wildlife species for which the zoo would like to raise awareness. We can do our part for wildlife by choosing an animal team to support and help raise awareness for them!

Date: 18 February 2017 (Saturday)
Time: 6am
Venue: Singapore Zoo, 80 Mandai Lake Road S729826

More information can be found on their website or facebook page.

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Credits: Safari Zoo Run 2016

Of the various categories, our family would be signing up for the 2.5km Safari Zoo Family Dash in the hope of encouraging our 4YO girl to take up jogging as a form of exercise. When I told the hubs about this race, he was rather concerned. How could a 4YO run 2.5km? There would be much complaints for sure!

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Well, she may not be able to run all the way, might probably whine a little but we will be there to support and run alongside her, with her brother in tow.

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So, from now till the race day, 18 February 2017, we will be carving out time to run as a family, and at the same time, educating the little ones on wildlife conservation.Won’t you join us?

Do take advantage of the early bird sign up rates which is from now till 30 November 2016.

As a reader, you can further enjoy a 10% discount off the current rates when you register using the code SZR2017BGPRFAITH10. This unique code is valid from now till 15 January 2017 via www.safarizoo.run.

So, what are you waiting for? ūüėČ

Disclaimer: HiVelocity Events has kindly sponsored our family with the Safari Zoo Run Race Slots so that we could experience the race for ourselves and share it with the readers. No monetary compensation is involved and all opinions are my own. 

Playdate + Chicken Stew = Comfort

I love playdates.

When Faith was younger, playdates gave me great relief from the mundane of everyday life with a young kid. I remember the first time Faith went for one with planned lesson, I was the more excited person. I could meet up with my friends at last! Apart from meeting up with friends to have a chit-chat session after the ‘lesson’, playdates enable us to observe how our children behave with their peers and track¬†their development.

My SIL and I started to meet once weekly recently so that the children could have fun swimming together and enjoy their evening with some play time. When they were younger, they played alongside each other, not speaking much. Now, they were truly engaging each other in lively conversations and I  find myself amused by it. How they have grown!

Having playdates in the late afternoon means that I have to make sure that dinner is prepared before we set off so that when we return, we could come back to a decent meal. And, you know I love one-pot meal and I particularly like this chicken stew. I know, I know, chicken stew is so easy to make and there is really no need for a recipe. You just throw everything in the pot, cook and viola, you have one great meal!

Just for record’s sake.

Ingredients
400g chicken thighs (cut into smaller pieces)
2 sausages
1 onion (finely chopped)
2 carrots (cut into bit-sized pieces)
250g peas
500ml chicken stock
baby potatoes

  1. Empty the sausages out of the cases into a large pot.
  2. Cook the sausages for 2 to 3 minutes at medium heat until some of the juicy fat comes out of the sausage.
  3. Add the chopped onions and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until they have softened.
  4. Add the chicken thighs and cook until the chicken is no longer pink.
  5. Once the chicken is lightly cooked on both sides, add the chicken stock, peas, carrots and potatoes.
  6. Set the stovetop temperature to the lowest setting, put the pot lid on and cook for 30 to 45 minutes.
  7. Serve the chicken stew with rice.

Foodie Friday | Blend it up

Birthday celebrations with the in-laws are done over a meal and usually, the birthday girl or guy would suggest the restaurant to dine in. It can be stressful (to me) because you want everyone to enjoy the meal and that means choosing a place that offers good food. Besides, my Peranakan aunt-in-law is an excellent cook and I didn’t want to disappoint her with any wrong choice of eatery or food! For Daniel’s birthday, a friend suggested Blend It Up,¬†an¬†Italian Fusion Casual Dining¬†restaurant along Upper Paya Lebar Road. It took me a while to decide on this place because we have never had Italian cuisine all these years and I’m not sure if the older folks like them? In the end, I decided to go for this since I was told that the chef, Chef Peter Neo, has¬†35 years of culinary experience and¬†the restaurant¬†offers original¬†handcrafted sauces, soups, pizzas and pastas¬†made fresh from scratch and free from preservatives; they are created from the finest ingredients,¬†authentic flavours. I thought about my two children and okay, the food is definitely suitable and good enough for them!

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Quaint and cosy restaurant, I must say. We went on a Sunday for lunch and if you are driving, you might want to be patient with finding a carpark lot since there are many churches in the vicinity (Sunday service = many cars).

We were greeted by the affable Chef Peter Neo and after settling us, he asked if Faith wanted to have some authentic experience with making a pizza while waiting for two more guests to arrive. Why, of course! Okay, I have to clarify that my friend has helped to arrange for this. ūüėČ

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So yes, this uncle seemed nice enough and Faith warmed up to him rather quickly and before we knew it, she was having fun with making the pizza.

 

I’m not sure if such a one-to-one pizza making session is always available but you can always call up to inquire! What I know is that he is able to provide cooking demonstration if needed and private dining, cooking lessons and pizza classes for groups are available for customers.

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The girl was obviously very excited about her attempt on pizza making in a professional kitchen under the guidance of a celebrity chef!

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Minutes later, the Blend It Up pizza was ready! Absolutely love it and it served itself well as a delicious appetizer. How not to love this classic pizza with its crispy thin crust that is topped with feta and mozzarella cheese, mushroom, honey baked ham and completed with a sunny side up on top? The fact that Faith had a hand in it just made it delectable. I’m biased, I know but honestly, this is good.

