Friday, August 31, 2012

Photo *Hearts* Friday - Father & Son

Since DinoEgg was a toddler I've been bringing him to watch plays, he enjoys it alot though initially he has difficulty understanding the idea of sitting in an almost dark theatre and watching a bunch of people doing silly things, talking & singing on the elevated small area.  He keeps asking me about questions, like what is this character doing, why this why that.  Gradually he understands and can enjoy the play better.

After being a "seasoned children's play" goer, I thought I'd start to expose him to something different.  We went for Drum of Tao on 18 August 2012.  His first "adult" performance and what's more?  Daddy joins us for the first time!  Woohoo!  Double treats on one day!


Look at how happy DinoEgg is to have daddy with him sitting in the theatre waiting for the performance to start.

~ ~ ~

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Foodie Friday - Ah Ma's noodle

Last weekend Daddy has a sudden cravings for a simple noodle dish that his Ah Ma aka Grandma cooked for him when he was a little boy. He went off to gather the necessary ingredients when DinoEgg was at his art class, he was in the kitchen preparing our lunch the minute he steps into the house.

An hour later he emerged with the noodle.  The noodle looks plain and normal, nothing special about it until you taste it!  The soup thick with sweet clam taste, the vegetable is soft and the noodle is cooked just right.  Combine with the fish cake and crab stick, its a delicious bowl of pipping hot noodle.


Ingredient
- 1 packet of noodle (like the one below)
- 1 packet of choy sum
- 1 fish cake
- 1 packet of la-la clams

* The amount of ingredients used for this noodle depends on the number of people you are serving.  We used half a packet of choy sum & noodle while the rest of the ingredients are left over from our previous days cooking.


Method
(1) Put the la-la clams in a pot of water and bring it to boil.  Continue boiling till the clams fragrance is out, taste the soup to see if the soup base is to your desired taste.
(2) Remove the la-la clams for use later.
(3) Put the vegetables to boil till they are soft.
(4) While waiting, remove the la-la clams from their shells.
(5) Add the la-la meat, sliced fish cakes and crab sticks into the soup.
(6) Add the noodle last, boil till its soft and they are ready to serve.

Note
  1. There are corn flour on the noodles which will make the soup starchy, this is what makes the dish special so do not wash away the corn flour.
  2. You need to soak the fresh la-la clams in water with a pinch of salt to make them spit out the dirt & mud.  Remember to change the water regularly till the water is almost clear.

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book Giveaway! Personal Productivity Secrets

Are you having trouble prioritizing your needs and thinking of increasing your productivity?  Now you will be able to do both of these with this book.

This week The Love of our Life, Little DinoEgg is offering a book giveaway.

Personal Productivity Secrets

Giveaway and Review done by Dominique of Dominique's Desk

Personal Productivity Secrets: Do what you never thought possible with your time and attention... and regain control of your life by Maura Nevel Thomas was a real eye opener to read.

In the 16 chapters of the book the Maura relays the following message.

To be able to control your attention would mean that you are able to be in control of your life. Being able to focus your attention you will be able to be on control of your own behaviour, information and technology. You would also be supporting your productivity and attention instead of sabotaging it.

It is not about time management but more of attention management. In order to be the most productive one needs to be aware of best use of their time at any one time. In this way you can take immediate and more appropriate action to maximize the time you have at hand.

You need to decide for yourself what is important for you and what you should focus on at the moment. Prioritize what you need to handle at the moment, what can be done later and what could be outsourced.

One should simplify your processing—if an item doesn’t require action, it’s either reference or trash! One shouldn't take too long to consider about how to tackle a task. You need the most two minutes to think about it then you should move on. It is important to minimize digital and physical clutter in you life so that you can focus on what is truly important to you.

My thoughts
I found Personal Productivity Secrets an extremely handy book for me. I strongly agree with the thoughts and opinions reflected by the author. Many a time I am so caught up by the mental and physical clutter around that I become sluggish. My productivity level nosedives and sometimes I really feel that I should be better organized and should be fully maximizing my time instead. I shouldn't be more prudent in my promotions via the social media platform and no waste time constantly checking my updates when then enter my inbox or get a notification.

Many a times we are caught up by the need to be connected that we forget how important it is for us to be disconnect too in order to take a break and come back refreshed.

