Friday, August 29, 2008

A Tai-tai Day - Part 3

We went off to Clarke Quay to wind down... and to utilise some vouchers we had gotten.

Sad to say that most of the restaurants here are not family friendly though we did come across some babies in their prams at some outdoor drinking joints. Finally we found one alongside the canal and who could resist a restaurant that had an award for Best Chilli Crab in Year 2007? So here we were, enjoying the night canal view.. tucking into a plate of 1.5kg Sri Lanka Crab. And of yah, the free 'airshow' that a few hobbyists put up as they practice their remote controlled kites.

Verdict : Lifestyle of a tai-tai is very damaging to the pocket of an average stay-at-home mum.

A Tai-tai Day - Part 2

After the strenous exercise at Fidgets, we went to search for the nice waffles at Turf City. Well, we didn't find it so we settled at SOL.

Jay was knocked out from all the running and Jem happily proceeded to the play area which I had to mention it was pretty poorly maintained. Still he enjoyed himself especially some girls came by to play with him.

Just nice for Mark and I to have some couple time...

Jem did get a waffle though

A Tai-tai Day - Part 1

It's the shool hols again... to skip the crowd, I'd brought the kids out on Friday before the week of holidays really started. Mark went on half day leave..
I'm not that keen on indoor playgrounds especially paid ones but what could be a better choice to let the kids enjoy while i'm on my own during the rainy season? So we took a cab and headed out to Fidget @ Turf City.
It was a good choice. The kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves, climbing and running crazily. Jay rewarded me with some near heart attacks being his usual reckless self. And I think I made some maids felt they are blessed... as they watched this mummy climbing up the obstacles trying to get her little one slow down while balancing to get some sturdy photo shots with a DSLR. One sweet Australian mummy even took the effort to come to me and said that she's there almost every week and never once managed to get a good shot cos the kids will never slow down.

Finally, when they were exhausted with the 'big stuff', they willingly followed me to the cafe where the toddlers' corners are. It's good to be there on a weekday... especially when you get to have the sofa seats. Got them some cakes to fill their little tummies and off they went again, this time to the toddlers' side. Heavenly!! That's when my 'tai-tai' moments started. With little watching required... I got to curl up on the armchair and read a traveling mag. Soon, another mum from new zealand joined me for a chat.

Mark came along and brought the kids to the big playground for 2nd round.

Total damage to the wallet :
2 Entrance Fee - $30
3 pair of socks - $9
1 peppermint tea - $4.60
1 Chocolate Cake - $6.90
1 Cupcake - $3.50
1 Apricot Roast Chicken Sandwich - $7.40
1 Mango smoothie - $6.30

Total : $67.70 (Not to forget the $12 cab fare...)

Details on Fidget :

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Recipe : Steam Chicken

Been a while that I blog on cooking, so decide to share this dish that we had while the family was down with flu and cough recently.
Steam Chicken is a common dish that most prepare at home I guess. On lazy days, or like recently, sick days, I'll just put it to steam together with the rice in the cooker. Save time, effort and electricity.
But when the family is down w cough or getting heaty, I'll prep this with dried lily bulb instead of ginger.
Lily bulb is a good general herb to tonify the body, especially beneficial to the lung and heart. It helps to reduce cough but not suitable for those with cold base cough.
Ingredients :
Chicken pieces, marinated with soy sauce and pepper.
Dried mushroom, soak
Water from soaking the mushroom
Dried lily bulb, soak for 2hrs
Put the ingredients together, partially covered with water from soaking the mushrooms. Put to steam till chicken cook through.
No additional seasoning is added for my family consumption as we minimise our salt intake. But the taste is sufficient if the chicken has been marinated well in advance and the water from mushroom is already fragrant. Normally sesame oil is skipped too to reduce heatiness. Wolfberries can be added at the last 5mins of steaming.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lobsy have a new tank!!

A nice restaurant

We went to Bukit Panjang Mall over the weekend and found this Hong Kong Cafe with nice ambience.. The kids enjoyed watching the cars on the road and the LRT going by.

Retaining the memories of the roses

Remember the roses Mark bought for me in Cameron?
Not only did I take pictures to keep it in remembrance, I read up and air dry the petals! Yeap!! I made my own potpourri out of those roses.

It's for real...

Some have been asking me... is your blog for real? How can one keep having good, fun times and no down times? Am I stashing away the bad stuff, sweeping it into some dark corners so that all can envy me for the blessed life i lead?

