Thursday, December 24, 2009

Have A Blessed Christmas

Christmas is a perfect time
To stop and reminisce
About the many hours we've spent
Discussing that and this-
The laughs, the smiles
That we have known
The wonderful things we've done
That make the friendship that we share
A very special one!

Have a very special Christmas, my blogger friends!!

Christmas Trees

We no longer see just the traditional trees. Everyone is trying to be innovative and decorate theirs differently. here are a few that I saw:

A floating Christmas tree? It is made of lights, and is on Bayview Terrace in Claremont, Western Australia.

Made of red, green and purple balloons - Leisure Park, Kallang, Singapore.

Christmas Tress with butterflies flying around it. Sentosa Golf Club Singapore.

And one made only of teddy bears!! (Takashimaya Department Store, Singapore)

And finally, the good old traditional tree!! (Tanah Merah Club, Singapore)

Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall. ~Larry Wilde, The Merry Book of Christmas

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Short Stopover

Just got back from a short trip to Perth, 9 days actually.

Wonderful weather, relaxing time. Caught up with some former school mates. Good bonding time with the children. Not much rush or hassle as we are familiar with the place.

Now home for a "short stop-over". Well it seems like it to me.

Yes, we have decided to take a trip to Paris as well since my son is going to be there. But there seems to be so many things to do during the short-stop back home. Laundry, shopping, vaccinations, packing, eating the local food, etc. Sometimes I wonder how the flight crew do it - a few days here, a few days there, and then they are off again. As for me, I find it most tiring. Maybe thats why I never considered being an air-stewardess.

Well, au revoir, until I get back from France.

Friday, November 13, 2009

More healthy eats

Mil was advised by her personal physician to try to eat more healthily - ie - to switch to brown rice, wholemeal bread, more salad, fruits and vegetables. Not that she is not healthy - her recent blood test showed that cholesterol levels are within acceptable levels, and there were no "warning signs" for any of her other tests. She walks twice a day for more than half an hour each time, has oats for breakfast at least twice a week, eats lots of veg compared to me, and she is still trying to improve on that! So I have no choice but to "jia you" too:

Here's what I had for lunch yesterday.

Fried rice with ginger, kailan stems, small silver fish and egg, garnished with Japanese seasoning. I must say that the crunchy kailan stems added more fibre to my otherwise normal fried rice!!

In an effort to have more fresh vegetable/fruit in our diet, we have now decided to have a salad included in our dinner every evening. The salad last evening was:

Pomelo and cucumber salad.

And if you would like to give it a try, here's what that went into this salad:

Cucumber (sliced thinly)
Small red onions
Peanut (crushed)
Red chilli (chopped)

And for the seasoning:
Lemon Juice
Fish sauce


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Trying to be healthy

Yes, I have put on weight again!! Sigh. Previously I would have been very happy to put on weight coz most of my life I had been underweight - blame it on my high metabolic rate.

But not of late. I think I am now at the healthy BMI range, and any more weight gain, would do me no good, hence the need to NOT put on anymore weight.

So in an effort to maintain my weight, and in an effort to help hubby lose some weight, this was what I dished out yesterday:

A healthy salad!! This is a meal in a dish and here's the recipe:

Grilled chicken breast
Lettuce (tossed in ranch dressing)
Red capsicum
Mixed Beans
Monterey Jack Cheese
Wanton strips (fried)

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Olympic Day - Goal!

The Youth Olympic games is just some 9 months away, and the countdown has already begun. As part of the run-up to it, many schools, as part of their post-exam activities, are holding Olympic Days - well both of my children's school had it. They play games which will be contested during the up-coming YOG, on an inter-class level.

Well, my son represented his class for a soccer game against another class. Let me share with you a beautiful goal he scored.

During the match, he saw an opportunity to score a goal, so he went for it and kicked as hard as he could. He was not wearing his soccer boots but his new pair of school shoes which we had bought just the week before. As the shot went towards the goal, the goal keeper lunged and caught ... my son's shoe - which had come off his foot ... and the ball rolled into Goal!!

Yoohoo! That was definitely the moment of the match and goal of the day!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Instant Noodles anyone?

Exams are over, Yippee!! And the kids wanted to play, YAY!

Well, my son invited a few .. ok, not a few, but a whole lot of them, over for a "play date". Actually more like a "belated party for my son since he didnt get to celebrate his birthday with his friends coz it was during the exams. They were going to come over for a soccer game (in my garden) followed by more soccer games on the X-box.

In preparation for it, I asked him what his friends would like to eat for dinner. I was thinking of having a BBQ, or something along those lines, since it was a group of boys (read: meat eaters), who from my past experience, would rather not eat coz they just want to play. You see, the last time they were here, many just wolfed down their food really quickly, or just took a courtesy bite just so they could get back to their game. So I thought that if it was a BBQ, they would be out in the garden, away from the x-box machine and be forced to eat. And, in the night, it would be too dark for them to run around the garden! I would feel really bad (like I did the last time,) if they were to go home without eating much. Why? Imagine them telling their parents that they were hungry, and their parents would think that I had no food for them!!

So, my son went around asking them what they would like to have for dinner when they came over. To my horror, my son came home and told me that the unanimous decision was that they all wanted instant noodles!! I was like "WHAT??!!?? How can I just serve your friends instant noodles for dinner? What would their parents think??!!"

Horrors! *Shudders!* - I dont normally allow my children to have instant noodles, tho they ask me quite frequently for it. I feel that it is not very nutritious (even when we add in an egg)!! I also feel that it contains too much msg (tho I am told that there are some now sold that do not contain any msg at all).

Anyway, I ended up serving them chicken nuggets (which I also think is not very healthy), fishballs, pizza and hot dogs. I must say that this time round the boys ate quite well, and enjoyed the food!

But, honestly, would you serve your children's friends instant noodles?? And would you be aghast if your kids came home from a party and told you that they were served that for dinner at their friends house??

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Parlez-Vous Francais?

It means "Do you speak french?" Well I dont, but that is the current "fever" at my home.

You see, my son, has been selected by his school for an immersion in France this December in preparation for the YOG twinning programme. And he is so excited about it.

Though we have already booked our family year-end vacation, this trip organised by the scchool doesnt clash with it, and we have decided to let him go.

As part of the preparation for the trip, he is trying to learn a few french phrases so that he wouldnt be so lost when he goes there. So far he knows:

*"Bonjour" which means "hello" or "good morning/ afternoon"
* "merci" - thank you,
* "oui" - yes
* "non" - no
* "Bon Appetit! and
* "Steak frites" - a dish that he has decided he will order when they bring him out to the restaurants (knowing how fussy he is with his food!!)

A slow start, but at least he is enthusiastic about learning the language!

Now I must teach him to "faire la bise" (kiss cheeks) when he meets some cute french chicks! ;D *wink, wink!*

Monday, November 2, 2009

Time to think

Yesterday Hubby and I left all 3 kids home alone to catch a movie. Previously, we would never dream of doing such a thing. But now that they are older and know how to co-operate, and that the exams are over for the older two, we took the plunge, and went without them. Of course, we were only a phone-call away!

We caught the movie "My Sister's keeper" - a story about how a couple had another child just for the purpose of saving the life of a sick child. I thought it would be a "sob-fest" and went armed with loads of tissues. But it didnt really turn out that way. Yes, it did tug at my heart-strings, and a few tears did roll - but the movie was more of one that got me thinking.

Am I controlling my kids too much? Am I deciding for them too often as to what is good for them? Am I considering their wants, needs and desires before making decisions for them? Granted, there are some which they are too young to make, but do I take their wants into considerations before making the decisions? How do children feel when they have a "sick" sibling? Do we cater to the wants of the "Sick" at the expense of the needs of the others? Do we do it just so that we dont feel guilty?

Many of these questions are tough to answer.

Now after watching the movie, I think I will be doing much more thinking before making decisions for the children. A real thinking, deep-thought provoking movie!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween


Guess 10 months of the year have flown by. How time flies!! Before we know it, Christmas will be upon us. In fact, the fight for the Christmas dollar has already started, as I saw loads of Christmas decor in many shops and along the roads in town. Sigh. Way too early. By the time Christmas arrives it would feel like it should be over. I think this thing has gotten out of hand!!

Talking about getting out of hand, here's something that has really gotten out of "hand" ........ or "pants". Trust it never ever happens to you!

Have a great halloween party tonite!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Dad's cooking

Since I got married, some close to 19 years ago, I have not tasted my Dad's cooking. You see, when we were young, Dad usually made breakfast for us.

