Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday @ Home

We have to stay home and miss Sunday service today. With DH and Isabelle's cough & flu, and also me starting to experience slight sore throat, that would be the right thing to do. Not only DH and Isabelle can get a good rest at home but also not spreading it to the rest and especially the children at the Sunday School.

I am going to make full use of the day since we are hardly home on Sundays. And with both 2 sick babies recovering well, I will have some space to do more of what I want to do. My agenda is to bake more banana muffins :) DH has suggested that I make some for him to bring to his office which I will be more than glad to do so.

Till then, wishing all of you and your loved ones a joyful and wonderful Sunday :)


Friday, October 29, 2010

My 2 Sick Babies

Isabelle's fever subsided this morning and what is left is her flu and slight cough. But the ending of her episode became the beginning of DH's.

DH woke up and complained about his throat feeling tight and sore accompanied with flu.

Off to clinic we went and back with bags of medicine.

So.. I am off to care and attend to me my 2 sick babies. Phew....

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fever And Celebration

Today marks our wedding's 4th anniversary. And today is also Isabelle's 2nd real big time fever throughout her 18 months of life. It breaks our heart more to see her sick than not having the chance to celebrate our anniversary as planned.

Isabelle's fever did not subside fully this morning. So we took her to the doctor's clinic. This time, she got it all... fever, cough, flu and sore throat. I was very worried if her condition will worsen and lead to another croup. I am praying for that NOT to happen. But I know fever does some good too besides the little harm to the parents (sleepless nights and endless worries). Building her immunity system and making her a stronger baby.

She was active as usual, maybe just a little bit more mellow. Not extra cranky at all except when she see the medicine coming near her.

DH has to attend a very lengthy quarterly meeting today. He was worried about Isabelle at the same time and feeling guilty that he can't be home to care for her and to help me out. But God knows better. DS is on annual leave and is home. I am not alone and I have a helping hand.

God is good specially at times like this :)




Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fever... Oh NO!!!!

Discovered Isabelle's body felt a bit warmer than usual this evening when I changed her into her pyjamas. Took her temperature and it read 37.7 degrees C. Oh boy... that reading brings back the nightmare of her fever/croup episode. Phobia.

We debated a while if we should give her paracetamol. In the end, to be safe, we did. Right after the paracetamol, we tuck her into bed and within 5 minutes, she was fast asleep. Not sure if it was due to her tiredness or due to the fever. But sleep is good for any day, anytime.

Hopefully later when I check her temperature again or tomorrow morning, the fever has subsided. I should also get ready to hit the sack early tonight as I might most probably need to get myself recharged sufficiently for a long day tomorrow.

Good night and pleasant dreams!







Cooking ~ Fried Rice


We have another lunch and playdate today and it was at my place this time.

Was thinking of what to cook and I figured that my Colorful Fried Rice would do the trick. Suits the adults and the kids as well. 1 dish for all.

I named it colorful because of its colorful! Yellow, green and orange. I could have added in more colors but these 3 colors are good enough.

It is a simple dish that I would make each time I run out of ideas of what to cook.

Ingredients:
1. Cooked rice (cooled to room temperature)
2. Chopped onion
3. Chopped garlic
4. Chopped ginger *optional
5. Crabmeat
6. Dried shrimps (soaked in water for about 10 minutes then chopped or minced)
7. Diced Carrots
8. Diced frenchbeans (can be replaced with greenpeas)
9. Corn kennels
10. 2 eggs (Pre-fried 1 egg and the other egg is to fry together with the rice)
11. Salt & pepper to taste
12. Some cooking oil

Method
1. Heat oil and saute chopped onion, garlic and ginger till soft and slightly golden
2. Add in dried shrimp and fry till they start to 'dance' on the pan
3. Add in crabmeat and fry till fragrant
4. Add in carrots, frenchbeans & corn kennels. Sprinkle a little bit of water to moisten the vegies.
5. Add in salt and pepper to taste
6. Add in rice and mix well
7. Make a well in the middle and pour a little bit of oil to fry the egg. Break the egg in the middle and mix well with the rice
8. Add in the pre-fried egg and fry everything together till it is well combined.
9. Done.