You can purchase a copy of Personal Productivity Secrets from Wiley for US $29.95. However for readers of this blog we have something special for you.

Win yourself a copy of the book

Wiley has kindly agreed to sponsor a copy for one lucky reader . Giveaway is opened worldwide so put in your entries today.

The giveaway will run from 31st August till 7th Sept. What are you waiting for?

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclaimer: Dominique's Desk received a copy of Personal Productivity Secrets: Do what you never thought possible with your time and attention... and regain control of your life for review purposes. All opinions are 100% my own.

We are not compensated for this giveaway.  The sponsor will ship the prize directly to the winner and we are not responsible for it.

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Talkative Thursday - A case of the Redundant GOT

I was enjoying my lunch in a food court, alone.  Along came a lady & a man to join me at the next table.  While they were eating, they were gossiping too.  I was tuning the radar in my ears to catch the gossip, glad to have some entertainment while I enjoy my bowl of noodle.

Lady : "Wah!  This XXX is on MC (medical leave) today.  Tomorrow is our payday, wonder she do it already or not."
Man : "Ya... She's is always on MC lah."
Lady : "Aiya, she is quite weak.  I told her to go TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), dunno if she got go or not."

I cringed when I hear that word... Its like someone scratching the blackboard with the fingernails, making that eerie sharp high pitch sound that sends chills down your spine or goosebumps all over you.

Its one thing to blabber on with our notorious Singlish but to speak like this is really unacceptable; well, at least to me.  I don't even know if I can say that its direct translation from Chinese to English as its even not the correct translated word in the correct tense.  I am not perfect in my English both written & spoken, I blabber Singlish to others too but as long as I can remember I have never spoken or written in direct translation or broken English unless I am doing it purposely or use that word in such a manner.  I was taught by my primary school teacher to speak proper English which includes sticking out your tongue just in between your teeth to pronounce "Th".

Have you guess what is that "offending" word?

Its the word GOT.  So what is the meaning of GOT?  Here is the answer I get from an online dictionary website.

Source from Dictionary.com

And here it explains about the word GET

Source from Dictionary.com

So what is the relation between GOT/GET and GO?  Obviously NONE. 
So why use "got go"?  I really have no idea.

It seems to be a "trend" to use GOT loosely (if I am allow say that).  DinoBoy has been using this a few years ago when he was just starting to speak better.  He must have picked it up from school (most likely from the classmates because I know his form teacher and those he interacts daily does not speaks this way.) as we do not speak like that at home.  I have been constantly correcting and reminding him even till today whenever he uses that word in this manner! 

"Mummy, you got bring my jacket?"
"Mummy, Teacher ask if I got bring money to pay for Friday I tell her you did not give me."

In reply I will say "GOT?" or "Say it the correctly" or I just give him one of my look which he will immediately repeat the sentence in a proper way.

Some of you may wonder where is the problem?  Well, GOT is being used to do the job of 有 - aka HAVE in English, so to speak.  Or as I mentioned earlier, GOT is being used loosely and treated as an extra most of the time.  Such injustice to both beautiful words!  Is it such a trouble or long winded to even speak in proper sentence if not English?  Let's take a look at the following grammatically correct sentences;

"don't know/dunno if she went or not."
"Mummy, did you bring my jacket?"
"Mummy, Teacher asked if I brought money to pay..."

To me, it does not make you say lesser words, in fact you say more because you added a redundant GOT in it.  So why not choose to speak proper & grammatically correct sentences?  It projects a better image of you to others, gives you self confidence (to know that you speak better then certain people), enable those English speaking people who are not exposed to our special flavoured culture to understand you better.  With this 3 plus points; I'm sure some of you can list down more, I am appalled that some people are still not speaking right.  Maybe they think its ok to speak this way since every one (read - majority of the people they interact with) seems to understand them.  Perhaps its because every one's doing it so they follow suit just to "bland in".  

What ever are their reason(s), I have nothing against them, honestly!  Hey I speak Singlish too you know!  Plus I am not in any position to judge anyone besides my son.  He is the one I should spend time to nurture and guide towards the correct path, including speaking in proper English AND Mandarin.

~ ~ ~

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A wavered decison made but reassured by a timely visit from Dad

You came for a visit hours after I decided to let go of certain burdens, is it a coincident or you think I needed the reassurances?

