Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Experimenting With Fondant

Back dated post...

I got a pack of ready-to-roll fondant for quite some time now but I didn't have the courage to open it. I am the kind of person that prefers to work quietly and alone especially when I want to try on something new. Somehow, privacy and "me time" have becoming something very important to me ever since I delivered Charlotte and had a maid at home (not anymore).

Now that I am a SAHM, I get to do what I want to do rather freely (except I am rather busier now than what I thought and almost couldn't find extra time to experiment new things). Anyway, I was stranded at home last Friday as Pat drove my car off for some meetings that he had to attend (his car is still in the workshop) and I had nothing for lunch. I thought maybe I should just get my hands dirty with the fondant :)

So, I baked Double Orange cupcakes and got myself busy with the fondant. Charlotte has been asking for "caterpillars" and "butterflies" ever since her good friend Chloe gave her one of Ann's creations. My skill is nothing compared to Ann's and I was laughing at myself while making those miniatures. I didn't have enough colors and my "bugs" were all having different colors than it should be and it all didn't look like what it should be either (LOL!)

Then I thought I want to make something simpler. Just small flowers and I started to look for my bento cutters. What I know was all those cutters seem too big for the cupcakes that I had in the oven! (need to do some baking accessories shopping soon) Then I thought maybe it wasn't that difficult to mold it with my hands. I should have learn from the "bugs" lesson but no...easy as it seems, not really. My flowers were all very primitive :( furthermore Pat was home before I finished my "project" and the nag started like bees in my ears.

Please don't laugh when you see what I did...













The Double Orange was very good at least :) and it was really fun working on the fondant I tell ya. See if I get another chance to do it again, and hopefully I can do it better next time.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Another Day At The Beach

We love the beach at the northern part of the island ever since our last trip. We've been trying to go back for many weeks now but the weather was not permitting. Finally we made it there again last week.

This time the sun set a little later. We were there around 5.30pm but it didn't set until 7.30pm. We played quite a bit at the beach, we build sand castle, we raced at the beach, we jumped, we shouted, we screamed, we laughed...then both Pat and I got tired and we decided to sit down while Charlotte still kept going on and on...

She was very busy working with the sand and water, Pat and I were busy talking...on and off, she asked to be escorted to pick up more water. Only after awhile, we noticed she was like working on a big project. So focused, so engrossed, full of determination...

She said "I'm cooking!". Cooking? Cook what? She said "shell soup" with very serious expression. I looked at the "soup" and was telling Pat that better she doesn't ask us to drink later on... :p

We had to leave just shortly after sunset but Charlotte was very happy and satisfied. She was more than willing to call it a day when we told her so. I brought many bottles of clean water for wash up and Charlotte changed into clean dress before we headed to Batu Ferringgi for dinner.

Another fun weekend, another new week ahead...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

One Rare Occasion

I got a very nice dinner treat last night, by Pat, at home...It was one of those very rare occasions and I was definitely very happy about it :)

Pat loves steaks but we could barely find good steaks in Penang. It usually not cooked to our liking, or I should say it's the cut of the meat that is not to our liking. Most of the restaurant serve steaks that were cut to too thin and it came out not as juicy and tender as we expected it to be. We learn that it is important to keep the cut to a certain thickness to conserve the juicy part of it while it is under the cooking fire. But most of the meat here are cut to too thin in order to look bigger in size and when it is cooked it usually taste harder and drier. Also, Pat likes it medium-rare while most of the restaurants locally couldn't keep up to this exactly. So, the best way to satisfy him is to cook it our own.

We found out that at Giant hypermarket at Penang Plaza was able to customize the cut to their customers and we've been going there for our special cut every time we wanted to have our steaks cooked at home and because of the cut and thickness we were able to keep the tenderness and the juiciness of the meat. We went to Cold Storage once but they were not very open for "customize" cut and never went back since then. We did it many times before and Pat loved absolutely loved it! That's why we kept going back to Giant, only the one at Penang Plaza. Pat also invited friends to our house, but many times I was too busy cooking than enjoying.

