Monday, December 31, 2007

Last post... I promise

We signed up for inline skating classes for princess. It's a 1 to 1 lesson and the instructor was very good - patient and nice. We were advised that the pair of skates which we purchased earlier were no good at all. There were no ball bearings in them thus she wasn't able to glide. It was a problem I noticed the past few times she tried to skate, and I thought the problem was her, but apparently it wasn't her fault. So we had to get new proper skates for her. It was a little tricky at the start as the wheels were very much smoother than the other pair. But she managed to get used to them pretty quickly. And the other instructor was impressed that she could move around quite well learning on her own in the past few days. According to him, most first-timers can't even stand up.

After a gruelling workout, it was time for a hearty lunch. We visited Westlake and were not disappointed as everything that we ordered turned out great. We had xiao bai chye (my favourite veg), sweet and sour pork, yang chow fried rice, and a cream corn and chicken soup. All 'ang moh' food. Haha. Everything was done to perfection, and I loved that the pork was crunchy and not too meaty.

The last post of the year

Wow, I can't believe it's the last day of the year already. Time really flies too fast every year now. I don't remember it being this way before. Maybe it's because I'm now older or maybe it's just watching the kids grow, and especially with many activities to occupy us, there's really no time to feel bored.

Speaking of fun, it all started on Friday when princess was dropped off at a birthday party, and I was able to have quite a number of hours to myself to slowly run errands and just do some shopping. Ended up buying three tops for myself. Woohoo! In the middle of shopping, mum messaged me to ask if I was keen to join her to go visit Jones the Grocer at Dempsey Road, which I did. Was a lovely place, and I sampled the most lovely balsamic vinegar. But as I doubt I will be making much use of it, I couldn't bring myself to pay over $60 for a bottle, even though it tasted heavenly.

After Dempsey, we headed home to pick up hubby and princess, who had been dropped home by my uncle, and off we went to the beach for her to have some fun on her skates and scooter. We were keen to sign up for the class so she can learn some basic skating. However, the timing doesn't suit us and also the fact that the area where they conducted the lessons looked very dangerous as there were grown up guys skating around really fast. One hit and the kids will go flying.

From there we made our way to East Coast Lagoon where we waited a half hour for the famous satay bee hoon. As you can see, there are no photos to show. By the end of the wait, I was too hungry and gobbled everything up. Haha.

After dinner we took a stroll along the beach, and also for the little one to play on her scooter. I must be the last person in Singapore to discover this sandcastle area beside the lagoon. Haha. The sandcastles are so beautiful, but I think the authorities should put in some lighting so people can admire them at night too. It could also prevent accidents where people might accidentally step on and destroy them. By that, I mean the ones that are not within the fencing.

Saturday saw us being invited to a Christmas lunch at M's. Again, forgot to take photos. ;) She made a lovely roast beef, pasta, and a potato salad, as well as a fresh green salad. It was all so lovely. Thanks M. Unfortunately we couldn't stay long as we were off to check in to the hotel for a night's stay with K, A, and the kids.

It was a last minute thing as we heard they had a good rate on the room and decided to join them.

The sky was rather cloudy but it didn't stop everyone from having some fun in the pool.

Here's princess being spoiled by godpa.

Godbro T & princess making some mischief with the crane.

All wrapped up in a cocoon as it was rather chilly out of the pool.

The interior of our room. We always love to take photos of them hahaha.

Our breakfast by the river. But only because the cafe was filled to the brim. If given a choice, I'd rather sit nearer to the food. Hahaha. But the sun wasn't too hot yet then so wasn't too bad.

Everything looks yellow as we were seated under a giant yellow gazebo.

Does this look like a little birdie? Mini pancakes for eyes and a slice of watermelon for the beak. :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boxing day outing

Today was mostly a lazy day for us. Woke up at 9plus. Would have slept in more if the princess hadn't woken up at that time to put her skates on again.

Had a friend over who needed help with fixing her laptop. That was hubby's job, not mine. Hehe. So princess quickly claimed her victim when she came home from a spot of skating, to find Auntie Ivory in the house. She was immediately 'ordered' to play mastermind, snakes & ladders, and a game of monopoly.

So while she was occupied, I washed up in the kitchen and just basically relaxed and flipped through my new cake decoration book.

