Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Speak Lord, Your servant is listening

The Lord speaks to us in various ways, and I guess he has messages for us all the time. Just that sometimes we do not listen.

1st time he tried to pass me the message:
Thru my friends. We had met for lunch one day last week, and we were gossiping! The topic went to an old school mate who was the top student in school. Rumours have it that she eloped when she met a foreigner. Shocking to us coz she was really a little miss goody two shoes in school. The last person on earth that you would expect to do something like that. Then one of my friends said: Guess we should not control our kids too much, because they may just end up rebelling like her!

The next time he tried to deliver the message:
Was thru iml, when she wrote about letting go.

And just yesterday, jomel mentioned in her reply to my comment on her party packs, about choosing our battles, and the need to give in sometimes.

You see, I am a pretty "no-nonsense" Mum. My kids know exactly where my OB markers are. You cross the line and you pay for it!!

But I guess someone up there is trying to tell me:

Dont control too much!!

Let go!

Choose your battles!

If not, why would I be receiving 3 similar messages in a span of less than 7 days!!

Speak Lord, Your servant is listening.

But I think I still need help to put it into practice!

SAHM *shakes right arm*, *shakes left arm*, *shakes right leg*, *shakes left leg*, *wiggles body* - really trying hard to loosen up a bit!! Pray for me!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

What's his name??

There are only 2 children in Little D's music class, she and another boy, Daniel.

Her regular music teacher was not able to make it to class today so there was a replacement teacher.

Daniel was already in class when Little D arrived.

The replacement teacher turned to Little D as she walked in and said: "And so you must be Daniel!"

I cracked up on hearing that!!

Tell me, what's his name??

Friday, June 26, 2009

A joke to end the week!

Hope you have a great weekend!!

The Very Gracious Queen!

Late breaking news from London, scene of President Obama's recent visit:

Obama and the Queen are proceeding towards Buckingham Palace in the Queen's carriage, waving to the thousands of cheering Britons; all is going well.

Suddenly the right rear horse lets fly with the most horrendous earth shattering fart ever heard in the British Empire. The smell is atrocious and both passengers in the carriage must use handkerchiefs to cover their noses.

The Queen turns to Obama, 'Mr. President, please accept my regrets... I am sure you understand there are some things that even a Queen cannot control.'

Obama, in best Presidential style replies: 'Your Majesty, please don't give the matter another thought...Until you mentioned it, I thought it was one of the horses.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ungracious behavoir

My kids are very cautious on the escalator, as I always tell them that they have to be careful, and not to run the risk of falling, coz they will hurt themselves badly on those moving stairs. And playing on or near the escalators? No way! Over my dead body!!

This happened about a month ago. We had just finished lunch one saturday and were on our way to the carpark at a major shopping mall on Orchard road. I was helping little D onto the escalator holding her hand. What I usually do is hold her hand and tell her to step. And after she does, then I will step on the escalator, a split second later.

That day, she took a while longer than expected to step on the escalator. I had said "step" to her probably two times, but she had hesitated. Then I heard someone come behind me and say: "EXCUSE ME!" (In a very loud voice). I quickly said "step" in a very authoratative voice, and pulled little D onto the escalator. Once on the escalator, I quickly moved to the side, so that the owner of the "EXCUSE ME!" could pass, since I reckoned that he must have been in a hurry. (I am the sort that is very mindful of others on the esalator - I will keep left so that others can pass.)

You know what? He just stood there behind me and didnt even pass. Hubby was a bit cheesed off and asked him if he didnt see that I was helping a child onto the escalator, and if he was in a hurry and wanted to pass, he could do so now. He was so rude and answered, something to the effect that it was none of his business! (Cant remember his exact words).

"Of course it's my business, that's my wife and child", hubby told him. But he still stayed where he was on the step behind me all the way down, browsing thru his shopping bags, and mumbling about people (me??) blocking him.

What do you think prompted that very loud "EXCUSE ME!"?

Impatience? - But could he not see that I was helping a child. I am very sure he was not blind. And he was behind me for less than 3 seconds!

