1st day of school: Xander is in K2!

Check out my pimped out kicks!

It was the first day of school for most kids in Singapore and Xander was no exception. He starts K2 this year and will be the big brother to most of the little ones in his school. He was feeling so proud and kept talking about it when I picked him up at the end of the day. This was also the last year of kindergarten and “freedom” before the crunch of Primary One formal education starts in 2015. We also decided to let him enjoy this freedom as much as possible before his little sister is born. In about 2 months, our full attention on him will have to be split between 2 kids. Gee… TWO! I never even expected to have one child and soon we will have two monkeys running around! Oh boy!

Going back to our Hokkien roots!

You know how big we are on exposing the kid to all things weird and wonderful right? I’ve been itching to buy this book for a really long time but somehow never got round nor have the excuse for it until recently. I decided Xan will learn more proper Hokkien words this year! What better way than with a picture book? You can purchase this book and other sibeh funny products online from Sibey Nostalgic. I was trying to go through some of the words with him on the way to school yesterday and I finally realized how lousy my knowledge of the dialect is. I nair seen more than half of the words before ah! So suaku! We have a good laugh trying to pronounce the words as best as we can and in our own ang moh accent. You can watch Xan try reading some of the words in the video below.

When I sent the video to our family members, they also had a good laugh at his ang moh qiang (Caucasian accent). I thought it was a brilliant effort from the kid! Funny sia!

That was our experience of Xan’s first day of school yesterday. A little different from everybody else’s but we had fun. Primary 1 is next year, I will sweat over it next year. This year we will just concentrate on playing hard (and maybe on the side, study a little harder of course 😛 ) and having some fun.

P.S. This is not a book review. I paid for the book with my own money and I thought I should share with you something my family enjoyed tremendously. Go get it lah. Steady? Steady!

Wordless Wednesday: Last mischief of 2013

My 1st post of the new year and it’s about mischief! Hahaha!

As you can see he is off by about 10 cm. Typically I would scream at him for marking the walls. With permanent marker no less. The naughty boy also drew a smiley face next to his master piece and that little smiley face reminded me the walls can always be repainted but moments like this can never be recreated. So I laughed and shooed him back to bed. “We will talk about this later.”

When the 2 of them (yes, Daddy needed a nap too) woke up at the same time, I broke the news to Daddy.

I stood in front of the masterpiece and said “I show you something but you cannot get angry with him ah?” Then I moved away. Daddy laughed and I said “he is off by 10cm”. Daddy used the same blue marker Xan had used earlier and re marked the correct measurement. After that, we went out for our last dinner of 2013, followed by the last car ride of 2013 then the last sleep of 2013. My goodness, so many “lasts” I should stop here hor? No end one…

What would you do if it happened to you?

 

Linking up with:

new button

Let’s go… Rock climbing!

A little while ago, a bunch of us mums gathered our kids together for a rock climbing session (for kids between 5 to 12 years old) at Kinetics. Xan and I have never tried this before and I was skeptical how he (the boy who thinks wushu with the pole thing is a very violent sport) would respond to it. What if he chickens out at the door? What if he throws a power tantrum and refuse to get out of the car?? With kids ah, you never know when they will suddenly change their opinions about activities or even foods they originally have an aversion to so I took my chances and signed him up. Don’t try won’t know right?

Since the cost covers the necessary gear, all we needed to bring were socks to wear with their special climbing shoes. Please ah, no skirts for obvious reasons. Jeans are not encouraged so keep the dress code light and comfy.

image

Xan was thrilled to see familiar faces and even managed to make some new friends. All the kids had a good warm up session from all the laughing and mischief kids at this age are usually up to.

image

I must admit I was very proud of Xander who managed his anxiety and even succeeded to scale the wall a few times at the beginning. It also helped that the other kids and their mummies were cheering whoever was climbing and that helped boosted everybody’s confidence level a fair bit. However, as the level of climbing difficulty increases, so did the amount of instructions. For newbies to sporting activities such as this, having what seemed like a hundred instructions being thrown to you by the instructor AND the parent at the same time can be very chaotic. Xan was visibly overwhelmed and felt defeated when he couldn’t move according to instructions. By the time his feet touched the ground, he was ready to give up and go home.

image

How do you encourage a child to try and continue with a difficult task when he is feeling so defeated? I resisted from comparing him with the other kids who sailed through all the levels with great ease. I had to remind myself that every child has a right to choose whether he wants to continue with it or not, just like any adult. So I let him rest and hope he might want to try and finish the rest of the course after he see how the other kids managed to.

