Sunday, February 28, 2010

New Skates & Diego

After Serene's place, we headed to Vivo as I wanted to get the skates and bike that was on sale for Kimi and also to pick up some dinner.

Couldn't get the bike as it was out of stock so just got the Fisher Price My First Skates and Go Diego Go Rainforest Rescue Mega Bloks for Kimi.  He was soooo happy!!

At this point of time, Diego is Kimi's favourite personality. Everything he does, he will ask whether Diego likes or does that too.  He said he wants to be like Diego and HE is Diego.  He wants to go South America and meet Diego and be an animal rescuer like him.  He wants to go to the Amazon River and rescue the biggest snake in the world, the Anaconda that is in trouble there.  He even said he wanted to learn Spanish so he can speak to Diego.

Somedays, he will suddenly jolt up and said, "There's an animal in trouble, I need to save him!"  Then he will run to pick up his mini laptop and open up to check (just like Diego) who is in trouble.  How cute!

So for now, I'm trying to get my hands on all things Diego. Since Diego also goes skating, Kimi, too wanted a pair of skates.  I can't wait to let him try the skates tomorrow!

Playdates Again!

We had so much fun the last time, Serene invited us for yet another mini CNY gathering.  As usual, a little potluck while Serene prepared fried rice (so yummy!) and nuggets for the kids.  Cat made blueberry M&Ms cupcake that were divine and I cooked okonomiyaki with the potluck ingredients.

Although it was a short meet, Kimi told me as we were leaving Serene's place that he had good fun.  :) He even shouted 'bye' to Shanice and said thank you and that he had good fun.  But, she was still upset with him cos they had some fights earlier. :( 

Kimi was pretending to be a dinosaur and boys being boys are really just rough and tough.  He pounced on her, she lost balance and knock her head.  So sorry Shanice! Hope you are not upset with Kimi anymore. :)  We look forward to more playdates at Serene's place. (*wink, wink Serene*)

Thank you very much Serene for your hospitality again! :)
Look at the spread!
Tristan just loves the nuggets!  He didn't even bat an eyelid when I kept urging him to look/smile at the cam! So cute! Handsome boy!
This got to be the cutest!! Look at the kids' pretend play!  Kimi is a doctor while Estelle pretended to be sick.  See, she even shut her eyes!!  These 2 can really 'act'.
Then Shanice joined in and pretended to be the nurse who took temperature! How cute these little ones!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Shepherd's Pie


I made pasta the other day and had some of the meat sauce left so I kept them and decided to use it for Kimi's dinner. I made Shepherd's Pie with it. And Kimi loved it!

I just line an oven safe dish with the sauce and top it with fluffy mashed potatoes and sprinkled it with mozarella and dinner is ready!

I don't have a recipe for mashed potatoes cos I guess-timate what I add in. To make good, fluffy and smooth mash, you need to make them in the pot with the lowest fire on. That will ensure that everything blends nicely together and the potatoes absorbs all the goodness.
This is what I use for the mash:-
  • 1 potatoe (russet)
  • Some butter
  • Milk
Method
  1. I normally boil the potatoes and once it is soft, I will pour all the water away and heat it over the stove to get rid of the moisture. Being careful to keep shaking the pot so that the potatoes don't stay in 1 place and get burnt. Normally about 1 min.
  2. Then I add in the butter and mash (either with fork or masher). Keep fire on low. Once the potatoes have absorbed the butter and it becomes like a piece of dough, I will add milk and mash till texture is smooth and fluffy.
  3. I normally don't add salt cos I use salted butter.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Fun with Tongs & Poms

Another game we played to past time as well as re-inforce Kimi's fine motorskills. We played this last year in Oct (28/10/2009). It is a simple game but effective to exercise those fine motor skills.

All the materials are bought from Daiso. You can experiment with different mediums to transfer as well as different utensils like chopsticks, etc.

Place some pom-poms in a container and let child transfer to another using these wooden tongs. Look how happy Kimi is just playing this simple game? :)

Easy-peasy for him..

Then he started getting cheeky and asked if he could eat the poms poms

After he as done with it, I upped the challenge and gave him a smaller tong/pincer

Imagine.Create.Pix

These days whenever Kimi made something which he feels he is proud of, he would ask me to take a pix of it. How cute? He surprised us with this latest creation on the morning of CNY Day1.
Posing with his 'elephant' which he modified from the 'reindeer'
Kimi said this was a 'reindeer'. It is a perfect and beautiful 'reindeer' in my eyes...
Then after I took the pix, he scrambled to the floor and in a minute, asked me to take another cos this was an elephant. :)

The one below was made last year on 13/12/2009. Kimi told me that this was the buggy that 'vacuums' up the leaves that we saw in the park recently.

