Full Moon Party (just a tad bit late)

So, I may have mentioned this before, but part of my cultural heritage (and probably the largest part) is Chinese. While I don’t really practice a lot of the Chinese customs, it was wonderful to have a lot of my Wong relatives visiting from various different part of the world, hence we decided that we would have a full moon party for Jared.

In my not so in-depth knowledge of Chinese culture, here are a few things to know about a full moon party:

  • It’s a celebration of a child turning one month old. Jared was born on 23rd February, so his full moon party should have been on the 23rd of March but our relatives were only arriving in April so we just had it a bit later. Their visit was planned around Jared’s due date (which was the 7th of April) but Jared was a bit early!
  • It’s meant to mark the end of confinement, which is where the mother is literally ‘confined’ to the house and has a number of rules and rituals to follow (like drinking red date tea all day, eating only particular foods and not washing their hair for a month). I didn’t actually undergo confinement and was out and about a couple of days after Jared was born!
  • There are a number of customs that are celebrated at the full moon, such as shaving the baby’s head and having mum and baby bathe in water mixed with pomelo leaves. No, we didn’t do these either – where on earth am I meant to find pomelo leaves in Adelaide?
  • However, we did try to cook food to suit the occasion (or rather, mum and grandma cooked because I had two children stuck to me all day). Just look at the spread:moments_65887a52-c043-452e-b3ac-1b5852ff6358

Some of the dishes there are ginger wine chicken, chicken curry, beef rendang and gado gado. We also made nasi kunyit (glutinous sticky rice with turmeric) but my mum was not too impressed with my steamer. No, I don’t have that typical huge Asian bamboo steamer thing, so we tried to go between rice cooker and microwave steamer and most of it turned out okay (though one lot I burnt right to the core, oops!).

Afterwards for dessert, we were meant to make ang ku kuehs (red glutinous peanut cakes) but decided that we would just rather make glutinous rice balls instead. Love the pink! I’m amazed that Jacob actually ate two balls – he’s not usually the type to eat things that are chewy! I was half afraid that he would choke because they’re so sticky.

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The event was fairly low key and it was just nice to be able to spend time eating good food with family. The older boys (3 and 2) had a ball of a time playing in the sandpit outside and running about the house with cars and trains, while Jared pretty much slept through it anyway! Speaking of which, here he is:

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My talented sister-in-law made this beautiful framed piece for Jared as a dedication present (we had his dedication the day before that)! And here Jared is, posing in his fancy Ralph Lauren suit (also a gift to us).

We are just so blessed to have a rich cultural heritage and a beautiful and supportive lot of family members. No matter the distance, we will draw close to each other in good and bad times. 🙂

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My first day of solo parenting

So, my parents left and I had to face reality – that I am going to be spending a lot of time with these kids on my own!

Just for fun, I thought I’d document my first day (or rather, first 12 hours) of solo parenting. Hubby was at work and had parent teacher interviews til late, and I had to pick him up as the other car had been sent for repair.

I hope not to bore you but this is roughly how my day worked out.

7.30am – We farewell daddy and have breakfast, which comprises Weetbix Bites and Cheerios (and has to be mopped up from the floor eventually).

8.00am – I realise that it’s the playgroup party day and I haven’t made “party food”! Cue scrambling around to find something, and then the Asian in me prevails and I make fried bananas. I certainly will share my recipe one day!

fried bananas

8.30am – Get both kids ready for playgroup. Since it’s Siblings Day (or I think it’s the day after, but never mind), I dress them in their matching shirts! Seriously, I’m one of those mums that loves to dress their kids in matching stuff. I would probably dress to match them too if I could. I would also do daily photoshoots. But I digress…

9.30am – So, we do get to playgroup after taking heaps of photos of the boys in their matching stuff. Playgroup is great, but there’s always that one kid that goes up to another boy, shouts at him and takes his helicopter. And the one who has a tantrum as he’s frustrated that he couldn’t get something to fit into something which clearly defied physical laws. You know, the kid who won’t sit still for morning tea time and pulls out the storytime blanket from under some kids because it’s “MY BLANKET”. Yes, that is my child. I think the other mums are a combination of understanding and sympathetic towards my cause. At least my fried bananas are well received.

