Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Marina Barrage

Every year on the 2nd day of the lunar new year, our family takes a break from visiting relatives to do something fun with the children. For the past few years we have visited the various musuems or Sentosa. This year we decided to visit the Marina Barrage:

The Marina Barrage is actually a "Reservoir in the city". It serves to add to Singapore's water supply, control flooding and is also a lifestyle destination.

Flooding is controlled by these 9 gates which will automatically open when the water reaches a pre-determined level, and is then discharged into the sea. This bridge also allows us to take a walk across the Bay from Marina.

At the barrage, we also get a fantastic view of the Singapore flyer and the Singapore skyline!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Pineapple Tart recipe

This recipe is specially for Mott.


pineapple jam
100-120 g granulated sugar
1 pineapple

pastry dough
500 g flour, sifted
350 g unsalted butter, cut into smaller cubes and kept chilled
50 g powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 egg yolks, lighten beaten
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten and mixed with some water(for eggwash)

Pineapple Jam.
Grate the pineapple and keep the juice.
Cook pineapple and juice over medium heat until it is almost dry (but not too dry).
Add sugar and stir continuously over low heat to prevent burning, until it caramelises.
Cool the jam down and keep it in the fridge.

Sift the dry flour into a large bowl. Set aside.
Add in the butter and rub into the flour until it resembless bread crumbs. Add the sugar, baking powder, salt and mix well.
Add the cold milk into the egg yolks and pour egg mixture into the crumbs.
Knead quickly to combine the dough. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky.
Divide the dough into 2 portions, wrap it up using clingwrap and chill for at least ½ hour before use.

Preheat oven to 160C(I use a fan forced oven, about 180C if using gas oven)

Roll dough out to about 0.5cm thick and cut using pineapple tart cutter
Top them with your balls of pineapple jam.
Lightly brush the with eggwash mixture.
Bake for about 15 mins.



Thursday, January 22, 2009

Run up into the CNY

Yes, it has been a hectic few weeks. With new schedules that arent even fixed yet, and the CNY is barely 5 days away!!

Well, baked my pineapple tarts again this year, and I must say, this time, after tweaking the recipe, I am so pleased with it. I managed to get that "melt-in-your-mouth" pastry that I really love!! Not sure if it is because the kids did not have a hand in it, (I used to blame the hard pastry on the kids man-handling it!) or the change in the recipe. Anyway, I am soooo pleased!

This last week also marked my 2nd Blogoversary, but I had no time to blog on it the day itself. 2 years of blogging, with a few stops in between, and many good friends made. Thanks ladies for being on this blogging journey with me!

Started on a new detox method which was recommended by some "friends". Its called the "oil pooling therapy". Not sure if it works, since I have only been on it for 5 days, but I find that since I started on it, I have been hungrier and thirstier. Will post more on it after I have been on it for at least 2 weeks. If you cant wait to find out about it, try googling it.

Finished most of my CNY shopping already. Only a few more stops at a couple of places today and tomorrow specially for MIL, as she likes everything "fresh".

I also "made" some oranges for Little D to give to her friends for her class CNY party.

Today is also the day of the Singapore Budget. Yes, its earlier than usual, but I guess there is a need for it to be early as everyone wants those "help" measures implemented quickly to jumpstart the economy! What do I hope for? Actually I dont even want to hope, coz have been disappointed these past few years when they have absolutely nothing for SAHMs. So, hopefully they will surprise me with some real goodies this time round.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


At 12 noon today (US EST), history will be made with the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America. The first African -American to lead the most influential country in the world.

The world, and many Americans are all excited about this day. There will be parades, balls and parties, all graced by stars, and would be viewed live around the world on the television and the internet.

The man has promised change. Change that would affect the lives of many, including you and I even though we may not even live in the US. Would it be change for the better? We do not know. We just have to wait and see. Lets pray that God will guide and lead him to make the right decisions.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Riddle me, tickle me

Recently Little D has been asking me all kinds of funny questions for which I always do not have the right answers. Why? She has been making up her own riddles, and my answers are never the ones she has in mind.

Why did the elephant go to the bathroom?
To pee??
No Mum, To see where the bath sleeps!

I tried asking her some of the more common riddles to show her that I was also into riddles: Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side. But when she heard my answer, she went: "Lame!" Guess she wasnt impressed.

