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Friday, August 30, 2013

Our Dinner - 30 August 2013

This was our dinner yesterday. It was the first dinner that I cooked after the MIL's departure to Hong Kong.

From top, clockwise : egg omelette with herbs, baby bok choy, organic 'yeh fah heong' flower veggie and steam minced pork with prawns, sesame seed oil and chopped watercress veggie.

Yesterday, I drew up a 4-day menu. I used to draw up a 7-day and sometimes 14-day menu in the past but since I do not have much time to cover for 7 days, I had to settle with a 3 or 4-day menu now.  I like to have a drawn up menu so that I can stick to it without having to stress myself up everyday on what to cook. It is easier and faster to do grocery shopping too.

For the 2 veggie dishes, I drizzled some Goma sauce on them, tossed in some chopped spring onions (my kids and I love spring onions) and cut up strips of olive-flavored seaweed. I still have 3 packets of  seaweed that my mum bought from Korea recently. Since the seaweeds are near the expiration date, I am now using them in almost all my dishes. The good thing is that my girls and I all love seaweed!

We are having lasagne for lunch today. For dinner, I will be stir-frying organic cabbage with minced meat and reheating the stewed pork dish (frozen now) that the MIL mass-cooked for us just before she left.

We will be having a short getaway at one of the 5-star hotels in KL from tomorrow through Sunday. That is our yearly retreat at this hotel and our stay has always been on this particular date as the hubs would normally only utilize his complimentary hotel room voucher at the eleventh hour before its expiration date *roll eyes*!!

Happy weekend friends! :)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Organic / Naturally Grown Vegetables - How Do You Verify?

I bought this bundle of organic sawi from my regular organic veggie seller this morning. I just love to see the tiny worm holes on the leaves of vegetables. This way, I am almost assured that the veggies were grown without the use of pesticides and bugs repellents.

There is this self-claimed organic veggie stall at the night market that claim that all their vegetables and fruits are naturally grown without the use of pesticides in Cameron Highlands. However, their veggies are free from worm holes, huge and can last pretty long in the fridge too!  I feel really dubious about their claim, yet many people flock to buy their veggies and paying two to three-fold!  Most of all, there is no certification whatsoever to confirm their claim that their produce are organic or grown naturally.


Don't you just love to see holes on your vegetables like me? ;)

I only buy organic produce if I see a sticker of certification on the packaging.  Do you buy so-called organic produce that have no sticker of certification on the packaging?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

While Waiting...

For the past few days, I had to chauffeur the MIL around to run errands before she flies off tomorrow. She helps me and I help her. There is team work in our house haha!  For the past few days too, the mil has been cooking and baking big portions of dishes and bread for deep freezing. That will be our 'ration' on days when I am too busy or lazy to do anything.

To save time, I cut up some fruits for Cass to eat in the car while we wait for her grandma to do banking yesterday. While Cass ate and read, I was busy Facebooking and replying to emails on my phone.

In the picture below, Cass was munching on some sweet and crunchy Envy apples while 'reading' her Alycia che che's comic book. With food and a good book, this rascal will sit still in the car, else she would be jumping up and down the car restlessly with her itchy hands pressing on every single button that she sees while we wait for grandma while whining and telling me that "I AM SO BORED!".

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Edamame Beans For School Recess

The girls love Edamame beans. They are pretty costly if ordered from a Japanese restaurant and I do not like it that salt is often sprinkled on the beans.  The best is of course home-prepared, sans salt and washed before briefly cooking them in the microwave oven. My girls love to bring Edamame beans to school as snacks during recess.

This picture was taken this morning. Last night, Cass asked me if she could bring the green soy beans to school and I told her yes on condition that she does not dilly dally and can get herself ready for school on time. She promised me and kept her promise this morning.  So here she is... getting her favorite snack ready for recess today by removing the beans from the pods.

