Thursday, August 27, 2009

外婆的宝贝 (Grandma's Little Precious)

It was school holiday last week, Charlotte was home all day while Pat and I were at work that whole week. We don't have a maid since Brenda (our previous maid) went home in May, so who was there to look after Charlotte?

At situation like this, my parents never failed me. They are always there for me, for us, anything at all that we asked, they will never say no as answer. For that, I am very very thankful that I am such a blessed child. Obviously, my mom volunteered to look after Charlotte for the week even before I asked. I was very happy to hear this as I know nothing can go wrong and I can focus my attention at work knowing Charlotte is in good hand. The only thing that we were worried about is if Charlotte would get connected with my mom the way we hoped for. This is because we only visit my parents once a week or less. We observed that Charlotte sometimes need a long period of time to warm up and get comfortable with my parents.

My parents came Monday morning, and I was very relieved when Charlotte ran to the door and greeted her grandparents. My dad proposed to take Charlotte out for breakfast worrying that she may not agree to let me leave for work. That was how I managed to get to office without any protest on Monday morning. It was all peaceful throughout Monday, no phone calls from home and I knew everything was under control. I went home early Monday evening as promised to Charlotte and my mom started her "update" the moment I stepped into the house.


1. Charlotte was very obedient, didn't create any difficulty and my mom was able to cook and prepare meals without any disruption from her.

2. Charlotte had good appetite (something very new to me), she ate "char siew pao" during breakfast, big portion of lunch, she had 3pcs of biscuits and a cup of milo for tea.

3. Charlotte had good manners, keep telling grandma to be careful of the stairs, slippery bathroom, helped grandma with aircond and fan in her room as grandma was not familiar with the environment.

4. *there were many other comments which I didn't really listen because Charlotte was talking to me at the same time*

All of us had the most delicious and wonderful dinner that week! My mom is a great cook and she has magic in her cooking that I can never understand how it tasted so differently even I followed her recipe and instruction exactly. Maybe that's what called "cooking with love"! Pat ate the largest portion of all and my mom was definitely happy seeing us enjoyed her cooking. Charlotte even decided to sleep with grandma!

My mom, being her usual self, she bought a whole of things for the house, for the kitchen, for us and not to mention for Charlotte. I saw my fridge and freezer was filled with materials for cooking, kitchen added new tools, new dresses and accessories for Charlotte everyday. Last evening, I was greeted by this cute malay looking girl when I was home.

Every evening, I look forward seeing happy faces (Charlotte and my mom), great dinner, nice little chit chat among mother, daughter and granddaughter, small shopping here and there when I don't need to attend night teleconferences. It has been going on for a week and I can really get use to it. Unfortunately, it has coming to an end and I have to consider my dad although I love to have my mom all to myself. My dad has been living by himself and run his business all by himself this entire week. Although he keeps saying that there is no big deal for him, I feel extremely bad and selfish and I should "release" my mom to take care of him when Charlotte is back to school next week. I love to have both of my parents staying with me when my dad decided to retire one day.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Celebrating Merdeka

Two weeks ago Charlotte's school sent out a notice that they were going to have a week of Merdeka celebration and we were told to let the kids wear the traditional attire to school on the 17th-19th, Indian theme on Monday, Malay theme on Tuesday and Chinese theme on Wednesday. And on the 21st (Friday) we get to choose either one theme and let the kids wear to school before school holiday starts. That means, shopping! Yes, we had to shop for the Indian and Malay costumes and rest assured that we have already several to choose from for Chinese costume.

I had no idea where to get Indian costume until one find day I suddenly thought of Little India in Penang! So I told Pat to bring us there on Saturday morning and I shopped from one shop to many other just to look for an appropriate costume for children. I originally wanted the a Punjabi suit, with pants for bottom but Charlotte is quite petite and it was difficult to get a suit which the top and bottom fits just nice. So I bought a suit with a skirt as matching bottom and what do you know? It looked pretty nice on Charlotte!

It was not as challenging to find a Malay costume as getting the Indian's. I just went to a nearby mall and got her a sweet pink Baju Kurung. I was surprised to see that Charlotte looked just like a sweet next door Malay girl after putting on this suit.

This is my little girl in 3 different costumes...I think she looks really stunning and cute! *bias comment*

I didn't have a chance to peek at the school of what was going on with all the children dressed up (all the teachers were also in the same theme everyday!!!) as my new job was just picking up and need a lot of time to settle down. However, I was lucky to spot them when I was on my way to work on Friday morning. I had a morning teleconference on Friday morning and when I was leaving for office was about 10+am. As I was driving out from my house, I saw all of them were coming out from the school ready for the Merdeka "parade" around the residential area. Being a kiasu mother, I turned back and took my camera just to put up on this post :p

(I knew they were going to have the parade as I observed this exact same routine last year. I was working from home back then and I was thrilled to see the "parade" when I found out what were all those noise came from. Charlotte was with another school back then)

Charlotte was very happy and excited when she saw me. She was partnering with her best friend Chloe.

Oh, if you are wondering why were they celebrating Merdeka in advance is because school holiday falls on 24-30th Aug.

Good job to all the teachers and helpers for making this happened!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Been There, Done That.

I had been a SAHW (Wife) back in 2003 when Pat was relocated to the States. The experience that I had then and now is very different. Location aside, back then we were just the 2 of us. Time and schedule were very flexible, we could even stayed up for late night games, movies and pop corns, parties and travels. Eat or sleep, snow or sunshine never bother. With Charlotte, everything must be planned and done in considering of her.