What's a 4 year-old doing using a word such as "Lame!" on her Mum? Am I so out of touch with the "in-crowd"? I really dont think so. But apparently I am. And it sure makes me feel lousy.

Not sure where this riddle thing came from, coz I havent heard my older kids asking each other any riddles recently, and I dont think its from school. But it sure has got her creative juices flowing. One of my favourite of her riddles is this:

Why did the apple sit on the chair?
Because it wanted to be a chapel!!

So if you have any super good riddles that would impress a 4 year old, please share with me (with answers too please!), or she would think I am really "Lame!"

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Where is Love?

Yes! Where is it??

There are just so many things happening around that makes me wonder if Love has gone on holiday somewhere?? or just disappeared like the dodo bird!

There is just so much bloodshed, hatred, jealousy and greed all around. Why cant everyone just be happy with what they have, who they are and live and let live?

Even among "so-called" friends - why they cant just be happy for you just because your child has a certain capability or has done well? In front, they put up a false front, behind your back they gossip, pass snide remarks, etc. Little do they know that the world is so small that it always gets back to the ears of those whom it is not intended for.

Fighting amongst siblings ... we have seen so many cases of it. Brothers bringing each other to court to fight over their inheritances. Even in my family, my kids are fighting with each other over who got to play longer on the computer, who had the bigger piece of candy, and who shaped more cookies!! Why cant they be happy that they got to play on the computer, that they got to make cookies and they got to eat that candy!! Sometimes it makes me wonder if I should have given them those priviledges in the 1st place ... if not, then there would have been no fighting, right? (Actually, I dont think so . .. they would probably find something else to fight about!)

I have told my children many a times that they there is already too much fighting in the world, and the last thing we need is for it to happen at home. But do they listen? NO! But I guess, this is part of growing up! And many have told me that it is this fighting that sometimes bring them closer together. Boy! I really cant wait!

Let me share with you this verse taken from the bible: John 13:34-35
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

and from 1 Corinthians 13

Love is patient; love is kind
and envies no one.
Love is never boastful, nor conceited, nor rude;
never selfish, not quick to take offense.
There is nothing love cannot face;
there is no limit to its faith,
its hope, and endurance.
In a word, there are three things
that last forever: faith, hope, and love;
but the greatest of them all is love.


We cant have everything in the world. Life is basically "NOT FAIR". So we just have to learn to be happy with what we have been given. Count your blessings. Being jealous and bitchy is not going to change anything. So please, just show a little LOVE. It will go a long way, and make it a bit more pleasant for those around us!


Monday, January 12, 2009


Greedy me usually looks forward to dinner. Never mind if it is home cooked, bought or in a restaurant ... as long as the food is good.

This friday, hubby and I have been invited to dinner by a customer of ours. (We run a little business from home). Initially I agreed with hubby to go, but I have since changed my mind. Unusual for me to not look forward to dinner!

Why? Our host faxed across the guest list some time last week, and there is not going to be any familiar faces at the dinner ... in fact I dont even know the host nor his wife, hubby knows them better. Also, hubby probably regrets telling me that everyone one on that dinner guest list (apart from ourselves) can be googled!!

Seems like some big hip high society dinner, even tho it will be a home-cooked meal!! Since I left the corporate world some 9 years ago, I have not rubbed shoulders with people like this, and this lowly housewife who now only knows where to get the best and freshest market produce is likely to feel terribly out of place. What am I going to wear, and what am I going to talk to them about?? I have no clue!! I am going to feel so terribly out of place!

It's too late to back out since we RSVP'd last week. So, how?? Any tips on what I should do? or any thing that can help me look invisible? Maybe some super contagious germs that I can catch that would save me from the dinner!! HELP!!

The real work starts today

For my daughter, that is. After 7 long exhilirating days of orientation fun, ice-breakers, games, getting to know one another, performances and learning of the school's history, they finally settle down to work.

In my time, there was no such thing as orientation in secondary school. It was straight to work. I guess now with the thru' train programme, where they skip the 'O' Levels and go straight to the 'A" levels, they can afford more time for them to learn about the schools history and culture before they get down to the real stuff.