The Ingredients

I only had time to take a picture of the ingredients. Had to get this done before our guests arrive and also no time to take the picture of the end result. Kids were hungry and needed to be fed right away.


Mummies' Lunch and Kids' Playdate

One of the ways to kill time and be sane/normal is to have Mummies meet Mummies and kids to play together.

Dressed up for her date


Me and a friend have been doing this on a regular basis to well.. stay sane. The kids deserve a chance to be out of home and to see some new faces (other than Mummy's day in day out).

Yesterday, we met up for lunch. It is always nice to see our kids getting along well, play together happily and no fighting over toys! While they play, we adjourned with our lunch. Vanessa made pasta and I brought over some corn muffins I made the night before.


In their own deep thoughts..

Mikhail, wailed miserably when it was time for us to go home. Not only he cried, he held on to Isabelle and did not want to let go. And the wailing continue and when we managed to get him off Isabelle, he pulled on to her dress. What a drama.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Cooking ~ Blackbean Chicken with Bittergourd

I love my Mom's dishes and I am glad I learn a few of her recipe. Each time I make them, it brings me home, close to Mummy :)

Today, I made Blackbean chicken with bittergourd. Can't wait to have my food critics home to taste it.

Ingredients:
1. Chicken drumsticks (marinate preferably overnight with oyster sauce, chinese cooking wine & pepper)
2. 2 tsp of blackbean
3. Bittergourd (sliced into prefered sizes)
4. Ginger (sliced or cut into strips)
5. Chopped garlic
6. Chopped shallots

For sauce:
1. Oyster sauce
2. Dark soy sauce for color (optional)
3. Sugar
4. Pepper

The Ingredients
I did not get to take picture of the sauces.


Black Bean from Gulong brand that I used

Method:
1. Saute chopped garlic, shallots and ginger in oil till fragrant and soft
2. Add in blackbean and saute for few seconds
3. Add in marinated chicken and fry till chicken is slightly golden on its skin
4. Add in sliced bittergourd
5. Add in sauce and water. Simmer for about 10 minutes or till chicken is tender
6. Done.

1. Shallots, garlic and ginger sauted till fragrant & soft. Add in black bean (Oops, I missed taking picture of this step)
2. Add in chicken and fry till golden


1. Add in bittergourd
2. Add in sauce and water. Simmer away.


Tips: To make the bitterness of the gourd more subtle, slice them up and marinate it with generous amount of salt. Toss to coat it evenly and leave it aside for 30 mins. Clean them up with water and drain them dry.


What Did You Do Over The Weekend?

Some enjoy their weekends slow and just being at home maybe catch up on some good snoozing. Some like it adventurous and some, rejuvenate via the glorious retail therapy. What about you?

We did the norm. Slept in and Isabelle was a good girl not to wake us up before we were ready to. She was awake before us and she played with her soft toys and with the pyjamas I was wearing while waited for us to open our eyes. Went out for lunch and visited a few lighting shops to feed my hunger for a new set of lightings for our home. Found nothing and my hunt will continue.

Attended Sunday school on Sunday morning with Isabelle and here's the interesting part... look at the picture below :)

Isabelle meets Isabelle, in the exact same dress

Both mummies started clicking away with our mobile cameras when we saw our Isabelles wearing the same sailor dress. Something we don't encounter often. :)


Friday, October 22, 2010

Thank God It's Finally A Cloudy Friday!


Lost count of how many mean hot days we have had lately. And today, finally, Mr Sun humbled himself behind the clouds. Maybe he is tired working so hard for the past few weeks.

It is still warm but not as hot as any other days. Best thing is I did not start to sweat and drenched in my sweaty t-shirt if I just sit there doing nothing (not that I get to do that often) as I used to on a typical hot day. Hallelujah!


And yes, it is finally end of the week and another fun filled weekend waiting to kick in!