image

At that moment, Xan’s friend Poppy saw him sitting by himself and looked so sad. She came over to ask him what happened and even tried to cheer him up without much success. At this point I was very surprised to see a child this young trying to console a friend in need. That was a completely new experience for me. Wah! She was so sweet I should’ve hugged her to thank her for her kindness but I was too blur to react. * heart melts* Although he didn’t immediately cheer up but he later mustered up enough courage to try climbing a few more rounds before we call it a day. Yay Xander! Mummy was super duper proud of you!

image
Image credit: Gingerbreadmum

As parents, we can only provide so much guidance and tools to help our child through the various stages of their lives. We can only hope that he will learn to use these tools and perhaps even with the help of good friends, be able to scale greater heights and achieve their goals during their lifetime. Failure is inevitable but to be able to pick ourselves up after every fall takes a lot of courage and perseverance. I hope after the rock climbing experience, Xander would have learnt that every time he fails, he would have also learnt what went wrong and how he could do it differently the next time in order to overcome it better. *crossing fingers, toes and eyes*

image

Let’s go… Be a Dentist Day at the National Dental Centre

If not for a tip off by a friend, I would have never known about this event organized by the National Dental Centre of Singapore (NDCS) Paediatric Dentistry Department in conjunction with their NDCS Paediatric Dentistry Facebook page‘s 1st anniversary.

Xander has yet to visit a dentist at this point because like many parents, since we haven’t had any problems with his teeth, we didn’t think of bringing him to the dentist. My first thought when I saw this was that this would be a wonderful way to introduce to him what a dentist would do during a regular visit! Maybe by his appointment, he wouldn’t be so scared of dentists like I did when I was a kid. I had initially registered Xander and his cousin to attend the event but at the last moment, my nephew couldn’t make it so Mary (Simply Lambchops) and her son came to my rescue and took over his spot for the session. Thanks Mary!

Be a Dentist Day!
Image source

Similar to the Doctor for a Day event we attended in August, Be a Dentist Day also involves the children exploring several stations at the NDC where they were guided by the volunteers to try tasks like bending wires, filling cavities and how NOT to choke your mother to death whilst trying to inspect her mouth with a tiny mirror in her mouth. They also reminded the children what foods are bad or better for their teeth with some role play in their mock supermarket which was stocked with all sorts of food you would normally see in a real supermarket.

Be a Dentist Day

 

You know ah, I didn’t understand what this particular station was about. Bend pipe cleaners for what ah? The young dentist didn’t explain very clearly at the beginning. It was much later that Mary found out from them that this exercise was part of their training in forming braces. Ohhh….

Be a Dentist Day

At this station, the children were asked to pick out food that they think is good for their teeth. Most of them just picked whatever they liked and at the end of the “shopping trip”, they were taught why certain foods are better than others.

Be a Dentist Day

 

I thought the kids spent a little too much time at this station dressing up and cleaning hands. I wished the volunteers had asked the kids to demonstrate how they have been keeping themselves clean at home and at school so that whatever bad habits the kids had can be pointed out and discussed as part of the programme. Sometimes when mummies nag too much, kids kind of ‘switch off’ and stop listening so getting advise from strangers might be a little more convincing.

Be a Dentist Day

 

I felt a little weird out when the young lady kept referring to the cavities as “the black black thing”. Why do folks like to baby-talk to kids ah? Cavities say cavities lah. It’s not a dirty word what. Sorry ah, I cannot tahan when seemingly educated young people like to talk like that and undermine kids. You really think the kids are stupid or wat?

Be a Dentist Day

At the last station, Mary and I had to take turns to be our kids’ guinea pigs. The boys had the opportunity to pretend to be dentists, played with the buttons that controlled the complicated chair and inspected our mouth very very closely with their small mirrors. It was damn fun 🙂

Be a Dentist Day

I think the experience as a whole was fun for the kids and the duration was just nice. Which kid doesn’t like to role play you tell me?

Do like the Paediatric Dentistry NDC’s Facebook Page for updates on future events such as this.

Let’s play… Doctor for a Day!