12.00pm – We are done with playgroup! Playgroup ends at 11.30am but it took me close to 30 mins to round up my unruly lot (i.e. one child) who took off his shoes, then I put them back on and he lost one again, and then he ran off with the door stopper and insisted it was his phone. Thank goodness for baby carriers, so I could have the baby nicely nestled in it while I lug the toddler  to the car.

1.00pm – Finally, we are organised and are eating lunch. Leftovers again, because I had no time to make anything new! That’s what weekends are for, right? Toddler is bribed to eat his food by bartering Lego pieces for his new police truck. He’s really into Duplo at the moment so I might as well make the most of it.20160322_150951

2.30pm – A friend comes over to visit with her little boy so the kiddos have a good play. I give the boys little chocolate cupcakes as treats, and there are suddenly crumbs everywhere. Try to vacuum it up with the hand vac but it doesn’t work as somebody turned the power off the charger. Brush it off and pretend the crumbs will evaporate.

4.30pm – My friend is just about to leave and we realise the boys have been pretty darn quiet. We enter the room to see half a tissue box worth of tissues on the floor!!! I reckon the boys made a pile each! My only regret is that we didn’t take a photo!

5.30pm – Normally hubby would be home by now but he’s out, so I try to put food on the table. Yet again, it’s leftovers but a different kind of leftovers (lunch was stir fry and rice, now it’s pizza). Faced with strong opposition by toddler who eats about 2 bites and then does a poo in his nappy. Take him out to be changed while baby fusses (he’s normally fussy in the evening) and the baby does a blowout, so change that and toddler’s like “Mummy, I did another one.” A lot of nappy changing and very little eating done, and then I realise that we have to go and pick hubby up soon. By now it is nearly 7pm and I’m going to run late, so we resort to a baby food pouch – Apple and Fig Porridge – which is well-received, thank goodness!

7.30pm  – We get to hubby’s workplace to pick him up, and some of hubby’s colleagues get their fair share of baby cuddles. Thus ends a busy yet fun day!

I look forward to many more fun days with my boys, as trying as they can be at times!

And also, happy (belated) siblings day!

Hitting the spot with hot pot!

I apologise for the hiatus (I have said this MANY times, haven’t I?) but I’ve just been a bit undecided about the nature of this blog. While I still want it to be a place to celebrate my journey into motherhood and the milestones my little boy achieves, I feel that I need to take the blog into a slightly different direction.

Hence, this year at least, the things I’m going to be focusing on are:
– Real life experiences with babyhood/toddlerhood (e.g. travelling with a toddler, veggie smuggling, etc.)
– Food glorious food! (recipes particularly kid-friendly ones, cooking with Jacob)
– My opinions (just because I can!)
– Random pictures of Jacob, like this one of him pretending to be a wallaby. wallaby cob So anyway, onto my post today (which you may be able to tell is about FOOD!!!)… If you are not a fan of Asian food, look no further (but trust me, this is one dish that you can fall in love with!).

Growing up in Malaysia, I think I took food for granted. Good food was always around the corner, and I was never left wanting. Whether it was soupy noodles from a coffee shop or roti canai and curry from a mamak stall, or even if I wanted “Western food” (good ol food court “lamp” chop), there was always something I wanted to eat.

noodleHere is Jacob enjoying kolo mee for breakfast – a Sarawakian delicacy!

Here in Australia, I’m finding more and more reasons to venture into the city to eat my favourite Asian dishes or at least venture to my Asian grocery to get something that tastes remotely like food from home. When I used to work in the city, it was fully possible to indulge in such luxuries but now I’m stuck with an objectionable toddler whose table manners are questionable, cooking things at home just seem to be the norm.

image-d66217a1f71e9ec50fcd3f6e2870fd41d5ab3d6fae57958561d214a1f16fb2da-VWe don’t get snow here, but we did have an icy day over the weekend!

The combination of cold weather and pictures of delicious food coming up on my newsfeed made me really crave Asian food! So, the other day, I urged Daniel to accompany me to my local Asian grocery to pick up some ingredients. Many Malaysian dishes are soon to be made, but for tonight, I felt like having hot pot.

