Father’s Day DIY chocolate cards

One of the odd things I found when I moved to Australia is the fact that Father’s Day is in September. Really?? I always thought it was in June! I think the International Father’s Day is in June but for us Aussies, we do it in September – probably because it’s more or less warm enough to fire up the barbie?

Anyway, it’s Father’s Day weekend, and my husband is incredibly hard to shop for! Either I get him something incredibly corny and pointless, or the thing he wants absolutely and utterly blows the budget (for example, his last present was a smart watch). But anyway, I wanted to do something a little different and more personal, so I searched for ideas on the net, and decided to pair a little humour with a bit of chocolate.

While we have a range of chocolate bars in normal Aussie retailers (Snickers, Mars Bars, KitKat, Smarties, etc.), I wanted to broaden the range a bit so I checked out Blackeby’s Sweets in the local mall which is a confectioner that carries a whole lot of imported chocolates. So chocolate shopping we went!

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Naturally, our boys wanted to help out, which often ends up in disaster!!! For one, both of them wanted to eat the chocolate – Jared wasn’t fussed that it was chocolate, like he’d eat a sock if I gave it to him, but Jacob was really interested and was like “Can I open this one? Just one pleaseeee??”

Finally, when I successfully convinced Jacob that the chocolates were not for him, we started to write the messages and stick the chocolates on. Yet again this process took forever as the kids continued to try and eat chocolate and stick/unstick the chocolate from the cardboard. Not to mention Jacob kept asking me “Who is this one for?” for literally every piece of chocolate, to a point that I practically begged him to play a game on my phone so he would just stop asking me haha!!

Disclaimer: I just put Jared on the table to take this picture – normally I don’t put 6 month old babies on dining tables. No babies were injured!

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At long last, these are the cards I came up with. Which do you think is the funniest?

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Anyway, if you’re ever short of ideas for an interesting card (be it Father’s Day or a birthday) and the person is a lover of chocolate, why not try this out? 🙂

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there (including my dad who lives many miles away and if I had made one for him, it probably would have melted on the way there)!

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All about the eggs

One thing I miss about living in Malaysia is the many public holidays we get there – anywhere from Chinese New Year to Hari Raya (Eid) and even Deepavali! Here in Australia, holidays are far and few, but Easter is one of them and is especially  meaningful to us.

We go to church on Saturdays and I am involved in something I’m passionate about – children’s ministry! I never used to be – in fact, I used to think I would be awful with kids and just felt awkward when little kids would talk to me and ask me to act in roleplay games or sing silly kids songs. And then I had a child, and I discovered the child in me!

Now that I have kids, I really enjoy trying to teach my children in creative ways (even though I am not exactly artsy and am nowhere near “Pinterest mum” standards). I’m also a bit frugal with my art i.e. I can’t justify spending a lot on supplies. Hence resulting in an art project like this – Jacob painting with homemade flour/salt/food colouring paint on the back of a nappy box! No art smocks in this house!

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Anyway, for Easter, I wanted to do something simple for the kids so I made a little Easter activity pack for them so they could have something to do during the sermon. I found a little Jelly Bean Prayer/poem that can help kids remember the significance of the event through colours. The word search was more for the primary aged kids, a colouring sheet and stickers, which are always well received. I also made a threading cross our of card and gave the kid some yarn to build their motor skills – sadly Jacob was more interested in tying it around his head and pretending it was a crown (still on topic I suppose, Jacob).

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I found a really cute video about the significance of Easter, which I don’t think Jacob really understands yet, but I do hope that in time he’ll be able to grasp it and also take it seriously. Sometimes I worry about his lack of empathy, or the fact that he finds it funny that Goliath got hit in the head and that Jonah got eaten by a fish. Hmm… another post about empathy for another day perhaps.

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We also listened to the Easter sermon about eggs – I mean resurrection eggs! You can buy them from Koorong or any Christian bookstore, and they’re fun for toddlers. The kids were called up to the front to open up the eggs. Here’s what the kids found in the eggs:
A little donkey, silver coins, chalice, praying hands, whip, rooster, crown of thorns, nails in the shape of a cross, spear, linen cloth, stone and the last one was empty.
Do you know the significance of these symbols in the Easter story?

