Bargain hunter strikes again…

I think I’ve expressed in previous posts that I enjoy op-shopping. Yesterday, I indulged again and scored some awesome items (for a total of under $20)!

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I love baby books, especially bigger ones with bright pictures. I also love to buy books with Bible stories brought to life and read them to Jacob on Sabbath. The toolbox thing is actually a book too – you can take the shapes of the tools out and play around with them.

And I especially love the wire bead maze (which was only $4). I know that it’s only really for kids from ages 1+, but I can demonstrate it to Jacob at least. For some reason, he loves sitting up (i.e. propped up on the couch or on a pillow) and he loves watching what I’m doing.

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I also scored something for myself for only $7. I apologise for wearing jeans under the dress as I was just too lazy to change. Talk about sloppy mum. And here’s my Jacob picture of the day. He bares some skin and says “Draw me like one of your French girls!”

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I’ve decided that with every post I write (or perhaps every second post – will see how I go), I’ll be posting a Top 5 list. To start off this trend, here are the Top 5 Weirdest things I’ve found myself saying this week:

5. “Should I buy Sophie the Giraffe?”
For those who don’t know what Sophie the Giraffe is, this sounds very strange (especially since my display picture is of a giraffe after falling prey to that Facebook riddle that’s gone viral). I think Daniel thought I had gone a bit bonkers. Sophie is actually a famous French baby teether which is really popular (and also a bit pricy)… should I put it on my Christmas list? Have any of you had experience with her before?

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4. “Don’t put that in your mouth! It has pee on it!!!” 
Please excuse the references to bodily functions. Yes, Jacob is not even a toddler yet and I already have trouble with him putting things in his mouth. Basically, this event involved a small pee disaster and Jacob trying to put his shirt in his mouth. Le sigh. Honestly, it’s not that bad though – these things only happen when you take their diaper off. 😛

3. “Should I study? Or go back to work? Or buy a business?”
Yes, I keep pondering these things despite not having enough hours in the day to clean the house. My rationale is if I earn money, I can afford to hire a cleaning lady….

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2. “I do NOT want a flying grim reaper!!!”
You probably have to watch this video to understand this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tB8D2QZ9lA4
My husband loves pranks (especially scary ones), and he was saying he’d love to get a flying grim reaper. Hence my response… I am NOT into Halloween. I am NOT into scary movies. Heck, I get scared seeing my own reflection in the mirror at night (though sometimes I look so bad anyone would be scared). So, yes – NO flying grim reapers please.

1. “Is the bathroom covered with baby poo or was that just a dream?”
Yes, I dream of baby bodily functions too. How pathetic! Is this what my life has come to?

Have a happy week, and wake me up when October ends.

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Pac-man!

It’s been an eventful weekend (and many more eventful weekends are to come towards the end of this year). I guess there are different meanings of eventful – sometimes it means I’m going out to parties or friend gatherings, and sometimes it just means I get things done around the house. This weekend was a bit of both…

We went to a relative’s birthday party and being Filipino, there was karaoke involved. Karaoke is big in most Asian cultures, but I’ll have to say that it’s probably the most popular with Filipinos, and many of them own their own karaoke machines!

I love karaoke and used to go out to karaoke places to sing with friends. Here’s me in my prime (with my best partner in crime, Pi Pat) – I think we’re singing a Lady Gaga song. I’ll explain in another post why we’re partners in crime (and you’ll either laugh or cringe, believe me:

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We didn’t stay for the karaoke session as it was past Jacob’s bedtime, we did manage to get a cute (slightly blurry) smiling picture of Jacob:

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Anyway, that was Saturday – my Sunday was eventful because we finally decorated Jacob’s nursery! Yes, I know I’m such a slacker. But he’s not even sleeping in it yet (he’s in our room) so I figured it could wait a bit. Daniel painted the feature wall green and we finally put our wall stickers up:

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Here’s Jacob admiring his new wall art. He really likes the colours and dots.

ImageAnd the finished product:

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I honestly admit that I’ve never really knew about Pac-man before this – but it just seemed cool and Daniel loves it! I tried the game out on this link but needless to say, I’m not very good at it: http://www.freepacman.org/

I can’t believe October is almost over now, and we’re heading towards the end of the year. This is my favourite time of year, filled with family events, social gatherings and Christmas presents. I have a Christmas list to write and some shopping to do. I also intend to take this time to brush up on my cooking skills – yes, the house may be a mess but I want to make some desserts… Priorities, woman!