I meant to write about our experience at the Doctor for a Day event in August but so much had happened in the months that followed so this post had been sitting in my Draft folder for a while. Better late than never right? *awkward silence* Heeheehee…

image

I read about the Doctor for a Day event that was to be held at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital on a couple of mom bloggers’ sites who had attended earlier sessions with their children. They shared many photos as well as their experiences about the event. The more I read, the more intrigued I was by it. Really so fun meh? I thought “Aiyah too bad I missed it this year” I was going to make sure to sign up for next year’s session. Lucky for me, Jean gave us the members of SMB a heads up about an available session and of course I grabbed it! Heng ah! Still have chance!

The kids got to experience some of the different tasks the different types of doctors had to go through daily at the Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital. There was the pediatric doctor, general practitioner, heart surgeon, etc. Xander got to learn how to put on scrubs, practice good hygiene, change a poopy diaper on a traumatized looking doll, patch up an injured child and even cure a scary man doll of his cancer! Phuwah!

After 90 minutes of “intensive basic medical training” with the professional volunteers, all the kids graduated medical school with flying colours, a class photo, a certificate and even a pair of stethoscope! Proud mama looks on with tears from the corners of her eyes. My son! A doctor! *sobs*

As with most hopeful parents, I thought Xan would be inspired by the day’s event and would want to become a doctor, a surgeon perhaps!! Doctor good leh! Next time when mummy and daddy are ill Dr Xander can take care of us for FREE! But alas, the little one maintained that his love was still with cooking. He wants to be a chef, not a doctor. Doctors have too much to do, too busy. Chef better. Ok lor. To be the next Heston Blumenthal isn’t a bad idea too eh?

You can keep yourself updated with the latest events at the Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital through their Facebook Page.

Wordless Wednesday: I was rendered wordless

MOX pins

The talented and creative Jasmine from Scissors Paper Stone gave me these absolutely fabulous pins and pendants she made herself a while ago and I simply must how lian (That’s ‘showoff’ in Hokkien in case you don’t know this term by now) to everybardee today! Swee boh? Swee right? I also say when I saw it! These also came with another set with black background you know? When I saw them, I was rendered wordless and speechless and stared with my mouth open for a good 1 min! So sia suay (embarrassing) right? Haha! Now every time I see these, I get goose pimples (the good kind lah) and a goofy smile! I LOVE THEM ALL!

Jasmine! You had me beaming from ear to ear for quite a few weeks until my face cramp. LOL! Definitely the best present I have ever received this year! Thank you so very much Jasmine!

 

Linking up with:

new button

Let’s make… Hokkaido Chiffon Cakes!

Some weeks back I had the opportunity to learn how to make Hokkaido Chiffon Cakes with the bloggers from Singapore Mom Bloggers (SMB) from the nice ladies from Munch Ministry. The baking class (hosted and conducted by Munch Ministry) was one of the several activities lined up for SMB’s 1st birthday celebration this year. The first was a self makeover workshop where a bunch of us vainpots well deserving mummies got to learn how to take care of our skin and wear the right styles for our body shapes. Being the typical greedy girl, I wanted to find out what was a Hokkaido Chiffon cake and did it taste good as it looked.

The class was held at Civil Service Club at Tessensohn Road and I really like the location because it was big, bright and they use KITCHENAID MIXERS! Have I told you I really love KitchenAid mixers? I really love the KitchenAid Mixers. Imagine my joy and drool when I realized I was surrounded by these beauties (didn’t matter to me that it was not 100% clean on some areas). It felt like meeting that boy you’ve had a crush on for years finally face to face:  I didn’t know if I should hug it or kiss it or take photo with it. I kind of did it all.

Kisss
Photo credit must go to my partner PC for capturing my tender moments with the mixer.
Hokkaido_Shutterbugs
You know you are in the company of bloggers when cameras of all shapes and sizes appear at the same time.

I think classes of any kind is always more fun when you are in the company of friends. A bigger bonus if these friends are as big a clown as you.

Hokkaido Chiffon Cake_Collage 2
Yeah, we were paying real close attention in class.
Hokkaido Chiffon Cake_Collage 3
I blame them for distracting me in class.

Ok ok. Enough with the pictures already. I got listen to the teachers lah. Maybe not 100% of the time but enough to bake a decent batch of cakes. Hehe!

The recipe of Hokkaido Chiffon Cake is readily available on the net and I’m sure you will be able to find one that suit you best.