In Cass' pre-school, Mondays are bright green colored green cakes  for snacks *shudder*  and I usually let her bring something to school instead of letting her eat the 'green monster'.  Thursdays are usually corn flakes  (which Cass always tells me that she hates them as they are dry) or belly button biscuits with neon colored and hardened icing on top (aka biscuits to be offered to children ghosts during the Ghost Festival!). Most pre-schools these days offer junk food as snacks to toddlers and pre-schoolers, all in the name of greed and selfishness so that money is saved from buying better quality snacks.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Shoes That Were Swapped

Further to my earlier post on 'What Would You Do If You Were Me?', I had a 'brainstorming' session with Sherilyn and Alycia over this issue and what I found out was that this problem happens quite frequently after the library period.  Though every student is given a number card to claim their shoes when they leave the library, this system seems to have some flaws as shoes are still swapped and missing. And though the principal has advised the students to write their names on their shoes, many students are still not doing it. For some of the students who obediently write their names, the ink had  faded after several washes, like in the case of Sherilyn.

Sherilyn told me that after she lost her shoes, she reported the matter to her class teacher, who only nodded her head to acknowledge the problem but did not try to help her! I have met her class teacher once during the parents-teachers day in June when I collected her report card. The teacher seems to me like a passive
teacher and she is in her early twenties. She also seems to be the reticent type and did not tell us much about Sherilyn's progress in class. A good teacher (like Alycia's class teacher) would tell us about our child's strengths, weaknesses and what areas she/he has to improve on and how she/he can improve in the weak areas.  This could be because the hubs and I could not speak in Mandarin while the teacher is not good in her English language, thus the lack of communication.

Anyway, I told Sherilyn to speak to the teacher in charged of the library to seek her help but Alycia and Sherilyn told me that it is useless as the library teacher did not manage to help other 'victims' to locate their shoes in the past. I kept urging Sherilyn to bring the wrong shoes back to school since they are not hers and to seek the library teacher's help to find hers but she was dogged reluctant to do so reason being the teacher in charged of the library was not around at that time of the incident and her name written in marker pen, has faded from her shoes.

I guess I have to close the case and write off her shoes.  As a preventive measure, I have asked Sherilyn to place a very noticeable identification on her shoes each time she removes her shoes in school, on top of having her name written on both sides of her shoes.  I suggested to her that she either places her shoes into a plastic bag (this was what tourists were asked to do at one of the museums that we visited recently in Malacca) or places a small name card onto each side of the shoes but she said that this would make her look very stupid *roll eyes*   Instead, she came out with the idea of sticking her cartoon name sticker onto her shoes each time she removes her shoes in school. She will then pull out the two name stickers from the shoes after she wears them back and will stick them back onto the plastic cover of her mini note pad which she puts in her pinafore pocket.  I sure hopes that this method will prevent other pupils from wearing her shoes again.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Working Very Hard

The hubs and his team have been working at full steam for the past one week on several mega functions this week. Many of these corporate functions were Hari Raya Open House events, which involved over a thousand pax for each function. In this week also, one of his staff resigned and one of his chefs took leave. As a responsible and caring employer who did not want to over-work his other staff, he rolled up his sleeves and headed for the kitchen, helping out to cook and even to peel prawn shells! Can you imagine how many thousands of prawns he had to peel to cater for over a thousand pax?  He also carried heavy cartons of China plates, stainless steel cutleries, tables, chairs and everything that was needed to set up the buffet lines. He has over-worked himself this week and I think he must have torn some muscles in his hands. This morning, he could not even bend down to pick up his clothes or to open these to get his things out. By the way, if you are wondering what my hubs does, he runs a catering business. If you need a caterer, just give me a buzz ;)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What Would You Do If You Were Me?

Today, Sherilyn came home from school looking very down. When we were inside the lift, she told me this "mummy, someone wore my shoes after library today. I had no shoes to wear, so I had to wear someone's shoes" and then pointed to the over-sized white canvass shoes that she was wearing.  I told her that she should not have worn shoes that did not belong to her but should have reported the matter to the teacher in-charged in the library, to which she told me that the teacher in charged in the library was not around. So she just picked a pair of shoes to wear as they were about to go home.

