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Friday, February 15, 2019

No Longer Sparks Joy

Our 10-year old two-seater couch no longer sparks joy. According to Marie Kondo, throw out or donate stuff in your house that no longer sparks joy to you.  As this sofa is peeling badly on the seat and under, it makes the house floor dirty. That's no joy to me as I have to sweep the floor like 10 times in a day, I kid you not. And it makes the house looks shabby. Besides, it's bad feng shui to keep a broken furniture at home. So out you go sofa and thank you for serving us the past 10 years.

I paid the cleaners at our condo to help me remove the couch. Now our living room looks really bare. Suddenly, the view of KL Tower and KLCC looks even clearer from the living room without the sofa. Our living room looks so much bigger without the two-seater couch. This means more space for our dancing queen to practice dancing and for Cass to do her floor exercises on her yoga mat.

Looking forward to shop for a new sofa now!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Bonding With Cousins

Photos taken on the 2nd day of Chinese New Year (6 February 2019) in Ipoh:

This doggy photo makes me smile. It looks like Tommy the Golden Retriever is smiling and giving Raelyne a peck on her cheek.   Our trip to Ipoh must be completed with a visit to my friend's house (which is opposite my parents) where we get our dose of pet therapy from four super adorable Golden Retriever doggies.

On the third day of CNY, we planned to leave Ipoh before 8:30 a.m. to avoid getting stuck in the gridlock on the highway. As usual, it's a torture to wake the girls up. Then I had a light bulb moment ~ to put baby Rayzen on the bed to  wake up the 3 sleepy heads! And it worked like a CHARM! In under 5 minutes, the girls sprung out of bed  one by one to cuddle baby Rayzen, who is so cute and charming that we wanna squeeze and bite him.

Love this photo! So heartwarming.

Within 5 minutes, the girls were up, made their beds, gave the twins more hugs and then got themselves ready to leave Ipoh to beat the reverse exodus on the highway. But surprise surprise! Traffic was unbelievable smooth and we reached KL in slightly under 2 hours.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Chinese New Year 2019 ~ Day 2 (6 February 2019)

On the second day of CNY, we were at the Yap clan family house again for lunch.  Instead of vegetarian (which we had on day 1), we had a panoply of meaty dishes. It was a 11-course lunch, inclusive of pig's belly soup.  Totally satisfying as every dish was delish and homecooked by talented chefs (hubby's aunts).

Dinner was at the Ipoh YMCA restaurant, which serves 5-star Chinese restaurant (halal) dishes.

Steamed chicken, abalone, braised mushrooms with pork belly:

Steamed promfret fish with Brand's chicken essence, braised turnip and an assortment of sausages and waxed meat.

Braised leek with roast pork, braised Hakka pork with black fungus and sauteed arrowroot with roast pork.

These are all my favorite dishes but I could eat no more than 2 pieces of each type of meat. I've always had a small appetite and always stop when I am 70% full. Thus my size and weight (44.3kg). Here's another tip on staying trim ~ reduce your food portion and stop eating when you are 70% full.   You don't have to stuff yourself silly just because it's your favorite food.  😉

Back at my parents, the girls and I take every opportunity to carry and cuddle the twins, and this frees up Madonna (the twins' Pinoy super nanny) who has been working non-stop tending to the twins, who clings on to her like UHU glue.  Cass finds it entertaining feeding baby Rayzen, her favorite baby in the whole wide world.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Of Maids and Simple Homecooked Food

Maria, our beloved Indonesian part-time helper of 6 years is currently 3 months into her first pregnancy.  I had expected her to get pregnant as soon as she's married as this is the norm for Indonesian women from the rural areas.  It's very common for impoverished Indonesian girls to be married off in their early teens, have babies soon after and divorce would follow suit in time to come. I've had 4 live-in maids from Indonesia in the past and all 4 of them have the same fate.

Maria is married to a man of her mother's choice, a man whom she barely knows. She ditched her Chinese East Malaysian boyfriend of over 10 years when he kept finding excuses not to marry her.

From the moment Maria told me that she was going to get married, I knew that she wouldn't work for us for long.  When she told me that she's already 3 months into her pregnancy, I asked her if she'd like to take a break from working but she said no. She needs two jobs to survive in KL as her Indonesian  husband who has just arrived in KL is only working as a leaves blower on the street with a measly income of RM700 a month.

Maria works as a cleaner at a nearby office building and most of her co-workers who were pregnant worked till they were 6 months into the pregnancy. She's confident that she could do it as well. In fact, during the early months of her pregnancy when she hadn't told me about it yet, I did not have the slightest inkling that she was pregnant. She was still carrying heavy buckets of water, climbing up ladder to clean fans and worked as usual, with no morning sickness or whatsoever discomfort. But she was always asking for leave.  After she told me that she's pregnant, she's taking leave almost every other day with eleventh hour notice given to me.