Some of the valuable tips I got from Pauline and Louisa (the 2 lovely ladies from Munch Ministry) were:

  1. Hokkaido Chiffon Cakes are NOT from Hokkaido, Japan. The original recipe called for Hokkaido milk which is smoother and richer than the normal milk we buy from the supermarket. For the class, we used regular milk at room temperature.
  2. All ingredients must be at room temperature or else the cakes will not rise properly or have cracks on the surface. No wonder my cupcakes in the past always look so ugly and oozed all over the oven. Next time I show you pictures ok?
  3. To use only vegetable oil or any oil that has no smell. Oils like olive oil have distinct smells that may interfere with the taste of the cakes.
  4. Use cold water for this recipe. I forgot why. I was busy taking photos with the other girls. 😛
  5. To make sure there is no oil or water in the container you are using when handling egg whites. I also forgot why. Just follow the instructions lah.
  6. Once you have finished filling the cupcake containers with the cake mixture, you must knock the trays on the table to remove any air bubbles that may have been trapped inside. By doing so, you won’t have enormous air bubbles and the cake can rise properly. I think.
Hokkaido milk
Here’s how they look like in case you were wondering. There are so many kinds of Hokkaido milk and I found these at Meidi-ya. Not terribly expensive at all.

Here we are in action. This is a relatively easy cake to make except the part where we needed to separate the yolks from the whites. It was quite a disastrous experience I tell you. You can buy the fanciest egg separating gadget available but nothing beats using your hands to wiggle the yolk in your palm while the whites ooze away through your finger tips. A bit messy yes but it is almost 100% fail proof and your hands get a bit moisturized by the eggs! Wah, this cake good for belly and skin wor, dun play play hor?

Hokkaido Chiffon Cake_Collage
Lucky my partner helped to take pictures for me. I looked so hardworking hor?

While waiting for the cakes to cool on the rack, you can get the frosting done in the meantime. Then ah, you fill it into a piping bag and then you STAB and SQUEEZE the wahbiangsoniceicaneatonitsown frosting into the cakes. Remember to squeeze a bit on the top to make it look nicer. You might want to use fresh fruits instead of sprinkles to jazz it up a bit, buelly nice either way.

PC, my partner
PC hard at work.

If you are on a diet, you can forget about it when you come face to face with these cakes. They are so light and delicate, you will have no problems inhaling them all in 1 sitting. For optimum taste, chill them first before serving them to your guests. The frosting machiam soft serve ice-cream I no bluff you.

Hokkaido Chiffon Cake_Collage 4
So pretty until I cannot stand myself.

I need to thank Pauline and Louisa for hosting this class again. You made me look like a baking goddess to The Husband with these delicate cakes. Now I have one more recipe I can use to bribe him into doing more household chores for me. Haha!

Hokkaido Chiffon Cake_Munch Ministry
Image taken off Munch Ministry’s Facebook page.

Who is who?
Top row, left to right: Mabel, Ai, Delphine, Cherie, PC, Jennifer, me, Connie, Adeline, Klessis, Jiahui, Regina.
Bottom row, left to right: Estella, Louisa, Pauline, Jiahui’s fabulous little assistant/kiddo, Rachel.

You can find Munch Ministry on Facebook and on the Web. Do Like their Facebook page for regular updates on classes, recipes and products.

Read their post on the 2 special classes just for us SMB members here!

Don’t forget to read my partner’s post about the class here! You must to read ok?

 

Linking with:

We are the DinoFamily

Baking memories

I remember one particular morning when I was probably in K1 or K2, I woke up to the smell of pineapples simmering in a pot on the stove. I watched my mum and my Darjie (eldest sister) chatting, sweating, peeling and slicing countless pineapples in the kitchen. They spent the next few hours hovering over the huge pot, making sure the pineapple mixture doesn’t get burnt. looking back, it’s amazing how many pineapples you need for a few tubs of pineapple tarts. So what role did I play? I would popped in between television programmes to “help” make sure the pineapple paste was up to standard, maybe helped to roll a few small balls to decorate the tarts and sometimes egg wash the tarts before they pop the trays into the oven. Since I was too young to do very much, I mostly parked myself in the living room with my pal TeeVee.

Gradually over the years, all of us grew up, moved out, became busy with our lives and we stopped making the treats together. Getting everyone to have dinner together at the same time is already tough, baking treats is the last thing in everybody’s mind. Oh we still bake, just not together.

Last year, I asked my favourite niece if she wanted to come to my house to make some pineapple tarts with me since she said she had some experience with my Darjie some time ago. We had a really good time nudging each other out of the way in my tiny kitchen and managed to whip up a few tins of goodies of acceptable quality.

