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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Mission Bay, New Zealand - 22 December 2014

After our sumptuous and absolutely delightful brunch at Puhoi Valley Cafe And Cheese Store,we drove to Mission Bay, a seaside suburb of Auckland city, on the North Island of New Zealand. The suburb's beach is a popular resort, located alongside Tamaki Drive. The area also has a wide range of eateries.

Lovely summer day on Mission Bay Beach, Auckland, New Zealand

There were rows of Pohutukawa trees (New Zealand Christmas tree) with an abundance of stunning red flowers along  Mission Bay.  Quite a sight to behold.  From afar, they look like our very own rambutan trees.

The girls, especially Cass got another round of sun kisses  from this beach outing.  They played football at a park opposition the beach. Cass spent 2 hours scanning the beach to pick up seashells (one of her latest obsessions). You can see from the picture below that she now spots really tan hands, legs and face, so much that she does not look like a Chinese anymore! LOL!

Rails For Support

Whether you know someone elderly who has a hard time getting out of bed or someone who is confined to the bed except to get up for necessities, a bed handle would be convenient. Some handles come on a rail, making it more of a benefit, especially if you assist the person while getting in and out of bed.

When the person is in bed, the rail can be used as a support for the person to sit up in the bed to eat, to watch television or simply change positions. The rail can also be used to help when the person wants to roll from one position to another. If you are caring for someone, then you can use the rail to lean on while you are getting the person out of bed to use the bathroom or help the person sit on the side of the bed. It can be used as a support so that the person doesn't fall back on the bed while they are sitting. An adjustable rail is ideal for those who can do more activities unassisted as the rail is easily moved out of the way. Rails can also help keep the person safely in the bed while they are asleep. Learn more online about kinds of rails for beds.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Our Sunday - 18 January 2015

After church last Sunday, we went to Jaya One to search for something really quick to satiate our hunger pangs. It was already 1ish pm and we wanted something quick.  After making a 20-minute survey of what was available, hubs was drawn to the buffet brunch at Robata Monkey Bar & Grill Japanese Restaurant.  Actually that was not at all my choice mainly because of the price. But since hubs was so insistent, ok la, we settled for the buffet brunch.

Our chawan mushi came first, then this fresh sashimi platter.   I devoured on the raw fish like a hungry bear!

The girls and my all-time favorite Japanese dish - grilled squid!

Grilled salmon belly - this dish had us ticking at all the correct boxes -- crispy on the outside and soft and juicy on the interior with a briny taste. It was so yummy that we ordered two portions.

Chicken yakitori...

Tasty morsel of  lamb cutlet teppanyaki...

Tempura vegetables - very crispy and delightful but not the healthiest choice to savour vegetables though

We went bananas over the monkey yaki, a  delightful skewer of three  grilled bananas, each wrapped with a slice of smoked duck breast that tantalized us with its combination of sweet-briny flavours. A skewer was not enough to satiate us and we ordered another skewer.

After  tucking into our delish sizzling meal with gusto, we adjourned to get some coconut ice creams at one of the kiosks before going to Old School (also at Jaya One) for the girls to play.  Sherilyn and Cass each made a clay key chain while Alycia went to the book store with her grand aunt.  I went grocery shopping but was a tad disappointed with the Cold Storage at Jaya One.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Historic Week For Cass

I just realized that I have not updated this blog for 9 days!  Wow, that's how busy I have been for the past 9 days, with Cass especially as she just started Primary 1 a week ago.  I spent my first 3 days with her in school and on the 4th day, I followed the transporter to school in the afternoon to pick her up. I am so glad that we survived the week without any drama, albeit I fell sick (flu and scratchy throat resurfaced) as a result of lack of sleep and being brutally burnt by the scorching hot sun for 4 days while in school. I did mention before that I am allergic to the sun, didn't I?  :D

Last week was a historic week for Cass. There were many firsts for her.  Apart from the transition to primary school, she also sat on a school van for the first time and bought food from the canteen on her own for the first time (and bought junk food too, despite me reminding her repeatedly not to do so!). She gained her new found freedom and was really thrilled to be able to buy things on her own at the canteen.  On Saturday, her long awaited day came. She had been looking forward to her first piano class since 2 Saturdays ago.  Her teacher is a 19-year old law student.  I hope her interest will still be this strong many years down the road.

Cass' first pop piano lesson on 17 January 2015...

Last week also marked the week that Cass finally succeeded in learning how to skate on her roller skates shoes.  Her aunt SM gave her a pair of roller skates shoes when we were in Auckland but she did not know yet how to skate on it when we were in Auckland.  When we came back, she kept practising on her roller skates shoes. On New Year's Eve at our dinner with friends, she saw her friend skating on a roller skates shoes very gracefully. She observed intently and the next day, she practised again and voila, she finally got it!  Since then, she has been wearing her roller skates shoes out whenever we are out to the mall or restaurant. She can now skate effortlessly just like her friend. This was one of her happiest and most victorious moments!