Here's 2 more past creations which I have only just updated. (*guilty*)

1) Elephants & Trucks

2) Submarine

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Nature Feeds

I have to admit, I am a TV addict. And TV helps me to destress every night whenever I get the opportunity.

I've just finished watching the last episode of Amazon with Bruce Perry. I love both series by Bruce Perry, Amazon and Tribe. Just so because he is so down-to-earth? (pun not intended) This guy can fit in to any, and I mean any environment.

In the series Amazon, he travels 8 months down the Amazon to live and learn about the people who lived along this river. He befriends the tribes, learnt their ways and ultimately becoming like one of them and being accepted as 1 of the tribal folks. Not an easy feat for a Caucasian.

His honest, humble almost always makes him win over even the 'most hostile' of tribes. Amazon really shows us how important the forest is to these tribal folks. To them, it is a living forest that provides ALL their needs. And how they will fight to protect what is left from unscrupulous industrialist, loggers and large mining companies.

The ironic and sad thing is that many of these large corporations do not keep to their agreement of not venturing into the protected areas of the Rainforests, etc.

I enjoy watching and learning about their ways of life but can't help feeling sad how their life is eroding away like the forest. In some parts, it has gotten so bad that they can't even drink from their life source rivers anymore for fear of toxins that will kill them! That also means no fish and river foods.

It has been said that the Rainforests supports a large part of the environment and the Eco-System. By slowing killing the forest, we are in dangers of killing ourselves too.

If you have some time, do catch some episodes. It is quite an eye-opener. :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Japanese Beef Donburi (Japanese Beef Rice Bowl)

This is 1 dish that Kimi and I enjoy. I normally make this when hb is not around as he is not a big fan of beef. And I am determined that Kimi do not end up like him. I hope Kimi will be more adventurous like me. :)

We love this sweet, fragrant beef dish with rice. And it is so easy to make. Chop, fry and dump in pot. For others, it may jus be chop, fry and chomp! Hee hee! :)
Sorry, I forgot to pick out the carrots for this shot - think it was too soft and most were at the bottom of the pot!

Marinade

  • 1/2 tsp freshly minced garlic
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp of mirin
  • 2 tbsp of Daiso Soba Sauce
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp corn flour

Ingredients

  • 200-250g beef fillet or cuts suitable for stir/pan-fry
  • 1/4 yellow/golden onion thinly sliced
  • 6 baby corns diced
  • 4 white button mushroon sliced
  • 1/2 small carrot julienne

Method

  1. Slice beef at 45 degree angle into smaller pcs against the grain and marinate for at least 10mins (3omin preferable) using marinade above.
  2. Heat a little oil in pan/pot and saute onions till soft.
  3. Throw in corn, carrot and mushroom and fry till fragrant.
  4. Add beef and stir till just cooked.
  5. Add broth or water, stirring lightly till it brings to a boil.
  6. Taste to test level of saltiness then add additional seasoning of 2 tbsp mirin, dash of pepper, 1 tsp sugar, 2 tbsp of Stock Base Sauce and 1/2 tsp of Maggi No MSG Chicken granules.
  7. Season till desired taste.
  8. Place in thermal cook for at least an hour or when ready to eat.
  9. Serve with fluffy white rice!

Notes

  • I make my Donburi more 'soupy' so I have additional yummy sauce for the rice! You can add less water if you want a 'drier' dish. If you add less water, omit/reduce the additional seasoning in Step 6. Taste to determine.
  • If serving just for adults and you want a quick stir-fry and beef that is slightly under-cooked, stop at Step 4. Just do a quick fry and add a little water if not enough gravy and serve immediately.
  • As most of my food are made for the family (Kimi included), I'd prefer to err on the safe side and more often than not make the food slightly overcooked. I'd rather be safe than sorry especially when feeding young children.
  • You can substitute/add in other vegetable base ingredients. Another wonderful vegetable to add in is Orange/Yellow capsicum. It makes the dish even more sweet and tasty. But there weren't any nice ones these few days.

Done Better Standing ... Or is it?


Today as I was putting on the clean sheets just before showering Kimi, I saw him clamouring into the bathroom. So I decided to follow him in to see what he's up to. I was surprised when he pulled down his pants and attempted to urinate sans sitting down.

However, since he is still a tad short, I had to help him. And, after that, he was so proud of himself. It was as if he had conquered Mt Everest or something. Kimi had on this grin as he told me, "Mummy, I am a big boy now, I don't need to sit down to shh-shh".