This year I wanted to attempt to make some on my own because I thought my niece would be busy with her projects and I didn’t want to bother her. Not difficult to make mah. I even bought a small gridiron to use with my Happycall pan. Yah! You can make pineapple tarts with a HCP you know? Cool right? But then the HCP is so small, I figured I bake until the next day or break my back also cannot bake finish so I ditched the idea for another day. So anyway, Darjie suggested since she was also interested to do some baking, why not head over to her place and use her spanking new appliances instead? While we were there, if the younger kids get bored, her kids can help to entertain them. Brilliant idea!

Xan was excited to be able to help make the treats this year and insisted we make the chocolate rice crispies again and so we did with a few improvements. We used some fancy sprinkles this time. Not bad huh?

It’s not that I don’t want to share our recipe with you. I found that all the recipes on the internet were essentially the same with a few variations here and there. We adapted one but made several changes like omitting sugar in the dough, increasing the measurement for the flour, etc. Darjie didn’t measure anything, everything was done by “feel”. Darjie said “Ah Ma (grandmother) made the best nonya style pineapple tarts and she made them from memory never a recipe book. She always measure everything by hand and all her tarts always come out perfectly buttery and never dry. If she feels the dough texture doesn’t feel right, she will scold us and make us throw the entire batch out because she doesn’t like to waste time on substandard quality.” Phuwah! Scary mary… We tried to mimic her pastry recipe but with store bought pineapple filling because it was just so much easier that way. Thankfully it turned out great. SLURP!

Here are some simple recipes you can try:

Munchministry.com – Open Face Pineapple Tart

Bake King – Nonya Pineapple Tarts

Beanie N Us - Pineapple Tarts

The little ones got bored waiting for the tarts to be ready so they took a quick dip in the pool with the other cousins. As soon as he was dry enough, Xan climbed back up to the counter to continue to help us.

Since everything was either too hot or too messy for the boy, he was given the great responsibility of pasting the stickers onto all the containers. Very important step you know?

We couldn’t finish baking everything in one day so we went back to my sister’s place the next day to continue. This time we went prepared with an apron for Xan but he was more interested in swimming than baking that day. Can’t blame him, it was really hot and humid that day.

The whole point of the 2 days to me (and my sister) wasn’t about baking the treats or how good they tasted. My sis spent the most time doing the baking since my bad back didn’t allow me to stand or bend over for too long. It was the precious family bonding time we had while rolling and moulding the pastries. I was never close to Ah Ma (she passed away when I was 9) so the stories my mum and sister share with me about the time they spent with her before I was born are very special. My memory of Ah Ma has always been that angry face whenever I *ahem* smack her favourite grandson around.

Nothing beats homemade goodies and gossips with family. I hope we do this every year.

 

Linking up with:

It’s still me with a few upgrades

Why the move and the new name?

I used to blog from another site on and off since 2008. Some weeks back The Husband asked if I would like him to host/manage/redesign my blog as a Mother’s Day/birthday gift to me. He will deny this but he sneakily managed to convince me to change the name of my blog because it had to incorporate the xander.sg domain name. The previous name just didn’t cut it. A friend asked “Next time when you have another child how? Change the blog name ah?” Well, Number 2 doesn’t seem to be happening leh. I guess we will decide when Number 2 happens lah.

Why the cheena look?

Besides my adoration for all things Hello Kitty, my family and a few close friends know I also love cheena kitschy stuff. Whenever my family goes to China and ask me what to bring back for me, I always tell them “Get me the most cheena china thing you can lay your hands on. It can be something very small and bought from a street side stall, it doesn’t matter. Bring a piece of China back for me lah.”  So one day after showing me a few drafts of the new website, The Husband hit an epiphany (probably included giving himself a loud slap on the thigh and exclaiming TIO HOR while listening to his NIN tracks on his iPhone) and here we are. This new site is his baby. Not bad, hor?

Eh, your Ingrish very horrible leh!

In case you are wondering why is this site full of grammatical errors, that’s how I speak. I like to stay true to character. Be my friend, we go for kopi, share gossips and you will know what I mean. If you are referring to my header and buttons, that’s how my husband, son and I talk to each other. Be our friend, stay  for dinner and you will know what I mean 🙂

Anyway, this is my blog. I hope you like what you see. If you don’t, we need to talk… *cracks knuckles*

2012_moving on
My ever helpful little boy.