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Next up were wild mushroom soup and chef’s specialty chicken wings. I love mushroom soup that contains chunks of mushroom in every mouthful. This one had them and it was thick, rich and creamy the way I like it. Faith shares my love for this soup and we could tell which are the good ones because we always, always order mushroom soup when it is available in the restaurant. Pairing the soup are the chicken wings which were all snapped up rather quickly.

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Chef then presented us with the whole grilled squid which is not found in the menu. But I was glad that I heeded his advice to have this served because everyone at the able raved about this seafood item. Granted that we don’t usually order this when we dine out but this whole squid was cooked well; it’s tender and juicy and I just love the seasoning.

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Another winner is the roasted pork belly with porcini sauce. This is a request from my father-in-law since he loves roasted pork belly and after he had his first bite, we could hear his praise for this dish. Phew! The slow-roasted pork belly was tender and evenly marbled with fat. Love the top layer of perfect crispy crackling and the homemade Porcini sauce and the side of pineapple sauce make this dish truly delightful for all.

 

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My auntie-in-law ordered the grilled salmon with butter sauce and loved it. Throughout the meal, I heard her commmenting, “This is good, this is good!” for the various dishes. It’s a high compliment coming from this seasoned cook. She further told me that she saw Chef Neo on TV before and updated me that the restaurant was featured on that day’s papers. I think I have chosen the right place to celebrate Dan’s birthday! *Happy mom*
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Is every dish so perfect? I wish I could say that but there are a few dishes which we thought could fare better. Since we were in an Italian restaurant, I thought we should order risotto to try. We had the mushroom one and my sister-in-law and I found something missing from the dish. She found it too ‘jelat’ (rich) while I thought it was a tad light. The bountiful amount of mushroom didn’t impress the mushroom lover in me. It’s decent enough as a dish but not stellar.
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In the end, Daniel helped to finish the remaining portion for this dish.
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By dessert time, most of us were already full but who could pass with gelato and waffles? So we had two scoops of chocolate and avocado gelato on freshly baked waffle. The gelato was good but I couldn’t say the same for the waffle. I would have¬†preferred the waffle to be more on the crispy side and the dessert would have been¬†awesome. Nonetheless, the girl liked this sweet treat.
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We had an intimate lunch in this quaint restaurant that seats about 45 people. Chef Neo, though busy in the kitchen, took time off once in a while to mingle with his customers. Many of the patrons seemed like old-time customers by the way they related to each other.
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After the lunch, I posted the pics on my FB and was told that my friend was a regular customer and recommended this place too. Go for the 1-for-1 promotion that is only available on weekdays from 11.30am to 3pm (excluding public holidays) to get your money’s worth! ūüėČ Expect to fork out about $30/pax without the promotion.
The next time I visit this restaurant, I would be trying out some of the dishes that have a local spin on them. After all, this is an Italian-fusion cuisine!
This is a good place for a casual meal with friends and family. We recommend this place!
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A little about the chef:
Chef Peter Neo is no stranger in the culinary and media industry. He has 35 years of culinary experience and was the former Chef di Partie at Raffles Hotel. His passion for the culinary arts brought him to Italy where he learnt to cook authentic Italian cuisine from some of the best Italian chefs. Upon his return to Singapore, he joined an established local Italian restaurant chain.He also began experimenting with fusion Italian food, creating witty and innovative dishes to appeal to local tastes.He is the man behind local Italian restaurant Pietro Ristorante Italiano, formerly from Raffles Hotel and Bruno, and his latest venture into Italian fusion food is represented through Blend It Up.

325 Upper Paya Lebar Road, Quemoy Building S(534946)
Telephone Number: 6281 2688
Facebook : www.facebook.com/blenditupsg
Website: blenditup.sg
Instagram: www.instagram.com/blenditupsg
Operating hours (daily):
Lunch: 11.30am to 3pm
Dinner: 6pm to 10:30pm

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Thank you, Chef Neo and team for giving us a wonderful experience at Blend It Up. The girl was thrilled with the pizza making session and the folks were really happy with the food that was prepared with much love. Good job! Thanks also for giving us a discount on the meal. Will be back for more.

Wordless Wednesday | Birthday preparation


I will be busy this week. We have decided to celebrate Dan’s birthday this weekend. Since I have some party decor which I have bought in Melbourne, I’ve decided to do up a mini dessert table and to invite my family over for dinner.

The hubs and I are not huge on birthday party. I mean, after all, will the 1YO know anything? However, I am reminded that we should make effort to create memories for them so even if the children might not remember much about the event, at least there will be photos which they could refer to in the future?

All right then. This lazy mom had better buck up and do something about birthdays.

DNC : SpongeBob run

DNC means Did Not Compete & Complete in this case. I was looking forward to have a good family run at Sentosa but it didn’t turn out the way I envisioned it to be.


I assure you that we set off for the race with much anticipation. We were all smiles especially Faith. Alas….

For those of you who have signed up and completed the race, I could only envy. But the fact is the walk to the starting point from the carpark was a tad long and by the time we reached the carnival, the girl was complaining of tiredness. To add to that, she did not like to walk on sand and was whining the whole time, thus exasperating me.


It was overcast as well and half the time, the hubs and I were contemplating if we should head back lest it poured. We didn’t want the kids to fall sick as a result of being caught in the rain and in the end, decided that we should just head back.