Last evening when we met for my nephew's birthday, my Dad invited me over for lunch today. He told me that my favourite fish was in season and he was going to cook it for me.

"Toi Her" is a type of fish which is popular with the teochews. It is a slim fish about 6 inches in length and about an inch in diameter. Not many know how to eat this fish as it has numerous bones which are very thin. Only if properly eaten will the bones stick to the fish. The way you eat it is most unlady-like. You have to literally slurp and suck the flesh off the meat. But the meat is sweet and soft. I havent had "toi her" for years.

Usually Mum would cook it using Grandma's recipe. But today Dad cooked it, using a recipe he learnt on his recent trip to China. Must say it turned out quite good, tho it was of a different style from that I was used to. I ate 6 of those fishes .. all for lunch!! There goes my diet!

Thanks Dad for a lovely lunch. And what a lovely way to end the week ...coupled with the children's exams finally OVER!

I hope you have a great weekend!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Flip Flop Generation

Yes, there is a flip flop generation. I am not referring to the way youngsters flip flop on their likes and dislikes according to what's the "in" thing, but am referring to the way they like to go EVRYWHERE in their slippers.

In my time, (which actually isnt all that long ago) the only flip flops available were what we would call "Japanese slippers". It costs about $5 a pair and that would be what we wear when running downstairs to the HDB shops to get some things or to buy our char kway teow, with our own egg in hand, or if we are lucky, a trip to the beach with our parents.

Nowadays, there are so many different versions - there's the Ipanema's, the Havianas, etc and the cost of a pair can go all the way up to $50 just for a pair. And if they come jewel studded, the cost can go into the hundreds!! But to me a pair of slippers is a pair of slippers. And there is a time and place for them.

I cant understand why my kids always have to ask me "Can I wear my slippers?" And usually the answer is "No!"

You dont wear slippers when you go shopping in a nice mall, or to the movies, or out to lunch (unless its at the neighbourhood kopitiam or hawker centre). Even if its to these places, I would still prefer to wear proper sandals as the grip is better and there is a less chance of slipping and falling. Neither do you wear it to church or to a friend's house!! I think it shows a lack of respect, unless your friend happens to live next door - or you are going there for some "muck around"!!

An ex-colleague was commenting the other day about one particular boss complaining about staff wearing "flip flops" to work. He was referring to the ladies sandals, and how they flip and flop when they walked. In my time, working in a professional organisation meant that it was black court shoes - nothing less, coz that was normal business attire. I remember a boss commenting about my "blue checked" foldable umbrella which I whipped out from my handbag one day when it started to pour unexpectedly. He said that where he was trained in the UK, it was unthinkable for accountants to use anything other than a black umbrella. But I guess that's part of the British stiff upperlip. I digress.

Anyway, maybe it's me - too controlling and fixed in my "old-fashioned" ways - but I still think, flip flops - be they $50 havianas, designer or not , are meant only for the neighbourhood run-around. What do you think?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Time flies when you are having fun

Where has the week gone? I really dont know!! People say time flies when you are having fun, but I dont believe I have been having much fun this week at all.

The kids were all home on Monday, due to Deepavali. There was a LOT of fighting and squabbling over the use of the TV and the computer.

My son was home all week, and when he is home, I am usually stressed. Why? read on::

You see, next week is exam week for him. I tried to get him to study, but each time, after 5 mins at his books, he will say that he is done. BUT I know he is NOT done studying. WHY is it so difficult to get him to study???

And then he will start fighting with his Mei Mei over toys, over the TV, over anything. Even a toy or book that has been lying around for months untouched. Once one of them takes it, the other will want it. I know its their attention seeking ways. BUT it drives me up.

And then my son will complain about his food. Take yesterday for example. We had teochew porridge for lunch. When he saw it, he complained non-stop about how he hated it. Could he have plain instant noodles instead? etc, etc. Of course I put my foot down and said: Eat it or go hungry. Naturally he ate it. When dinner time came around, he said: "Can I have porridge instead of rice? Rice is so boring!!" A 100% turn around from lunch. Of course he got a shelling from me, and ate his RICE.

So, you can tell, I definitely did not have much fun this past week. But where did the week go? I really dont know. Anyway, I am glad it's FRIDAY!! and I am looking forward to the end of next week ... when I dont have to bug my son to study, and the whole family can have a relaxing time unwinding.

Have a great weekend!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

English Humour

English is a funny subject, easy to learn but not easy to master. There are many rules with equally many exceptions . Eg I was helping my son with his spelling and told him the rule of "I" before "E" except after "C" - Yes, that applies for words like "Receive" but how do you explain ancient to him? When do the exceptions apply??

But I guess exposure to the language will help you learn faster, and the best way would be through reading and listening.

And with children you really have to watch what they read, coz they are not gonna be learning much English if all they read are signs like those below!!

Have a great weekend ahead, and Happy Deepavali!

Did I read that sign right?

In a Laundromat:

In a Memphis department store:

In an office:

In an office:

Outside a secondhand shop:

Notice in health food shop window:

Spotted in a safari park:

Seen during a conference:

Notice in a farmer's field:

Message on a leaflet:

On a repair shop door:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Horror Stories

Heard any horror stories lately? Well I did.

I was at school the other day waiting to pick up lil D. A mum was hurrying a teacher for her son as she had a taxi waiting for her. She then said that her daughter (who is only 3) was waiting in the taxi.

Alarm bells rang for me!! What? Leave a young child on her own with an unknown cab driver? I would never do that!!

Another lady there (a grandma of one of the kids) then scolded her for doing that, and went on to relate this story:

Her friends family went to Florida on vacation. The husband brought the son to the toilet at one of the Theme Parks (she didnt say which one), and left the boy in the loo to queue. He then went outside to take some photos. After awhile, he went back into the loo to get his son but he couldnt find him at all. He then called his wife who was waiting at another part of the park with their daughter to tell her what had happened. The wife left the daughter there alone (coz she was tired), and went in search of the son with the husband. They did NOT succeed in find the boy.

When they went back to where they left their daughter, she was gone too. Apparently they lost both their children there!!

I have heard similar stories about children going missing in China, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, but there is no way to verify the truth of it. But this lady claimed that it was her friend, and both husband and wife then came home to Singapore. I asked her again if it was true or just hearsay. She then told me "It's my friend!! It's a true story, so better take good care of your children, and dont let them out of your sight in public!"

Singapore may be a safe country and we tend to take personal safety fro granted. But more than 20 years ago, 2 teenage boys went missing, and to date they have never been found.

How sad that is!! I know I would NEVER be able to forgive myself should such a thing happen to my kids. (CHOI! CHOI! Touch wood!) That to me is a REAL horror story. And I DONT want to hear more of these stories. May it NEVER happen to anyone.

Friday, October 9, 2009

And the kangkong is growing ...

.... quite well I think!

It grew much much faster than I expected, and lil D is really excited now. She checks on her plant every morning as soon as she wakes, and will water it then. She will measure it to see how much it has grown, and has been sympathising with those that were not properly planted, and have withered and died. She's showing more responsibility than I expected.

Would she eat it? I really dont know. But S said that she was not going to eat it. Why?? Because its home grown, and she thinks there is too much stem, and hence the plant is unhealthy! Never heard of that!! Since when "too much stem" meant a plant was unhealthy? She said her teacher told her so!! Dont know what they are teaching our kids in school nowadays!

Anyway - , my kids only like the leafy parts of all vegetables, and I usually end up eating the stem. No problems for me, coz thats the part of vegetables that I like. Crunchy!! How about you?

Anyone wants to share some "unhealthy" Kangkong stems with me?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Visit From Grandma & Grandpa

I was short of ideas on what to blog on, then I read Yan's post on His her story, and had a good laugh, so I decided to share this joke:

A Visit From Grandma & Grandpa

Grandma and Grandpa were visiting their kids overnight.

When Grandpa found a bottle of Viagra in his son's medicine cabinet, he asked about using one of the pills.

The son said, 'I don't think you should take one Dad; they're very strong and very expensive.'

'How much?' asked Grandpa.

'$10.00 a pill,' Answered the son.

'I don't care,' said Grandpa, 'I'd still like to try one, and before we leave in the morning, I'll put the money under the pillow.'

Later the next morning, the son found $110.00 under the pillow. He called Grandpa and said, 'I told you each pill was $10.00, not $110.00.

'I know,' said Grandpa. 'The hundred is from Grandma!'