Hot pot is basically dining in front of a boiling pot of broth and adding a myriad of vegetables, meat and seafood (though we don’t eat seafood) into the pot to cook. It’s a longer dining process, but very satisfying, especially on a cold day. In Malaysia, we call it “steamboat” and we usually use a clear broth to cook it – however, my friends and I here usually eat at a Chinese-style hot pot place which has really spicy broth, so I was looking for something of that sort. image-99789a5c3f70e1a0453f163b3defacc96c607fa1a71dbb65e5833299d6ddcc58-VAlas, I found a soup base so that’s a start. Sorry, I’m a bit of a cheat – I suppose I could have found all the different herbs and spices to make a good soup base, but why do that when I can have the convenience of having it all in one packet? The packet says only to add 1.5L of water but I found it way too spicy and flavourless, so I also added 1L of chicken stock which made it taste much better.

Anyway, on to the fresh ingredients – I think it’s so important to have a balance. While I have to admit that I love the meat in it (beautiful pieces of fatty beef and lamb sliced paper thin), it would be hard to eat this dish without lighter ingredients like green vegetables, mushrooms and tofu. image-106da53fb55ca1e7351ee4154e0991eee2a6fdc7eea24c510e110be0227571fa-VI bought the sliced meat from the Asian grocery (because I don’t think I’d be able to slice it that thinly on my own!). I made up a veggie platter with bok choy, spinach, golden mushroom, tofu, potatoes (mainly for Jacob) and glass noodles. Take note that glass noodles are not rice vermicelli – they are made from bean starch and are transparent, not white. I also cut up some fish and threw in some dumplings (bought, not made. Sorry, I don’t have that kind of time!!).

And then the sauce – there are many varieties to the sauces you can make, but I like to make a simple garlicky sauce that just uses chopped garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil and chilli flakes. Quantities are completely up to your tastebuds (though I recommend not putting too much sesame oil as it just gets too oily!).
image-f9b822b65c28289a96daf13fccd54fa30f610602780d066bf28ed1aa79c2f334-VReal hot pot enthusiasts actually invest in a burner so that you can control your hotpot on the table itself, but I just made it on the stove and transferred it when it was done. Some simple rules around it are:
– Add the food that takes the longest to cook first – common sense! The ingredients in hot pot don’t take too long to cook really, since they are cut finely.
– Don’t double dip – use “serving” cutlery. As tempting as it is to fish something out with your chopsticks, it’s not nice. Hubby and I don’t really care at home but it does matter if you’re having a meal out with a group of people.
– Don’t put raw food in amongst the cooked food – fish out as much as you can and then put a fresh lot of food in. hot potSo, what’s the verdict by our judges?

Daniel: It was good – could be spicier! (Hubby’s a firebreathing dragon, I reckon!)
Lianne: Achievement unlocked, and craving satisfied!
Jacob: Yucky! (which is his new favourite word) 20150717_171458 I cooked Jacob’s food separately as he probably shouldn’t be having full on spicy food. However, I reckon this was just too many new tastes and textures put together. The soup was too wet, the noodles were too thin, meat was too stringy (even though I cut it into small pieces), vegetables were too vegetably – but he did eat some potato and all the tofu. He’s a tofu monster! He then requested a hash brown and ice cream. Oh well!

Anyway, I’m definitely making hot pot again – anyone want to join me? The more the merrier! 🙂

Just going to end this post with a picture of Jacob having a baby cino – one of the winter luxuries that he certainly indulges in! To my Aussie friends, keep warm – to my Malaysian ones, Selamat Hari Raya and to my friends in UK and across Europe, keep cool! babycino

Work in progress…

Goodness, what a whirlwind last few days! I’m finally home again and settling into our newly tiled house! 🙂 Here’s a little sneak peek:

ImageThere’s still a clear film of some sorta powderlike thing which I have to mop off tomorrow with vinegar, and then only can we move the furniture back as well (as you can see from the pic, a lot of it is still outside). A work in progress, but we’re getting there!

ImageWe had to stay at a hotel for a night as we couldn’t walk on the tiles at all for one day, which pretty much meant we could only sit in our bedroom (and couldn’t even walk to the bathroom). Anyway, we decided to make a date out of it and booked into a lovely boutique hotel nearby- Sfera’s Park. I thought it was only a conference and function centre, and didn’t realise they had a small number of rooms there too.

I have to say I was quite impressed, especially for what we paid. We booked into a Spa Suite (since it was only $10 more than the standard room) and it was lovely. A spacious room indeed and so was the spa tub – it easily fitted 2 adults and a baby.