It was really crowded at the actual scene. I think if I was to come with friends, I would have enjoyed it, never mind the sand which is a terrain I’m not keen to run on. There were so many opportunities for good pictures to be captured but we only managed these two.



I think I’m too ambitious. Faith is not ready for a long distance run (what was I thinking???) and the most she could do is perhaps those ‘quick dash’ or 800m run. I must also make sure that it’s concrete road that she will be running the next time I sign her up.


In the end, we went for Bak Kut Teh. Sigh! No output but input. Oh well…

#sportsforlife

It has always been a struggle to find time to exercise, for me. As Dan grows older, he demands more of my time and I find myself unable to even spend an uninterrupted 30 minutes to do a workout at home.

I look forward to weekends though since that would mean the husband is around and we could do some forms of exercise together, as a family. I wanted our children to love sports and to achieve that, the adults must model for them.

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Last Friday, we visited Decathlon and had a whale of a time. I always go ‘crazy’ over sports products and there are so many items here for various sports. We took the opportunity to show the girl how to throw the frisbee, got her to have a feel of passing the soccer ball, encouraged her to attempt the rock wall climbing and needless to say, she had fun on the trampoline.

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And we finally made it to the pool! It’s Dan’s first encounter and as anticipated, he cried when he first touched the water. But after a few minutes, he was fine!

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I managed to squeeze in some time to do a short ¬†run yesterday after getting the kids to nap. The hubs took over and off I went. It’s a wonderful feeling, a luxury, being able to be in the outdoors, without whining kids. Hah..

Hopefully, these activities will sustain.

Have a great week, folks.

Sakura in Singapore

My mother has always wanted to visit Japan to witness the bloom of cherry blossoms. So when Papa told her that there are currently cherry blossoms at Gardens by the Bay, she told him that we had to go! Please pardon my mama for she is not always updated with current affairs since she’s too busy looking after us.

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Guess where we went earlier today? Mama said we must avoid the crowd and made sure that we reached the site at 9am.

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It’s very cold in the flower dome but my folks were well prepared and brought along cardigans.

My mama likes to admire flowers though she doesn’t like to receive flowers as gifts.

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She was all enthusiastic about today’s outing only to realise that none of us were interested in flowers. See, my sister didn’t even want to pose in front of the camera.

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She’s quite a poor thing eh? So I think I shall oblige and pose properly. Then I fell asleep because the environment was so shiok (awesome) to sleep in. All was quiet and there weren’t a lot of people. We found out later that the crowd came in at around 10am. So, if you want good photos, go and visit at 9am.

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Actually, the cherry blossoms are really pretty, eh? Sugoi desu!

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I think the cherry blossoms won’t last long so you should really go down and take a look for yourself.

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We had a decent family photo and I think Mama was secretly pleased with that. She reckoned that she wouldn’t need to visit Japan during that period anymore. One thing off her bucket list.

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.

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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:
www.worksheetfun.com
www.fastseoguru.com

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.

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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!

The past week

The past week has been a busy one. It’s the one-week school holiday and that means F was home all the time. I guess if I wasn’t pregnant, we would be going places and having loads of fun. Alas, that wasn’t the case. Thankfully, the dear husband took a few days off to look after the toddler while I busied myself with baking and decorating cakes. That week, I took on 3 cake orders that were due on the same day and till now, I have no clue why I did that in the first place. ;p

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This is a cake that is requested by my ex-boss for her 82YO mom. What a privilege to bake for her. I admit I wasn’t that ecstatic about making sugar flowers because I feel that isn’t my forte. I much prefer to make figurines of cartoon characters but I guess I should challenge myself so that I could improve. I did have fun!

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Nowadays, I update more on my Dayre account since it’s faster and is a good platform for my family to know what goes on in our lives. These sugar flowers and figurines had to be made in advance and they could take a long time to make.

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I normally bake the sponge cakes at least a day in advance and would frost them before the delivery day as I want the flavours to blend.

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That Saturday was an awesome day for covering the cake with fondant in a non air-conditioned place. It was hazy no doubt but it wasn’t humid and that is perfect! This cake took me a whole morning to cover and decorate (at a steady pace) and I was pleased at how it turned out. It looks exactly like the sketch I made for this customer.

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This Peppa cake theme was requested by a friend for his younger daughter. I have not done Peppa pig before but certainly do not mind working on it. He showed me the pictures whose figurines I had to recreate and it was fun. This cake was simple to decorate. Within an hour!

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This is for his elder daughter and an Angry Bird theme was requested.

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This is always the point when I feel absolutely relieved. The cakes were boxed up and ready to be collected/ delivered.

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The two adorable sisters. It’s such a privilege to bake for them!

That day when the cakes were due was our 6th wedding anniversary. We didn’t plan for anything fanciful (how could he since I had cake orders. Oops!) but we had a good dinner as a family.

I’m thankful to da man who puts the family before himself and that one of his aims in life is to make me happy (in his own words). Being able to pursue this little dream (baking and cake decorating) is a gift. At certain junctures,¬†the course of your life meanders and you wonder what’s next. There have been a lot of changes in my life since I’ve become a mom but it has been really exciting. Not knowing what’s next can be unsettling yet I’ve come to realize that the good Lord knows what is good for me.

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Thank you for always rendering your help when I need it. You obviously are tired from work and yet there is no complaint when I ask you to take over to play with the little one or to help out with the household chores. I’m blessed. I’m soooo thankful to the Lord for you!