It wasn't till past 1pm did we go for lunch. Mum took us to St Mike's church where we dropped off old toys for the orphanages in the Philippines. Great that she has the car so we can run some errands. Unfortunately, fun with the car will end in 4 days' time when aunt is back from her 6mths' sabbatical in America.

To take advantage of that, we decided to go to Botak Jones in Toa Payoh as we were in that vicinity. We went round in circles looking for the place as we are not familiar with that area.

Little one isn't crazy over Western food except for chips/french fries. So luckily there was a Japanese stall in the food court and we ordered her some futomaki.

Over at Botak's, we ordered the cheesy fries ($8) which only comes in one size. We left out the spicy powder which originally came with it, all for the sake of princess. It was a humongous portion so unless you have a group of at least 6 people to share, I would advise against ordering it. I didn't think it tasted all that great. I still love the cheese sauce at KFC. The chips weren't crispy and were rather limp. Needless to say, we wasted half of it.

Mum and I both had the Botak Burger ($6.50). The beef patty comes plain with freshly sliced onions and some lettuce, on a toasted bun. The size was manageable. And you can add in extra ingredients. I had extra cheese ($1 for 2 slices) which was melted beautifully on top of the patty. Taste-wise, it's so-so. The food is very good value though. But personally I think it's overrated.

This is mum's burger with extra cheese, saute onions, and a sunny side up.

We, or rather I, had spied this little stall on the way from the car park and was really intrigued by the signboard and the stuff they sold. How cute can that be, right, the logo with the heart?

After lunch, princess ordered herself a strawberry chocolate fondue. Really nice small portion with a lovely bitter chocolate sauce all for $3.80, with a couple of pieces of Chinese New Year biscuits thrown in for sampling.

Christmas Day

Christmas celebrations started for us at midnight when we attended the midnight mass. Princess was really excited and hubby too was keen to go for it. It frees up the day for us to clean up the house and do the cooking for the dinner ahead. Princess was a little angel in her beautiful white dress which granny sent over from Ireland. However, she wasn't the only angel there as there were approximately 6 little angels in the pew in front of ours, all dressed similarly in white. We noticed all the girls in church mostly wore white, and mum said, the adults mostly wore black. Hahaha. Maybe we adults should be in more merry colours such as green and red? Hehehe.

It started with a Christmas pageant acted out by the choir, and we even had VIPs in our midst. They were part of some inter-racial thingy. I can't remember what IRCC stood for, as it was late and my brains were not working. I had been up in the morning at 6plus to get princess ready for school. And didn't stop working since then. Did last minute groceries, made the soup, and cleaned some of the house, did the dessert etc. By the night, I was knackered. So I had to try to keep myself awake during mass, just like princess did, and almost fell asleep during sermon. Haha.

I promised princess that if she behaved herself, she'd be allowed to open one present when she got home, as she was starting to get cranky. It was much too late in the night for her to be awake, even though she did have a nap in the afternoon. However, she said she'd do it again next year. :) I believe it's the excitement of being able to stay up so late.

So when we got home, she got to open granny's present. You should have seen the grin on her face when she opened it. It was like a dream come true getting the singing Rosella doll from Barbie the Island princess, which is her current favourite.

And for us, we got a lovely crystal star from mum. Apparently they are limited editions which you collect every year. It was lovely. Thanks mummy.

It was almost 2am by the time we laid out the biscuits and milk for Santa. Hubby and I figured Santa shouldn't come earlier or we'd be up all night. Haha. As I only had one carrot which I needed for my stuffing, reindeer was given celery. ;)

Why, it looks like reindeer love celery too! And Santa must have been super hungry as he finished all the biscuits and milk. I bet it must be tiring to travel all over the world, and it's lovely to be able to fill up his tummy with yummy Christmas bakes. He only gets to do it once a year anyway. And what did Santa bring?

A stocking filled with goodies, and a scooter.

Time to open up the presents.

A pair of inline skates. Her most favourite present from mummy and daddy. She was on them from morning till night. And first thing again this morning.

Some of my presents. Hurray! Kids' bake book from sis, and Jamie's Italy from princess and daddy.