And finally, while I know that it is more commercialism than anything else, but why not get in on the whole chocolate egg business? We had an egg hunt at church and also at my brother-in-law’s place – here are our munchkins feasting on their spoils (which we eventually removed from them before they ate their own weight in chocolate)!

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I hope all of you have had a blessed Easter and may we remember the true meaning of the season.

But He was pierced for our transgressions;
He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on Him,
and by His wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5

Randomness..

My last few days have been devoted to doing relatively random things. I’ve been feeling pretty random lately, but I reckon it’s a good thing.

One thing we’ve been doing lately is indulging (as if Christmas and New Year’s was not enough). We went out with friends for Indian food and finally (I repeat, FINALLY) went to Chocolateria San Churros which not-so-recently opened up in Adelaide. It used to be Dan’s and my favourite hangout spot in Melbourne – like, after finishing a shift, we’d head over there for some decadent chocolate!

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No, I did not eat that sundae all by myself (but it was still awesome). Dan’s just disappointed that Self-saucing Chocolate Pudding is no longer on the menu – that was our favourite dessert there!

I also decided to cook up a storm the following night and make a scrumptious tea (which is dinner in Aussie terms). Presenting, pan-fried herbed salmon avocado with black rice & vegetables. Just so you know, black rice and salmon make an awesome combination, as do salmon and avocado. And I have to say salmon is not the same skin-off – crispy skin is addictive!

ImageIn the last few days, I’ve also been trying to catch up on some old movies. After watching The Hobbit, I particularly thought about Legolas and how he wasn’t supposed to be in this movie but they probably brought him back because so many people thought he was hot. Not me though – I prefer a more rugged look (Aragorn is my LOTR man!). But I thought, hmm Orlando Bloom did look a bit better in Pirates of the Caribbean. Hence why I embarked on a blast from the past to watch the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

Yes, I know there are four, but I stopped before watching the fourth one because it doesn’t really follow on from there, and also because I decided I wanted to watch more James Bond movies. I’m random, aren’t I? I guess the Bond idea came about because we’re planning to go to a James Bond exhibition. It looks really cool (and Dan is excited), but I must admit that I don’t know the different between Golden Eye, Goldfinger, Gold Member and Gold Digger. I think the only two James Bond movies I’d watched to-date would be Casino Royale and Skyfall. So, I had some catching up to do. Any 007 fans out there – which ones are the best ones for a rookie to watch?

And here’s Jacob in his tunnel with his toy from Christmas. I think he’s a sorcerer – he manages to get it to play random songs that Dan and I can’t seem to turn on. Maybe it’s a certain combination of buttons you need to press.. or maybe the song only plays when you bite the toy. Who knows?

20140103_183102Anyway, on a final note, Jacob’s going on his first interstate trip tomorrow! 🙂 Will have more details later but I’m not bringing my laptop, so may not write a major blog post til I’m back. I do plan to send a photo update at least!

Have a lovely week everyone! 🙂

A bit of an eating/shopping post!

I never imagined how much I’d enjoy a clean house! 🙂 An uncluttered house helps me keep an uncluttered mind… Dan and I had to clean up for a meeting at our place, and it’s spurred me on to try and get the other rooms clean as well. Let’s see how long this stint will last though!

I was crossing my fingers earlier in the week that the baby wouldn’t come before Wednesday, because we were planning to go out for dinner with friends. We went for some Mexican food and some of us topped it off with decadent chocolate desserts.

Firstly, I have to admit to you that I would be a terrible food blogger because I don’t take pictures of my food. I sometimes find it slightly embarrassing, especially in fine dining. Plus, my phone doesn’t do a great job of it (and I have shaky hands, so the photo is almost always blurry when I take it). And usually, I just want to eat! 🙂

But anyway, last night we went to Zapata’s Mexican Restaurant on Melbourne Street. Loved the decor but couldn’t say the same about the service. Perhaps I was expecting a bit more since they’ve won lots of awards. Fair enough, it’s hard to serve a table of 12, but despite putting the cover numbers on the table (which is not very classy, in my opinion), they still had to call out the names of the dishes and got the bill a bit mixed up in the end.