And with these cakes, I have to say’ Goodbye’ to baking for sale for a while as we prepare to welcome our second child. Thank you for all your support, dear friends. You have brightened my life with your orders and I hope to bake again for you!

National Day Celebration 2015

Yesterday, F’s school celebrated its Sports Day in conjunction with Singapore’s 50th birthday. I was excited because it is the first time I’m attending NOT as a teacher but as a parent!

Our family members were clad in red and white and we set off to the Sports Hub in the morning with high spirits. Upon reaching, Faith was on her skate-scoot and when she saw the crowd before her, she tensed up. In the end, I had to be in the line with her.

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Since she is one of the shortest kids in her class, she had to be in the front and I, too. I was a tad embarrassed (can you see my expression) but I had to stand beside her since she would make a fuss when I stepped out. Sigh!

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In the end, I sang the national anthem and recited the pledge with the kids, all thanks to the little girl. I’m still trying to understand her personality. While she could be so friendly with a stranger on a one-to-one basis, she is a totally different character when it comes to a crowd.

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The sports meet was next and after watching and cheering for the other classes, it’s the N1 pupils’ turn! Many of the children were shy and wanted their parents to take part with them. Of course, the parents obliged.

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It’s the hubs’ turn when it comes to sports now and I certainly hope that both of them had fun. Faith looked relieved after the match was over.

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Singing National Day songs…

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There was a short break in between the photo taking session and the hubs got her interested in getting the ants to climb onto the twig. She definitely was more interested in this activity and was captivated for a good amount of time.

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But the highlight had to be snack time because that’s when her eyes lit up. She was active and alert all of a sudden and was in her cheerful mode again. So, you know what will make her happy now?

ūüėČ

July in summary

July is a month in which faith was built up and strengthened. We started off with the attendance of JDOP, a day when we came together as a body of Christ to pray. It was by faith that we signed up for the tickets as it would be rather challenging to bring a toddler along and expect her to maintain her discipline for three hours. On that day, I forgot to bring our tickets and I panicked since admission was strictly by that means. Thankfully, a CG-mate came to our rescue and passed us the tickets that we needed. Hallelujah!

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As we sat among the sea of red (for our church members), I couldn’t be more thankful to be able to be among believers, singing praises to our Lord God and talking to Him. We had the privilege of having our Prime Minister gracing the event and we also said a prayer of blessing for Him. Faith was indeed disciplined throughout and I’m so thankful to the Lord for that.

BSF resumed in July and I was glad to be back basically because it got me into a routine of reading the Word of God in more detail. Faith was also back in class and I’m sure she’s in good hands. School also started for her and she was in high spirits when she got back. This semester onwards, she stayed back in school for one more hour for Chinese enrichment because (1) I needed her to be more exposed to Mandarin, and (2) I needed to rest more since I am in the last lap for my pregnancy. Initially, she struggled because she didn’t like the change and was not used to the teacher who was conducting the enrichment class. However, after a week, she was fine and came out, exclaiming, “I enjoyed myself!” Thank God for that!

The hubs and I signed up for Alpha Marriage that is conducted in our church. Ok, I need to maintain that our marriage is not on the rocks but we signed up, anticipating that we could benefit from the lessons. It is strongly advisable that we do not bring the kid along and thankfully, our CG-mates stepped up to help. Each week, while we were away, Faith would be looked after by different families and my in-laws and we were indeed thankful to them. Faith had a good time of bonding with the CG-children and even had the opportunity to learn about the armour of God during one of the sessions!

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The Alpha Marriage course did us some good. It provided a time for us to be alone and communicate. I know this is hard to believe but each day, the hubs and I could only spend at most 15 minutes to talk on a one-to-one basis since he is the one to put Faith to bed and in so doing, he retires for the day too. During the course, we discussed some pertinent issues on marriage and parenting (no doubt) and it’s just awesome to be able to chat like we used to. I recommended this course for any married couples!

ndpK managed to get us tickets to the NE show (rehearsal for National Day) and we were seated at the grand stand. I love attending the parade live as compared to watching it on TV and I thought it would be a wonderful experience for Faith. Alas, she was cranky throughout and was probably frightened by the loud noise and sudden short outbursts of fireworks.

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Just look at her sullen look. She didn’t enjoy herself and kept urging us to leave. We persisted until the last part – the splendid display of fireworks which everyone was looking forward to. But we had to leave. She was crying and we didn’t have any more energy either. On the way to the train station, she turned and asked me, “Are you okay, Mama? Next time we come again?”

Clearly she knew I was upset because I was sulking and complaining to the hubs. I turned and gave her an upset look. Oh well…

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Mid-July and the hubs checked us into a hotel for a staycation. It was most thoughtful of him but honestly, we didn’t enjoy ourselves. The little girl was rather bored and occasionally threw her tantrums. Since we were sharing the bed, yup, all three of us, I found myself staying awake most of the time to fend off her kicks lest she hurt the baby in the womb. As a result, the staycation was none too restful, I regret to say.

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We did have moments of fun in the pool and I’ve learnt a little more about the Peranakan culture and to wrap a dumpling well.

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My brother and his family came back for a visit and we had an awesome time dining at Changi because we had the sea view and the food prices weren’t too expensive either. The kids had a great time playing together and even the adults joined in the fun.

20150727_131514Kids hanging out together again!