Even CCA (co-curricular activities) is a big thing. They have had as many as 5 talks by the teacher in charge of CCA briefing them on the need to have a CCA, and how to go about choosing one. Nowadays, for most CCAs you have to even go for selection trials before you are accepted, and for most sports, you have to be pretty good (read: able to represent the school) at it before they will even consider you.

In my time, we joined CCA to learn to play a sport. I remember I learnt to swim in school, and even for all the other CCAs. I was a member of the school's Literary, Drama and Debating society, and we learned the ropes thru the years on how to act, debate and even write scripts and produce newsletters. We went to school to learn all these stuff. Now for their selection trials, they are required to bring along pieces of their "work" for evaluation. And unless you are already good at it, it is likely you will not be selected.

It looks like over the years schooling has changed. Now it seems like you no longer go to school to learn. You have to demonstrate what you already know to them. So who does the teaching? The parents and the enrichment centres (if you can afford it), I guess! Hence the stress on the parents!! So looks like, I better move that butt and get to work!!

Friday, January 9, 2009

When the car wont start ...

It happened yesterday morning. The car just wouldnt start when I was trying to send Little D to school. Oh Drats! What a pain! What luck! That was my first reaction. Especially since I had a list of things that I had to do that morning.

But guess what? I was fortunate that my bro-in-law, who usually lives in Perth was around. So he made a quick detour home, to send Little D to school, before he went for his business meetings. Lucky me - chauffeured to school and back!! Did not have to worry about parking and the traffic.

Looking back, it was truly a blessing in disguise. Had it happened any later I would have been in BIG trouble. Especially with 3 children to ferry from school. And there would have been no one available to bail me out. Being the first "break-down" for the day also meant that the repairman could come in the shortest time possible. He said it was a battery problem and changed my battery. And guess what? He said the battery was still under warranty and hence there was no charge!!

Before I knew it, I could get along with my tasks and managed to get it all done, despite the later start. And the rest of the day went without any hic-cups.

See, sometimes things happen for a reason. God does things in his little mysterious ways. To us its mysterious, but he had it all planned! He knows what's best for us. For me, it was another blessing from above!!

Monday, January 5, 2009


Dozo in Japanese means "please" as in please go ahead. So, please go ahead and share with me how we celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary.

Hhubby and I celebrated it with a few friends at this restaurant called Dozo. It describes itself as a "fine modern Japanesque" restuarant ... whatever that means. It was our first time there, and when hubby called to make a reservation a week before, they asked if we were celebrating a special occassion. They were kind enough to give us a private room, even though ours was only a party of 6. The menu that we had was a 7 course degustation menu, but we were allowed choices for all courses except the first.

Here's some photos of the more interesting dishes to whet your appetite:
Our 1st course was the chef's seafood assorted platter, which I forgot to take a photo of. There was a pan fried scallop, a small bite of foie gras, and something else, which I cant recall.

For 2nd course,the cold dish course, this was what some of us had: the beef tataki,

and the salad with crab claw

The 3rd course was considered a "side dish". This is what I had,the tempura soft shell crab whilst, others had either the foie gras chawan mushi topped with truffles or the escargo.

The 4th course was the soup and most of us opted for the mushroom soup with truffles. Yum! Next was the main course. I had the beef tenderloin on hot stone. The fan is actually deep fried somen noodles.

Hubby had the cod fillet,

and others had the sake-infused unagi on hot stone.

For dessert, they had 6 choices on the menu. So since there were 6 of us, we decided to have one of each. White sesame panna cotta with black sesame ice cream

Green tea creme brulee

Japanese mochi with red bean

Fresh cream cheese cake

Warm chocolate cake with ice cream

Napolean of red bean and yam

But when they served us, they brought 7 desserts - 2 of their famous house special which was the warm chocolate cake with ice cream.

The last course was an iced fruity refresher.

Wines for that evening was all from the year we were married. We had the 1990 Dom Perignon to start, and a few other 1990 reds whose name I do not recall.

Service at the restaurant was attentive without being intrusive, and we had a wonderful time. Thanks to hubby for all the effort for co-ordinating everything for an enjoyable evening. Am I blessed, or what?? :D


The 12th Day of Chrismas...

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...

Yes, today is the 12th and last day of Christmas. So what did my true love give to me? .. Extra sleep, and I am thankful for that. I did not have to wake up early to send my children to school coz hubby did it on the way to work. It these little "gifts" that I am so thankful for.

