Sunday, March 31, 2013

At the break of dawn

Weekends are mostly leisure, relaxing, slow paced, enjoying each other's company - so NOT true!  Unless you do not have a certain little boy who demands for your attention/help every other minute, baskets full of laundry, enrichment classes to attend and the list goes on.  So before everyone wakes up, before the hassle begins, I am awake at the break of dawn doing my things and having some quiet time.

1. After washing up I'll put the 1st load of laundry to wash.  It's my habit, I will wash our clothes separately from DinoBoy's, wash bed sheets/pillow & bolster cases on another load. Also separates work clothes from house clothes.  You can imagine how I drive my washing machine to the max on these days.

2. After putting the kettle to boil, I heads off to our little balcony and water our pots of plants.  I am still trying not to kill any more plants, so far I'm doing ok since my pot of something (forgot the name) is thriving and my pot of "believe to be dead" mint have been revived and thriving well.  Still hope to grow a garden at this small corner though.



3. I starts to tidy up the house, put stuffs that we casually threw all over the place during the week to their rightful places. 

4. When the water's boiled I make my cup of 3-in-1 coffee, my 1st cuppa for the day.  Sometimes I will make myself a Nespresso cuppa when I feel like tasting the unique coffee and taking in the brain waking aroma.


5. Finally I sit down in front of my laptop, surfing and enjoying my coffee.


That is how I spend my weekend mornings.

*ding dong ding dong ding dong* - the familiar sound of the washing machine.

Whoops! Gotta go! My 1st load of washing is done! Hope you have a great weekend!

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Friday, March 29, 2013

Friendships are built like this

They say kids are great at making friends, I used to doubt it but not anymore.

Look at these two little fella, their age is barely 5 months apart, this is their 4th time meeting up and they behave like they know each other for very long and are best pals.

It does help that they have one thing in common... both of them are NON STOP COMMERCIAL FREE!  

A few times we listen to their conversation and strongly believe that they can talk about anything under the sun, the moon and the star even though they may not know exactly the other one is talking about.  

Regardless, they are still able to carry on many interesting conversations, many a times oblivious to others' presence.


Friends have all things in common - Plato

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Foodie Fridays - Fish & Crab Shack @RWS

By the time we are done with our tour in S.E.A Aquarium at Resort World Sentosa, we were famish and hungry.  We wanted to dine in the restaurant inside the aquarium but was told it was full (though we took a peek and there were still empty tables with no Reservation sign on top of them), so we headed out and saw Fish & Crab Shack.  It was a pretty crowded place since its at the entrance to the The Maritime Experiential Museum™.  We were lucky to get a table soon as a family just finished their meals when we were there.


While we were browsing the menu DinoBoy suddenly exclaimed excitedly "Mummy Mummy! Look!  My name is in the menu!"  


A menu was given to us after we have settled down but we have to order our food at the counter, pay for it and was handed a pager while our food is being prepared.


Here's what we order; I forgot to take a photo of the Fish & Chips @ SGD10.90 for Han.

Bacon & Prawn Spaghetti @ SGD15.90

Seafood Spaghetti @ 17.90

Mushroom soup @ SGD9

Fried Chicken Wings @ SGD6 for 3 pcs

The food are so-so, not worth the price but we are dining in RWS so over pricing of food are expected.  However the ingredients are fresh, which sort of makes up for it, plus there are 2 big scallops together with 2 good sized prawns and a few sotong rings in the seafood spaghetti.  Surprisingly the mushroom soup tastes good, I was expecting to see the diluted creamy soup with chopped mushrooms.

It will be a perfect leisure late lunch if not for a small incident; we were being paged to the collection counter for our food, while waiting we saw this waiter (a young teenager) grabbed 2 breadsticks and stuck them into our spaghetti, nothing wrong except that he used his bare hands.  I stared in disbelief and exclaimed to him on his action!  He calmly replied "but I have washed my hands."  Hey dude!  I don't care if you wash or scrub your hands with anti septic handwash or something, you DO NOT use your bare hands to handle food!  I demanded him to remove the breadsticks immediately, we definitely can do without those "dirty" food.

I actually have the intention of letting this incident go but seeing kids amongst the crowd, I decided to speak to the Manager.  I mean, if the waiter serving the food is not using gloves, it makes me wonder if their kitchen staffs preparing the food are using or not.  The Manager was surprised when I told him about the incident, he came back later apologising to me about it and told me that action has been taken against that waiter.  The next minute I saw that waiter out at the dining area clearing tables.  Case Closed.  And with that it also mean that this will be my only visit to the restaurant till I know that they are observing the strict food preparation rules.

Remarks : I am in no way affiliated to the management of Fish & Crab Shack or have been compensated to write about this.   All opinions are 100% based on my dinning experience with them.