On other news, I invited my mom to an Chinese evangelistic concert and she went up to receive Christ in her heart after a pastor beckoned her to do so. Personally, I wasn’t sure if she did it on her own free will but I guess I just have to continue to pray for her.

So, here you go. That’s July for us. How’s yours? ūüėČ

Flowery Fun Times at Gardens by the Bay

The weekends’ here!

If you haven’t visited the Flowery Fun Times at Gardens by the Bay, perhaps you might want to visit it before it ends on 19th July. Our family went down during the June holidays and I must say the floral display was beautiful. I bore an ulterior motive, of course, and that was to get the little one to learn more about the nursery rhymes that she has been learning both at home and in school.

Pardon me for the many photos posted in this post. They are for memory. ūüėČ

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Be sure to bring along a jacket because it is cold in the flower dome. I found myself shivering!

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Please don’t ask me what nursery rhymes these refer to. I have forgotten!

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Gigantic bees! Flee!

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Which is the picture that belongs to Mary and her little lamb?

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Tis I know! It’s Humpty Dumpty! Even Faith could identify…

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If you are not into floral display, erm… like da man, maybe you won’t enjoy that much. But there are¬†
 other things to do in Gardens by the Bay. The water play area will be an exciting play area for the children! Have a good weekend!

Japanese Strawberry Shortcake

It’s my sis’ birthday tomorrow and I thought that I should bake her a birthday cake since mom’s cooking dinner this evening. Naturally, the Japanese Strawberry Shortcake came to mind because my nephews love strawberries and our family prefers light cakes anytime. Thankfully, I have strawberries and whipped cream in the fridge so it makes decision making easier.

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I went ahead and used the traditional sponge cake method. 6″ cake pans were used since I did not want a big cake. That said, I do have a tall 6″ cake in the end.

(A)
4 eggs
120g caster sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

(B)
110g all-purpose flour (sifted)

(C)
70g melted butter

1. Whip (A) until light and fluffy

2. Stir in (B) and mix until well blended.

3. Add (C) and mix well.

4. Pour the batter into the greased pans. Bake at 180C for about 20 min or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cakes. Remove them from the pans immediately when done and let cool.

I’m used to using IMBC and was rather hesitant about using whipped cream because my kitchen is really warm. Since there is no harm in experimenting and because it’s really for family, I decided to give it a try. Using 300g of whipped cream, I used the balloon whisk and whisk it till stiff peak. Preferably, the metal bowl should be cold but I forgot to keep it in the fridge before that. But hey, it still works. And I’m pleasantly surprised that it holds well even when it’s kept out of the fridge for half an hour (before the cake cutting).

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My folks said the sponge cake is rather light but I think it can go lighter. The next time I experiment with it, I might use cake flour and add a little glucose to see the difference it will make. Also, the whipped cream is a tad thick so I should just reduce it by a wee bit.

familypic (2)In any case, I’m glad to have baked this cake. It’s been a while since I last baked a cake for a birthday celebration. And more importantly, it warmed my heart to see the folks enjoy this dessert.

‘Caking’ my way through November

Oh, you mean it’s November already? So soon?

The beginning of the 11th month saw me working real hard in kitchen. I have started taking cake orders again after a two-month break. And November is a popular month and there are orders every week! Thank God! Faith’s birthday also falls on this month and I’m still thinking if I should bake her a cake. ;p

Rainbow cake continues to be a popular choice and when it comes to young children, you won’t go wrong with animal figurines. Each day, when Faith saw the figurines on the dining table, she would climb up the chair and admire them and at the same time, practising her counting. ūüėČ

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So, I’m thankful that the hubs didn’t complain about the messy dining table. He also gave up a bit of rest to spend more time with Faith while I work in the kitchen. Thank you so much!

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I love animal figurines such as these because they help make a simple cake look adorable (I think!). And I so love the colourful sprinkles!

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Both the cakes happened to be for two-year-olds. 6-inch for both but oh, how tall the cakes are!

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The third cake for the first week is for a good friend of both the hubs and mine. She is our ex-colleague and we had so many wonderful memories working with her. She is also very wise and is a mom to three beautiful children and this cake is for her youngest. I finally have the privilege of baking for her! I’m elated that she told me that her folks love the cake. I was actually afraid that the cake might be too bland since I have reduced the amount of sweetness based on her request. But yay, love the positive review. I’m so encouraged!

Besides the baking adventures, November is off to a good start as our church celebrated her 28th year and I’m thankful that we are placed in this community of believers. I felt belonged and know that there will always be brothers and sisters-in-Christ who will be there to help and encourage us in this journey.

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It’s definitely a bonus that Faith has found herself friends to grow up with in church. I’m praying that they will grow into youth and adults together! ūüėČ

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This is what happens when she stays with us during service – beautifying chairs.

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The week came to a close as we celebrated the birthday of Faith’s uncle. She had such a wonderful time with my in-laws¬†which brings me great joy too. I’m thankful that she feels loved by the people around her. *Blessed*

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Looking forward to a busy but fulfilling November! And definitely more cakes!

*Photos of Faith courtesy of Mummy Trisa and Auntie Eunice!

Our first weekend together

Excitement is in the house as we welcomed our brother and his family back for a month. My parents have been waiting for this day for so long and it is a no wonder that mom got busy on that day when they arrived = scrumptious dinner!