I believe its this self importance thingey. There should not be anyone in almighty's way when he tries to get on the escalator. Never mind who you are, who you are with, or what your needs are - if you are in my way, I have the right to get you out of my way NOW!

Anyway, I told Hubby to let it pass - no point talking or trying to reason with this type of people.Mind you, from the way he spoke, he was not an uneducated man, and he drove a Merc. So probably someone who is fairly successful in life - bank account wise only, I think! (sorry I couldnt resist that!)

I think its so sad that Singaporeans have become like that ~ No consideration for others. No wonder they have to re-introduce the coutesy/thank you for being gracious campaign. A society has not progressed if the people still behave like cavemen! We can never be considered a developed country if the behavoir of the people are not!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Such a sweet gesture!!

The other evening when we had our friends over for dinner, an originally "uninvited" guest joined us. Well, he wasnt invited for dinner, but some of those present were talking about him during dinner, and since he lived just round the corner from my home, they called him and asked if he would like to join us for some after-dinner drinks.

Well, to cut a long story short - he came. Met him for the 1st time.

The next day, he called my husband to ask for my kids names and ages - scary, huh??

Last night, at about 9.30pm, he called again to say he was coming over. Hubby was not home, so I went to greet hima t the gate. You know what? He came with books written by his wife, all personally addressed and autographed for my children!! His wife writes and publishes books for young children and he brought her books for my kids.

How sweet of him ..... Thanks BS!! That was such a sweet gesture.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Excruciating back pain

I have been experiencing this excrutiating pain in my back for the past two days.

Woke up at 2.30am on Monday morning because of it. Thought it was because I didnt sleep properly. Tried to do some stretching exercises. Did not help. Thought that it would go away on its own after a while. It did not. By late evening couldnt take it anymore so got little D to walk on my back. Some relief, but the pain still came back.

The pain is not a lower back pain, but just below the shoulder blades. Not quite sure what caused it. Woke up again this morning at 2.30am because of the pain. Cant sleep coz I cant really lie flat on my back. Worse still, cant really turn. Even when I turn my head or partially turn my body (eg to look behind) it hurts! Some sitting positions hurt too. But the funny thing is only when I am ramrod straight (with no back support) it doesnt hurt. But I cant be sitting that way the whole day, can I??

Cant find the time to go for a massage. Not with 3 kids in the house and no one to help!! But I think I definitely need some expert to work the kinks and knots out. Maybe its withdrawal symthoms from the many massages I had whilst on vacation.

Monday, June 22, 2009

1st time

Yes, I achieved a 1st!! I cooked a complete meal, all on my own for our group of friends last friday.

Everytime when we have guests, I will either buy food, cater, or cook some, buy some or have someone help me out with some of the cooking ... usually my MIL, who btw, is an excellent cook.

Well MIL is away on vacation, and hubby had invited some friends over for dinner. Thot long and hard over what to do.

Here's the menu (soory no pics as I was too busy cooking, and forgot all about photo-taking):
For starters, I did a dish which we had eaten at an Italian restaurant which hubby and the kids enjoyed. Pan fried Parma ham with mozarella. This came out soo yummy!

Others dishes which we had that night were: a sheperd's pie (made all from scratch!!), a pasta with mushrooms, roast chicken, a salad, grilled pineapple with cinnamon (which I knew one of our friends loved eating!), and for dessert, oreo cheesecake (which was made the day before)and a cheese platter.

And I managed to start my cooking at 3pm, with breaks in between, and finished everything in good time just as the guests arrived!! Must say, I was a bit concerned at first how everything would go, but must say it turned out well. I chose things which I knew I could do, and was unlikely to go terribly wrong, I guess.

Dont believe it - A complete meal for a group of 8, all by myself!! and I managed to enjoy the evening with a nice glass of wine, chit chat, gossips, etc. And the best part, they said they thoroughly enjoyed the meal!! (Trust they werent just being polite!)

Sooooo pleased!! *pats self on back* - Like they say, you never know until you try!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Celebrated Father's day with my FIL some two weeks back, as he is currently on vacation cum business trip. Celebrated it with my dad on Thursday as he is off to Macau today on vacation with my mum. So I guess, today is left for me to celebrate it with my hubs, even tho he is not my father, but the father of my children. Anyway, like they say "Also can!" - as long as its a celebration!!