The truth is out... i do have my fair share of down times as every woman out there and I do face the same kind of problems... sickness, incorrigible husband, untamable kids, forever rising bills, neverending to-do list, constant aching back and muscles and insatiable demands from everyone.

Just 2 weeks back, Mark and I had a big fight which as usual tempted me to show him the door and me falling into the pit by raising the 'd' word. Details of the fight were the usual complaints for the past 4 yrs and as usual resolved by soft spoken sorries from both side. Why? Because the bible says in Ephesians 4:26 "Do not let your sun go down while you are still angry,". For the non-believer, please read it as sleep is more appealing than staying angry/upset.

While I was in the bad time... I was busy weeping and my eyes hurt from too much crying thus prevent me from blogging. Subsequently, my mind got overwhelmed by how good the crabs were, a treat we often give ourselves for surviving the ordeals.. and since i relish the sweetness of the meat more than the bitterness of the fight, i think i rather write about the dish of chilli crabs instead.

I was down with bad bout of flu, terrible two frustrations, pain and aches from cleaning up the messes as well. I ought to complain to that.. because of it, I gotta gave a birthday party a miss. But it definitely didn't stop me from going out in the evening to enjoy National Day's firework and air show.. oh wow!those planes were amazing!!! Not to mention the beautiful fireworks... u get my drift? its always the beauty overriding the saddies..

As for those like concerns on Jem's terrible pronounciations, Jay's extreme tantrums, an ostentious expense that throws the month's budget off balance, lack of time to finish work, existence of irritants etc., Matthew 6:34 says"And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?" Be it biblically or logically, it holds the truth... so i might jolly well use the time and energy people spend on worrying to play..and subsquently blog on the 'playtime'.

So rejoice, you ladies out there! For your problem plagued family life is indeed normalcy. You can attribute my absence of down times as short term memory lost or permanent immersion in self denial. In whichever way, you can still continue to envy me cos indeed I am blessed. For the meaning of 'blessed' is not in having everything but in contentment of everything....

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Family Trip to Cameron/Malacca ~ Part V

Leaving Cameron Higlands, we came to Malacca, our 2nd visit as a family. We had to come by here to top up our Uncle Tan's Crispy Prawn Chilli and some cuttlefish snacks.

We stayed at Equatorial Hotel as recommended by the travel agent which was good really cos its near most of the attractions. Especially so when it rains the next morning and we had only need to cross a road to reach the malls.
We walked to Capitol Satay for dinner once freshened up from the drive and thereafter, a walk at Jonker Street Night Market.Next morning, we had breakfast at the hotel cafe then went over to the shopping malls after requesting for a late check out at the reservation counter. Nothing much other than a few good buys from Padini and diapers from Carrefour. Oh yah... we top up on Singlong's chilli paste as well.

After checking out, we looked for Ole Sayang restaurant to have peranakan fares, something that we missed during our last trip. Thank goodness Mark managed to find it half an hour before the last order for their lunch session. Nice!! and I'm gonna try my hands on cooking those delicious Pineapple Prawn curry. (yep, I even found the recipe)... Home sweet home after getting stuff from Tan Kim Hock.

More photos of the trip at

Family Trip to Cameron/Malacca ~ Part IV

Food in Cameron Highlands
We had breakfasts at Jim Thompsom Cafe back in Strawberry Park each morning. They served decent breakfast buffet complete with variety of breads, cheeses and sides to complete the continental brekkie. There's even a prata counter which I did not try... age has caught up and I no longer goes for heavy stuff to break the day.

Steamboat goes well with the weather here and you can find quite a few restaurants serving it. We wouldn't give it a miss of course especially it's at 17bucks per pax. Don't expect plentiful of meats but huge servings of their fresh vegetables instead.
We really had to mention Bala's Chalet here!! We went over after the KHM episode for some tea and scones. The English styled garden is so beautiful and filled with serenity that makes one just want to sip the tea in a dainty way and do nothing. (Not even 2 monsterous kids jumping around can kill the mood) The scones were served with strawberry jams from KHM and fresh creams. It was truly a nice experience that both Mark and I felt that we would like to be back again when our kids are .. erm... less monsterous?
We had another round of scones and tea in Cameron Valley Plantation on our way downhill. I had shortbreads instead this time round and bought a box of strawberry tea. Somehow ceylon from Sri Lanka is still preferred to Boh and those available here. But the magnificent view and cold breeze does wonders to the food.