This was a lovely surprise. Thank you, 'Santa', for sending us this letter. It was very thoughtful of you. I hope you're someone who reads my blog or else I don't know how to thank you for it. Princess was delighted to receive a letter from Santa. It was a wonderful gift.

For dinner, it was basically a family affair, with mum and sis, plus a friend of hers visiting from Indonesia. And the three of us.

On the menu, we had roast turkey, mashed potatoes, grilled eggplant, cream of mushroom soup, and asparagus with smoked salmon and Parma ham. Dessert was tiramisu. It was a delightful dinner, not too filling and everyone enjoyed it. Everything was homemade except for the bread and french fries for babe. Hehe. It was all well worth my effort. :)

Monday, December 24, 2007

My cookie reveal

Remember this?

Well... here it is...

These were my cookies in exchange which I mailed in November. I made peppermint meringues and White Christmas, as can be seen in the previous post. Somehow the first lot of meringues turned out better than the recent lot. :(

All ready to be shipped off...

Merry Christmas

Hello everyone. I've been missing for quite some time, hands full with so much to do - shopping, cleaning, baking, etc etc. I believe it's been the same for most of you. But the sad thing is, the house doesn't even look anywhere near tidy.

Well, first of all, to those who remember, princess went on her first sleepover at L & R's on Thursday. Boy, was I glad to get her off my hands for a day. Haha. Surprisingly, though, it was hubs who was missing her. He was asking, 'did they call?', 'did you call them?'. And I told him that it won't be the first and last time that she'll want to go there. His reply was, 'we'll see...'. Hehehe.

Thank you very much, to L & R and the boys, for a wonderful sleepover for princess. She had the most wonderful time. I know I can trust them to treat her well, like their own daughter. Sad thing is she now wants to go live with them. *sob sob*

I know she is a handful and I'm glad they managed to handle her. Bet they couldn't wait to return her either hahaha. She didn't want to go to sleep at night till ko ko R had to read her a story, and as it was 11.30pm, he didn't want to read to her some long story, so he had to pick out one of his composition pages or something. Haha. Poor R1. And thank you, dear, for being such a good ko ko to her. He is such a dear boy, very well-behaved, polite, and loveable. You did a great job raising him, L & R. You should be so proud.

Princess had a fantastic time going shopping; to the park to ride the scooter, etc. And basically, just enjoying the fun time with the 2 boys. I also heard that little R was stuck to her like glue and poor boy missed his naps while she was there. He didn't want to miss out on anything. And how do you explain to a little 2-yr-old that she'll still be there in the morning when he wakes? Haha.

L got this packet of Disney Princess pasta (how lovely), and also a chocolate-coated cornflakes pie thingy from
Da Paolo. I'm sure it has some fanciful name, haha, but I don't know what that is. It's nice.

A spot of Christmas baking...

From right, we have shaped cookies, peppermint meringues, and White Christmas (this is an Australian recipe made with rice crispies, dessicated coconut, raisins & Copha)

A little gift of a gingerbread man from B for princess. Thanks much.

For the Christmas party at school today, I had wanted to make little donuts (which failed), then second choice was cupcakes (too tired and lazy), and at the last minute when desperate, I remembered that I had Konnyaku jelly mix (hurray!). Made use of the little microwave cake moulds from HKG as jelly moulds. How cute.

To everyone out there, have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sushi Class

We finally found time today to visit Mina and Nao. I have been wanting to learn how to make sushi from her. Thank you Mina, for being so patient in detailing to me the steps involved, starting with the cooking of the rice. I shall try it soon, I think probably the earliest will be at princess' party as before that I will be busy with Christmas.

I hope to be able to make the egg too. It sounded a little complicated haha, but I'm sure when I actually do it, I will understand what you were trying to say.

Also thanks for tips on making katsuobushi (dashi) stock. That's a great thing I learned today.

The kids were hands on and they made their own kappamaki. They didn't bother with cutting them up into little pieces. They ate theirs like sausages haha. The poor girls were much too hungry to wait.

Princess loves her ebiko (prawn roe) so she had loads of it spread on her roll. Hahaha.

Ah... here's the expert at work.

Look at how neat her ingredients are placed.

The final result. Some lovely futomaki. Erm, ok, Mina's ones are the round ones whereas mine look like mountains she said. Lol. They were flat on the bottom and round at the top. Nevertheless they were yummy.