Happy Father's day to any dads around here!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

No fun here

Dont know if you fellow mums do it, or is it just me!!

Everytime my kids start playing, I will stop their fun after a little while. Why? because I know that if I dont, very soon, someone will start crying ..... and its usually one of the younger two.

It seems that, even tho they are having fun, it always gets out of hand. Someone will end up hurt (ie falling, or knocking themself) or the playing gets too much for one of them to take it (too much teasing, too many pranks targetted at one, or ganging up against one, or something along those lines!)

And I simply hate it when there is fighting, squabbling or crying! So even before that can happen, I always tell them to wind down, cut it out, or take a break.

To them: I am stopping their fun. But if I dont, inevitably, one of the above happens, and I hate it. I will get so upset, and then my "verbal diarrhoea" will start!!

Is it me or is it the kids? Does it happen to you too? You think I should continue what I am doing and stop their fun?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Population of 4.84m

It was announced that Singapore's population had grown to 4.84m in 2008.

Despite the low birth rate, our population has still grown. I reckon this must be mainly thru' migration.

I remember when I was a child and our population was only 2m then. Never could I imagine then that in this tiny land of ours we would be able to accommodate more than twice that amount of people! No wonder buildings have to be taller, and everywhere seems more congested nowadays. Every direction I turn, I seem to have someone breathing down my neck!!

Can we not slow down a little bit in this respect, and save some land for our children to run around in?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Eggs and Me

When I was young, my dad used to make breakfast for us kids whilst my mum slept in. He loved making eggs, so we were usually served half boiled eggs or omeletes for breakfast.

I guess when I was young, I wasnt much of a morning person, and being forced to eat up my breakfast gave me an aversion to eggs. So uptil today, I tend to avoid eggs, done any way, at any meal.

The only time I seem to eat eggs is when I am on holiday ... dont ask me why. The omeletes served at hotel buffets are the only eggs thats appeal to me. Maybe its becoz I am on vacation!!

So here's what I had for breakfast during my recent vacation:

Sausages with hash browns

Sausage with hash browns and my favourite ham tomato and cheese omelete

And after having too many omeletes on too many days, this was how I felt. So, we ended up keeping the buns for the fishes in the pond.

And this is what my children's faces looked like when I told them not to play with their food. Their reply was: But Mum, you played with your food!!

Guess I did!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Land Below the Wind

Our family made a our first trip to the Land Below the Wind last week for a short vacation ~ Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. It got is name because it is located below the typhoon belt, and is thus free from climate disturbances.

We had big plans on all the places we wanted to visit, and all the things we wanted to see and do there. But after we got there .... the kids changed their mind, and we ended up spending lots of time by the beach and pool, and bonding.

But one thing on my to do list which we definitely did was to meet up with Yan! Yes, she works and lives in KK, and she suggested the hotel we stayed at. It was definitely an excellent choice of hotel. The service was impeccable and there were activities for the children to do.

On our second day there, after a lazy morning by the pool, we went down to town to meet Yan. It was our 1st meeting andd I found out a bit about her. She brought us to this restaurant next door to her hotel for some lovely Italian food. I must say, my son had the Pizza Bianca which was a cream based pizza (which I have not seen served in Singapore - where mostly tomato based pizzas are served). One bite and I was hooked!! It was really scrumptious. The next time I make my own pizza, I am going to try making my own Bianca!! So if you are ever in KK - dont forget a visit to Little Italy for their Pizza Bianca!Thanks Yan, for a lovely lunch and all the Sabah goodies that you bought for us, and the gifts for the kids. It was so thoughtful!!

On one of the days we made a trip to Sapi Island, one of the Islands that form part of the Tungku Abdul Rahman National Park. This National Park is made up of 5 islands, which are teeming with fishes and corals. Even 2 feet from shore, if you have fish food, the fishes will all come swimming in. It was also jelly fish season, but luckily none of us were bitten. The ride there was in a speed boat from the jetty at our hotel. It was a heart-stopping ride for me, as it went at a super high speed, and when cutting waves, the boat "bounced"! The kids thoroughly enjoyed that ride, as they likened it to a roller coaster ride, but I must say, I was a little blue in the face. My heart cant seem to take such excitement anymore!!