Here's wishing all of you a great weekend and have fun with your loved ones :)


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Flashcard Rules

Isabelle loves her flashcards but yesterday, she found something new to do with it. She arranges it back into the box and all in the right direction with pictures facing upwards. We tried to put it in another direction or with pictures facing the back or upside down. That irritates her. She took cards out the whole box and did it all over again. Now this will save me tonnes of time putting it back in the box in the future. :)

video


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

HELP! I AM NOT A SUPERWOMAN!

Recently, someone I know shared her very deep thoughts with me. When she poured out her feelings, I was overwhelmed with empathy for her. I wish I can do something to help her but there is really so much I can do.

Here goes the story.

Annie (name has been changed for privacy reason) is a SAHM just like me. Her toddler is 20 months old. She has no domestic help and lives far away from her family. I am interpreting her words into a letter from her to her Hubby.

"Dear Hubby,

I don't know where to start but I believe to put up hands and say HELP, I AM NOT A SUPERWOMAN would do.

To you, I should not complain because I am just a homemaker who need not go out to work and I have whole day at home to do my leisure stuffs. When I asked for your favor, you would help but reluctantly with a long black face. Maybe I don't deserve any help because I am a homemaker and I should be efficient to do everything myself. You came home from work feeling tired and can look forward to an easy evening at home. But my job goes beyond 5pm. Dinner need to be made and dishes need to be done. Not forgetting getting the little one to finish his dinner. You can continue to read your papers, watch the news and leisurely surf a little before you retire to bed. And I would still be cleaning and washing. If I am lucky, I get to shower before I faint smelling my own stinky sweaty t-shirt. Oh, I should also remind you that sometimes in the morning, I don't get to brush my teeth until noon and to get my lunch when our baby takes his nap at 3pm! And do you know that it is difficult and highly 'challenging' to do all the house chores while monitoring a hyperactive 20 month old toddler?

When you are already snoring away in bed, I would probably be still cleaning up. When I have a little ME time at night, you complain that I am not spending enough time with you and expect me to do the wifely duties promptly. By the hour I get to touch my bed and pillow, all I want is to doze off. Everyday is a tiring day. I know, you would not want to believe that because to you, again, homemaker is not supposed to feel tired because we have nothing to do all day long but to sleep and lounge around the home or go shopping or go online to surf aimlessly.

If you think a tidy home, warm dinner on the table and clean clothes ever ready and nicely folded in the cupboard just falls down from the skies, please think again. I do not need you to thank me or to be grateful to me. All I need is a little appreciation, understanding and occasionally to lend me a hand and share my burden. I have always imagine that someday you would lovingly tell me "Honey, go get a rest and take a break. You deserve it. Let me take care of everything at home" or even just a simple "Honey, are you ok? What can I do to help you so that you don't look this tired?"

I know you have your stress and bad days at work. I know that you need to work hard to earn money to put food on the table and a roof on top of our heads. I wish I can do something to help ease your burden which I thought I could help by making sure you have warm meals waiting for you at the end of the (one of it).

I don't know anymore how to convince you that I am just a human and not a superwoman. I need help and support. I can't do everything myself but with a little help from you, it will make a lot of difference. I will have the right amount of time to divide between you, the baby and our home. Our marriage is on slippery rocks because of all this.

I am so tired physically and emotionally. I know there is a way to save us but it takes 2 hands to clap. I know the root of the problem but I also know that you will deny it.

Tell me what you want me to do because there is really only this much that I can bear.

Love,
Your Wife"

It is so sad that not only generally people think that SAHM are really tai tais who gets their nails done and hair nicely blowdry everyday. It is even more heartbreaking when your own husbands thinks that way too and setting such high expectation on the wives. I can't afford to advice Annie any solution but to ask her to keep praying, set her limits clear to herself and her Hubby and try to communicate with him and last resort, seek counselling from the right party because I believe all marriages deserve a 2nd chance to survive.

May the Lord bless Annie....


Dooby Straw Cup

Isabelle receive this cute straw cup as a gift from a friend who came back from visiting her home country, Taiwan.