Can you see  Cass' bulky roller skates shoes? My toes had been squashed by the weight of her on the shoes umpteem times!  So were her sisters! We are now terrified of her each time she wears this pair of shoes lol!

Cass at Old School @ Jaya One, PJ today, enjoying coconut ice cream.  Love the wall mural of this bas sekolah!!

Hari ini dalam Sejarah.... Cass at 6 years 9 months :D

Friday, January 9, 2015

Kids' Indoor Activity In Auckland (5 - 24 December 2014)

My girls had never played this many board games in their lives as they did when they were in Auckland.  When we arrived in Auckland, it rained quite a bit.  Everyone was saying that we brought the rain from Malaysia to Auckland!  And after we left Auckland, it was hot and dry!  Can you believe it? haha!

So on rainy days, we had to shelf our plans to do outdoor visiting. Due to the wet weather, we did not manage to visit Rotorua, the farm to see farm animals and to the strawberry plantation to pick strawberries. The girls would play board games like UNO, Monopoly, etc with their cousins on wet days.

One of the indoor activity that they did was decorating their own gingerbread house.  The girls' aunt Sarah from Hawaii bought a few packs of gingerbread house from Hawaii for the kids to work on.  And here they are at work, a few days before Christmas...

Cass decorating her gingerbread house with colorful candies. Well, I think the house structure was made of ginger biscuits and they smelled really good too!

Sherilyn and Cass applying edible cement (made of really gooey and sticky icing) to the gingerbread house.

The final product - 7 colorful ginger biscuit houses. The inviting aroma of ginger biscuits wafted in the air in the living room...  so inviting that I was so tempted to pinch out a part of the roof or the walls to pop into my mouth!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Japanese Guilty Pleasure Lunch

Today we indulged in a little guilty pleasure for lunch... an occasional indulgence of instant noodles! :D

Actually, I had planned to make grilled sandwiches for lunch again today. But a miscommunication with Alycia's guitar teacher made us all waiting until 2pm. In the end, he did not turn up. And since it was already so late and the girls were famished, I had to whip up something really really fast. They were all digging out chocolates and ice creams to satiate their tummies already, so I had to dish up something sustaining for them right away!

The only thing that I could think of was instant noodles.  So I rummaged through the kitchen cabinet and fished out an inviting looking packet of instant ramen noodles that the MIL bought from Japan recently.  She had told me before that this ramen noodles taste really good.  So yep, instant noodles look good and I quickly cranked up the stove. I also found the last can of spam meat that the MIL bought from Japan to go with the instant noodles!

As the pot of noodles looked too 'spammy', I threw in some fresh button mushrooms and chopped up some scallions to minify the spammy-ness, ha!

Our toothsome morsel.  Unhealthy foods do taste good!

My consolation was that the seasoning supposedly contain no MSG and I think it's quite true as I did not have to gulp down cups after cups of water to quench my thirst after whacking the noodles.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Homecooked Dinner - 7 January 2015

With the holiday and celebrations all behind us now, my 'leave' from the kitchen has ended.  As usual, it took me a few days to get the momentum to cook again.  Today, I whipped up my signature grilled chicken drummets for dinner.  My girls commended that they are the yummiest grilled chicken drummets ever!  And I think so too! :D

I also made a big bowl of mashed potato, using Nigella Lawson's recipe (I omitted the grated nutmeg though).

Happy Wednesday peeps!  I am counting down to the day that school reopens. Exactly 4 days from today and I am having a fusion of emotions - happy, excited, worried (it will be Cass' first time in a primary school) and anxious all rolled into one!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Blueberry Picking In New Zealand

After our Hobbiton tour, we stopped by at the blueberry plantation to pick our own blueberries.  We were all super excited as it was our first!

Before we started registering our names for the PYO blueberries, the kids were already licking on blueberry ice creams.  What a cooling and delightful way to cool ourselves down after being roasted by the scorching fiery sun for over 2 hours at the Hobbiton tour!

Can you see Cass' sun burnt arms?

I think I was more excited than the kids as it was my first time picking blueberries!

Every registered blueberry picker will be given a pail to place the blueberries, which will be weighed after our session.  I popped some blueberries into our mouths as we plucked them!   Just could not resist the temptation!

Most of the blueberries were not really ripe yet. When we saw bright blue ones like the ones shown below, we were all excited and quickly pluck them off from the branches!

These were not 100% ripened yet but we still plucked them anyway!

Our loot after an hour...

A whopping 2.77kg blueberries and that only cost us NZD27.70.  So cheap eh?  That would have cost us over a hundred Ringgit back home.

With so much blueberries, we made blueberry jam for pancakes and I lugged 2 punnets back to KL.  As the blueberries were a tad sour, I tossed a handful into my Blendtec blender and made multi-fruit smoothies for everyone everyday for over a week :)