Maria and I have discussed and agreed on a contingency plan. Should she feel that she can no longer work five times a week when the pregnancy advances, she has agreed that I get my most recent part-time maid to cover for her, until she gives birth. She plans to continue working for us after giving birth but is not sure how long she will take leave. With so much uncertainty over the future, I am only 50% confident that she will come back to work after she gives birth. Annie, our most recent part-time maid who was Maria's relief has a tendency to job-hop, though she's pretty good in her work.

There is a possibility that I may not have anymore reliable part-time maid this year. If this happens, my life will be chaotic. I won't be able to cope with making five to six chauffeuring  trips on top of cooking on school days without a part-time helper.

Should the worst case scenario happen this year and I'm unable to get another reliable part-time maid who can come in the evening,  I may have to alter our daily routine. Cooking can then only be  done on alternate days and the remaining busier days, get takeout for dinner.  Cooking will then only be restricted to REALLY SIMPLE dishes with minimal washing. On most school days, the girls do not have the time to help out in the kitchen and around the house. And my hubs works late and never helps to wash the dishes.

When Maria was on leave recently, I dished out some very simple meals that the girls loved, which I don't mind cooking on days when there is no help at home.

One pot meal  of chicken stew. I added lots of carrots, tomatoes and potatoes. The girls love this dish. Even my foodie king hubby loves it and walloped everything that I kept for him for his late dinner.

Roast chicken breast sandwich with cheese, avocado and cucumber. Cass had a burger bun with it.

And I had mine with my favorite multi-grain cinnamon bread from Les Deux Garcons (LDG) Patisserie.

Yee Mee soup with organic seaweed, organic lettuce, organic eggs and meat balls.  I made the soup with just browning some minced garlic with olive oil, add water, dried seaweed, meat balls, eggs and lastly the lettuce and organic yee mee. Seasoned with pepper and organic sea salt.

And this tasted exactly like the ones sold outside. So yummeh!

Mine is with added seaweed, vegetables, eggs and less noodles.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Home-Cooked Dinner

I start cooking at 5 p.m. each day and only have a maximum of 1.5 hours in the kitchen before I resume my driver duties at 6:50 p.m. where I will have to pick up Sherilyn from school, drop off Alycia at the gym for her martial arts classes, go home, go out again to drop off Sherilyn at the dance center or tuition center and then pick up Alycia from the gym. And then at 9:30 p.m., I pick up Sherilyn from the dance center or tuition center. On Friday, Alycia and Sherilyn go to the gym together for kickboxing.  My evening routine is like that every single weekday. If I am lucky, the hubs will help me pick up the girls at night.

My friends have been telling me to enjoy the madness now coz in a few years time, my life will be lonely and quiet again. But I don't think I will feel lonely. I crave for quiet time so much now! My house is hardly ever quiet.  It's a battle zone every single day ~ rushing from one place to another, screaming, hurrying the 3 dawdlers in the house and play referee when the girls fight and quarrel. Every single day!

Will I ever feel lonely when the girls leave the nest?

I wonder?!

As I am typing this post, I am already late for my kitchen duty. Late by 30 frigging minutes!!

So I am going to rush off this post now. Sorry, no recipe but from the photos, you will be able to see what ingredients I use for each dish.

I cooked these dishes on one of the week days some 2 weeks ago and only have the time to post the photos now:

Steamed minced pork and minced chicken with wood fungus and julienned carrots. Seasonings used: soy sauce, a dash of oyster sauce, sesame seed oil, pepper.

Sauteed Choy Sum with garlic, wood fungus and wolfberries with a dash of Chinese cooking wine.

PPC (Philips Pressure Cooker) boiled 'Fun Kok' soup with pork big bone marrow, carrot, red dates, dried longan and wolfberries

Dinner kept in a partitioned glass container for Sherilyn. This is what I do for her on most nights. When she comes back at 9+ p.m, she pops the container into the microwave for a few seconds. Sometimes she eats them cold.

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Friday, January 25, 2019

Matcha Pancake

Sherilyn got back from her school's cross country event at 1-ish p.m. today and since she had the whole afternoon free before tuition at 8:30 p.m., she whipped up a stack of matcha pancakes as the flour that we bought last year was about to expire.  The matcha powder was bought from Bake With Yen.

As usual, I left everything to her own accord. She found a good recipe online and within an hour, we had some very pillowy and fluffy matcha butter pancakes for tea-time! This time the pancakes are very buttery and creamy as she put melted organic butter and full cream fresh milk into the pancake batter.

Sherilyn layered her pancakes with matcha bread spread and had a scoop of peppermint ice-cream to go with it. She was so stuffed to the gills that she skipped dinner!

She made so much pancakes that we now have a good supply of frozen matcha pancakes in the freezer that we can pop into the toaster anytime that we crave for pancakes.