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

RWS S.E.A Aquarium - March Holiday Fun! (Part 1)

We went to S.E.A Aquarium, the World's largest aquarium as the banner says, at Resort World Sentosa during the March school term break and had a blast of time!  All thanks to Sis who has some free tickets and we only have to purchase 1 ticket to enjoy some family time together.


We got a bit lost as there were a lot of people and we sort of missed the signage that points us to the aquarium, after looking around we managed to find our way.  Anyway, just in case here is a simple direction.  You have to enter from the The Maritime Experiential Museum entrance, walk all the way to the end to take an escalator down, make a left turn and you can see the entrance to the S.E.A. Aquarium.


The minute we are in, DinoBoy couldn't contain his excitement and request for my camera then starts snapping away.  Well, all the photos are blur as he is still learning how to use a camera plus the fishes does not stay still to let him take a clear photo.  


Goofing around!  Can you see our Fish Face Pose?

DinoBoy with Cousin Farn

We gawked, we oooo, we ahhhh, we touched -the chocolate chip starfish and we freaked -the hell out of the poor giant octopus (see photo below)- inside the aquarium.  There are really many different marine creatures of all sizes and shapes then we can imagine!  



Who can resist these deadly but beautiful jellyfishes?

Am I cute or what?

We spend about an hour at the Open Sea section resting our tired feet and enjoying the cooling air condition.  I really love this place, the wide vast of ocean blue has a calming effect on me.  There is something mystical and soothing about this gentle giant, every one seems to be holding their breath, eyes fixed on it and watching it fly by in its graceful flight.  Time seems to come to a standstill too till it disappeared into the ocean blue.


When the stingrays are out of sight you can catch the school of fishes swimming around as if they are dancing to a silent rhythm.


For SGD2 you get to crank up a machine and "stamp" a coin as a souvenir.  DinoBoy got a hammer head shark coin while Han got a sea turtle coin.


The tired trio

While we were at the photo booth queuing to look at the photos they took for us when we enter the aquarium, I happened to look up and saw this unique view!  We probably wouldn't think we will have a chance to look at the under belly of the sharks while they swim leisurely in the water.


There are 2 places you can settle your rumbling stomach while walking in the aquarium, you can choose to dine in Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora or S.E.A.side Snacks.  We initially wanted to dine in Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora but they were running full house.

We had an enjoyable time albeit the squabbles among the kids but that's normal and expected, otherwise it will be a boring outing.  Also since it was the March school term break the crowd is huge! Luckily Sis collected the tickets a day before otherwise we will be stuck at the queue for at least half an hour to try to get our tickets.  We still have to jostle with the crowd to look at the fishes, DinoBoy was elbowed by an older boy who tried to take a photo of the fishes in the small tank.  

If you are planning to visit the aquarium, may I suggest that you tour the place in an relaxing and slow pace, looking at all the beautiful marine creatures.  After that, grab a bottle of cold drink, a snack or two and sit in front of the Open Sea to enjoy the rare calm and tranquility for a while before going back to the reality rat race world.

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You can get either the Day Pass or the Multi Park Pass to visit the S.E.A. Aquarium.  You can click here to find out all the info about the aquarium.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Disney XD - New Channel on the Block

We were informed of the launch of Disney XD and we decided to check it out since DinoBoy loves most of the characters and he will also have a chance to get up close with Iron Man!


The event was held at Compass Point and took up the most part of Level 1, Atrium.  There is a stage in the centre and at each sides there are games that the kids can participate and enjoy.  They also received some small tokens as a reward for trying their best in some of the games.

It was a fun filled event where every one had fun, the Secret Agent aka MC did a great job in engaging the kids with quiz, games and some superheroes exercise.



DinoBoy was really excited when the Secret Agent chose him to get up onto stage to answer a quiz question.  He gave the correct answer and he gets a small prize~ 


Of all the games, DinoBoy, and I bet all kids too, loves this!  He can jump to his heart's content without being told to "get off the bed NOW!"


The highlight of the event is of course the Meet & Greet with Iron Man.  The kids went crazy when he made his appearance on stage, this Mama joined the kids too and went ooo~ and ahhh~~ then fight with the other parents so that she can take a good close up photo of Iron Man (shameless I know, but what the heck, I'm a superheroes fan too!)


Finally its DinoBoy's turn, looking so serious with Iron Man here.


There is also Marvel booth at one corner of the event area, you can buy or subscribe (at a special rate) to Marvel comics.  DinoBoy was mesmerized by the display of Iron Man merchandise, look at him staring longingly at them, bet with you that he must be wishing he could have them ALL!