Our family had not really put up a Christmas Tree for 4 years (The small table top trees, and trees which were delivered to us all dressed up do not count). But this year, not only did we get ourself a real christmas tree (a US noble fir tree), the children also got to help decorate the tree.

Hubby has always loved real fir trees, as when we were previously living in NY, we had the pleasure of enjoying real christmas trees. And the smell of the tree whenever we came home was the loveliest scent that greeted us. However, we noticed that the fir trees here do not give out that same scent. It must be the weather. I digress.

Usually when the 12th day of Christmas comes along, I am the only one taking down the tree, and its deco. Putting up the tree is loads of fun, but somehow, taking it down is not the same. Hence for the past few years we have been having small trees so that it would not be such a chore for me to take it down all by my lonesome self.

With an early Chinese New Year approaching, hubby suggested that we take the tree down a little earlier this year, as there was more to taking down the tree this year. With all the shedded pines dotting parts of our living room, and a tree to dispose off (as opposed to packing into boxes), we took down our tree yesterday. To my surprise, my children actually stopped playing their game and helped me undress the tree.Without me even requesting for any help. It was a really pleasant surprise. Guess that is another gift which my "true loves" gave to me this Christmas.

With a bleak economy facing us this year, and a long road full of stress ahead of me, I am learning to count my little blessings along the way. We may not realise it, and tend to complain about little things (eg I complained about bland food forgetting that others are struggling to even put food on the table), without realising that our problems are really inconsequential. Now its the time to be grateful for our many little blessings.

So what did your true love give to you today?


Friday, January 2, 2009

Things are just not the same anymore

Ever since my computer 1st crashed some 5 months ago, things have never been the same again.

It happened one day when hubby wanted to extract some information from the website of one of our National Sports Association. Not knowing that this NSA website was unprotected (!!) he went ahead to download some files. Hey presto! Our home computer was then infected with some nasty virus. This is despite the fact that we had Norton anti-virus. Infact this virus was so nasty that even a friend who downloaded information from that same website thru his office computer, brought his whole company's computer system down!!

We then got the Doc, changed "protection" and managed to rid our PC of it, but somehow I think it still lingered around somewhere. Every now and then, our PC would act up like a spoilt child, throwing tantrums, and preventing me from enjoying my peaceful blogging time.

And then it happened again in December. And I suspect the virus came from the same place! (Why did we download things from that website again? Because forms for participation etc are all there and we have no choice!) This time around it was soooooo bad that we could not even turn our PC on!! What's with this anti-virus protection and firewalls! It gave me false hope that my PC would be protected. We had no choice but to reformat our hard disk and start all over again, losing all our files, documents, photos, videos, etc that I had downloaded onto the PC. Fortunately, I did back up my videos and photos, if not it would be only wonderful memories left.

This second time round, I am not sure if its becauase of the festive season, other distractions or what, but somehow I dont seem motivated enough to want to restore my PC again. Despite the reformating of the hard disk, I find that there is still something wrong. At times the PC still shuts down mid way when I am working, many a times it just hangs. Hence, my posts have been less, and you dont see any photos.

Like the PC, we too must take care of our bodies. Once ravaged by any illness it would never work the same again. Hence the need for proper diets and exercise to stay healthy. As the past couple weeks have seen fairly rainy weather, coupled with the kids at home on holidays, I have not been able to do my regular morning walks.

So what have I been doing to keep fit? Well, hubby bought the Wii for the children for christmas. And we have been doing lots of exercises using it. What I like about it is its interactive feature. With Wii sports, we "play" games such as tennis, bowling, boxing, baseball, and golf, and the swings that we do is pretty much like the real stuff. No sitting around and just moving the thumbs. We have to stand and swing / box / pitch / bat/ bowl, etc. I actually break into a sweat when I do a round of boxing with little D!

On the Wii, there is also a feature called fitness that tests your fitness age. It gives you a series of tests to check on your speed, balance and stamina. When I did my first test, they said my fitness age was 80!! And I actually felt that age after the test! Since then, I managed to bring my age down to a youthful 32!!

I am very happy with that new age, that I have decided to go back to my morning walks to keep fit. I like the idea of remaining forever 32!!