Moments later, Sherilyn told me angrily that she hated the pair of over-sized shoes as they were loose on her feet.  I told her that since someone had worn her shoes and she has taken another person's shoes, she will have to wear that pair of shoes now. It will not be practical for me to drive all the way to her school to report to the teacher in charged of the library about this incident.  I had just bought her an extra pair of school shoes on Sunday and I told her that I will not buy her another pair of shoes again.  She then broke down and ran into the house, throwing tantrums and hurling replies to me saying that she will NOT wear that pair of big shoes that are not hers. She wanted me to buy her another pair of spare shoes, again!  She refused to eat her lunch and only ate when I gave her an ultimatum to finish her lunch by 3pm, failing which she will face the music.

As a responsible and sensible mother, what should I do now?

1) Do I go to school and report this incident to the teacher in charged of the library? I will definitely cause a big hoopla when the teacher calls all the students that were in the library today and asks Sherilyn to look for her pair of shoes.  For all I know, the student who accidentally wore Sherilyn's shoes would have left the pair of shoes at home and wore another pair of shoes.

2) Take the easy way out - buy her another pair of shoes and throw away the over-sized shoes that are not hers?  But I will be sending her a wrong signal... that if she loses things, mummy will buy her a new one. No way!

3) Force her to wear the over-sized shoes and get her to ask around and to hunt for her own shoes tomorrow and for the next few days? 

4) Leave her with only 1 pair of shoes and let her take accountability over her own actions. If that sole pair of shoes are not dried on time for school on Monday, she will have to wear semi-wet shoes to school.

What would you do if you were me?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Super Easy To Dish Out Japanese Fried Rice

Yesterday, I whipped up some very yummy Japanese fried rice, on an impromptu basis.  After a super heavy breakfast at TedBoy Bakery @ Bangsar, we skipped lunch.  By 4ish pm, the girls announced that they were quite hungry. Note : quite hungry only hehe... and Alycia volunteered to cook scrambled eggs.  So she took 6 eggs out from the fridge, cracked them in a bowl, whipped them up and heated up the non-stick pan.  After pouring in the 6 eggs mixture (seasoned with mixed herbs and pepper) and frying them for a minute, I suggested that we should put in the Japanese rice that we had the night before and make that our dinner since it was already close to 5pm.  Without a thought, Alycia my rice-pot seconded my suggestion. Then I asked her to chop up a tomato for the fried rice and I added some seaweed that my mum bought from Korea. With a dash of soy sauce and a few stirs, the Japanese style yummy fried rice was ready.

Sherilyn quickly cut up some cucumbers BUT cut her finger AGAIN!  Then she fished out the block of Emmentel cheese from the fridge and scraped some onto the rice.  It was an impromptu decision to cook fried rice and the girls and I had fun in the kitchen.  The cut finger did not dampen Sherilyn's mood and everyone had a very satisfying early dinner at 5pm yesterday, which was the last day of the school holidays.

Our Japanese fried rice with 6 eggs, 1 tomato, soy sauce, pepper, mixed herbs, Emmentel cheese and Korean seaweed, yums!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Favorite Body Parts

There is a part in each of my daughter that is my favorite.  For Alycia, they are her trademark deep and seductive dimples, her flawless fair skin and huge eyes with double eyelids.  For Sherilyn, they are her silky smooth skin and dimples and for Cass, I love her baby pearly whites and errr, her forehead :P

I am truly obsessed and proud of Cass' flawless baby teeth and I know that I can only admire them for the next 2 years, after which they will shed and will be replaced with irregular size and shapes of adult teeth. I pray that my girls will not have 'vampire teeth' like the hubs and me. And I pray that they need not have to wear braces. Dear Lord, please bestow my girls with beautiful, white, strong and aligned teeth alwayz, amen!! :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Cleaning Pillows, Mattresses and Bedding

The other day, one of my blog friends wrote in her blog that she washes her pillows in the washing machine each time she changes the pillowcases. I love the idea of washing my pillows to keep the pillows clean and free from dust mites, head lice and other bugs which are invisible to our naked eyes, which could be nesting and multiplying comfortably deep inside our pillows. I would do the same too if I live in a house with a garden or patio so that I can expose the pillows to the sun.