Friday, October 2, 2009

Lump of soil

She was really excited when she came home from school with this "lump of soil".

But I wasnt. It was her children's day gift from school. How can anyone be thrilled with a gift like this? But she was. She wanted to open it immediately.

I thought of all the small bits of soil falling all around the house. She chose to open it on the rug. Sigh. If any soil drops on it, it will be there FOREVER! Wont be able to see it as the rug is patterned.

You see, the school gave them this vegetable growing kit.

And you have to loosen the soil before planting. Fortunately, big sister agreed to help. They both got down to the job of loosening the soil, planting the seeds and watering it.

This morning she woke up and checked on her vegetable. Disappointed that it hadnt grown at all - no shoots - NOTHING! Insisted on watering it again, with a LARGE GLASS of water, spilling along the way.

You are probably wondering why I wasnt happy with the gift. Well, it just means more WORK for me. I know I should be thrilled, but the thought of "dropped" soil on the rug, mopping up spilled water, and explaining over and over again that the vegetable wont grow overnight, probably having to take over the watering and sunning of the plant (once the excitement wears out and they forget all about it - which is probably in two days time) and tending to their disappointment is really NOT my cup of tea. (That makes me a horrible Mum, right? why cant they just plant it in school, and only bring home the vegetables!!)

I know I should look on the bright side - they learn about plants and how they grow. Maybe they would happily EAT what they grow. I am keeping my fingers crossed. But now, I have another "BABY" to take care of. And I dont have green fingers.

As Lou Erickson once said: Gardening requires lots of water - most of it in the form of perspiration.

And, if, instead of talking to the plants, I yelled at them,
would they still grow, only to be troubled and insecure?

And here's the riddle of the week:
What is the difference between boogers and spinach?

You can't get your kids to eat spinach :D

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Bag Lady

Do you carry a BIG HANDBAG with you wherever you go?

I remember when I went for this "Colour Me Beautiful" course some years back, where they helped us with selecting clothes, bags, spectacle frames, etc to make us more beautiful.

I remember in one segment the trainer, took all our handbags, and paraded with them. Many of us carried BIG handbags, carting around half our life with us. She then told us: with all these beautiful clothes in the right colours, etc, do you think you look elegant with that HUGE bag? or do you think you look better with this bag? She then whipped out her small stylish handbag.

Naturally, it was the small handbag that complemented the look we wanted.

I then made a conscious effort to carry a smaller stylish bag.

But having left the workforce for a good ten years now, and with age, we forget what we have been taught. At least for me. Looking at my handbag, which I carry with me everywhere, I realise that I have gone back to carrying everything with me. The only thing not in my handbag is probably my kitchen sink! I have in my handbag: my wallet, diary, ipod touch, phone, camera, my cheque book, a few pens, my children's spare passport size photos, my gift vouchers, lipstick, lipbalm, glide stick (for when I get blisters on my feet), my keys, my rosary, 2 packets of tissues (at least), some candy, doctors appointment cards for myself and children, and MORE!

No wonder I have this persistent shoulder-ache!!

It doesnt help that BIG handbags are also in fashion!!

But why do I carry so many things with me? Well, I guess I am a bit of a "Miss Eveready" ... I am prepared in case of anything!! (You should see the things in my car boot! - spare clothes for the kids and me, picnic mat - in case we decide to go to the beach on a whim, sandcastle building toys, kite, spare food containers - incase I want to "ta pow", recyclable shopping bags, medicated oil, sewing kit, mosquito repellent, - you name it, I probably have it!!)

Well, I have now decided that I am going to cut out all that. I am going back to small handbags. I can do without that extra weight on my shoulder and that frumpy look! No more carrying of everything with me when I go and fetch the kids - just a small pouch with my driver's license, some small change, house keys and my mobile phone will do.

And only when I go to town or out with friends will I bring my lock, stock and barrel with me. I think that will really ease my burden. Hmm, time to go shopping for a small bag.

Are you a Bag lady like me?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Vroom Vroom

I remember a year ago this week. All of Singapore was abuzz with the excitement of the 1st F1 night race in Singapore, and traffic around the city was dead-locked at most junctions.

Friends were comparing invites, tickets bought, and pavilions they were invited to, to watch the race. My only connection to that week was my son's Godparents, travelling down from New York for it. They had originally planned to come down for my son's first Holy Communion (which was held a week before the races), but when his Godfather's boss heard about it, they decided to send him down for the F1 to entertain their Asian clients, as their bank was one of the sponsors for one of the teams. What a blessing, an all expense paid trip!

For those of us without tickets, and not willing to part with our hard-earned cash for live action, we witnessed it all on TV, which, if you ask me, may have been better. We got to watch the race in entirety, with replays of parts of interest - eg Massa driving off from the pit-stop before the re-fillers disengaged the fueling nozzle.

This year, there seems to be less excitement over the whole event. There is not much talk about getting tickets for the event, except for the high society ones. Traffic around the city is just as jammed. As for me and my family, it will be status quo, where we will watch it all on TV again. Yes, we will still be screaming our voices hoarse for our favourite drivers. will you?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Heavy Foot

Do you have a heavy foot? Well I do. I frequently floor my accelerator pedal and must say (*touch wood*) have not been caught for speeding yet. I can just imagine the thrill of speeding on the german Autobahns, without having to look out for cops.

But, that is not a good thing to do. I am endangering not only my life, but others as well. So I must say, I am trying very hard not to rush so much, and drive at a slower speed.

And, since its Friday ~ yoohoo!! here's my laugh for the week:

After getting all of Pope Benedict's luggage loaded into the limo, (and he doesn't travel light), the driver notices the Pope is still standing on the curb.

'Excuse me, Your Holiness,' says the driver, 'Would you please take your seat so we can leave?'

'Well, to tell you the truth,' says the Pope, 'they never let me drive at the Vatican when I was a cardinal, and I'd really like to drive today.'

'I'm sorry, Your Holiness, but I cannot let you do that. I'd lose my job! What if something should happen?' protests the driver, wishing he'd never gone to work that morning..

'Who's going to tell?' says the Pope with a smile.

Reluctantly, the driver gets in the back as the Pope climbs in behind the wheel. The driver quickly regrets his decision when, after exiting the airport, the Pontiff floors it, accelerating the limo to 205 kph.. (Remember, the Pope is German..)

'Please slow down, Your Holiness!' pleads the worried driver, but the Pope keeps the pedal to the metal until they hear sirens.

'Oh dear… I'm going to lose my license -- and my job!' moans the driver.

The Pope pulls over and rolls down the window as the cop approaches, but the cop takes one look at him, goes back to his motorcycle, and gets on the radio.

'I need to talk to the Chief,' he says to the dispatcher..

The Chief gets on the radio and the cop tells him that he's stopped a limo going 205 kph.

'So bust him,' says the Chief.

'I don't think we want to do that, he's really important,' said the cop.

The Chief exclaimed,' All the more reason!'

'No, I mean really, really important,' said the cop with a bit of persistence.

The Chief then asked, 'Who do you have there, the mayor?'

Cop: 'Bigger.'

Chief: ' A senator?'

Cop: 'Bigger.'

Chief: 'The Prime Minister?'

Cop: 'Bigger.'

'Well,' said the Chief, 'who is it?'

Cop: 'I think it's God!'

The Chief is even more puzzled and curious, 'What makes you think it's God?'

Cop: 'Well… his chauffeur is THE Pope!'

Have a great Hari Raya long weekend!! :D

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Giant Lollipop

Who would buy a lollipop as big as that?

Guess what? My daughter came home from school one day with a lolli that size (diameter of approx 10 inches). Her teacher had given it to her as a reward because she was the only player in the school team that won all her games during a recent tournament.

I was puzzled. Why would a teacher buy something like that for children? Are there no other more suitable rewards?? Maybe I am being too harsh.

Even before she came home with that lolli, we had seen it in a shop, and my kids got all excited. As some of you already know, my children have a very strict dentist that does not encourage the eating of candy and a fairly strict Mum that does not believe in unnecessary visits to the dentist, and dreads hyperactivity in children caused by sugar overload.

I reasoned with them, that with a lolli that size, it wouldnt even fit into their mouths. Furthermore, you would never ever be able to finish licking it in the 5 minutes alloted by the dentist on lolli days. The lolli would then end up in the bin, and it would be an utter waste of money.

So we did not spend our money foolishly on it.