This cup is not only pretty and special but has a very useful function. So far, I have never been able to find such product in the local market. A removable soft ball is attached to the end of the straw to allow the baby to be able to suck water/fluid from any position. My description is poor. Please take a look at pictures below. My apologies for the quality of the pictures.


Position 1

Position 2

Position 3


It also came along with a mini brush to clean the straw. I have one from Pigeon currently but an extra brush is a bonus :)

Isabelle adores this cup and could not stop drinking from it.



Baking ~ Strawberry Muffins


I am blessed to have fresh strawberries from the recent Cameron trip to experiment with. So here is the recipe.


Recipe

1. 2 cups of flour

2. 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

3. 1/2 tsp baking soda

4. 1/4 tsp salt

5. 1/2 cup of sugar

6. 2 tbsp of honey

7. 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

8. 2 eggs

9. 1/2 cup of milk or water

10. 1/2 cup of melted butter or oil

11. 1/4 cup of plain yoghurt

12. Chopped strawberries

13. Chocolate chips


Method

1. Pour all dry ingredients into big bowl - flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar into a big bowl.

2. Lightly beat eggs and add in vanilla essence, milk, honey and melted butter. Mix well.

3. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredients into the well.

4. Combine both dry and wet ingredients. Do not overmix.

*consistency of batter should be pourable, slightly lumpy and not too thick

5. Add in and chocolate chips and chopped strawberries

*lightly coat fruits with flour before adding them into batter to avoid them from sinking to the bottom

6. Scoop 1 scoop of batter into muffin cups. Add half or quarter spoon of strawberry jam in the middle and to

up with another scoop of batter. Garnish with a slice or two of strawberries on top.

7. Put the tray in the middle of the oven. Bake for 10 mins at 200 degrees and continue to bake for another 10

mins at 150 degrees.

Note : * Preheat oven for 15 mins at 200 degrees but different type of oven may need different settings and baking time.

Result

DH, DS and a friend tasted it and said it is very much more moist and fluffy than my previous attempts. They also love the fruity flavour from the fresh strawberries and the little surprise from the filling. I am guessing the moistness could be due to the addition of yoghurt and extra 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. I am not sure but I will try this recipe again.


What Could Be Better

No dome on my muffins. Perhaps it is due to the height of the muffin cups or maybe I scooped too much batter into the cup. I am going to study on this and learn how to make muffins with domes. All the best to me.

Our Family Getaway


Day 1
Thank God that we have some place cooler to escape from the heat. And this time, our family getaway destination was none other than Cameron Highlands. This is the umpteenth time we visited this place yet it still excites me.

We met up with my parents coming from the northen region in Tapah for lunch and then adjourned for the most dreadful part of the trip... going up hill. Why did I said it is dreadful is because I am a pititful person with miserable motion sickness. I wasn't alone because DH was having sinus and not feeling well too. Poor DH.



We stopped at the Lata Iskandar Waterfalls because Isabelle has never seen a waterfall before. And I needed a break as well. The 40 minutes drive up the hill felt like 40 days!

Isabelle went bonkers when she saw this banana kiosk. Talk about banana powers!


Reached the top of the hill and I was the happiest person. Not only because I can put away the plastic bag (for some unsightly output), but also because the weather was cooler!

After checking into the 3 room apartment, we started preparing for the steamboat dinner while my brother and my sister in law went to get some fresh greens from the market.



After dinner was the highlight of the whole trip... Dad's birthday. There was no birthday cake but birthday blueberry muffins! Yes, I made them. :) We hid it in the fridge and it was meant to be a surprise. So we surprised Dad with me walking into the hall with the lited up muffins and Dad looked delighted.



We then headed off to the night market. Seems that a trip to Cameron Highlands is not complete without visiting the night market and having steamboat. We must find something new to do for our future trips.

By the end of the day, everyone was tired and our initial plan to play some games was called off.

Off to a cool la la land!


Day 2
Went for breakfast at the usual cafe (Cafe Excellent). Well, it wasn't a cafe actually. It looks more like a stall in a food court. But the food was delicious and many varieties to choose from. I had my nasi lemak and coffee. DH had chicken curry rice. We had some side orders namely french toast and american breakfast.