You woke daddy up from his sleep then proceed to walked around our house, admiring it, nodding in approval, commenting that this house is very good.  You went to peep at us sleeping, asking in a concerned tone why we are not sleeping together.  Well Dad, because your little grandson insist that either one of us sleep with him as he is "afraid of monsters in his dreams."

Then both of you sat down on the sofa and chatted about a lot of things, or rather you were the one doing most of the talking.  You said things that makes me forgive myself for deciding to let go of those burdens.  You reassured me that its ok to let go, things will turn out for the better in future. 

You reminded us that your little grandson is very clever, we need not worry about him and also not to keep on scolding him.  But Dad, sometimes this little fella just gets into our nerves for not listening to us.  You said you are worried about Mum, us too but you know she is not a lady who listens to us unless we put on our stern look and tell her NOT to do certain things.  You want us to persuade her to stop buying 4D but Dad, you are the only one who can stop her coz she "swear that I will chop off my hands if Dad's number comes out 1st prize!" *laughs* Now its a dilemma for you, to let her strike 1st prize so she will stop AND chop off her hands or continue to let her buy and "donate" to Singapore Pools?  And you say Mum's Hakka Abacus is not tasty *Yikes!* and wants daddy to keep it from her.  You miss braised pigs trotter and ABC stout, Dad oh Dad, you're still the same even after so many years *chuckles*

You've been visiting the rest often too, you said both Brother & me are your least worry.  I am so relieve that you finally approve of me.  We were never close, not enough.  I always think that I am not a good enough daughter to you and Mum.

Daddy say you were wearing a golden Chinese tunic suit 中山装 (something you have never wear before, not even on the day we sent you off) looking good, healthy, smiling & glowing, without the spectacles too!  It makes me happy to know that you are well, even better then before, but why are you still here?  Why are you still lingering in between worlds?  Is it because you are still worried about us, your family? 

I am happy that you came by to visit us, its been very long since your last.  With your wise words, I shall move on with less regrets and more confident.  I shall wait patiently for the day the Sun shine through our dark clouds and set us free!



Note : This above post is true to every details by and its not fictional or made up by me. Unless you are a close friend of the family who instantly know what is going on, we would appreciate that you could keep your doubts & negative comments to yourself.  Thank you.

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Let's take it Slow and onto a less burdened Road

This happened yesterday afternoon;

DinoEgg : Mummy, how do u spell Super?
(I was facing the laptop doing my stuffs and rattled out the alphabets without 2nd thoughts )
Me : Super
DinoEgg in his "as a matter of fact" tone : Let's take it slow
Me : Arh? Ok Sssssssss Uuuuuu Ppppppp Eeeeeee Rrrrrrr

Needless to say, I was stunned by his reply as this is the 1st time I hear him say it in this manner as compared to the usual "HUH?" What?" respond.

4 simple words ... most of us know it deep in our heart but rarely we will follow what our heart tells us.  We would probably push them to the back of our mind telling ourselves "Can't afford to slow down" or "No such privilege to enjoy this" or perhaps "I'll do it after I finish this project/deadline" where most of the time it never happen.

Later that day, in the midst of doing my stuffs, I did a self reflection (ya I have a habit of multi task physically & mentally).  Few days ago a couple of things took a bad turn which I do not have the financial ability to help out.  I felt sadden & discouraged.  I've been taking those things onto myself involuntarily for a long time.  I think I need a break, I deserve a break, I yearn for a break.  No doubt I was the one "creating" such problem for myself.  No one, not even those involved, has asked me for help/advise/share of burden.  I just took it on, naturally.  In my stage of despair I told daddy that I would like to just ignore these issues and adapt a "heck care" attitude.  I want to just shut them off from me and be an ostrich pretending that all's well.

I think I have stretched myself to the maximum.  Every night when I lay down on the bed I think to myself "What have I accomplished today for my family?"  Sadly, most of the time there are none that I would be proud of other then trying to maintain a nightly Bedtime Reading & Bonding with DinoEgg.  I have not been paying enough attention to my family because I have so much things on my mind or at the back of my mind.  I keep dwelling on the things that I wish a solution will just appear from the thin air.  And with DinoEgg entering to Primary 1 soon, I will have to get him & myself prepared for the new milestone and worry about anticipate the expected in the near future.