But I really hate it when people give HUGE candy to my kids. Even if its relatives. I will tell them that if they want to spend money on such gifts, its better that they contribute to my children's dentist fund. (PS - small candies and chocolates are fine, but not wastefully large ones that have nothing in them but loads of cavity causing sugar which makes kids hyperactive!)

Naturally, that giant lolli is sitting somewhere in one of the drawers uneaten (unless the ants have gotten to it), and I tell my kids it makes a good "spanker"!

Would you buy a giant candy like that for your child?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Brave no more!

Not sure if it comes with age, but recently, I have found that I am no longer as brave as I was before.

In my younger days, I would not hesitate any death-defying stunt ... ok, maybe not death defying, but similarly daring stunts. Like, I wouldnt think twice about going on a roller-coaster, any roller coaster for that matter. These rides would see me joining the queue for it. And many times, I would do anything to be in the front seat - where of course, its more thrilling, coz you dont have any heads in front of you.

But recently, that has not been the case. When I was at Movie World in Gold coast a couple of years ago, somehow, even tho the Superman ride looked super thrilling, it just wasnt compelling for me to ride it. Even the speed boat ride (to the Tengku Abdul Rahman National Park in June) had my heart thumping super fast!! Now even going on the cable car or a chair lift, I would have my heart in my mouth and a prayer on my lips.

Why? How did I turn into such an "unbrave" person (dont want to use the word "coward" here!) overnight? I dont know. Maybe it comes with "maternal responsibilites". How to put my life at risk when I have young dependants? I sure hope that's the reason, or maybe, I have just grown up!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Game imitates real life

Playing games can show you how a person will react in real life. Well it did for me when I noticed my children's "strategies" when they play.

For example, both of them are on restaurant city. The older one, will keep all her money, and then spend them on all the ingredients necessary to upgrade her dish. Doesnt matter if she doesnt have all the ingredients, but she will spend all the money necessary, so that when the ingredient goes on sale, or if she is able to get it thru trades, she can reach top level very quickly. Also, she will purchase or trade and plan in advance even for levels which she has yet to achieve!

The younger one, is the kind soul. He will happily trade with his friends for ingredients to help others achieve their upgrades. Never mind his own. Also, he would rather spend his money buying gadgets for his restaurant - like the TV, boom box, speakers. And when the ingredients that he needs goes on sale, he finds that he is short of cash to buy what he needs.

I have been using this game to teach him on the need to save for what he needs and not blow it all on the latest items. It also really shows me how their attitudes towards cash are, and who I know will make a good treasurer, and who the interior designer.

So it looks like there are benefits to be obtained from them playing games. Its not time all lost or wasted on the game. They can learn real life strategies as well.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Gifts for teachers

My son was telling me about the gifts the various boys in school brought for their teachers. In particular, he was telling me about two boys who brought the same gift, just in different sizes. One gave a 3-piece Ferrero Roche chocolate, whilst another gave a 20 piece box!!

I for one do not believe in giving BIG and EXPENSIVE gifts to teachers. I feel that the child has to contribute to it for it to be meaningful, and we usually try to make something for the teacher. If its cookies or cakes, my child will have to help out. And as for the cards, they make their own. Anyway, I hope the teachers do not treat the children according to the gifts that they get! Coz if they do, my kids must be ostracized by their teachers!!

I cant believe its the end of term 3 already. How fast the school year has gone by. Ten more weeks of school and the kids will be all mine for some 6 weeks. Yikes!!

Anyway to end the week, here's another joke:

It was at the end of the school year, and a kindergarten teacher was receiving gifts from her pupils.

The florist's son handed her a gift. She shook it, held it overhead, and said, "I bet I know what it is. Some flowers." "

That's right" the boy said, "but how did you know?"

"Oh, just a wild guess," she said.

The next pupil was the candy shop owner's daughter.

The teacher held her gift overhead, shook it, and said, "I bet I can guess what it is. A box of sweets."

"That's right, but how did you know?" asked the girl.

"Oh, just a wild guess," said the teacher.

The next gift was from the son of the liquor store owner. The teacher held the package overhead, but it was leaking. She touched a drop of the leakage with her finger and touched it to her tongue.

"Is it wine?" she asked.

"No," the boy replied, with some excitement.

The teacher repeated the process, taking a larger drop of the leakage to her tongue.

"Is it champagne?" she asked.

"No," the boy replied, with more excitement.

The teacher took one more taste before declaring, "I give up, what is it?"

With great glee, the boy replied, "It's a puppy!"

*Be responsible - do not give pets as gifts!!*

Thursday, September 3, 2009

2 kids and a kite

Little D came home with a kite from school. That got her and her brother all excited.

They wanted to go out to fly the kite, but I told them that there was no wind, so the kite wouldnt be able to fly. Little D answered that she could stand next to her brother and blow!!

I then explained to her that blowing wouldnt work coz you needed at least a breeze to carry the kite up, and just blowing wasnt strong enough.

10 mins later, I had two kids running around outside the house. One with a kite behind him, and the other following behind him with a fan, fanning desperately trying to create the "wind" necessary to get the kite up in the sky.

A pity I did not have my camera handy! It was quite a hilarious sight.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Used vs Love

Got this from a friend via email.

And the funny thing was that Little D had used her nails to scratch some chinese words on my car just yesterday. Was I upset? You bet! But fortunately I didnt react the way the man in the story below did. I told her NEVER to do it again, in a fairly stern voice, which I think frightened her a bit. But I did tell myself that I had to cut her nails Coz, If she didnt have the "tools" she wouldnt have been able to put her masterpiece on my car! :D

Now I need to get my car waxed to get rid of it! Or maybe I should keep it, so that I remember!!


While a man was polishing his new car, his 4 yr old son picked up a stone and scratched lines on the side of the car. In anger, the man took the child's hand and hit it many times not realizing he was using a wrench.

At the hospital, the child lost all his fingers due to multiple fractures.

When the child saw his father.....with painful eyes he asked, 'Dad when will my fingers grow back?'
The man was so hurt and speechless; he went back to his car and kicked it a lot of times.

Devastated by his own actions ....... sitting in front of that car he looked at the scratches; the child had written 'LOVE YOU DAD'.

The next day that man committed suicide.

Anger and Love have no limits; choose the latter to have a beautiful, lovely life & remember this:
Things are to be used and people are to be loved.
The problem in today's world is that people are used while things are loved.

Let's try always to keep this thought in mind:
Things are to be used,
People are to be loved.

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character;
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Hair wash

There's this salon in the east that I recently discovered with a group of Mums. They give the best head massage there. I brought my friend who visited from NYC there. After the hair wash she suggested that I should go there every week to de-stress. She enjoyed it so much. But with my hair fairly short, I find it a luxury to go get my hair washed at the salon. Anyway, its quite convenient to wash it myself. Unless, I have long tresses that makes washing and blowing a chore, why would I need to go to the salon so regularly?

As its Friday again, here's my joke for the week:

Little five year old Johnny was in the bath tub, and his mom was washing his hair. She said to him, "Wow, your hair is growing so fast! You need a haircut again."

Little Johnny replied, "Maybe you should stop watering it so much.


Should I go get my hair watered?

Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

And the preparations have begun ..

.. for teacher's day, that is.

Little D wanted to make her own Teacher's day cards for her teachers, and I encouraged her to do so. First I went to buy coloured paper. Then I cut them into smaller pieces. Next, she told me what she wanted to write on the card and I wrote out those words which she couldnt spell and the names of the teachers for her. Then she started to work on it.

This is the result:

When her sister saw what she had done, she commended her on the Smiley face that she drew.

"All's done, so please pack up," I told Little D.

"Wait Mum!" my older daughter said. "D is making a card for me."

"A teachers day card??" I said.

"She's said she's gonna make one with a HUGE smile for me," my daughter, S said.

And this was what little D made for her sister:

Quite a smart cookie, I must say, coz it wasnt a Teachers day card. And I LOVE that BIG cheeky smile on it!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Best Bank?

In this electronic day and age, and in these tough economic times most would expect good service, especially from the banking sector, in order to keep their clients. Well, that was not what I experienced. And this was from a bank that was supposed to be the "best" bank for customer service in Singapore!!

Let me explain -

I tried to make a TT transfer to London last week. When the deal was booked thru their treasury department,I was told that, as long as I faxed the details across before 12 noon, it could be done the same day. So, I did. At 9.37am to be precise.

At 10.45am they called to say that they couldnt see the last line of my fax! As I mentioned to the girl that I needed it to be valued the same day (ie payment made to London the same day), and I was at that moment out, and did not have the fax with me, could she call me back at 11am to confirm the information.