Have a great week! 🙂

The rise of the Asian mum…

It’s coming to the end of a good week and I just thought I’d take some time to celebrate my Asian-ness. I have a love-hate relationship with being Asian, but it’s something that I have to live with so I might as well embrace it.

A few years ago, I came across the ‘High Expectations Asian Father’ meme, which pointed out some great Asian truths.

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Asians have a strange way with gifts, especially between parents and children. I’ve offered to buy many things for my parents, only to be told “Don’t want! Waste money!”. Rather than give gifts, sometimes Asians will do a ‘contra’ and just not give each other gifts. Back when I was little, I remember that my mum used to recycle present wrappers (“Don’t tear the paper!”). And money is always a good gift to receive. *hint hint*

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Asians LOVE buffets. What could be better than no limit on food for a flat rate? I believe it’s because of Asians that some buffets now have time limits. Also, watch out because Asians will sneak away a roll or two (and maybe a lobster) in their bags. And of course, we need to prepare room in our stomachs for it – so, no breakfast or lunch because you want to maximise the dinner! I think I remember throwing up after a few of these buffets, because I just ate too much.

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Asians know everything about frugality. Even on a really hot day in Malaysia, we wouldn’t turn on the air conditioning because “waste money”! I’m not so bad with electricity now because we have solar panels in, but I can get like that with shopping – i.e. no need to cut hair or do manicure, waste money!

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This is another qualm I have about having a daughter – paranoia. Fair enough – I grew up in Malaysia where mugging and rape is rampant, but all parents worry a LOT about their daughters. I remember once I went for martial arts training in Petaling Street, which is considered a “red light district” – and I was not answering my phone because the class went overtime. I think I had about 50 missed calls…

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Ah, so much for positive reinforcement – DOES NOT WORK, according to Asian parents. I remember coming home with exam scores over 90%, only to hear my parents say “What? How could you get that wrong? So easyyyyyyy….” We Asians have a perfectionist culture, and your best can always be bettered.

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And this is my favourite one (because I apparently shamed our dynasty, haha!). Asian parents either love or hate having Caucasian in-laws (mine the former, of course). But for those who fall in the latter, be warned! You are in for an exciting ride of your parents trying to Asian-ize your partners (or them just never speaking to you again).

Sometime last year, I found this video which has practically immortalised Asian mums at their best. Check it out here, and tell me what you think, especially you Asian kids out there!:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HP2escR3qQ

Finally, my cute Asian-Western Jacob says “Hey!” and “Have a great weekend!”

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Avril Lavigne’s new single!

I’ve been an Avril Lavigne fan since day one. I remember the day that her first single ‘Complicated’ was released and I still like her music now. Not sure of the exact reason why I enjoy it so much – perhaps I’m biased because we share a birthday, or because I believe I chatted to her on ICQ before. I had posters of her on my wall, I dressed like her ( well, that’s how I normally dressed before I’d heard of her) and bought heaps of magazines including a special magazine all about her background that cost me RM60.

I find it fantastic that she paired up with Chad Kroeger (since I love Nickelback so much too) and I think this song is a great combination of their musical strengths. I do like her other two singles that are out too, but I think I’m in more of a ballad mood tonight.

Thanks in advance, Dan, for my belated birthday present – Avril’s new album is pre-ordered. ❤

Of rojak buah and black forest cake…

What a weekend – I think I really got too enthusiastic about this International Night. It’s usually a yearly event our church organises to celebrate our diversity. For an Australian countryside church, we really do have quite a variety – people from New Zealand, the Philippines, Malaysia (me), Indonesia, South Africa, etc. And of course, there are those who grew up in Australia but embrace their cultural roots; from German and Dutch to Scottish and Russian.

Anyway, this year I manned the Malaysian table and hubby decided to do a German table too, though I admit I did most of the cooking for it. I started preparing things from Friday and spent the whole of Saturday night and Sunday cooking.