Visited the Chefoo Methodist Guest House because we wanted to see the new version of it after renovation. There was a big field and basketball court in the compound. Isabelle had so much fun playing and running around.



Headed off to Kea Market to grab some local produce. And then lunch. Then Isabelle needed her nap so we all head back to the apartment.

Dinner time again! We had tomyam steamboat because we could not finish the food on the first night so we had to continue the steamboat adventure.


Day 3
Dad and Mom had to leave early. Isabelle woke up in time to bid goodbye to Ah Kong and Ah Ma. I swear I saw their eyes watery when they kissed her goodbye. :)

Me, DH, DS and bf packed and left for brunch at T Cafe, famous for its scones. A picture paints a thousand words. Scroll below to see the delicious brunch we had.


Strawberry cheesecake and cream scones

American breakfast with home made hash browns & apple pie with ice cream

Coffee that makes the brunch complete and blissful

Then another dreadful episode of the trip to fight. I had faith in the anti motion sickness pill but it didn't work for me. About half way down the hill, it attacked me.

Despite all that, it was a good trip because nothing beats a warm reunion with our loved ones plus all the good food.

Looking forward to another trip, hopefully soon.



Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Weather Gone Haywire


Started to sweat away profusely while doing some light house chores this morning. And it was only 9am! The weather is becoming unbearably and bitterly hot.

My heart goes out to those who had to work under the sun all day long. The construction workers, open air food stall operators, road cleaners, students in the school in un-airconditioned classrooms and just about anyone who had to spend the hottest part of the day outside.

Gone were the days when we can survive and sleep with just a table fan and we can still doze if there is electricity disruption. How would the weather mutate in another say 5 years down the road? I fear for our children and next generation(s).

With weather like this, I thank God for the intelligent invention of aircond and yet we have to remind ourselves to be moderate of the usage of it. Mother Earth needs a lot of TLC right now and the last thing we should do is go full blast on aircond, throughout the day.

Just my 2 green cents worth.



Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Book Review *One Hand, Two Hands by Max Lucado*

After almost 2 months waiting eagerly for it and almost gave up, it finally arrived! Requested this book via Booksneeze's reviewer programme on the 18 August 2010 and this is my first book from Booksneeze and also first time reading Max Lucado's wonderful creation.

ONE HAND, TWO HANDS
Written By : Max Lucado
Illustrated By: Gaby Hansen
Publisher: Tommy Nelson


What Do I Think About The...
Story:
I love the storyline as it is about teaching children how God bless us with our hands and we can do so many wonderful things with it. From doing simple things for themselves to helping others in tiny ways. It also reminds the adults to be thankful too. T
he prayer at the of the book is also very heartwarming. Written in rhyming text, it is even easier and makes it more fun to read it to a 17 month old toddler. My favourite page is when Max wrote "Wipe tears. Give a gift. Write Grandma a letter. With hands and a hug, we make people feel better". It touches my heart deeply.

Book Cover:
Very sweet looking but the jacketed cover was a little flimsy so I had to remove it before Isabelle could get her hands on it and start tearing or chewing it away.

Pages:
Perhaps a thicker material would be great for younger kids as some of them enjoy turning the pages over and over again. And with a thicker material, we can read it to even younger little ones.

Illustrations:
Isabelle likes the characters especially the kitten and they reappear in most of the pages. That attracts her. I also love it that Isabelle can relate to most of the practical daily chores projected in the book : combing, holding a cup, buttoning shirts. Brilliant! Lovely pictures and soft colors. But the soft colors doesn't really appeal to little ones. Maybe pictures in sharper and bolder colors would do more magic.

Overall:
I know this is a wonderful book that I can keep reading to Isabelle for another few years down the road and will grow together with us. Looking forward to more such awesome books in the near future and definitely will recommend this book to friends!


Book was carefully packed and arrived in a big box


My favourite page


*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Review Blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hello Monday !


The weekend ended and another week ahead to explore and hooray for that!