Sushi was coming out of my ears by the time we were finished with lunch. I didn't want to see another sushi today. Hahaha. But guess what my girl wanted for dinner??? Sushi!!!!

I couldn't eat another piece of sushi, so I had some takoyaki and gyoza, and she had all her favourites - ebiko gunkan, tamago maki (like those we made for lunch), fried tofu, cha soba, and also some takoyaki. And believe it or not? She was hungry like she said and finished everything. Boy was I surprised!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

What else is new - busy as usual

Lately now, I only have time for a weekly update, haha. This week (starting tomorrow) was supposed to have been a quiet week but have now ended up with three filled days from Monday to Wednesday. While at ballet yesterday, we were invited to a birthday celebration on Tuesday by princess' ballet mate cum ex-classmate. It's not a big do, just a few friends and cousins going over to the house for some fun, and hopefully some swimming. At the last playdate there, it was drizzling and so they weren't allowed to swim. Hopefully the weather will be good for them tomorrow.

Back to last week... G, M and I agreed on a cookie exchange for Christmas. Speaking of which, oops, I still owe them one each. G and I are to make two kinds whereas M, who is now working, is excused, therefore she only needed to make one. So on Thursday, at M's girl's birthday party, we got our cookies. I made a peanut butter double chocolate cookie. I had no time at all to take pictures of them before sending them out. What I do have are the before photos taken while preparing them, hehe, with my little helper to add the ingredients in. However, the final baked goods were promptly packed into containers ready to be sent off.

Those in the photo here are what I received from them. Thanks gals.

Last evening, we finally made our visit to L & R's house. This visit has long been in the works, but it never materialised. We decided that it had to happen this weekend. Haha.

Immediately after ballet, I set about baking chocolate chip biscuits and some butter biscuits. Used the cookie cutter set that V gave as present. I love them, V, and they are perfect for cutting fondants as well, because of their size.

Well, thank goodness I did not disappoint L as the first thing she said when I presented the baked goods to her was, 'I was wondering if you'd bring me some cookies'. Phew! Haha. I had read her mind. Well, what are good friends for? Hehe.

Unfortunately, there was zero time to take photos of L's gift, as we were really pressed for time, plus the rain was coming down in buckets and we were late enough as it was for the appointed time that we were to arrive at her place. We were delayed both by the unexpected sudden downpour, as well as my baking. :P And poor princess had her swimming hopes dashed once again. December is really not the time for swimming. Gosh.

I was, however, really pleased with the butter biscuits and will do them again this week when I have the time. I will post pictures then.

The gracious hosts treated us to a great dinner. R went in the morning or at noontime, to get the nasi padang from Arab Street and L took the kids to Orchard in the late afternoon to pack some Tonkatsu from Tonkichi for the kids' dinner. I've heard of this Tonkatsu but never tasted it. Well, I'm not a big pork fan. But I have to say that it was incredible that it remained crispy till 3hrs later when the kids had them for dinner. Princess isn't a great fan of meat but because of the dip that came with it, she gobbled many pieces down. Haha. Just like she eats french fries because of the tomato sauce. L also got them some California Maki.

Our great big spread of Nasi Padang dishes. There was way too much food for the 4 of us. We couldn't even finish half of it. Haha.

The kids had a great time and princess got along very well with R1. He is 8 and a really well-behaved boy, very well brought up. R2 is still a baby at 2yrs but he wanted to be a part of everything that the bigger kids did, and he got in their way and they shut him out sometimes, the poor chap. He is super adorable but speaks a lot for a 2-yr-old. He is a parrot, honestly, and repeats every single word that they said, even imitating his mum. Haha. He is fun. And very independent. Wouldn't let anyone feed him. A real tough cookie too.

The kids played on the Wii, and guess what princess wants for Christmas now! She was given that choice a few months back but she chose something else instead. Now she regrets and crying for Daddy to get her a set. But from what I know, there is a shortage for Christmas, as apparently, every kid wants one!

L has been wanting princess to stay over at her place for quite sometime, and we decided that we should do it this week. Wow! Her very first sleepover. It'll be great fun for her. Just hope she doesn't break the $4k lamp in the corner. Yikes. I daren't even imagine!