Living in a condo, we do not have the benefit of exposing our laundry directly to the sun, uncovered. We only get to hang our laundry at the balcony with limited exposure to the sun. Half of our laundry are hung indoors, under the fan.  Living in a condo with such limited space in the kitchen, we cannot even squeeze in a clothes dryer or a dishwasher as our extra space has been taken up by another refrigerator. Yes, we have 2 refrigerators  and built-in cabinets in the kitchen, occupying most of the space..

What I do is that I will sun our pillows and bolsters at least once a week. For bedsheets, pillowcases, bolster cases and blankets, I wash them every week. I also spray our mattresses with Sol-U-Guard disinfectant from Melaleuca to kill any germs and Sol-U-Mel (also from Melaleuca) to kill any dust mites and bed bugs.

That is the best I can do to avoid triggering the allergy button in my kids and I.  We have very sensitive noses and that is the reason why I am such a clean freak.

This is Sol-U-Guard disinfectant from Melaleuca. It kills mozzies, insects and cockroaches very effectively and safely as well.  It's definitely a life-safer for Katsaridaphobians like yours truly :P

Besides killing dust mites, Sol-U-Mel can also remove odors, stains and cleans the air.    Melaleuca products are safe and contain no harsh chemicals and toxic fumes. The main ingredients in their products is tea tree oil aka Melaleuca oil.  Just buzz me if you want to get these products from Melaleuca and I can help you get them at member's price.

How do you clean your pillows?

And how often do you change your bedding sheets?

Do you disinfectant and clean your mattress as well?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Trip Back To The Land Of Smooth Tofu

We left KL to head to Ipoh on Thursday, 8 August 2013. About 20 minutes into our journey, we saw a darn massive traffic jam ahead of us, near the Sg. Buloh overhead bridge. After getting stuck there for about 20 minutes, the hubs and I were on the verge of making a U-turn to return to KL and only leave KL the next day.  It was a double holiday here in Malaysia, where the Hari Raya holiday coincided with the school holiday.  We would normally stay put in KL during such times but we had a mission in Ipoh, which was to celebrate my dad's 70th birthday.

But the kids were disappointed upon hearing that we may only go to Ipoh the next day, so we moved on. The traffic eased up a little, later... and then at certain stretches, traffic was heavy again.  Overall, the traffic was not that horrendous and we took 3 hours to reach Ipoh vs. 2 hours on regular days.

Pictures taken on Thursday, 8 August 2013

To quench thirst, we snacked on some fruits and cucumbers and refrained from drinking water throughout the 3-hour journey.  No one wanted to queue up for half an hour just to inch our way into the rest and relax area and then queue up for another half an hour to pee... and then inch our way out into the highway again!  


And the picture below was taken today...

We left Ipoh for KL at 9:30am and reached KL at about 12:30pm.  Traffic was heavy at a few stretches on the highway and overall, it was quite a smooth ride, albeit there were many vehicles.  It also poured quite heavily throughout our journey.

Photo: Otw bk fr ipoh to kl. Heavy rain n traffic flow is quite smooth though heavy at certain stretches.

I am still amazed and thankful that my girls can read a book in the car without feeling a wee bit queasy, unlike me, who would definitely have my entire day spoiled from having severe bouts of nauseousness if I were to spend just 15 minutes reading in a moving car, dang it!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Darn Those Eye Lid Twitches!