Her instant reply was that it couldnt be done the same day (value), which was contrary to what their treasury department had told me, and I was to refax the document to her. I tried to reason with her, and told her that her Manager had assured me that it could be done. Anyway, at 11am, I re-faxed the documents to her, and tried to call her. Unfortunately she had used a "hunting line" on the company's phone system, and her number went straight to the switchbox - ie telephone operator. I could not get her, as they couldnt trace a person by the name she gave me. Her manager was in a meeting and couldnt take my call.

After numerous SMSes and calls, she finally called me back at 12noon to confirm the information, and said that since it was past 12, the TT couldnt be valued the same day. I WAS FURIOUS! (com'on, wouldnt you be?)

I requested for her manager to call me back, which he did not. Instead he chose to sms me. (I guess he knew I was really angry and was not ready to get a earful from me!! But what kind of customer service is this if they dont talk to you??!) I reasoned with him that the service lapse was on their part, and not mine. I did all that I had to do, and it was his staff and him that prevented me from meeting their internally imposed 12noon deadline. Anyway I told him that forex markets and banks around the world are never closed (~ well almost, except from 5pm NY time on a friday evening until 8am NZ time on a monday, and this was meet week!) ~ so what was this crap about meeting a 12 noon deadline coz the GBP market closes after that! In addition with London, being 8 hours behind Singapore, that would give them that extra time to make sure the transfer goes thru!

Again, he insisted that it couldnt be done, but he would try ~ no promises. I was fuming by then!

At the end of the day, one would expect him to at least call or sms to notify me if they finally managed to do it. Instead I received an sms with no message from him. I let it be, assuming that it was a blank sms sent by mistake. I wasnt going to let him SPOIL my day over this.

The next day when I called to enquire if the TT had gone thru, he didnt know!! He returned my call an hour later and told me that it was all done the previous day!!

So, what does this tell us?
* It can be done if they want.
* Good Customer Service isnt what we know it to be
* Being Awarded the Best Bank award doesnt mean a thing.

Two weeks ago, I received a call from a bank to enquire if I had forgotten to make my payment for my credit card bill. I checked and I told that the clerk that called that I did, but the cheque must have been lost in th mail, since it was some 2 weeks since I posted the cheque. Without hesitation, she offered to waive all late payment charges if I were to make payment immediately. The next day, I made payment for that outstanding bill, via the banks quick cheque deposit box. However, I quoted the wrong credit card number on the back of the cheque. I had quoted my old credit card number (they had replaced my card with a new one about a year ago). On thursday last week, they called to tell me that they had yet to receive my payment since their last call. When I told them that I had made payment immediately after their call via their quick deposit box, they immediately investigated. They got back to tell me that I had quoted the wrong credit card number, and the matter was now resolved. That is what I call good customer service. They could have jsut kept quiet about the whole thing, and just make more money out of late payment charges. Instead they called me twice just to resolve the matter.

So in my opinion, this bank should get the Award for the Best Bank for Customer Service in Singapore. And this bank is OCBC.

As for the other bank that really does not deserve the award, let's just call it "Shitty Bank".

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cookie Making

Been baking quite a bit recently.

My niece introduced me to the Brigette cookie-cutter, and when I bake my cookies now I can have messages on them. For National Day, I made "Singapore" cookies.

I even put the children's names on the cookies, so there is no fighting over who ate whose cookies.

I also use cookies to express my emotions:

Like yesterday, when the bankers, in order to keep my business assured me that something could be done .. BUT when it came to the execution, they fell short. Naturally I was upset and disappointed with their service!! Hence the above cookie!

Well, it looks like its Friday already. Time for a cookie riddle:

Two cookies were crossing the road when the first one was knocked down.

What did the other cookie say as he reached the pavement in safety?


Have a great weekend!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Reflections of a Class reunion

I attended a gathering last Saturday nite with trepidation, not knowing what to expect. It was a class reunion ... a 30 year reunion!! I was initially unsure even about going, but after much pestering from some closer friends, I eventually decided to join them.

About a hundred of us got together that balmy evening. From the very start there were a lot of "You look so familiar!!" "How are you?" and "My! You look exactly the same!" Of course there were lots of hugging and screaming as well!! Sometimes the name rang bell but not the face. Sometimes, it was the other way around. Fortunately the organisers gave us all name tags in LARGE Fonts!!

Present were doctors, lawyers, bankers, accountants, engineers, professors, army personnel, HR managers, Financial consultants, actresses, singers, a lone grandmother, many, many mums and some swinging singles too!! And not forgetting an NMP in our midst, who bared her fangs by teaching the young photographer how to take photos!!

There was a lone gentleman in the room, looking as lost as ever. No, he had not strayed into the wrong gathering, and no, none of the girls had gone for a sex change. It also wasnt a suspicious husband or boyfriend keeping tabs on one of us at the dinner. It was the ONLY male teacher to pass thru those Convent gatess, and he gladly showed up that evening to catch up with us girls!

Ties were renewed that evening, and the school song sung once again, with much gusto. I must say, I was glad to remember all the words to the school song, tho I had not sung it for 30 years. It definitely brought back lots of fond memories.

The teachers who used to tower over us, as we cowered in fear, were actually not as tall and intimidating that night. Not sure if they shrank or we grew!! Many said that I had "grown"!! OK, I was one of the smallest-sized girls in my year, but NOW, I am on par in size with many. heh! heh! Dont mess with me. I am no more the small girl, they remembered me as. Many said they would have no problem recognising me anywhere if they were to meet me on the streets!

So, what did I think of the reunion? It was great catching up with people I have not seen for a long, long time. Some were really friendly, even though we were not that close when we were in school. Some whom I was quite "close" to in school, were however not as warm that night. Was it me, or was it them? I dont know. Maybe it is because I am no longer in a high-flying profession, and they are just too "atas". (I would like to think the problem is with them!!)

Anyway, the friends from then that really matters to me, I was already in close touch with before the reunion. Whilst it was nice to catch up with some others, I left feeling that I wouldnt have missed very much even if I had not been there. Some who I really wanted to meet up with were not there. So I guess, that contributed to the feeling, and the reason why I left early, even before the whole event ended.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Speaking and Listening Well

This week was a short school week due to the National Day holidays. Next week will be another short school week for the primary school children as the PSLE orals will be held next week.

At this orals, in order to score well, it is important that the children speak and read clearly, and they too have to answer some questions, so listening attentively is also a must.

So all the best to iml's youngest who will be having her orals this week.

And, you may have read this before, but it definitely demonstrates why we must speak clearly and listen attentively. Not sure which side didnt do it properly in this case.

There is a factory in Northern Minnesota which makes the Tickle Me Elmo toys. The toy laughs when you tickle it under the arms.

Well, Lena is hired at The Tickle Me Elmo factory and she reports for her first day promptly at 8:00 am.

The next day at 8:45 am there is a knock at the Personnel Manager's door. The Foreman throws open the door and begins to rant about the new Employee.

He complains that she is incredibly slow and the whole line is backing up, putting the entire production line behind schedule.

The Personnel Manager decides he should see this for himself, so the 2 men march down to the factory floor. When they get there the line is so backed up that there are Tickle Me Elmo's all over the factory floor and they're really beginning to pile up.

At the end of the line stands Lena surrounded by mountains of Tickle Me Elmo's. She has a roll of plush Red fabric and a huge bag of small marbles.

The 2 men watch in amazement as she cuts a little piece of fabric, wraps it around two marbles and begins to carefully sew the little package between Elmo's legs.

The Personnel Manager bursts into laughter. After several minutes of hysterics he pulls himself together and approaches Lena.

'I'm sorry,' he says to her, barely able to keep a straight face, 'but I think you misunderstood the instructions I gave you yesterday...'

'Your job is to give Elmo two test tickles.

Hope you had a good laugh, and have a great weekend ahead!!


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lactose Intolerant?

"Lactose intolerance means the body cannot easily digest lactose, a type of natural sugar found in milk and dairy products.

When lactose moves through the large intestine (colon) without being properly digested, it can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as gas, belly pain, and bloating. Some people with lactose intolerance cannot digest any milk products, while others can eat or drink small amounts of milk products or certain types of milk products without problems." ... Source : Yahoo Health

Not sure if I have recently become lactose intolerant. You see, I dont have problems when I drink fresh milk. I always have a glass for breakfast in the morning.