Back to the point...he asked "how about we have steaks tonight?" yesterday and I was like "does that means I have to cook again?". Now that I am a SAHM I cook almost everyday and hoping to have day off at least for Saturday and Sunday. I guess he got the point and said he's gonna do it this time. I was delighted and agreed to it, of course! This is the only meal that he knows how to cook, and did it well. (He doesn't even cook maggie mee or fried an egg for me, ok?) The first time he did it was when Brenda still around. I didn't have to worry about dirty kitchen and dishes to clean up back then. Although I agreed to the idea but at the back of my head I was worried about the "etc" that I have to deal with after the cooking episode.

Since Charlotte doesn't take steak my role that evening was to only take care of Charlotte's meal. I prepared a spaghetti bolognese with Parmesan cheese aside (Charlotte loves Parmesan cheese) and I feed her while Pat was in action :) I was glad that Charlotte enjoyed the spaghetti very much and it was just a perfect timing that my meal was ready when Charlotte was done.

Tada!!! A nicely grilled Rib Eye with Shiitake mushrooms...

Pat knows I always wanted it medium and he did a great job in keeping it. See how pink and juicy it looked...

Pat usually will have a bottle of red wine but we can never finish a bottle ourselves. I can only take half a glass each time and we usually have another half bottle left and eventually ended up in the dustbin. So, this time he got us an imported, naturally brewed drinks -Bundaberg Ginger Beer

We first had this drink at the Marché Restaurant at The Curve and I didn't know that we have stores selling them. Actually, I like the root beer better than ginger beer but it was great for our meal last night.

Dinner was great and what comes after dinner ---washing!!! I hate this part most and I was hoping to get a dishwasher when Brenda went home. How to escape this part of the game? I assumed it was part of a deal tonight and hinted Pat to get to the washing part while crossing my fingers and expecting to hear "I cooked already, you wash la" kinda thing but I guess lucky stars were really at my side last night, he agreed and proceeded to the kitchen :D

It was really a rare occasion, or I got really lucky :)

Anyway, thank you honey!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Another Bit More

Yeah, I posted the last post a little too soon. When I went to pick up Charlotte from school last Friday, I saw every kid was holding on a white color box in their hand. Charlotte had one too and it was a coin box given by the fire department!

Charlotte's teacher ran out to me and said she went to the fire department and presented the scrapbook pictures to them and in return they gave a coin box to every students in that school. She also said that they got several big size posters as well as other souvenirs like apron and stuff :)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Little Bit More About The Fire Drill...

Remember the fire drill post? I am very glad that I had a chance to keep the memory more real rather than just post about it without having to show any pictures.

The school took some pictures on that event (it was blogged here) and the pictures were posted on the notice board at the school. Early this week, I was asked to do a simple paper scrap as they would like to give it to the fire department as a token of appreciation. (Actually, I have been doing paper scrap for the school for quite some time already. I volunteered myself to the teachers that I can help out in this area (not that I am especially good at doing it) as I do keep quite a lot of scrapbooking tools and accessories).

Hope you get a better picture of how was the fire drill event from these pictures too...

My little shorty gets to enjoy a real close view...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My First Attempt Of Making Swiss Roll

Now that I have becoming more and more skillful in baking spongecake I planned to try making Swiss Roll as my next challenge. I have been gathering ingredients, tools and methods for the past week for my first experiment today.

I woke up this morning having all the morning plans in my mind (in fact was already thinking about it the night before, heehee!) and one by one I quietly and quickly got the tasks done before I set my hands on the baking tools. I gotten Charlotte ready and sent her off for school, swiped and mopped the floor after returning home, put the laundry in the washing machine and get the eggs and butter out from the fridge to cool in room temperature (trust me, this mommy is very good at multi tasking).

By the time I am ready, the eggs and butter were ready too. I put the butter over a boiling water while started to get busy with the mixing in another bowl. When I was done with the cake batter and ready put it into the oven the washing machine had just finished its washing cycle too. So I get to hang all the washed clothes while monitoring the baking as it was advised to keep a close monitoring in order not to over bake the cake.

Everything went on very well. The cake came out well and I managed to spread Charlotte's favorite mixed fruits jam on it and it was ready to roll. I was so excited!


You must be thinking and envying how good I was, right? Look further...

Half way through the rolling I found the skin side got stuck on the parchment paper! Arghhhh!!! See the peeled off skin near the middle part of the Swiss Roll? When I was reading and preparing, I was worried about the cracking during rolling as it is the most common failure in making Swiss Roll. I never expect to have to deal with the skin-stuck-on-the-parchment-paper failure :( I suspected that I could have turned the skin side down a bit too soon and caused the failure like this. Also, the skin looks a little too damp than it should be. Nevertheless, it tasted great!!