We spent our first weekend together at Sentosa as we wanted to bring them to the Port of Lost wonder. My brother has been stationed in Shanghai and my nephew has little opportunity for water play. We must expose him more!

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The kids were waiting rather impatiently, especially the older ones since they knew what to expect.

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As usual, we were the first in line because we were simply kiasu! Hah!

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Yay! Off we go!

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Faith and her cousin, Lester, who seemed very apprehensive.

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Remember to get the kids to drink lots of water and apply the sunscreen!

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The younger kids stopped playing after an hour while the older ones were still enjoying themselves.

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Eventually we stopped and proceeded to Siloso Beach for our lunch. It’s to Coastes again! We chose this eatery because we wanted a place that the kids could continue to play while the adults had their meal. Play what, you ask. Sand!

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Remember Faith is afraid to go into the sand, let alone play with it? I think {good} peer influence is important because when she saw that her cousins were playing, she went ahead as well.

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And then when she saw that her cousin Dayen was fetching water from the sea, she wanted to do so too which was really surprising! We brought her once to the beach and she resisted the waters but now, she wanted to do it. I grabbed the opportunity to go into the waters¬†with her. I’m reminded again to always observe what’s she doing and to encourage her (not to restrict her) whenever she’s ready for any task/adventure. In today’s case, it’s the sand and seawater!

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The adults had a relatively easy time for lunch. Yay!

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It’s an enjoyable weekend, I must say. Not sure where we would be headed to next as a family.

ūüėČ

A cake for Mr Wood

Relatives from my hubs’ side came back to visit and I was tasked to bake a cake to surprise Mr Wood, an ardent fan of The¬†Harlequins. Of course, I know nothing about this football club until the hubs told me and I had to do some reading up on it and browsing of pictures before I decided on the figurine that I would be making. Initially, a cake in the shape of a football was called for but I don’t have the pan and I’m not ready to sculpt a cake and decided to just settle for a figurine.

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It’s a rich devil’s food cake that I baked and I decided to pipe some ‘grass’ on it. It’s a simple cake but one which I like because of the figurine. It was made the night before though I wish I had more time. Had I more time, I would have made another player lying on the ground. But that week had been crazy with playdates, homeschool stuff, teaching assignment, a seminar to attend and a cake order in the weekend too. Not that I’m complaining. I actually enjoyed all the activities. Just that the spirit is willing but the body is weak and ¬†I felt it protesting already.

Thankfully, the folks were easy to please and I think the cake satisfied.

I wonder how this week looks like.

Where to, next?

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

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

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

The weekend saw us busy ourselves with the decorating of a ….Christmas tree!

It’s our first time having a real tree, courtesy of the sister-in-law who wanted to bring on some cheer to the folks. It’s rather fun, I must say!

On reflection, I’m thankful that the SIL bothered to do such things. In our busy and practical society, many of us tend to forgo such activities and would rather rest during this season. After all, we have worked hard throughout the year, so why do this? Gimme a break, you might say. But, it does lift the spirit, in my case, at least. I guess it all boils down to the heart attitude. If you decide that all these are unnecessary, and is a total waste of time, then perhaps you will go to the event with a hardened heart, a downcast spirit and a grim face. And this does affect the company you are with.

The Christmas season should be welcome with wide open arms. It’s a time that we remember that Christ came, to bring hope to the fallen world. It’s a season of giving, not just of material goods but of ourselves. He came so that we might have life, life abundant (John 10:10).

So, peeps, let’s bring on the Christmas cheer… ūüėČ

The little one was involved as well!

The little one was involved as well!

Faith was intrigued by the baubles and stayed entertained by them throughout the session.

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Step-by-step, we’ll make it. The guys setting up the lights.

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And then, the star!

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We dressed Faith up in santa’s clothing which a friend sent over to us. How apt! But the little one wasn’t very comfortable in it!

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I sent some cheer by baking an adaptation of the peppermint mocha cupcakes.

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And so, the Christmas spirit is definitely here to stay…for a while, at least. ūüėČ

Happy 1st birthday, Faith

Your birthday was yesterday but Mama was too busy to blog!

Anyway, we didn’t intend to have a birthday bash for you as we want you to spend time with your loved ones, our family who have lent their helping hands throughout this one year. Perhaps next year, we will have a small party for you and you can celebrate and have fun with your friends?

It’s a pity that your cousins are still overseas, otherwise they would be celebrating with you.

20131121-115859.jpgHere you are celebrating with Gong Gong. He has helped Papa and Mama very much when we are both busy and Gong Gong adores you!

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It’s a family affair when it comes to birthday celebration. We also celebrated your Ko Po’s birthday too. She even cooked you Mee Sua as is the family tradition to have this on his/her birthday.

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The older folks really love you!

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Mama baked you a rainbow cake covered with macarons. May your life be filled with vibrancy!

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We had initially wanted to be decked in pink (Mama’s favourite colour) but grey seems fine too! May you grow up with the right values and the wisdom to discern what is right in situations where there are gray areas.

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Here’s a little about the rainbow cake. I had initially designed a two tiered cake since we are celebrating Koko’s birthday too. It would be a fruit cake for the adult and the rainbow cake for the kiddo. However, by the time I finished baking and ready to assemble, my energy level has dropped and decided to forgo the fruit cake.

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A day before, the father-in-law came over as he suspected that I would be baking a cake. How thoughtful! I used the vanilla cake recipe but reduced the sugar to 1 cup. After dividing the batter into 5 portions, I added the various colours.