Bigger then human size wall poster of his favourite Superheroes!  How lucky can a 7 year old feel~


As you can see, he was happy to see THREE Iron Man!


I was really impressed with the staffs at the shooting station.  As you can see from the photos, the kids were queuing without the company of their parents, there were no squabbles or fight or queue cutting as the Big Brothers & Sisters ensure that they kids move forward in an orderly manner.  They even helped the younger ones, aiming to hit the "villains" in a serious manner, trying to help them hit 4 of them to win a prize.  None of them are doing a hasty job or simply going through motion, they really take their job seriously.  Well done!


*** *** A little bit about Disney XD *** ***

Disney XD is now available on StarHub Channel 310 (Disney XD HD on 360). Targeting kids aged 6-14 years, Disney XD will be a boy-focused, girl-inclusive channel offering for the Singapore market.

The channel will be available on the StarHub TV Kids Basic Group (Channel 310), the first High-Definition Kids chanhhhnel offering on StarHub TV (Disney XD HD - Channel 360) and on Starhub’s Internet TV service TV Anywhere. The channel will be aired in English and Mandarin.

Disney XD will be the TV home of new Marvel series featuring superheroes such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and introduce dynamic stories full of action, adventure and heroism to a whole new generation. The channel will also feature original Disney XD series including the martial arts comedy Kickin' It, turbo-charged animated series Motorcity and the fun animated series Kick Buttowski - Suburban Daredevil and the hugely popular 2D animated comedy Phineas & Ferb.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Bras Basah Complex - My Childhood Playground

Few days ago, I was filled with excitement when I read an email from David Gan of RazorTV.


He was referring to my blog post Loving My Spot (in Singapore) - Bras Basah Complex that I wrote to participate a blogtrain initiated by The Playful Parents.

I was not sure whether to go for the interview or not as I was not exactly a "public" person.  I have to make a fast decision as the interview was later that same day!  In the end I decided to go ahead because Bras Basah Complex holds a special place for me and the family.  

So, here is the video interview.




Regina snapped this and send it to me as soon as she saw it in the Straits Times.

Photo Credit : Regina Moo

You can read about the full article in today's Straits Times, MAKEOVER OF BRAS BASAH COMPLEX - New look, same great contents.  If you are a subscriber to Straits Times online, click here to go to the article.

Ok I've inserted a photo of the newspaper article for memory sake =)

** Photo removed for fear of being sued by ST **

This is how the new Bras Basah Complex will look like after its facelift.   Do you like it?  It looks refreshing and funky.  I'll most likely have a date with my Canon EOS at this special place again after the makeover.

** Photo removed for fear of being sued by ST **

Thank you David & Sue Ann (the sweet Journalist who was interviewing me) for this wonderful  memorable video interview.  

Foodie Fridays - Stir fried Mixed Vegetable (Chap Chye)

Its been quite a while since I cook dinner for the family, so last weekend I thought I'd do some cooking.  I feel like cooking mixed vegetable or chap chye so went about to look for a simple recipe.  I know this should be an easy dish to make but I wanted something different from Mum's recipe, so here is my not too successful chap chye.

Ingredient
* 600g Chinese cabbage
* 150g glass noodle
* 3 bean curd sheet
* 2 Chinese mushrooms
* 10g white fungus
* 1 carrot
* 1 tablespoon chopped garlic

Seasonings
* 2 red preserved bean curd
* 2 tablespoon oyster sauce
* 2 tablespoon light soy sauce
* some salt
* some pepper
* 1 tablespoon chicken seasoning
* 1 tablespoon cooking wine or hua diao wine
* some sesame oil

Method
1. Rinse & soak the Chinese mushrooms and white fungus.  Cut the carrot into slices.
2. Heat up oil in frying pan, fry the bean curd sheet until crispy and fragrant.
3. Fry the chopped garlic in heated oil till fragrant.
4. Add in the rest of the ingredients and seasonings.  Add in adequate water and fry until cooked, thicken the gravy with some tapioca flour and water.
5. Stir fry for a few minutes and dish out to serve.

Notes
1. Go easy on the glass noodle or rice vermicelli, they expand twice the volume after soaking in the water.
2. My bean curd sheet looks weird as per the photo below, instead of cutting them into smaller pieces and frying them in enough oil, I threw the whole piece in, use very little oil and pan fry it.  Thus you see only some parts are fried.
3. This should be the last dish to be cooked unless you want to end up like me.  I cooked this FIRST and by the time we start dinner the glass noodle has soaked up all the sauce and become one big ball of noodle.  The bean curd become rubbery and difficult to chew too.

Fried bean curd sheet

Seasoning

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

We are a Three Generation Family!