Someone once said that every year we should endeavour to catch a sunrise and a sunset. This I did in KK. Not one, but many. Being an early riser, and with a room facing the mountains, I managed to catch the beautiful sunrise. As for the sunsets, the view was breathtaking from the hotel's beach, as the skies were clear and we had unobstructed views.
Sitting on a massage chair and having your feet massaged at the same time whilst watching the sunset, with a nice cold coconut drink by your side ~ who could ask for more!!

Though we did not do as much as we would have liked, this short vacation was a good one, as we managed to re-charge, and we witnessed the bond amongst the children (something we rarely see back home.) Big brother helping little sis with her dinner, big sis bringing little Sis to the kids corner for games and watching over her, big sis encouraging little sis to put her head in the water to blow bubbles, and making it fun in the process , etc. There was definitely very little squabbling on this trip. And to me, that was definitely the highlight of the trip!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Korea 201

Following our last visit to get our children more familiar with Korean food, we have ventured out to try another Korean restaurant in preparation for a future trip to Korea.

This time we brought the children to HanSang at #03-03 Novena Square 2. This place was highly recommended by a friend as well as our children's music teacher.

This is what we had:

Beef bulgolgi. The younger two had this.

Hotpot Set

Bbam Sap set (or it is called something like this). This dish comprised brown rice balls in lettuce, served with a choice of beef, chicken or pork. A dish for the health conscious!

Sundubu - chigae (silken toufu with seafood in a spicy broth). Must say this dish is quite an appetite stimulator, as the spicy broth was hmmmmm ... so delicious, I slurped up the whole bowl.

Rice with Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, Carrot, red date, and pancake.

And of course the Condiments which always accompanies a Korean meal which included kimchi, spinach, a bean sprout look alike, amongst others. We were earlier served an appetiser which included a potato salad, an "ikan bilis" dish as well as some red/black beans.

I must say we really enjoyed the food, and it was reasonably priced, each set being $16 or less. The service was good despite the restaurant being fairly crowded. We were told that a reservation was absolutely necessary if we were considering having dinner there.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Early Fathers day celebration

We celebrated Father's day early as we my FIL would be travelling during the Father's day weekend.

We brought him to St Pierre, a french restaurant, located at Central Mall on Magazine road, that he had indicated some time back that he would like to try. This restaurant is one of the more popular ones in Singapore. At its peak, it was not easy getting a table. We booked for a dinner on a Thursday night, as we didnt want to rush with the weeekend and friday night crowds. But on the night we were there, apart from us, there was only one other table. Very quiet, but unusual for it to be sooo quiet at St Pierre, I thought. I guess the "expense account crowd" are no longer out there living it up!

This was what I had
Classique Foie Gras - Didnt capture a shot of this dish, as I couldnt to tuck into it. It was sooo good. Little D, had a bite, and enjoyed it too. S loved it, but N refused to even try it.

Kurobuta Pork with Pig Skin

This dish came out very Asian - exactly like the Roast Pork we get from the char siew rice stalls, and with Aian veggies on top of that. BUT look at the pig skin:

It was done beautifully, and tasted just like a crisp "keropok"!

And for dessert, I had Stroobant's famous choclate cake.

The food was generally good, but I must say, not as good as it was previously.

Monday, June 8, 2009

What a week!

Ever had a week go by, and you had that feeling that you didnt achieve anything?

Well, a week of the children's school vacation has now gone by. But for me, it was a full week! I just cant believe how much we have done during this past one week!!

Eldest attended a full day CPR course as well as spent a day with her friends from primary school.

My son had 3 school soccer practices - half a day each, 2 mandarin tuition classes (no more for the hols, as the tutor is now on vacation!), and had his friends over for a full day play date (see earlier post).

Little D spent a day at school - fulfilling her minimum one day requirement in the month so that I can claim a child care subsidy.

Little D and I spent a whole day by the pool with her friends.