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Then, they are cling-wrapped and placed in the fridge before the assembling the following day.

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To be honest, I had wanted to bake the macarons but since so many colours are involved, I forgo it and bought them instead. Unless there are folks who can help me finish the shells, I wouldn’t bake them. Too much trouble!

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I made a mistake of placing the finished product in the fridge, thinking that I could preserve the crispiness of the macarons but in so doing, the cake has become hard even though it was brought out of the fridge 3 hours after. The next day, when I consumed the remaining cake, it was softer and tastier. Hmm… lesson learnt. Another thing to improve is to add in more buttercream in each layer.

Friday in pics

My sis and her family went back after more than a week of visit. *sobs* I’ll sure miss them! But thankfully, it won’t be long before we meet again! Yay!

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Buh-bye! See you in December, my adorable little frequent flyers!

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Since da man is on leave today, we took the opportunity to roam T3 and had our brunch. I love local food like these anytime!

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Da man and I went for a slow, slow jog at East Coast Park, my favourite playground while Dad looked after her. At long last, a jog! Make it more often, please!

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Faith got her first taste of egg today. I wanted to see if she reacts well to it before her next visit to the PD. Hopefully, she is ok with it!

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That’s it. TGIF! It is passing all too soon!

Waterplay at Changi City Point

Call me a mountain tortoise and I won’t be angry with you when it comes to places to hang out in Singapore. Fact is, I really do not know a lot of attraction spots or places for the kiddos to play and have fun.

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Yesterday, I followed my sis and her family to Changi City Point so that the kids can have fun at the water playground. She stumbled upon this when they had dinner the night before at the food court and the playground is just located outside! So, the nephews wanted to have some waterplay and we followed suit.

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I’ve not been to a lot of water playgrounds but I thought this one is quite spacious and fun. It has water jets and cannons for kids who want to get wet and wild. There is also a dry play area that has fun climbing structures. We were there at 5pm and¬†there weren’t a lot of people at that point in time. My eldest nephew, Dallen, became excited all at once and set off to play while Faith and my younger nephew, Dayen, needed some time to reach that excitement level.

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Faith didn’t seem to enjoy water now which I thought was weird. Months ago, when we were at the waterplay area near the Siloso Beach, she was having real fun but now, it seems that she is scared of water. I have better do something about this!

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Both Dayen and Faith needed to be carried. Why don’t they like waterplay? Maybe they didn’t have the mood to play then?

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There is a changing area near the playground which helps a lot since the area can get rather windy and you wouldn’t want your kiddos to catch a cold. Once you step into the food court, it’s even worse. So please do bring along a sweater for the young ones.

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I like it that we can just proceed to any one of the many eateries in Changi City Point after the waterplay. We chose the Koufu Food Court which is spacious and serves a good variety of food. Oh yes, parking lots are aplenty which is another plus point!

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The 3 House
Level 2
Changi City Point
5 Changi Business Park Central 1
Changi East
S486038

Sibling <3 and a Chocolate Tartlet Recipe

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It’s amazing how kids can gel a family together.

Growing up, my siblings and I weren’t very close. Each of us is very different in character and we valued the space that we gave to one another. That also translates to little communication among us. However, that changed when we have kids.

Perhaps, it’s because we are living apart. Bro is in Shanghai and my sis is in Jogjakarta and the distance does make the hearts grow fonder. We want to be updated on one another’s progress and how the kids are doing. Thankfully, apps like WeChat helps to connect us virtually.

So, while each of us is unique in our own ways, we are ultimately a family who cares for one another.

These chocolate tarts seem to resemble us. While on the outside, we may be different – each with his or her own character and personality – we are similar on several notes, sharing bittersweet memories of growing up and the “never-give-up” spirit from mom.

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The tarts are simple to make and it’s important to choose the best and freshest ingredients (i.e. butter, chocolate, eggs) and allow them to shine! Once you have baked the tarts, all you have to do is to pipe or spoon the chocolate ganache (chocolate + heavy cream) onto the tarts. You can eat the tarts as they are or if you want a little variation, decorate the tarts with fruits (like strawberries or pears or top them with chocolate shavings or cocoa nibs. I think it’s all up to your creativity.

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Chocolate Tart Recipe
Pate Sucree Shells*
150g bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped ( I used 72% Valhorna covertures)
1/3 cup heavy cream (whipping cream)

The chocolate ganache can yield about 5 3 1/2 inch tartlets.

*Pate Scree Tart Shell
(makes two 7-inch tart or ten 3 1/2 inch tartlets)
Adapted from Miette Cookbook

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1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
226g cold unsalted butter, cubed (1 whole block)
2 large egg yolks
4 to 8 tbsp heavy cream

1. In the bowl of a standmixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and beat until the mixture is the consistency of cornmeal.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 2 tbsp of the cream. Add to the flour mixture and mix until just combined. If the dough does not come together into large chunks, slowly add the remaining cream, a little bit at a time, until it does. I took about 5 tbsp. Gather the dough into a ball, pat it into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and unwrap. Divide the dough to make the portions you need. I used the pressing in method to press the dough into the tart pans. Prick all over the bottom with the tines of a fork and place in the freezer to firm up for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 180C.