Anyway here I am setting up my spread! I realise I need a haircut haha! And that’s my friend looking gorgeous while being 5 months pregnant… looking forward to more babies coming our way!

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One of the Malaysian dishes I miss the most is roti canai from a mamak stall. I remember going out with my parents or with my friends to eat this for breakfast, sometimes for lunch and sometimes in the middle of the night. Malaysians can eat at any time of day! Due to the lack of time (and skill), I just used frozen roti (but there’s nothing like the real deal!).

Two curries accompanied my roti canai – usually we eat this with dal curry and sambal (or at least I do). My dal lost a bit of water so it was quite solid but I like the flavour – the recipe incorporated a lot of spices like cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, turmeric, garam masala, etc. And I sorta cheated with my other curry – thanks mummy for the curry mix. Just throw in the veggies and some coconut milk, and voila!

The bowl furthest to the right is Penang rojak buah, which is a savoury fruit salad. It has a mixture of fruits like pineapple, apple and green mango with some cucumber and jicama. It’s really yummy on a hot day, and don’t forget to put a sprinkle of crushed peanuts onto it!

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On to the desserts! Since it was a warm day, I decided to make some drink-like desserts. On the left is what we call soyabean cincau. In Asia, soymilk tastes completely different (it’s not the ones in the cartons) and it is SOOOO good. Hits the spot for me anyway. Somebody in Malaysia decided that it’d be good to put black grass jelly into this soyabean milk and it’s really good! In Indonesia, instead of soyabean milk, they put this jelly in coconut milk (which sounds pretty darn good too!).

And on the right is my favourite honeydew sago – I was a bit disappointed with it because the honeydew didn’t have very much fruity sweetness, so it could have used a touch more sugar. It looks a bit pink because Daniel bought me pink sago. But it was thirst-quenching anyway – I’m going to enjoy the leftovers!

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Here I am rushing to get the German table ready while Daniel takes photos (and Jacob sleeps in his pram). I made sauerkraut and the key to it is be generous with the apple cider vinegar. It sure cured one of my pregnant girlfriend’s cravings, haha! And I also made a dish called bratkartoffeln which is basically fried potato with bacon. We don’t eat bacon so I used veggie bacon, which was not too bad at all!

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And finally, the cake of cakes – black forest! It’s funny how it was a significant cake in both my husband’s life and mine – we both grew up having these cakes at our birthday parties, etc. Anyway, I was intent on trying to make this cake despite being terrible at baking. I was thinking of making my base cake in my convection oven but chickened out in the end, so my mum-in-law saved the day. Thanks for the lovely cake, Julie! Daniel and I put on the finishing touches – layering the cake with cherry mixture and cream, then lathering the whole cake with cream and breaking some Flake onto the cake. I heard it’s yummy (though I haven’t tried it myself – will have a piece tonight though!).

20131020_174125All in all, a great occasion. If anyone wants recipes, let me know and I’ll lead you to them. I’m an Taste.com.au addict and always swear by them for good recipes, though I usually improvise.

Jacob was well-behaved too. It’s amazing how he’s so good in public places – I suppose it has to do with all the aunties and uncles cooing over him (not to mention getting cuddles from nanny every time). Pity Jacob couldn’t try any of the food (though he might taste it in his breastmilk). Did you know that your milk will change flavour based on what you eat?

Another thing I’ve caught myself doing many times over the last few months is being an insufferable pregnancy know-it-all! I can’t help it at times though – I guess it’s my way of being excited. When I found out some of my close friends were expecting, of course I was really excited but I’m not the type that screams and goes “OMGOMG tell me everything!” I guess my way of expressing excitement is by sharing their situation with my own prior experience (which leads to a lot of fact-dropping).

Examples:

One friend said she had leg cramps, so I suggested taking more calcium (cos that’s what worked for me).

One friend was saying she felt she should get her eyes checked, and I went sometime like “Do you know that when you’re pregnant, your eyesight deteriorates a bit? But it’ll go back to normal after the pregnancy normally…”

One friend was talking about how she felt her baby in her tummy, and I went something like “Do you know you can also feel the baby hiccup in your tummy? Jacob’s hiccups used to vibrate my whole tummy! And later on you’ll be able to see the movements too – like a leg or hand poking out!”