Oh. I didn't know such things are an achievement too? :) Hmm.

Btw, funnily, he has been calling me only Mummy for the last 2 weeks. Kids change EVERYDAY don't they?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

CNY Day 7

The Chinese believed that the 7th Day of the Lunar New Year symbolises everybody's birthday and we are supposed to feast. (what a good excuse to indulge? Haha!)

Well, as Christians, we glorify 7 as it represents perfection and everything that is God. Have a little thought, why do you think everything goes in 7s? 7 colours in the rainbow, our body works in cycles of 7, the list is endless. Simply, our Almighty Abba Father made it such, it is His plan. :)

Did you also know that in recent years, people have found more links that the early Chinese may have prayed to the same God, our Abba Father? So maybe that is why Day 7 is everybody's birthday? Perhaps they too believed that 7 represents God's creations, perfections? :)

Anyway, we had dinner at my mom's after which the kids played with sparklers (yes, yet again!) and I prepared TangYuan for us to have as a dessert and also to let Kimi have a little fun.

Although, the little balls were not perfect rounds and were of all sorts of sizes, we did have a nice, short time together. :)

Kimi chosed the blue and green while I of cos went for pink! I made the tangyuan Teochew style cos hb likes it this way. The Teochews like the tangyuan empty and it is served with a sweet sweet gula melaka soup.

I was brought up the Cantonese style and I love mine embedded with loads and loads of gula melaka where every bite oozes with the sweet melted sugar. Yum! The tangyuan is then paired with a gingerly sweet soup that is soooo refereshing!! Whenever I have this soup, I will reminisce about the times where I sit and watch my granny roll these balls and as I grew older, she allowed me to help her. I miss my granny so much! :)

I love my Cantonese style but well, hb doesn't like ginger soup. So, I made a few gula melaka laden tangyuan to indulge and even Kimi preferred those with the fillings! Yay, I will have a new partner for this soup next time. Now, I need to work on the ginger soup on Kimi. :)

Pretty in pastels!
Take a pinch of the dough
Roll between palms and ...
Smile for the camera when done!
I bought this brand's glutinous flour. The Gula Melaka is not good so pls don buy this brand...it had a funny salty after taste. Some pandan (screwpine) leaves for flavour in the sweet soup.
Pretty little tang yuan before going into the boiling pot

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

CNY Day 4

This year we didn't do very much visiting - going to only the place we HAD to go. I had forgotten to bring my camera so no pix for Day 2 where we go to KJ Gu-gu's (hb's uncle) house for the long awaited dinner and a nice cosy Tunch Gathering at Aquamarine with my family.

Day 3, myself and Kimi rested a bit in the early part of the day before heading to my mom's for dinner and a game of sparklers with the girls. They had so much fun with just a pack of sparklers!

Hb came back very early in the morning of CNY Day4 and I decided to make him a nice dinner. But I couldn't get any nice prawns, despite going to 4 places so I gave up and decided to do it the next day.
Kimi said he wanted to look fierece in this pix ... ?? (faint)
Our 1st CNY 'feast' for the year! Steamed Rabbit Fish (CNY fish), Long boiled chicken soup with pacific clams, mushrooms, dried scallop and dried abalone slices (YUMMY!!! Everyone's favourite) and broccoli with yellow capsicum (supposed to be with scallop too but totally forgot to de-frost!)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

CNY Day 1

I was rather upset this year cos hb had to work from Day1 to Day4. It is really nice to have him around during such a large festival. But well, we cope and make do.

Before sending hb to work, we stopped for a quick visit to my mom's in the morning and Kimi was already up to his tricks! Hehe!
Kimi was so cute, he kept "Gong-xi-ing" everyone and anyone he saw. That made many of our neighbours amused or rather, happy to be greeted with such early in the morning? I would! :)
Upon reaching mom's place, suddenly he said he was doing the lion dance!
Then he decided to act cute and posed with the Lion Dance paper bag of oranges
Luckily I managed to grab him for a pix. When will Kimi look in the camera and pose? :(
As we were leaving, it was so windy and Kimi loves it when it gets breezy. Then he started to run, maybe to catch the wind? and he ran, and ran and ran...
Even when we wanted to leave, he still ran and laughed. We didn't want to spoil his fun but hb was pressed for time. So I had to spin a story...I love the intensity in his eyes as he concentrates (sometimes) when I tell/explain something to him.

Gong He Xin Xi 2010!