My problem only arises when I have drinks with milk outside!! Be it the milkshake from Carl Junior or MacDonalds or even the milo drink from any of these fast food outlets. Within 20 mins, I will get the "runs". And I only need to drink a small amount, not even the whole glass!! And this has only been happening recently, like in the past year. As a result, whenever I am out or travelling, I stay clear of any drinks with milk!

Does it happen to you too?

Friday, August 7, 2009

The world according to kids!

It's a long weekend here in the little red dot, so I guess I shouldnt end it with just a joke like I always do here's a bunch of them!! Have a good laugh and great weekend!!

I was driving with my three young children one warm summer evening
when a woman in the convertible ahead of us stood up and waved. She
was stark naked! As I was reeling from the shock, I heard my
5-year-old shout from the back seat, "Mum! That lady isn't wearing a
seat belt!

My son Zachary, 4, came screaming out of the bathroom to tell me he'd
dropped his toothbrush in the toilet. So I fished it out and threw it
in the garbage. Zachary stood there thinking for a moment, then ran to
my bathroom and came out with my toothbrush. He held it up and said
with a charming little smile, "We better throw this one out too then,
'cause it fell in the toilet a few days ago.

On the first day of school, a child handed his teacher a note
from his mother. The note read, "The opinions expressed by this child
are not necessarily those of his parents."

A woman was trying hard to get the sauce to come out of the bottle.
During her struggle the phone rang so she asked her 4-year-old
daughter to answer the phone. "It's the minister, Mummy," the child
said to her mother. Then she added, "Mummy can't come to the phone to
talk to you right now. She's hitting the bottle."

A little boy got lost at the gym and found himself in the women's
locker room. When he was spotted, the room burst into shrieks, with
ladies grabbing towels and running for cover. The little boy watched
in amazement and then asked, "What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen
a little boy before?"

While working for an organisation that delivers lunches to elderly
people, I used to take my 4-year-old daughter on my afternoon
rounds. The various appliances of old age, particularly the walking sticks,
walkers and wheelchairs, unfailingly intrigued her. One day I found
her staring at a pair of false teeth soaking in a glass. As I braced
myself for the inevitable barrage of questions, she merely turned and
whispered, "The tooth fairy will never believe this!"

A little girl was watching her parents dress for a party. When she saw
her dad donning his tuxedo, she warned, "Daddy, you shouldn't wear
that suit." "And why not, darling?"
"You know that it always gives you a headache the next morning."

A little girl had just finished her first week of school. "I'm just
wasting my time," she said to her mother. "I can't read, I can't write
and they won't let me talk!"

A little boy opened the big family bible. He was fascinated as he
fingered through the old pages. Suddenly, something fell out of the
Bible. He picked up the object and looked at it. What he saw was an
old leaf that had been pressed in between the pages. "Mum, look what
I found", the boy called out." What have you got there, dear?" With
astonishment in the young boy's voice, he answered, "I think it's
Adam's underwear!

Managing a Restaurant?

Been sucked in by the game Restaurant City on FB.

Thot it gave me an idea on how to run a restaurant ... considering many friends have been bugging me to start one ... to cater to those who have been patiently waiting for my cakes and cookies.

As a result, my kids are also hooked on the game. So we have decided to have a change of schedule. TV nites are only a couple of nites a week. And only one programme on those nites. Other nites are to be spent doing school work, considering the year-end exams are like in 10 weeks time!!

I will not be on Restaurant City , when the kids wake up or when they are doing their homework. It must be a total distraction for them. So what if I do not have the biggest nicest restaurant serving all the gourmet meals. I will just have to take my time to achieve the various levels - no hurry!

So that's the change in my schedule starting today!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Majulah Singapura!!

Singapore's National Day is coming up, so I am sharing with you some Singapore "history". Most of us know the "official" story of how Singapore got its name, but there are 3 other "unofficial" versions.

Singapore's Origin

How Singapore got its name:

Version 1:
When Raffles stepped out of his boat on to Boat Quay, a man was running by announcing the birth of his son in hokkien : 'see ta poh, see ta poh'

Version 2:
I thought the story was like this : The malay/indian king, Parameswara, was sleeping under a tree and was dreaming. He was rudely awakened by an animal resembling a lion. So, out of shock, he screamed ' Singa porda ! Singa porda ' (which means, 'lion, get lost!')

Version 3:
When Raffles sailed up the Singapore river for the first time, a malay lady was bathing in the river, having left her clothes on the river bank. A singh came by and stole her clothes. The upset lady started shouting after him, 'Singh Kapoh, Singh Kapoh'...

Version 4:
' Singapore ' was actually translated from the name 'Singapura' in Bahasa Malaysia . Story goes that there was a prince that came to our island many many years ago, on an exploration trip. Then he suddenly saw a lion and he named our island 'Singapura', which means lion. Imagine if he had seen a pig instead of a lion.('pig' in Malay is 'Babi')

So which version do you like??

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A hippo in the family?

Any hippos in your family?? Well, there is more than one in ours.

Hubby's aunt (MIL's sister) came to the house one day, and we told the kids to address her as Ee Poh - meaning grant aunt in dialect.

Little D was puzzled and initially refused to address her. After much persuasion she did. Later she asked me, why was Grandaunt called "Hippo"? She's not big nor fat?

Then I realised she had misheard us, and was wondering why we had told her to address this grandaunt as "Hippo"!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Surgeons discussion

Yes, it's friday again, so here's another joke to end the week! Have a great weekend!!

Five surgeons are discussing who are the best patients to operate on.

The first surgeon says, 'I like to see Accountants on my operating table because when you open them up, everything inside is numbered.'

The second responds, 'Yeah, but you should try Electricians! Everything inside them is colour-coded.'

The third surgeon says, 'No, I really think Librarians are the best;everything inside them is in alphabetical order.'

The fourth surgeon chimes in, 'You know I like Construction Workers. Those guys always understand when you have a few parts left over at the end, and when the job takes longer than you said it would.'

But the fifth surgeon shut them all up when he observed, 'You're all wrong. Politicians are the easiest to operate on. There's no guts, no heart, no balls, no brains, and no spine, and there are only two moving parts - the mouth and the asshole - and they are interchangeable!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Toy

Hubby got his new toy last week.

He is not one that indulges in toys, but after observing his friends and fellow colleagues have so much "fun" with theirs, he decided to get his own. We are talking about the new iphone 3GS.

The family had a great time "exploring" his new toy. We have now downloaded games which unfortunately no one can play with unless its the weekend. You see, hubby relies a lot on that phone of his for work. And if everyone were to be playing games on it, the battery would only run out too quickly, and when he really needs it for work (which is 24/5 - 24 hours from Mon to Fri), he may be caught short. So we only get to play with it on weekends.

Smitten by it, but unfortuantely, I am not able to change to the iphone, coz it is only offered by one mobile company in Singapore, and I am not with that carrier. To buy it without a plan would just be too expensive!! So what can I do?

I am just making do with my current phone, which suits me fine. But guess what, I am getting the "brother" of the iphone - the itouch!!

It has all the capabilities of the iphone - except for the calling and messaging. So I can still have my games etc, and the kids will be able to play with it without worrying about interrupting Papa's work! So I have a new toy too!!


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cholesterol Heaven

Today, I made it to cholesterol heaven.

I had the famous Hill Street Char Kway Teow, and the sinful roxy Laksa.

And I had it both for lunch.


(Payback time will come later when I have to walk twice as long to work it off.)

Friday, July 24, 2009


(1) Fine: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

(How come my kids use this on me ?!!?)

(2) Five Minutes: If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

(3) Nothing: This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in fine.

(4) Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

(5) Loud Sigh: This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to # 3 for the meaning of nothing.)

(6) That's Okay: This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. That's okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

(7) Thanks: A woman is thanking you, do not question, or faint. Just say you're welcome. (I want to add in a clause here - This is true, unless she says 'Thanks a lot' - that is PURE sarcasm and she is not thanking you at all. DO NOT say 'you're welcome.' That will bring on a 'whatever').

(8) Whatever: Is a woman's way of saying F--YOU!

(Woah! MY kids use this on me too!!)

(9) Don't worry about it, I'll do it: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself.. This will later result in a man asking "What's wrong?" For the woman's response refer to # 3.

So men, now you know the meaning of these words - please know when to keep really quiet so that a storm will not ensue. This should also help you to know when you need to make a visit to the *Bling* supplier to get back into her good books.

And Ladies - we now know what we really mean. Heh! Heh! *wink*

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Entertaining at home

I love to entertain guests at home. I dont have to worry about getting someone to watch the kids, and being on "home-ground" has it advantages.