Since my mum & younger brother moved in with us about 2 weeks ago, it has been emotionally, mentally and physically strenuous for us.  Despite our agreement to only just move the necessary things over and either give away or donate things that she has no use for, my mum arrived at my house with 20+ carton boxes of different sizes. We were expecting that she will bring more then she claimed but was shocked to see so many boxes!

For the following days after unpacking the daily necessity items  she refused to let us open up the remaining boxes to go through them and pack them away, claiming that those items are important to her, and she will have a use for them -in future-  When we insist on checking the boxes she threw her temper at us. 

So we seek our older brother's help, who my mum will only listens to.  The next few days he came over the house to tackle the boxes, mum did not dare to protest or gave little objection when he wanted to throw or give away things; stuffs like a full set of pretty crockery, 2 sets of teacups with teapots, 2 brand new sets of corning wares and stacks of bowls & plates plus many more.

Even though she seems cooperative, she was feeling sad as it feels like part of her was being "thrown out".  At one point she broke down and wails, crying that if she know that we are going to treat her "like that" she will "find some other place to stay!" and she want "to go and find my dad."  It makes me feel guilty to see my 70+ year old mum sitting on the sofa doing that... but deep in our heart we know it is for her own good.  After that drama, she adopted a you-want-to-throw-or-donate-then-go-ahead attitude, sits on the sofa and sulk.  We turned a blind eyes to that and continued with the work.

Soon the boxes were unpacked and 90% of her stuffs were either throw or given away or donated.

Few days ago, I started to clear out my store room so that my mum can keep her stuffs inside there.  It was a tiring job but luckily I have DinoPapa and my younger bro's help so things were done pretty quick.


Before we can start moving stuffs into the store room, Mum stepped in, refusing to let us put her Karaoke CDs in the store room, claiming that she will need them and its "troublesome" for her to get it from the store room.  Puzzled about her rationale behind this as she clearly does not use them very often plus there really isn't much space for her to put 4 boxes of CDs in the room (that she shares with DinoBoy), but we put 1 box in the room and keep the rest in the store room just to make her happy.  End of saga...  Or so I thought, she refuse to acknowledge me or talk to me for the rest of the day.

I still have to pack the room she is sharing with DinoBoy and the kitchen! More things to  move around, repack or throw away (sensitive words).  More frustrations, anger and despair with expectations of temper flaring and feelings to be hurt.

Well, these are during the unpacking sessions, every day there will be moments where she will drive us up the wall.  Mum is not as tidy and clean as we are so the house are a little bit messy and dirty, this can't be help as it is impossible to keep cleaning or vacuuming the whole day or tell her times and again not to do certain things.  She most probably will just continue to do it her way and ignore us.  Mum has a nagging habit literally, she nags and nags and nags AND nags.  Sometimes even when she knows very well that I will not be happy with what she is going to say, she will give me a so-call warning "I tell you something, you just listen will do, don't get angry ok?" before saying it out and 99% it will make me unhappy or frustrated.

It was a difficult & tensed up period for me & DinoPapa, we couldn't enjoy a quiet evening after a hard day at work.  There was always some form of arguments with my mum on the things she do like stacking a huge plastic netted basket filled with her stuffs on top of a shelf in a room with limited walking space, an accident waiting to happen though she deny it completely saying that "it will never fall on top of anyone lah!".  It got so bad and is affecting me unknowingly that one day DinoBoy asked "Mum, why are you shouting at me?" I was taken aback... I did not realized that the tone of my voice was harsh and loud when I told DinoBoy to do something. 

However, albeit all these negative events and emotions I am still happy that mum is staying with us!  Especially when she is still not feeling well as mentioned in my blog post last week, I can order her to take the medicine OR ELSE "I'll call Brother!" (she's so stubborn!).  I hope she gets well soon, feels a whole lot better and starts cooking meals for us, at least there is something for her to do and occupy her time.   Then I can start indulging myself with "Mummy's Food", a range of food that is unique and special to each and every one's Mummy.

And also hearing DinoBoy shout out "Por-por!!!!  We are HOME!!!" the minute he steps into the house, we no long come home to an empty house.

Or precious moments like this...


Both of them will have each others company either with a board game of Ducks In A Row, shooting the pigs down with Angry Birds, chatting or some thing else together.  For the first time he is spending lesser time on tv, ipad or iphone!  On top of that my mum will be all too happy to have someone who she can fuss about with, she still thinks DinoBoy is 2-3 years old, wanting to help him bath/change clothes/carry bag or feed dinner to him etc. 

So my days will be different, I'll probably will not get used to the things my mum does or says but I can turn a blind eye or deaf ear to those with the aim of keeping peace in the house.  The wise ones said “All good things come to he who waits” so wait I shall, patiently, for things to get better, then peace, calm and tranquility will finally make their way back to our humble home.

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