You had probably read in one of my blog posts where I wrote that whenever my right eye lid twitches, it is a foreboding that someone in the family will fall sick. This eyelid twitch premonition comes true nine out of ten times.  True to the eyelid twitches that I was getting about 2 weeks ago, Sherilyn was down with Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease, next Alycia had a mild bout of cold and now it is my turn to succumb to those darn vengeful viruses lingering in the house.  No wonder for the past few days, I felt so malaise and lacking in energy. I did not have the stamina to run in the morning and only did a light workout on the Air Walker at the gym, which is less strenuous on my legs and stamina.  Yesterday, I started to sneeze non-stop and had a watery nose.  I felt really sick and my eyes were swollen. Some of the symptoms I am getting now are similar to those that Sherilyn got 2 weeks ago when she was down with Hand-Foot-Mouth disease! Oh God, please don't let me get bitten too, I can't afford to fall this sick!   I slept at 10pm last night, which is a record-breaking time. The only time I would leave my work place early for the bed is when I am sick.   I can't describe how hard it was for me to go through the motions of a typical work-from-home-mum's routine yesterday as I was feeling really down and out, with aches from head to toe. 
This morning, I woke up with an achy jaw, headache, body aches and felt malaise. I skipped exercising again to return to my bed to have a short nap after getting Alycia and Sherilyn ready for school. When one part of our body is malfunctioned, the other parts of the body have to work doubly hard to support the entire body, thus all the aches and jadedness, I reckon.

Then at 9am, the hubs told me that by hook or crook, I had to bring my new car to the Hyundai Service Centre for servicing, failing which, the free service will be rendered null and void. I had to park the car down the road and walk under the hot morning sun to the Hyundai office, which aggravated all the aches in my body!

I have just had a nice warm shower and I just do not feel like walking  to Cass' school to pick her up in this crazy, hot and hazy weather.  All I want to do now is to rest and relax and nurse myself to recovery so that I am well enough to make our trip to Ipoh on Thursday to celebrate my dad's 70th birthday.

Friday, August 2, 2013

To Cane Or Not To Cane?

The other day while I was walking Cass home from school, she told me that teacher A (her English teacher) told her class that she would cane whoever who did not know how to read a long list of English words in their Spelling book.  The moment we reached home, she quickly fished out the book from her school bag and showed me the list of English words, which consisted of these words : dancing, fine, thank you, knee, neck, very, much, grandfather, grandmother, grandparents, drawing and about 10 more words. She then made me go through the words with her.  See, I can even memorize these words as she made me go through these words with her umpteen times!  She refused to wash up or eat her fruits. She was glued to her books and wanted to complete her homework, as well as to master those words.

What made Cass so obedient and seem like an exemplary student was achieved through the hard and painful way.  The teachers in her pre-school would punish and cane kids who did not complete their homework, kids who could not read and kids who chit chat a lot when lessons are on-going.  Let me tell you that Cass had been punished too many times that I have lost count. Most times, she was called to stand up as a form of punishment for being too talkative and sometimes she would be canned on her hand for not completing her homework.

Some parents would freak out upon learning that their kids (whom they themselves do not cane) are being canned in school. They view such punishment as being too draconian on kids, what more pre-schoolers.

For me, I am not against this form of punishment for Cass.  I admit that she can be very stubborn and disobedient, even at home. My hubs, mil and I are having a hard time disciplining her.  I think she has been spoilt rotten since birth due to her medical condition which has since been rectified after a surgery when she was 13 months old.

However, for kids who are timid and sensitive (like Alycia), canning and punishment would backfire and cause a negative impact on the child's emotions.  Alycia dropped out of the school team in Calligraphy just because the teacher threatened the students that they need not have to attend lessons again if they did not write the Chinese characters nicely.  This happened when she was in Standard 1. She was in tears when I pressed her for the reasons on why she wanted to quit.

Do you agree or disagree to canning being carried out in schools to discipline students?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Wholemeal Pita Bread Sandwich

Feeling lazy to cook lunch today and being time pressed (I had to send out all my customers' orders by this week before the long Raya break starts next week), I fixed toasted wholemeal Pita pocket bread sandwich for Cass. 

Inside the pocket of the Pita bread are herbs and black pepper scrambled eggs, crunchy meat floss from Taiwan and wedges of avocado.

Did Cass enjoy her very simple lunch? But of course and so did I!
To make up for the 'absence of a nutritious meal' for lunch, we had oven-grilled wild salmon fish and Saba fish and stir-fried leek flowers for dinner :)