Its time I take it Slow & start to remove these burdens.

Those issues will be there until the person(s) involved take the necessary action to get out of the situation.  I shall not think too much about them.  I shall lower the expectations (just a teeny weeny bit for a start) I have for myself and those close to me so that I will not feel the urge need to take on every thing upon myself again.  I shall take time to smell the flowers, take deep relaxing breathes, put up my feet and enjoy MY LIFE.

Let's Take It Slow Together!

~ ~ ~

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Friday, August 24, 2012

A date with friends & Canon

A few of us have chocolate cravings and decided to "take care of it" lest some damages are done to us mentally *chuckles*.  Dominique & I decide to bring our toy along to play with them while in indulgence.

After our quick lunch at Pho99 we head off to Truffs which is just 5mins away from this Vietnam restaurant.  I immediately love this place because of its calm & quiet ambiance, a stark contrast to the hot humid rushed atmosphere which we were in seconds ago.  We took some time to get ourselves settle down before ordering our drinks & chocolate cakes.  

Missing from the group photo is Dominique who is behind the lens together with me

We took so many photos of the 2 pieces of cakes from every possible angle that I think the cake must be thinking "When are you ladies going to eat us?!"  Here are my photos, the last 2 photos are edited using some photo edit software to create a nostalgia & serenity feel.








Pho99 is located at 57 Amoy Street, Telok Ayer Conservation Area, Tel: +65 6410 9600
Truffs is located at 179A Telok Ayer Street, +65 9088 2736

Remarks : I am in no way affiliated to the management of Pho99 or Truffs, neither are we being compensated to write about these. All opinions are 100% based on our experience during our visit.

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Photo *Heart* Friday - She is my Sister

She is 4 years older then me, we were the only 2 girls out of the 4 kids in the family but as with most siblings, we were never close when we were young.  She probably wish I would disappear from her sight but I always like to sneak around her.  She finds me nosey & irritating but I swear that I wasn't trying to get into her nerves.   I admit that I rampaged her drawers n wardrobe when she is not in the house.  Aye, what do you expect?  She is already in the more colorful & excited world when I was just starting to get curious about it.

And then she got married, moved out of the nest.  I only get to see her once a week.

Soon after I got married and got my own nest.  We tried to go back to Mum's on the same day so that we will still see each other once a week.

As we get on with our individual work & family life, all those unhappy times were long forgotten, no longer important.

We have grown closer.

She is my Sister.  My one and only Sister.


~ ~ ~

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Foodie Friday - Osmanthus Soy Sauce Chicken

Ingredient
Chicken – 1pc (about 1.5 – 2kg)
Instant braised powder – 1 packet
Ginger – 3 slices
Spring onion – 5 stalks
Red yeast rice – 1 tblsp
Dried osmanthus – 1 n half tblsp
Rice wine – 50ml
Sesame oil – an appropriate amount

Seasoning
Soy sauce – 500ml
Rock sugar – 180g
Water – 2000ml

Method
(1) Put red yeast rice, osmanthus and instant braised powder packet, ginger, spring onion and seasoning into a soup pot.
(2) Use big fire to bring water to boil after that turn down to small fire for about 30mins till the water become braised sauce.
(3) Clean the chicken, sauteed it for a few minutes in boiling water, remove from pot.
(4) Put the chicken into the boiling braised sauce and add in rice wine.
(5) Turn fire to small after it starts to boil and cook for another 30mins.
(6) Remove the chicken, let the sauce drip dry then brush sesame oil on the chicken
(7) Chop up the chicken and serve.

** ** ** ** **

In case you can't find the packet of braised powder (I saw it once at Sheng Siong supermarket), here is a rough idea how to make the braised sauce;

Ingredients
* 1 star anise
* 1 cinnamon stick
* 1 piece of galangal (blue ginger), about thumb size, cleaned
* 6 cloves garlic (depending on your preference), bruised but with skin on
* 2 tablespoon soya sauce
* 2 tablespoon oyster sauce
* 2 tablespoon dark soya sauce
* 500ml of water

Method
Put every thing into the pot and bring to boil.  You may adjust the amount for each ingredient to suit your own taste.