Gong He Xin Xi !!!
May we wish you the best of Happiness and Health in the New Year!
Kimi with his yearly 2 oranges for you! :)
CNY 2010 - See pix below to see HOW MUCH he has grown? Good to have Harry (my butler) as a guide. :)
CNY 2009

Friday, February 05, 2010

Under The Sea

Remember our trip to the beach to collect shells and sand? Here's Kimi's homework from SM.

We had to paint the seahorse. So, instead of just colouring it, I wanted Kimi to use more of his fine motor skills as well as touch and feel a variety of texture for this craft. This craft was done over a few days. :)

The ideas for the overall craft/materials are from me but it was still very much child-directed. For example, Kimi would choose the colour of the pearl paper while I cut it and he pasted it himself according to the shape(s).

Then when I suggested using bubble wrap to stamp for the seaweed, he surprised me by saying he wanted to use his fingers to paint the seaweed instead!

Kimi also said he wanted to stamp 1 part of the seahorse which he did. I gave him a few material choices and he decided which he prefered for the different seahorse sections. Lastly, he chose and arranged the shells on the seabed himself and even gave the craft a name - "Under The Sea".

I was impressed at how much he had progressed since we last did some craft and am encouraged to do more challenging ones with him. I enjoy doing crafts like this where we have an exchange of ideas - far more interesting than just me inputting. :)

As usual he enjoyed the sand art best and even took some sand and threw at me!! AIYO!!!! That's why I always PREFERRED to do sand art at the playground downstairs! But thought this was a small section .... welll... :)

The "naked' seahorse

First, Kimi painted the whole piece in a light wash of blue for the sea
Here, it's done!
Kimi concentrating on pouring the sand we took from the beach to spread it all over. I drew a dividing line for the seabed and used double side tape to cover it all over. Then I remove and let Kimi pour the sand over.
Kimi transferring the extra sand to the tray
Kimi showing me his favourite shell!
Tada! Our completed craft. I only took some pix of the process cos I had forgotten to take.. heehee! See the beautiful seaweed and palm print? All Kimi's idea! He also said he wanted the seahorse to have a blue face - ok, up to you darling. The yellow bits at the bottom are crepe paper which I made him tear and roll. To strenghthen the fine motor.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Pineapple Tarts - Golden Nuggets

I made these 2 days ago, just a small batch for family cos as you would have already known, my oven is on holiday in some sunny place, spa-ing out! :) Charmaine has been so sweet to lend me her table-top oven so I can bake a little! That's what I call true friends!! Cos she uses her oven rather frequently, baking yummy salmon and cod for Julian. And she was willing to let me use it and Ju has to go without his salmon for a few days. Thanks Char! :) Much appreciated!

I prefer making the closed pineapple tarts cos I feel they are easier and faster. Also, since my mom makes the open ones, why trouble right? Hee hee...

Anyone wants to order? Place yours next year!! :)

Monday, February 01, 2010

Blueberry Banana Oatmeal Porridge

For the above, I used 2 small bananas

Wow! So quickly and the 1st month of the year has gone past in a whiz. We are into February now! It's so scary how everyday just flies past!!

So here's a quick, easy, yummy and nutritious breakfast recipe to start the month rolling! You can make this for your tot or for yourself! Cat, here's the oatmeal I was talking about.... especially for your eyes :) .... keke!

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp of Nestum
  • 2 tbsp of Instant Quaker Oats
  • 1-2 small ripe banana
  • Handful of blueberries
  • 1 scoop of formula milk OR some fresh milk **
Method
  1. Mix nestum, oats and formula milk together and add 1/2 - 1 cup of hot water

  2. Stir till all combined. Adjust consistency of porridge by adding a little more hot water to make it more diluted.

  3. Mash half of the banana and stir into porridge

  4. Slice the balance and add to it together with the blueberries

  5. Serve and ENJOY!
** If using fresh milk, boil milk and add to the dry ingredients. You can use all fresh milk or 50 milk, 50 water. It all depends on your tastes and needs.

Notes
  • Be careful not to add too much or the whole cup of water all at once as oats do absorb water and after about 3 mins res, it will expand and thicken up. Do it bit by bit or it may be over watery. Adjust to your child's prefernce or your preference. I like mine slightly thick. :) But should you add too much water/liquid, you can just stir in another scoop of nestum or oats to thicken up. No hard and fast rules, just play with the texture!

  • I like adding more nestum as it is more fragrant so kids are more encouraged to eat this.

  • If you like, you can use ALL nestum too! This was my favourite breakfast when I was growing up! A bowl of nestum, hot water & condensed milk or hot milk and sugar! I could eat this everyday and I made it myself when I was in Pri 1.

  • Banana is naturally sweet so there is no need to add any sugar.

  • Experiment with different fruits or use the fruits of your choice.

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