I am going to try it again, hopefully will be able to share a nice piece of Swiss Roll with you soon :) As for now, anybody don't mind a piece of ugly but guaranteed good taste Swiss Roll? :D

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

You'll Be Amused

Chloe, Charlotte's classmate, our neighbour, Ann's daughter. Don't know since when, Chloe has gotten very comfortable with me (which I am very glad) and decided to have me walk her home sometimes. We live just diagonally opposite each other, about 4 units away. Charlotte and Chloe have become good friends, they walk home together everyday, they go to ballet class together every Saturday, they visited each other's house once in awhile and they went for movie too!

One very interesting thing that they do every evening walking home is the way they say goodbye to each other. We will arrive at Chloe house first when we walk from school. Chloe and Charlotte always say goodbye to each as we hand over Chloe to her grandma and Charlotte and I will walk home. Chloe and Charlotte will then "shout" goodbye REPEATEDLY as we walk towards our house :) Sometimes Chloe's grandma walks her home and if she reaches home first she will then stands at the front porch, waiting for Charlotte. They will then say the goodbye in a proper manner before the game starts :)

It has been going on like this for quite some time now and I didn't think much of that. Sometime last week, daddy was home early and he heard the shouting goodbye way before Charlotte reaches home. He was very amused and asked me why they did that. I thought it was fun and I thought it was nothing harmful as the 2 of them found a fun game for themselves, which is also unique for their friendship.

Now that daddy brought it up, me too find it amusing as I listen to them, watching them play this game almost everyday. You'll be amused too if you hear them :)

It's good to have friends around, isn't it?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Fun, Fun, Fun

Charlotte said "I never go to beach before" with a sad face a few times last week and we tried hard to tell her she did but it didn't work out. Sometimes when she says "never" she meant "it has been a long time". So we promised her that we will bring her to beach again during weekend.

The beach that we used to go is only nice if we go in the morning as it faces the West and hence the evening sun can be very unpleasant. We couldn't go there on Saturday morning anymore since Charlotte started ballet lesson and we always sleep in on Sunday morning. So we decided to bring her to the north side of the island instead.

Surprisingly, the beach is still very clean and well maintained. Charlotte was excited and keep saying "this is a new beach hor mommy!". She started to enjoy the sand with her same old set of shovels and spades almost immediately...

The thing that I never expected was she was getting her hands dirty this time too! She dropped her shovels and spades after awhile and started to explore with her hands. She was really comfortable in doing that! That's the true fun being at the beach isn't it (well, daddy was very keen to get her swim too)!

She was exploring the sand, sea shells, dancing, racing with daddy...

and see who/what we met? Dogs, or rather puppies! First we met one, this one seemed to like Charlotte a lot...she kept coming back and wondering what Charlotte was doing...

Then, we met a few more...these 2 seemed to be very interested in me :) See the one finding himself so comfortably sleeping under my legs?

Charlotte had been asking for a puppy a few weeks now but we told her we can't keep another dog as nobody is there to care of them. Her initial reply was "when I go to school, mommy and daddy can take care!". Of course, she doesn't know that my status now is a SAHM but we told her we both have to go to work. She finally agreed to keep that idea for now. But look at these puppies, aren't they adorable? Charlotte was very comfortable having them around too! I think she is ready for a puppy, maybe we will get her one soon in the future.

When we were done, Charlotte said she wanted to have KFC nuggets. So we went to a nearby KFC outlet and let her enjoyed her meal. Pat then thought since we were still quite full from lunch we might just want to get something light. So we went to have our long time favorite, "Lok Lok"! I didn't have to worry about Charlotte because she already had her share.
The Lok Lok store is always packed and crowded. We got ourselves table and I couldn't believe my eyes, look at the variety!

Even Charlotte had quite a bit of this and that too :) Well, I didn't really encourage her to eat more because it wasn't very hygienic, but it was a good experience for her. She even asked to stand up on the stool because she wanted to look at the pot of boiling water in the middle of the table (Oops, sounds like a katak di bawah tempurung)

Oh btw, we went for Japanese buffet on Friday night at Waka (previously from Rasa Sayang) and Charlotte enjoyed the Ika Ebiko (raw squid that was cut into thin strips and top with prawn's roe). Sorry, no picture to show as Pat and I were too hungry by then. Charlotte loves the ebiko sushi usually when we have Japanese food but I didn't think that she is adventures enough to try raw stuff like Ika. We all had a lot to eat, including super duper beef teppanyaki, fresh oysters, sashimi, green tea ice cream...