This week doesn't seem as long as any other week. All because we will be heading for a 3 days family vacation by the end of this week! And we are all excited about it. It is a family gathering plus celebrating Dad's birthday.

Hope all of you had a wonderful weekend and another great week ahead!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Baking ~ Homemade Muffins Rocks!

Baking has always sound complicated to me. I am not a follow-precisely-the-recipe person and baking sure needs the discipline and accuracy. But yesterday marked the history of me baking, finally.

Isabelle, DH and DS loves pastry, cookies and all the sweet stuffs. All the goodies available out there are not only delicious and convenient but also packed with loads of sugar. I thought I should give baking a try and put more healthy food on the table for my family.

DH bought me a packet of muffin premix few days ago and the muffin baking frenzy started. Then I got a little more adventurous today. I make the muffin mix from scratch.

Here are some photos of my muffiny experience and the recipes. I had no time to take photo at all but I will do so once I master this skill minus the mess and that I will have clean hands to click away.


Meet my muffins!
This is the first batch baked using premix


Plain Muffin (with Bananas & Oatmeal) Premix Version
Recipe
1. 1 packet of plain muffin mix 500gm
2. 100gm water
3. 120gm oil (I mix half oil and melted butter)
4. 1/4 cup of oatmeal
5. 2 eggs
6. 1 banana (mashed)
7. Chocolates (chopped) *I didn't have any proper chocolate chips for baking available

Method
1. Pour muffin mix into a big bowl
2. Make a well in the middle of the mix and add in eggs, oil and water. Mix.
3. Add in banana and chopped chocolate
4. Scoop batter into muffin cups and fill up 3/4 of the cup
5. Sprinkle the rest of the chocolate on top of the batter (optional)
6. Put the tray in the middle of the oven and bake for 20 mins at 180 degrees
* Preheat oven for 15 mins at 180 degrees but different type of oven may need different settings

Result
Delicious. My dear supportive family finished the 10 of the 12 medium sized muffins leaving behind 2 for my photo album. DH just munch and munch. DS said it smelled like the Famous Amos. Isabelle was speechless and keep asking for more.

What Could Be Better
We wish the manufacturers of premix would come out with Less Sugar version because we find this rather sweet.




Meet my 2nd batch of muffins :)


Vanilla Banana Muffins ala My Version
Recipe
1. 2 cups of flour
2. 1 tsp baking powder
3. 1/2 tsp baking soda
4. 1/4 tsp salt
5. 1/2 cup of sugar
6. 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
7. 2 eggs
8. 1/4 cup milk
9. 1/4 melted butter
10. 1 big banana (mashed)
11. Chocolate chips

Method
1. Pour flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar into a big bowl
2. Mix the dry ingredients and make a well in the middle.
3. Add in eggs, milk, vanilla essence and mix well.
4. Add in mashed bananas and chocolate chips
5. Scoop batter into muffin cups and fill up 3/4 of the cup
6. Sprinkle the rest of the chocolate chips on top of the batter (optional)
7. Put the tray in the middle of the oven and bake for 20 mins at 180 degrees
* Preheat oven for 15 mins at 180 degrees but different type of oven may need different settings

Result
Yummy. DH said it is good and more moist than the premix version. DS did not know this was my own mix and it sure sounds like a compliment. Isabelle clapped so happily when she saw me coming out of the kitchen with a plateful of muffins and keep asking for MUM MUM. That motivates me to do better :)

What Could Be Better
Some of the muffins flopped to one side. I am going to fix that but for now, I am happy despite the floppiness.


Here are some website with good & useful tips and also recipes for first time baker like me.

3. Joy Of Baking

Happy reading and exploring!


Friday, October 8, 2010

Just the 2 of us



I played Mummy & Daddy full day today and it sure was tiring but fulfilling at the same time.

DH had to attend an event/dinner and that means, no one to take over my duty after 5pm and no breaks in between for me.

So it was just the 2 of us all day long. But we had a sweet day because Isabelle was a good girl and gave Mummy no trouble at all.







* Picture from google *