But I am one of those "worriers". Every time before the event, I will worry endlessly about any and every thing:

- aiyo!! the place is so messy. These guests will think that we are pigs. How come we can never seem to clear the mess!!

- will they be able to find their way to my place??

- parking - how are? Not enough space in my driveway sometimes!!

- what if the guests arrive late?? The food will be cold, and not nice!

- what if the food doesnt suit the guests??

- what if they think the food doesnt match??

- what if there is not enough food. Guess what? There will always be so much left overs as a result, and we can feed an army with the left overs.

- what if it rains?? - especially if we plan for it to be an alfresco event!!

- what if they bring ill-behaving kids and run the place over?? Or their kids may get bored. Will I have things to entertain their kids with??

Guess what? At the end of it, all that worry was usually unneccesary! Everything goes on as planned. Everything goes relatively smoothly. Even if there are hiccups - people just live with it, and we make do.

At the end of the day, it's usually the company and food that matters.

I am no Martha Stewart, so, no matter what, I still worry before the event.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Elephant Memory

'An elephant never forgets' is a saying, so if a person has a memory like an elephant, he or she has a very good memory indeed.

Just earlier this month, a former school mate of mine found me on FB. We have not met for close to 30 years. We were from the same secondary school, but were from different classes. But were in the same class in JC.

Wont say that we were terribly close, but we were fairly good friends in JC.

After close to 30 years, she managed to track me down, and you know what? She remembered my birthday!! And when I enquired about her family, she told me that her mum still remembers me, and even where my dad used to work! And my friend even remembered my nephew's name and age!! Talk about having an elephant memory, and this elephantine memory seems to run in her family!!

Now, I feel under pressure to try and recall her birthday!! My woman's intuition tells me its coming up in August, but I am not 100% certain.

Do you have an elephant memory?? I definitely do not!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bad hair Week

The week after you decide not to cut your hair and to let that great hairdressing discount lapse is guaranteed to be a bad hair week. Urghhhhhhhhh!!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Dont sweat the small stuff!

That's what I have been telling myself lately.

If others want to act idiotic, let them. It's none of my business.

If they want to lie thru' their teeth, it's their choice.

If they want to be selfish, that's their perogative.

If they think they are so great, let them think what they want, coz before they know it, they will be brought back down to earth, with a big thud!

Just as long as "they" are not one of my kids .... because I believe in teaching my kids good values :D

Which brings me to this poem:


What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

By Wm. Henry Davies

So, I am not sweating the small stuff, I am letting others be, minding my own business, which leaves me some time to stand and stare!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Decisions! decisions!

I usually cut my hair once every 8 to 10 weeks. As I spot a short hair-do, it gets out-of-shape fairly quickly, and I always feel the need to cut it, or I will end up with "bad hair" days! Unlike those with long hair, my hair is too short to be tied, and hence the need for frequent trimming.

My hairdresser offers a 30% discount to his regular customers during the week before and after their birthday. I did not take advantage of the deal this year, as I had felt that my hair wasnt ready for a cut that week. MIL went for her cut last saturday, and negoiated with him to extend the discount to me for another week. She even made an appointment for me to go today!!

However, I woke up this morning, and felt that my hair actually looks really nice as is. A friend who I see regularly at little D's school also commented yesterday that she felt that my hair was looking really nice now. With the soft curl on my fringe, and a just-nice length, it gives me a more feminine look, she said! (I usually go for a cut coz I cant stand the curl on my fringe, and when it gets a little longer, the heavy curls at the back will start to act up - these natural curls that I have difficulty taming! Bah!) But now, she has given me a different perspective on my hair! *ding, ding* enlightenment?

If I do not go and get a cut today, my 30% discount will lapse.

To cut or not to cut, tis the question!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I remember when ...

... I was little, every visit to my maternal grandmother's house will be preceded with a request for yam rice.

You see, I enjoyed eating yam rice, but that was a dish which my mum never cooked at home! That was also one of the few things that my maternal grandma cooked that I truly enjoyed.

Yam rice is what you would call a one-dish meal. There is chinese mushrooms, dried prawns, belly pork, and of course, yam in it- all cooked together with the rice and some black sauce.

Today, I made a request for Yam rice, and my MIL indulged me by cooking it.

2 bowls of yam rice with one bowl of "bak kut teh" soup for lunch, and I was all set for my afternoon siesta.

That's the good life!!

Here's the recipe as requested by some of you:

Rice - wash, and put aside. After washing, meaasure out the water that would be needed to cook the rice as per usual, pour it into a cup

Fry some garlic in oil, and put it aside
Fry the dried prawns and put aside.
Fry the belly pork, then add in the chinese mushrooms. Add in the yam and fry for a little while. Add in the fried garlic, dried prawns, and the rice that had been washed (without the water). Add in some black sauce for colour and light soya sauce for taste. Transfer everything to the rice cooker, and add in the measured water, and leave to cook in the rice cooker. After a little while, say 10 mins, give everything in the rice cooker a good stir and leave it to cook until done.

Sorry no proportions are given, as everything for my MIL is agak-agak!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Just one of those days!

Every morning, I usually check all my email accounts, my FB account, and the children's school website as well as the schools' parent portals. These portals are a source of info as they give the latest update on happenings in the school.

Last evening when my daughter was checking it, she mentioned that numerous school-wide activities have been cancelled for the rest of the term. This was probably due to the 2 new H1N1 cases in her school over the weekend!! As I keep details of all their school activities on my mobile, I thought I should take a look at it for myself and update my mobile. But I didnt do it right away as evenings are peak periods for computer usage at my home.

This morning, when I tried to log in, I found out that I couldnt get into the school portal. I was also locked out of my son's school portal!! I am very sure I got my passwords correct.

Sigh, it looks like its going to be one of those days!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

What's a Mum to do?

What does a mum do when her four and a half year old tells her she cant see?

A child that is fairly mature for her age, listens and takes instructions well, has a good command of the language, is able to explain things fairly clearly, and is being observed for a medical condition that could result in vision lost.

Well, the child complained about not being able to see well some 6 months back. The mum decided to observe her for a while. At the same time, the mum contacted the primary care physician for a referral to an opthamoligist that specializes in children with that medical condition. But, after a while, the child stopped complaining, and nothing was done.

About some 5 months later, the child mentioned she couldn't see again, and asked when she could visit the eye doctor. This time the mum called for an appointment, and the clinic, not deeming it an emergency, gave her an appointment 3 weeks down the road. In the meantime, the mum monitored the child. She noticed that at times the child stood as close as 5 inches from the TV. Mind you, the tv they have is not small, its a LCD that is almost 40 inches!! Is it true that she really couldn't see, which was why she was standing so close to the TV?

A week passed and the child enquired again about her appointment to see the eye doctor. When asked why she thought she needed to see the eye doctor, she explained again that she couldn't see clearly. This time she was more vivid in her description of her inability to see. She explained that when she was looking at the television, the fan, which was 2 feet to the left of the TV, is out of her vision!! A form of tunnel vision?

Immediately the mum called the eye clinic for an earlier appointment.

The day arrived for the doctor's visit. The child was all excited. At the clinic, they found that more than 10 others had the same appointment time as them, and most were new cases like them!! They were prepared for a long wait.

Soon the testing began. Many questions were asked. More tests were carried out in view of her medical condition. The brave child didn't even squirm when they gave her eye drops to dilate her eyes (where others many years older than her cried loudly!!), and went back again and again, uncomplaining, for more eye drops!!

After close to 3 hours at the clinic, and a few hundred dollars poorer, the final results were out. They were told that the child had no problems whatsoever with her eyesight. Her eyesight was perfect!!

What a relief!! But, the mum still wonders what triggered her child's complains of her inability to see?? Is it possible that the doctor missed something?? The mystery continues ......

At such a young age!

My son recently went on facebook. For him, its not so much to keep in touch with friends, but more to play games. But I must say, his number of friends are definitely growing on FB by the day ... many of whom are his classmates.

You probably know by now, if you play games on FB, after every game, there will usually be a post announcing your score. Depending on your privacy settings, you can then choose to publish it or skip publishing it.

Young boys, being young boys, will not hesitate to publish it, especially if its a new high score, or when they have beaten their friends's high score. I have told my son many times not to publish the comments, but he feels the need to publicise his successes and continues to do so after each game.

Well, yesterday, my son played a new game, and on one of his first trys he scored higher than a fellow classmate. My son immediately chose to publish the post. The post said something like "N has beaten M's high score in 'name of game' " and included details of his new score.