** ** ** ** **

I did not follow the instruction (2) & (5) to boil the chicken & braised sauce for 30mins, instead after the sauce starts boiling I put it into my thermal cooker to cook till dinner time which is at least 3-4 hours later.  Therefore I do not know whether you need to boil more then 30mins for the chicken to be soft.  Also I did not cut up the chicken (too messy for me), we just tear the chicken with our utensils as its so soft that it will tear easily.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

My utmost concern or perhaps fear?

Couple of days ago some one posted in FB a news report about a 10 year old boy being gang bullied in school by his classmates, 15 of them to be exact. I was very surprise and taken aback by what the kids are doing to their fellow class/schoolmate. The intensity of the bullying is disturbing; the boys were inflicting excruciating pain to this boy.

 
This incident seems to have blown out of hand as according to the report the school brushes off the parent’s cry for help & justice in a some what care less manner. She eventually lodged a report with the police since no one is helping and her son is afraid to go to school.

I have read about such reports on school bullying by both girls and boys since earlier this year, I have a couple of friends who’s child started Primary 1 and months later was a victim of bullying. I was not concerned by all these reports because I think the school and the teachers will settle it; or so I thought. As for my friends’ case, they managed to resolve it when they speak to the principal & teachers who then take action against the bullies, eventually the case is closed.

DinoEgg will be starting Primary 1 soon, we are confident that he will be able to take care of himself. We know that he has no problem in defending himself, voice out his displeasure & complained to teachers about being bullied. However this is in the kindy, it’s a totally new world with new environment, new exposure to things & people, new experience to get used to, many unexpected things may happen in primary school.

Will he be able to handle all these changes?

Will he be overwhelmed?

Will he be able to adapt to the “rough & cruel” world after being in a "safe & comfortable" one for 6 years?

I shared the report & my concerns with daddy that night, his respond “He knows how to protect himself, no problem for him. He was protecting himself when R provoked him in the school’s toilet.”  (Our dear friend punched his school mate R from K1 on the eye when he pushed him for no reason.)  Daddy has been imparting some fighting self defense skills to him, on 1 hand I am not agreeable to it since we should tell our kids that violence is not a solution to every problem but on the other hand we have to teach them to retaliate or stand up for themselves when being provoked.  Especially for boys, they should be exposed to the harsh treatment as early as possible so that they can grow up to be a strong man, be the mountain for the lady rely on and the super hero that takes on the world for the lady.  Alright, drama mama talking here again lol.  

So I feel my muscles relax.

Then I start to worry again and my muscles start feeling tensed up.  What if HE is the one doing the bullying???  Remembering the incident that happened in April 2012 and shudder.  Of course since the day he is able to understand & grasp the idea of being disciplined, we have made it clear to him what kind of behaviour and attitude we will be expecting from him.   However, being as mischievous as he is now I always joke with my friends that I'd probably be called to the principal office or receive calls from the teachers every other day because he got himself into trouble.

In reality I definitely do not want this to happen!

Parenting is such hard & confusing work.  You have to teach your child the social etiquette and at the same time you have to nurture a street smart child.  Both teachings ensure surviving in the society & world but they sometimes contradict themselves in some ways that it can back fire which you will have a child with a lot of issues.  Just like cooking a pot of tasty soup, a pinch of this and a dash of that to mix with water is enough to make it happen, too much of any ingredient will spoil it altogether. 

I guess I will have to wait till the day DinoEgg is in Pri 1 to know he is on which side of the fence, to get a confirmation that we have succeeded in his early childhood upbringing.  Till that day comes, we just have to be on our toes and nip any behaviour that we deem not right.  Plus try to relax and have loads of fun & bonding with him along the way.

** ** ** ** **

Children Are Like Kites
Author: unknown
You spend a lifetime trying to get them off the ground.
You run with them until you're both breathless.
They crash.
They hit the rooftop.
You patch and comfort, adjust and teach them.
Finally they are airborne...
They need more string and you keep letting it out.
But with each twist of the ball of twine,
there is a sadness that goes with joy.
The kite becomes more distant,
and you know it won't be long
before that beautiful creature will snap the lifeline that binds you two together
and will soar as it is meant to soar, free and alone.
Only then do you know that you did your job.

~ ~ ~

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

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