All 3 kids also went for their usual music classes, and have finished their vacation homework given by the school.

We caught 2 movies (Monsters vs ALien, Night at the Museum).

We cleared out and repacked our external storage facility (for our litle business).

Had an early father's day celebration for FIL (More on that later.)

Booked our vacation, including do internet searches on where to stay, and what to do there.

A few visits to the mall for vacation supplies.

I managed to baked thrice this past week!

Even hubby had a night out with the boys!!

Boy! This is going to be a hard week to beat. I think we may have to take it slow or we will need another break after the school break to recover from it!

Fun day for the boys!

Last thursday, my son had 4 friends over for some holiday fun. I limited the number of friends he could have over, as I wasnt sure I could cope with too many boys, but on retrospect, I think I could have coped with more.

His 1st friend came at 8.30am, (tho' our invitation said 10) and the last boy went home at 6.30pm! So how did the 10 hours go? This was how it was spent: Wii, xbox, soccer, xbox, wii, lunch, xbox, soccer, wii, xbox, soccer, xbox!! They took turns to play, and whilst waiting for their turns some occupied themselves with the PSP!

And of course, they had their toilet breaks, drinks and chips in between! For them - it was the best day ever!!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Baking and me!

I told myself I was going to slow down on my baking. I have been baking too much recently.

When my daughter met with her old school mates, I baked for her to bring. When a group of us mothers met for a chit chat, I baked. When Little D's classs had their End of term party, I baked. Every time there was a gathering, I was baking! Even when I was feeling bored, I baked. I was baking practically every other day this past fortnight!

I shared recipes with friends, and when the feedback they gave was that my recipes worked well, it made me want to bake even more. When I gave home-made cookies and cakes to friends who dont bake, and they come back to say that they enjoyed it, it sure made my day, and I wanted to take out my apron and bake again for them on the spot. This afternoon, I made more cookies.

At the rate I am going, I may be ready for a second career, an industrial size oven ... and a bigger pair of jeans!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Vacation Time!!

We were not planning to go away during this June vacation. This was partly due to the H1N1 virus going around as well as the bad economic times. All the forms from school for our travel plans were returned with a NIL written across.

Suddenly 2 days ago, hubby decided that maybe we should go somewhere. I think Little D's: "I would like to go on a plane again!" had something to do with it. So we started looking around. There were a few promotions that looked attractive: Chiang Mai, Phuket, Langkawi and Kota Kinabalu. Some can be had for under $400 for a 3 day/2 night trip staying at fairly decent hotels.

Oldest suggested Penang again, as the children had an enjoyable the last time we were there 2 years ago. Phuket, we have been many times so we vetoed it eventually. We thought we should be going to a place where we have never been to.

So the process started. For all those promotions offered, we were not able to get flights for the days we wanted!! (We have personal travel blackout periods due to hubbys schedule).So we decided to call the travel agent to assist in making bookings, thinking that they usually have the "connections" to get desired flights, and better hotel deals. The travel consultant quoted us the price of $465 an air ticket which we thought was pretty expensive. But after we asked her if she was sure, she came back to say she could get us tickets at $257 a person!! Still not happy with her response, I decided to go on the internet, and ended up getting our air tickets at $227 per person, and I save the $40/person transaction fee which the tavel agent would have charged on top of that. Talk about service!!

Well, we also asked her to check out the rates at a few hotels for us and she came back with the rate of RM750 a room night for one particular hotel! My initial reaction was ~ there goes our vacation! With 3 children, we need to book two rooms, and, we cant afford to be spending that much! The rates she quoted were more than the promotion rates published on the hotel websites of RM600. And the websites had indicated that there were still rooms available. And all along I thought travel agents get better rates?

So we thought booking on the web would be better, as there were other freebies thrown in as well, which were not included in the travel agents offer. As we had special room requests, we decided to call the hotels worldwide reservation line and made some enquiries. Guess what? We managed to get rooms at rates way BELOW the RM600 a night rate!! What a deal!!

So we would be going on vacation afterall!! It looks like nowadays, its better to D-I-Y, coz these travel agents give practically no service, and on top of that, they want to charge you for it!