You know what his classmate M replied to my son? "Curse you, N!"

Woah! And it was a girl that said it! Why so vicious? And at such a young age? Was such a comment really necessary? Ungracious loser?

It's just an innocent game. And record scores are going to be broken all the time by others. A little while later, another of their classmate, J, indeed beat N's score at that same game!

Or am I over-reacting to her comment?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

She is going to make a good story teller

The other night when we were at dinner, (yes, that birthday dinner), the Guest Relations Officer from the hotel came with 2 "sculptured" ballons for the children. A pink and green flower - which Little D wanted and got, and a bird which my son quickly stretched his hand out for. My nephew, who is 6 y/o, thus ended up with none.

A little while later, the GRO came back with another 3 balloons. 2 swords - one which she gave to my nephew, and the other to my oldest. The other, a doggy ballon was given to my son, as he was very quick in stretching his hand out again!!

Naturally, one little girl was unhappy. Tho' she had the biggest, and in my opinion the nicest balloon, she was still unhappy. Why? Because all the kids love the sword balloons - as they love fighting and attacking each other with it.

I tried talking to my oldest to share or give it to her mei mei. Despite being 13 already, she is still a kid at heart and refused. 2 days later, Little D was still sulking and grumbling about not having the sword balloon. Nothing could pacify her ..... until her sister told her this story.

"You know why the lady gave us all those balloons? Kor Kor got the animal balloons, because sometimes he behaves like an animal. Jie Jie got the sword balloon, because I am skinny like the sword. You got the flower balloon because the lady thought you look as pretty as a flower!! Do you want to be skinny like the sword?"

Guess she will make up lovely stories just to keep her sword balloon!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Another year older

..... and hopefully another year wiser.

But one thing I know for sure, it's another pound or even more heavier!!

We celebrated my birthday with a dinner at the Greenhouse, Ritz Carlton last week. The Greenhouse serves a lovely seafood buffet, with an extensive selection. Needless to say, we ate, and ate, and ate. Not so much to get our money's worth (it was definitely not a cheap buffet!), but to try as much as we could of what they had to offer - from Boston Lobsters, crays, chilli crabs, drunken prawns, black pepper prawns, oysters, not counting the Japanese selection of sashimi and sushi, Indian selection of naan and curries, roasts, pasta and the local specialties. For deserts they even served made-on-the-spot souffles!!

There was just too much to eat, and there was no way we could fit "just-one-piece" of everything into our stomachs!!. After that dinner, I told hubby that we are not going for another of these buffets for a long time to come.

I have been slim all my life. But over the last few years I have, on the average, put on close to 2 kg a year. At the rate I am going, I will weigh close to 80kg even before I turn 60! And, I just dont like having to breathe in and hold my breath just to button my jeans!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Too close for comfort

Not only has H1N1 reached our shores, we now have community transmissions here too. It breached the 1000 mark some 2 days ago.

I believe contact tracing now is not as vigorous as previously .... only those in direct/close contact are notified, and are quarantined or told to monitor themselves more closely.

My daughter came back on the 1st day school reopened and mentioned to me that the school advised them to practice social distancing. That was a new word to me!! She said they were advised to keep a safe 1 meter distance from their friends wherever possible. We had a good laugh about that, as she said that would mean canteen queues would reach the school's main gate.

Yesterday, she came home from school and said that there was a new H1N1 (there was one other girl in her school that had contracted H1N1 but that was during the school hols - so no panic on our part!) case in her school. OMG!! My brain went into over-drive!

Do you know her? What level is she from? What are they doing about it? Have all the students in that class been told to stay home? Have the teachers been quarantined? Is school going to be closed?

Luckily my daughter doesn't know her as she is from a more senior level. School continues as usual. Now canteen tables are set 1 meter apart (and it extends right out of the canteen), as are desks in classrooms. However, no teachers have been quarantined - only 8 girls who have been in close contact with the case have been told to stay home.

We always have this belief that these things only happen to others, not to anyone we know personally. BUT - it is now a little too close for comfort!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

More blooms

This time, the wild orchids in my garden are blooming. They have not bloomed for a long, long time. I guess the unpredictable weather of a very hot spells followed by sporadic rain must have played a part in its flowering.

Isnt it beautiful?

Now to decide whether to cut them and put them into a vase, or to let them live their life as is.

Use it or lose it

When I was in school, I did Malay as a second language. I even did it all the way up to my 'A' levels, and passed - not a distinction, but a pass is a pass. I could converse quite easily with my Malay neighbours, and I must say, I was pretty pleased with my level of written and spoken Malay.

However, as all my children do Mandarin as a second language, I have more exposure to Mandarin now. I have learnt to read and write some basic Chinese. Sometimes I find that I can even use some of the Chinese proverbs that I have learnt in my everyday sentences.

But I seem to have lost some of the Malay I previously knew. The only time I get to use it nowadays is when we travel (to Malaysia), when I am buying food from a Malay stall, or sharing a secret with MIL. Even when sharing a secret - when wanting to say something in Malay, sometimes it comes out in Mandarin instead!! Looks like I am more wired into Mandarin nowadays!

There are times when I say something in Chinese, and wonder to myself what the Malay equivalent is? I tell myself that it cant be I never knew the word, coz if I can write a composition at 'A' levels and even answering those horribly difficult questions to the comprehension passages, I find it hard to believe that I didn't know the word - mind you, it could be quite a basic word.

My older daughter's school has made it compulsory for those learning Mandarin to do a basic course in Malay. She came back from class yesterday, and wanting to show off my knowledge, I asked her what she learnt. I tried to test her to see if she could remember what she was taught. She knew most of what they taught but she couldnt remember the word for behind. I kept telling her it was "hadapan", but she insisted it wasnt but "ber" something. I cracked my brains for quite awhile before I realised that the word was "Belakang!!". Imagine, if she depended on me, she would definitely fail her Malay!!

Language is something we have to use it, or we will lose it. How else could my mandarin improve so much!! I am glad my daughter is now learning Malay, as I am able to put to practice what I learnt eons ago, and hopefully, some of it will come back to me!

So better use it or lose it!!

P.S. - this applies to brains as well!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Youth day

Singapore celebrates Youth day on the 1st Monday in July, and all school-going children get a day of rest on that day.

Yesterday was Youth day. However, only little D had "school". Do pre-schoolers not qualify as Youth? Not in the eyes of MCYS - it is not a designated holiday on their calendar. However, Little D refused to go to school after she saw her siblings at home!! And I did not force her to, even tho I know she will be missing quite a bit of work, especially since her regular form teacher is back in school only today after the term break. That's my effort in loosening up and choosing my battles!!

So we celebrated it by going to the movies! Yippee!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

World's Best or Idiot Proof?

The other day my friend, N, came over for dinner. She brought a bag of mint choco-chip cookies (diameter about 4inches) for the kids. My kids always get really excited when Aunty N brings along goodies for them. You see, N trained at Le Cordon Bleu Pastry school in France for about 6 months in between her jobs. And her cakes and cookies, are oh! so delicious and professionally made!!

So I asked N for the recipe. Somehow her cookies always taste different from the ones I normally bake. She told me about how the difference in time the pastry dough spends resting in the fridge has an impact on how the cookies turn out. She said that letting them rest just 24 hours in the fridge will yield the best tasting cookies. It has something to do with how the butter interacts with the flour, sugar, etc. Keeping it for 48 hours in the fridge will yield a slightly different texture to the cookies. And with our weather, 24 hours in the fridge is really necessary.

But you know something, I am the sort that cannot wait 24 or 48 hours just for some cookies. If I make them, I want to eat them that day!! So the longest my cookie dough ever stays in the fridge is probably 1 hour. So I guess you can guess how my cookies taste next to hers. But, its ok - my kids enjoy it nonetheless. Like the Chinese say - no fish, prawns will do too!

She also advised me that when searching for recipes on the net, I should always include the words "world's best" in my search. I tried doing that, but I find that most of the "world's best" recipes are too complex for me. Being an amateur baker, I don't have all the necessary equipment (and sometimes ingredients too) and its seems such a hassle to be setting up all that equipment, and not to say, all the dismantling and subsequent washing up, just to make a cake or a small batch of cookies. Mine are all made with my two hands, and lots of L-O-V-E!! As long as it turns out good enough, its good enough for me! As for searches, I always look for "idiot proof" recipes coz I am one of those that dont like disappointments in the kitchen!!