Simple hospitality solution: Allocate the table to just one waiter (to reduce confusion) and get that waiter to remember the cover numbers and be in charge of all the orders. Instead of writing cover numbers on the table (which didn’t work anyway), just have a system, such as the person with the back of their chair facing the bar being number 1, then going clockwise from that person.
When bringing out the food, bring them out by cover number or at least refer to the docket when serving. And I would have sorted out the bills out in advance since it was clear which people were couples, which were paying alone to avoid the confusion at the end.

If anyone wants to hire me to manage their restaurant, do drop me a line- haha! I have to admit that as crazy as it can be working in restaurants, I LOVE it! It’s fast-paced, diverse, confusing/chaotic at times, yet it’s all about giving people a personal and memorable experience (and of course, serving delicious food!) At least the food was pretty yummy – stole some pics off their website!

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Wednesdays are half price Nachos nights! If you ever go there, get the special nachos because the plain one only comes with cheese, spring onion and jalapenos!

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I have to admit my Bistec Ranchero was delicious! Finely marinated and really tender even though I asked for medium well. Daniel had Chilli Colorado which didn’t have any spice at all, and was relatively mediocre (but he was happy I gave him some of my steak).

Anyway, some of us decided to venture over to Chocolatree, which was one of our favourite chocolate joints back when we lived in North Adelaide. It was probably a bit decadent of me, but I decided to order a Nutty Waffle – looks like this except add nuts, take away the strawberries:

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It was delicious, though I think I would have fancied it better with dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate. They do some awesome hot chocolates as well – dark mint hot chocolate is probably my favourite!

Anyway, this might be the last restaurant meal out for a while, so I just thought I’d make a big deal about it. 🙂 I’ll have to experiment with more dishes at home, and I do promise I’ll take a few pictures then!

Today I decided to do a bit of online shopping, for a few reasons:
– I had a gift card to use (I like to use them soon after I get them in case they get lost)
– The store had 15% off all stock today

Here are my purchases, which should come in the mail sometime next week:

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If you haven’t guessed which store this is, it’s Peter Alexander! 🙂 They do have some cute stuff, though I’m not really a pink, lacy, fluffy sorta person. I have to admit I love the concept of “one a day” things. I’ve bought Daniel Monday to Sunday undies, so I thought I should have some for myself too.

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I was looking around for PJs and nightgowns, but can’t justify buying one (especially since I just wear old T-shirts and stuff to bed). But then I found this awesome cosmetic bag – it was actually in the Men’s section but I just love it! Whenever we go on short holidays, I always struggle to find a nice bag for my toiletries (and I must admit, the last time I used a sandwich zip-lock bag!)

If you’re interested, their 15% off sale is only until midnight tonight (probably EST, so about 8 hours left!). Just want to say a big Thank You to the AIB staff (my previous workplace) for contributing to the gift card!

On a final note, I was speaking to some of my girlfriends about pelvic floor exercises and I just thought I’d share the importance of doing these exercises, even when not pregnant.

Exercising these muscles helps in the long run with controlling your bladder and your bowels. In pregnancy, these muscles undergo further stress due to hormonal changes, and from other pregnancy symptoms like constipation.

I was a bit lazy (and cocky too) initially, thinking I needn’t bother doing these exercises. But then, a few weeks ago, I caught a cold and I tell you, I suffered a few leakages every time I sneezed. I admit that I don’t do the exercises as often as I’m supposed to (I keep forgetting!), but doing some is probably better than doing none.

Even if you’re not pregnant, there are factors that could cause this muscle to grow week, such as being overweight, continuously lifting heavy things or simply growing older. And this also affects men too, hence it’s just as important that you guys work these muscles too!

I’ll just leave you with this handy link should you wish to learn more about it: http://www.thewomens.org.au/Pelvicfloorexercises

Have a lovely rest of the week! 🙂