20140206_160124He enjoyed gnawing on his giraffe on the nice soft bed. Oh yes – Jacob update. His two bottom teeth have cut through and he is immensely proud of them! He loves biting everything (including mummy, ouch!) but obviously this means that his sleep patterns have gone to the dogs. Oh well – I love my silly billy all the same.

20140206_173059Oh yes, my silly billy also slept in the hotel’s Portacot that night. He didn’t really like it because it was a bit hard for his liking, so I eventually brought him into our bed. He does look cute in there though. 🙂

This hotel also happened to be next to Tea Tree Gully Library, which I go to for Baby Bounce with Jacob, so I spent a bit of time there. He likes the songs and rhymes at his Baby Bounce sessions, but I think he especially likes seeing all the other babies. I love the children’s section there, but I must admit I also like the manga section. 😉 I’ve already borrowed something from it. Anyway, here is Jacob enjoying the kids section:

20140206_163909Oh yes, I also met up with some friends for some yummy Asian food at our favourite joint – Fortune Duck. Jacob was being his usual bothered self (as he is now that he’s teething) so we took turns holding him. He really enjoyed eating some banana there – I’ve realised that he much prefers biting into food as opposed to eating mush, so maybe I’ll give him more lumpy food. Photo credits to my friend Grace:

photoStill so much to do, and tomorrow is 40 degrees again. When will this hot weather end? Have a great weekend folks!

Typical pregnancy blog post

Over the weekend, I indulged in reading a few pregnancy blogs and thought I’d do a little pregnancy blog post. I really don’t have too long to go, and I feel I really should embrace these last few weeks.

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How far along? 34 Weeks

Total weight gain: I believe I’ve put on 11kg, which is pretty alright for my body weight.

Maternity clothes? Note to self – in next pregnancy, buy size 8 not size 10. I realise that by week 34, if my maternity pants are still too big for me, I’m not going to get much wear out of them.

Stretch marks? So far hardly any- just a linea nigra, which is a dark vertical line appearing on the abdomen.

Sleep: It’s been a bit difficult to sleep with this cold of mine, though it is getting better hence sleep is getting gradually more comfortable. I probably just need more sleep in general – too hyper sometimes and then I crash.

Best moment this week: I have to admit I’ve enjoyed my days off where Daniel is at home as well (he’s on school holidays). Though I was headachy and sniffly, it was good to relax with him.

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Miss Anything? Perhaps the freedom to play sports or exercise freely. I just feel a bit self-conscious trying to do a lot of these things, and would really love to do Zumba or martial arts again.

Movement: The baby’s making more sweeping movements than kicks, and still grooves around quite a bit, especially when I’ve just had chocolate or a cold drink.

Food cravings: Recently I’ve felt like having more meat, like Korean BBQ! And would probably also like some nice Wanton Mee. This is my favourite one from Nanyang Cafe.

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Anything making you queasy or sick: Car rides. It’s sad but I get motion sickness, especially driving back from the hills (hence why I prefer driving).

Labor Signs: For some reason, I feel like the baby’s dropped, or is in the process of dropping. I could be wrong, but he or she seems a little lower and there seems to a bit more pressure on my pelvis. But then again, it could also be my posture or something, so I don’t know…

Belly Button in or out? Half and half!

Wedding rings on or off? My wedding rings are pretty loose still – I was shaking my wrists the other day and they flew off and Skittles gingerly picked it up. Thank goodness she has her gentle grip on things, so managed to fish it out of her mouth instead of out of her poo.

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Symptoms: Just a bit more tired than usual, which is expected (and may be linked to my lack of sleep). Also, I need to find a comfy position to sit in at work because I fidget too much…

Mood: I think I’ve been pretty alright – I don’t crazy mood swings but I can get manja with Daniel (Google Translate says manja means spoiled, and I suppose it’s right!)

Pregnancy dreams? I’ve had epic ones about jumping into the sea but not getting wet, taking over palaces, owning some awesome homes, being involved in battles and fights – all with relatively random people being involved.

Looking forward to: More sleep! And honestly, for the baby to be here. I’m in that anticipation stage…

Next appointment: This coming Thursday – I hope that I get a knowledgeable midwife who can help me out with a few special requests. This may be my last one at Modbury as I’ll try to transfer the rest to Lyell Mac to orientate myself.

ImageOn a final note, this ad keeps coming up on my Facebook, reminding me to touch Skittles. As a note to all, this is what happens when you touch Skittles:

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