5. Fully pre-bake for about 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Every oven is different. For me, I tend to put to bake for a tad longer, sometimes up to 20 minutes. I will always look at the colour to determine if the tarts are baked to my liking.

6. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before filling with the chocolate ganache.

7. While the shells cool, make the ganache. Bring heavy cream to a boil over medium-high heat. As soon as it begins to boil remove from heat and add in the chopped chocolate. Whisk until smooth.

8. With the tartlet shells now cool, pipe or spoon the chocolate ganache onto the tarts.

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Have fun baking!

A lazy Sunday and a steamed asparagus & fish recipe

How many of you actually take Sunday off and eat out?

I do but when the refrigerator is filled with perishables waiting to be cooked and consumed, I can’t bear to leave them alone. So on this rainy and therefore lazy Sunday, I decided to let the oven do the cooking so that I don’t have to use too much effort to clean the kitchen.

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The FIL is coming over for lunch so I thought of potato gratin ( our family loves it) and a steamed asparagus and fish dish which I saw from here and I thought I should seriously cook it myself.

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The potato gratin is mighty simple. All you need are potatoes, heavy cream, garlic, salt and pepper. Cut the potatoes into thin slices then lay them out on a baking dish. Meanwhile, heat up the heavy cream (I normally use up 200ml) and cloves of garlic (if you like them, put more!). As you arrange the sliced potatoes in slightly overlapping concentric circles, spoon over some warm garlic-infused cream and season each layer with salt and pepper.

This time round, I’ve decided to put some cauliflower on the top layer before dusting the top with gruyere cheese. You can top it up with some herbs too! Bake in 175C oven for about 45 minutes. The dish is done if you can manage to poke a knife through the potatoes easily.

Moving on, we have the steamed fish. First, I place some asparagus on a parchment paper then lemons on it.

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Next are the fish fillets. Make sure you sprinkle some salt and pepper on them! The next time I bake them, I think I would squeeze the lemon on the fillets since I love the taste of lemon.

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The last part would be to put a dollop of butter (about 30g of it) and sliced garlic on the fillets before wrapping it up.

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Bake it in a 200C oven for about 12 minutes and you would have a scrumptious meal!
I garnish it with coriander leaves.

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Enjoy!

The life of a SAHM

“Sometimes, I feel my life is just so shitty!”

This was the remark I made to da man on Sunday, when I was exhausted and rather sick.

I am into my 3rd month of being a SAHM and if anyone thinks that life is oh-so-good, then let me give you a glimpse of my life. Today, I recorded what I did via Instagram and decided to blog about it.

5am. My day starts. This is the time that I can have to myself, have a proper breakfast and a cup of coffee, browse some cake designs and websites. If the feeling to poop comes, that is a bonus (sorry to be crude). Today, I spent the morning thinking about a cake design which has to be baked and delivered on Friday.

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7am. Faith woke up and after cleaning her, she had some play time on the mat.

8.15am. Went to the supermarket to do grocery and Faith fussed and cried on the way back, exasperating me. I looked like an auntie, messy hair and hands full of bags.

9.30am. Reached home, Faith was still in the carrier and felt asleep with all those movement as I kept all the grocery into the proper place. Time to DO SOME WORK before she wakes up again!

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Faith’s food supply is running out and so I need to replenish. Placed her in the cot and prepared her food and at the same time, started baking chocolate cupcakes in an attempt to test a recipe.

So in that ONE HOUR, I managed to prepare her meals. For the record and for memory’s sake, they are:
1. Carrot, broccoli and toufu
2. Pumpkin and broccoli
3. Fish porridge

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I don’t have a helper so I’d need trusty helpers aka appliances to assist me. And you would have guessed it, the kitchen was in a mess. WAR ZONE. My mind was also filled with a list of things to do. No time could be wasted. It’s just that ONE HOUR!

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10.30am. Faith woke up. Since I was in the midst of preparing fish porridge, I just let her have some. This was the first time that she had meat. Yup, I know I’m late in introducing her to meat. *bad mom*! As usual, Faith took a small and conscious bite, tasted it and gave me a happy look. Yay! I think she loves fish! Hurray!

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*Ding! The cupcakes were done!

Next was to prepare lunch which was Teochew-style fish porridge for dad and I. Faith didn’t want to sit on the high chair anymore, preferring to roam in the living room. So while I was preparing lunch, I was also attemping shuttle-run kind of style, shuttling in and out of the kitchen to make sure that Faith stays clear of the danger zone. This girl knows that I would stop her at certain places and deliberately go near them, stop in her tracks and look for me. She must be thinking that this is a game!!! I was really tired!

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Meals at my place have always been one-dish type because they are easy and fast to prepare. By 12pm, lunch was made and consumed as I washed the dishes so that I could send lunch over to dad’s.

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1pm. After dad had his lunch, he took over and I could go out to purchase some baking stuff and went back home to finish the cupcakes which I was experimenting and then it’s back to dad’s to pick Faith up.

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4pm. It’s back home and Faith got really active at this hour. It wasn’t until da man came back that I could prepare dinner.

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You’ve guessed it. One-dish meal again.

6pm. Da man took over while I showered and had some time to do some baking preparation before Faith called for me again.

8.30pm. Faith slept. I took some time to blog.

10pm. Zzzzzz….

So, that’s my life on a typical day. I do complain and rant but at the end of the day, when I think back, there is really nothing more rewarding to know that your child is a happy kid and is growing well.

And then all is well.

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!