Family Trip to Cameron/Malacca ~ Part III

Around the towns of Cameron Highlands
I love flowers!! LOTS!! If you are wondering how I got stuck with a husband that never believes in giving flowers... its because he spent the money on buying me chilli crabs for supper every month... as he claims.

Back to Cameron... the weather here does the floral good. Roses, lilies, orchids, morning glories, hibiscus etc flourish beautifully even in the wild. YES! Lilies that we pay 7bucks per stalk is here in the wild and you can get a dozen for 5 ringgits in the market.

We had to go to the Rose Valley although roses are not in my favourite list. There are rows and rows of different breeds and all in bloom. There's my favourite daisies and gerberas though and other unique flowers. The flowers still pale in comparison to those seen in London/Amsterdam and doesn't smell as strong as well... but lovely in their own ways, especially if compared to those available in Singapore. Oh well... you know.

One will not miss strawberry farms here.. there's so many to choose from but we travelled to look for KHM farm. It's really small and there wasn't any strawberries for plucking nor available for sale cos most were still green. We came here as its recommended to have the best homemade jams and ice cream, which later verified by Mark that their jam does taste better. Oh well, we did walk off with a bottle of strawberry topping after tasting it with the ice cream.
Oh my, the pasar malam there is unforgettable with rows of stalls selling flowers(yes, again), fruits, vegetables and snacks. The fruits were vibrant in colours especially the strawberries, but though being juicy... it lacks of the fragrance and sweetness. The vegetables are lovely!!! Being the 'auntie', i just had to go "ohhh" and "wow" at those super fresh and pretty veggies. And what's more, these fresh stuffs were being fried and steamed at other stalls. We bought sweet potatoes home.. 3 packs and skipped the popular sweet corns. No, it was good really... its really 'sweet' corns, so much so we thought it was saturated with sugar syrup. I didn't really fancy serving 'dessert' kind of soups for dinner so I gave it a miss. Oh yah, try out the fried mushrooms if you have the chance to.
Most importantly... the flowers there were so cheap, even Mark couldn't resist getting me a bunch of champagne roses..heheheh

Family Trip to Cameron/Malacca ~ Part II

Stay at Strawberry Park, Cameron Highland
Oh yes... over 1,500m over sea level in the cool hills of cameron Highlands, with it's sweet looking tudor styled resort and plentiful of greens and flora, I totally agree with the brochures that it's a perfect hideaway.
Our stay here was definitely one of the most relax one despited the heart stopping drive up. The cool or somtimes cold breezes.. greens and more greens... sweet singing birds... beautiful flowers...
Jem liked the butterflies that greeted us at our doorstep each morning while waiting for their wings to be dry from the morning dew to flutter away...
And yes... one shall not forget the comfortable beds that we can lounge, sleep, and mess up without having to straighten it after...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Family Trip to Cameron/Malacca ~ Part I

1st August 2008, 8:30am... we set off from home to drive up to Cameron Highland for our annual family trip.

We had a stopover at Machap, an R&R station before YongPeng. It's pretty clean with a nice playground, much to the delights of the kids, and a foodcourt with Malay stalls.
Next stop, Mid Valley at Kuala Lumpur. We were behind time but couldn't resist staying longer. Justco was having sale.. just nice as we left Jay's jacket behind at home. Managed to get a nice one at a good price.. seems like i had been shopping at their annual mega sale for the past years. The kids had fun at the kids' arcade and later lunch at KFC. Their original flavour is definitely better than those served in Singapore.
The sun was setting when we once again hit the road for Cameron. Oh gosh was I anxious and panicky... thinking of the ride uphill in darkness. Mark was concentrating hard on manoveuring through all the turns uphill with no lamp posts to assist. I was running through strings of prayers in my mind.
But it's definitely worth the experience driving up at night! (I'm not sure if Mark shares the same enthusiasm though) Imagine previous trips up Mersing, camping at Ubin for all the stargazing... none can equals the sight that greet me when we were winding up to the top. Scorpius was next to me and for once, stars really felt within reach. (To Mark, the lack of barriers on the side means the cliff is definitely within reach) Even Jerome when we finally reach the resort exclaimed,"Look! So many stars!! So beautiful...."