What I can say is, we did a lot last weekend and I was thrilled to see Charlotte has graduated from super-picky-eater to sot-so-picky-eater :)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Fire Drill

Back dated post...

As usual. we get updates and news on coming activity notice every Friday. A few weeks back, I read that they will be conducting a fire drill exercise for the kids, mainly to share with them what to expect, what needs to be done, who to call and etc. I didn't think much of this activity so I signed the notice and totally forgot about it.

One morning, I came back from morning market and saw a fire engine parked right out side of the school. My heart sunk for a moment and very fast all the bad thoughts flashed in my mind. Then I remembered they mentioned about fire drill training! That was it! They actually called the fire department! I slowed down a little as I passing by the school and I saw there was at least 6 pairs of firefighter boots at the front porch. I couldn't wait to listen to the story when Charlotte came home that day.

The school did a very good introduction and fire drill training for the kids that day. There was a real action where a firefighter showing the children how they put off the fire at the back of the school, how the firefighter rescuing the children (I saw pictures where a firefighter was carrying a student down from the room upstairs), the introduction of the fire engine and etc.

As I was talking to Charlotte about that fire drill, I referred to the fire engine as "救火车" but Charlotte corrected me and said "it's not 救火车 la mommy, it's 消防车!". I knew she did pay attention then :)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

For The Better

1st July marked a whole new chapter of life for me and my family. I am now officially a stay-at-home-mom.

My company is actively restructuring and down sizing its organizations due to the slow down in global economy situation. After much discussions with Pat, I volunteered myself when the company announced the option, hoping for more quality time to spend with my family members but I was told that it was not a voluntary program for our department. The idea was put aside since then.

Early May, my maid mentioned to me that she did not want to continue for another year (we had a verbal agreement on that) when her contract ends this year. It was over a very small conflict that we had. She was supposed to finish her contract until Sept this year but I sent her off immediately when she mentioned that. The thing was, she made me lost the trust that I had for her over this incident and I couldn't bear thinking and worrying for what potential risks that we are going to run into by keeping her even for just another day. So we decided that it was the best option to send her off immediately and I told Pat that I do not want a replacement, for now.

After I lost my maid, I approached my manager again for the option. Again, I did not get a very positive response. For the whole month of May I practically running like chicken without heads, multi-tasking almost everything, everyday. I was thankful that I was allowed to work from home quite a bit in my job as it was a global role. But yet, 24hours a day seemed too short to have.

By end May, I managed to get my routine and tasks including work, house chores, child care, meals pretty much under control but yet it was not perfect. It was a very effective slimming program too that I shed 2kg just that. The weight lost was not due to conscious dieting but it was because of exhaustion that put off my appetite most of the time. I approached my manager again by end May and let her know that if they need to work out a "list" or to meet the "quota", I would be happy to name myself. She acknowledged that and I was asked to be patient.

First week of June, I got a meeting invite by my manager and a HR manager was also invited to join the meeting. I thought "this is it!" but...yes, my position was affected but I was not automatically put into the Work Force Managed pool but rather into the redeployment pool. If no job offer by end of June, I will leave under the WFM program but if I reject an offer I walk out the company without anything. You know what I mean? I was like "what???"!!! Does that mean I had to pretend dumb in each interview so that I don't get an offer? I don't want to do that ok? It's a value issue! Anyway, just to cut the story short, please know that it was not easy for me for the last 3 weeks in the company ;)

Looking back, I was worried of all sorts of "what if" when I lost my maid. I was frustrated when over whelmed by work and chores. But now I know that everything happens for a reason. More so, I know God has everything planned for us and we just need to look upon Him. Everything happens for a reason. For this, it is for the better :)

So, who is the happiest person in the whole world right now? Charlotte la, of course! She has my undivided attention all the time :) I am happy that I can run the house, do the chores, prepare the meals and taking care of my family knowing that everything is safe, clean, healthy, and with LOVE!

Cheers to all stay-at-home-mom!!!