I suppose I’m trying to be helpful but I don’t want to be bordering annoying. But just a shout out to my girls – if any of you want advice (or an opinion, since I don’t always know best), I’m here! And if I don’t know it, I will search the whole world wide web and find it out for you. But if you think I should shut up, just tell me and I’ll quit it! 🙂

Just a brief farewell from my little boy blue. He’s really happy that he’s already raised $560 for the ADRA Appeal. 3 more weeks to go – I wonder how much he can get by then. xoxo

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Just a quick one before the weekend…

I had planned for today to be highly eventful day but time just slipped away from me. Possibly because I slept in til 9.00am… I know, complete luxury, right? Jacob slept all the way from 11.00pm to 5.00am, then had a feed and slept til 9.00am. Pure bliss – I have not known sleep like this for a long time!

Anyway, the reason why I was trying to busy myself was because it’s our church’s International Night this weekend. For some of us, this is a long-awaited event and we look forward to flaunting our culinary prowess. Okay, honestly I’m not a great cook but I make do.

This time round, I’m doing Malaysian food AND German food. This is going to be interesting because I’m baking a black forest cake with no oven! I’m also going to make my all time favourite honeydew sago – and I almost forgot to get the sago for it, silly me. This is going to be a fun weekend!

If any of you are in Adelaide and want to drop by, here’s the info:

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Today I was chopping vegetables and listening to Nickelback. I actually searched for “Lullaby” on Youtube and Nickelback’s song was one of the first hits. You should watch that video – it is so sad (but touching)! Nickelback is probably my favourite band because their lyrics are meaningful, their songs are catchy and man, is Chad Kroeger’s voice sexxay.

Songs nowadays have such unimaginative lyrics – half of them (if not more) talk about people dancing in a club, raising their hands and drinking themselves silly. Sure enough, some have catch tunes (or autotunes) but I like songs with some meaning beyond the emotional depth of a one night stand. Am I getting old?

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“Hmm, I don’t know mum… maybe you are getting old!” Sorry, I know the picture is blurry – I really can’t stand it when people put up blurry pictures but it’s so hard cos he moves so much!

Since it’s the Sabbath (took me THAT long to write this post, til the sun set), I’ll share one my favourite gospel singers – Nicole Nordeman. Her songs are powerful, lyrically and spiritually. Here’s one of my favourite ones:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waYUzxK8TYA

Til next time… The next post will be full of food pictures and possibly a Jacob video production – stay tuned!

Soft and fluffy…

Today is one of those days that I’m just bursting with annoyance. It’s one of those days I can only have a 2 minute shower because the baby chooses to scream his head off the moment I get in… and one of those days where I have to wait 1 hour for my doctor’s appointment with a feral child (not mine) running around the waiting room. Not to mention my nose is just hay fevered out. Le sigh…

However, my new woe is dry skin. Nobody told me that you shrivel like a prune after giving birth – well, I suppose it doesn’t happen to everyone, but it doesn’t hurt to warn. After consulting my mother’s group, it’s something to do with your hormones (and I suppose all the good nutrients go into the breastmilk).

Anyway, at the moment I feel like something between a lizard and puff pastry. I moisturise every few hours but it just dries out right after. I guess it doesn’t help that I live in South Australia, the driest state in the driest continent in the world.

One thing I’d love right now is a warm (not hot, or I’ll shed my skin like a snake) bath. Jacob, the lucky boy, gets a bath each night and sometimes in the big tub with me or daddy. He loves his baths and is looking very content with himself here:

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While many people like buying baby baths, I was told that it wasn’t really necessary – and I’m glad I never got one. There are so many things you can wash a baby in (and no, a bucket is not counted). We initially bathed him in our makeshift ice bucket (which is about the size of a linen basket), but nowadays I don’t even bother with that too often. Sometimes, if all I want to do is clean his bum, I just half-fill the sink and wash him in it. After all, he can still fit in the sink (this is a slightly older pic of him though):

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Anyway, I will keep this short as the bed beckons me. I can expect a restless night as it’s warm – Jacob’s definitely a winter baby and loves cooler weather. But he is a complete grump when it’s hot – perhaps he can just sleep in his swaddle & diaper tonight? Good night all! 🙂