There were many things that I wanted to take the opportunity to do or try when I gained the SAHM status slightly about a months ago. Then I realized that I didn't gain any additional time to do what I had planned to do when finally I as the home project manager. Unlike in the corporate world, there are resources to leverage for any project to be managed, I was practically "THE" manager, "THE" team, "THE" resource to run all that is around at home. From the moment I wake up in the morning till I close my eyes again at night I was occupied with activities and tasks that need to be completed. It was not any easier, but definitely happier.

I was very busy but felt very much accomplished and satisfied. One of those things that I am most happy with is the training for Charlotte to do the morning "perch". Charlotte used to keep for 3 to 4 days, although she didn't really have constipation issue I felt that the keeping habit is unacceptable and it will eventually cause constipation. The training was very successful and she is up on her "thrown" every morning with good output :) Of course this is no magic, the luxury of time that I had without having to rush to office and involved in the process with her (yeah, I practically stood outside of the toilet waiting and chatting with her initially) significantly contributed to the success.

I was also able to prepare healthy meals, of course coming out with a menu can be quite stressful sometimes. The exploring I was able to introduce several more new dishes to Charlotte's liking. Nothing beats the sense of accomplishment seeing empty plates :)

Other than baking, cooking and cleaning (nothing glamorous), I was also able to enjoy the treadmill, watching DVDs, running my fingers through my long abundant piano, spending more times with parents and friends, and also blogging (hehe!).

The only thing we didn't do is going on a holiday. We were considering but then we have concern on the H1N1 outspreading. We feel that it is not necessary to expose ourselves to the risks. To bad, Pangkor Laut Resort will have to wait :(

Now that I am back in the corporate world, I pray that God to continue to look after our family and guide me through my new adventure.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Baking Fever vs. Bento Fever

I have been very much into baking fever for past 1 month since I become a SAHM. Just like when I was so into bento I have been adding new tools to my kitchen. Most of these tools are for beautiful fondant designs. I have forgotten about making bento for Charlotte although I use many of my bento tools on cakes, especially cupcakes.

Last Saturday, Charlotte asked for pancake when we were about to leave for lunch. I offered her to have lunch at the Paddington Pancake House, but she specifically wanted home made pancake, with Hello Kitty on it. Pat had no choice but to wait for me to prepare the order for Charlotte. To be honest, it is really quick to prepare pancake and it takes no hassle at all to draw the Hello Kitty face. I made 4 pancakes, but only put 2 in the bento box. When we had our lunch at the restaurant, Charlotte just wanted her Hello Kitty pancakes and she finished both of it.

The next day, she asked for fairy bread. It has been quite some time since I made fairy bread for her. I was in no mood to prepare any sophisticated fairy bread so I took out 2 heart shape cutters and made her a simple (lousy, I think) one. Again, she ate it all and I was very glad (at least, she didn't ask for fun).

(I didn't even change the bento box :p)

As I am embarking another new chapter in life soon I bet I will not be baking that often anymore. I certainly enjoyed the time and the opportunity that I had to be the CEO of the house and explored new recipes in my own kitchen.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Can't Get You Out Of My Head

Nah...I'm not talking about boys...I'm talking about my Swiss Roll! I kept wondering what could have went wrong ever since that 1st attempt. Actually I tried a couple more times after that, made some adjustments, tried to let the skin side cool and dry a little bit more, hoping it won't stick on the parchment paper but no, still failed. I didn't know what went wrong as I followed the recipe and instruction very carefully :(

I finally thought that I should be referring back to the person who shared this recipe and she told me that it probably due to the parchment paper itself (duh!). She mentioned that the only possibility is due to the type parchment paper that I used. Apparently not all parchment paper is good for this purpose and she uses the Glad specifically.

I so happened to be at a grocery store early this week, I was looking for a new roll of aluminium foil and sandwich bags but then I saw "GLAD Baking Paper"! Just the something that I should get for another try.

Actually the making/baking part is rather quick for Swiss Roll since it is only baking a thin layer and the washing is rather easy too. I decided to try it last night since both Charlotte and I had our dinner early, daddy was not home, and we were a bit bored. She helped me with the process until putting the batter into the oven. Then she lost her interest to follow through and I was crossing my fingers while watching over the oven closely. I took out the cake shortly after it turned brown and let it cool as instructed. Carefully I flipped the skin side down on a new sheet of Glad baking paper and quickly spread the strawberry jam on it and started to roll. I was very happy when the first turn came out clean!! Yeah, it worked, it worked!
See how beautiful it is! I was smiling ear to ear, admiring my own achievement (crazy, I know)...

Then I looked closer, I think I need to work on "tightening" the roll a bit more next time, which I think is easier to accomplish than trying to find out what went wrong to the skin side getting stuck on the paper earlier.

I'm sure going to bake a few more Swiss Rolls this weekends. Free Swiss Roll, any taker? :)
Have A Wonderful Weekend!!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Birthday Surprise For Brother & SIL

My nephew Isaiah is enjoying his one month school holiday since last week and SIL is asking if there is anything for him to do to pass time. I told her I don't really know what to do with boys, I mean since I don't have one right?

Then a birthday reminder popped up on my cell phone and it is my brother's birthday on the 4th this month, and BINGO! I thought I have just a something for Isaiah. I told SIL and she agreed.

This was what we've been doing this whole morning...a lil birthday surprise for my brother (Isaiah's dad) and I included SIL in this surprise too since her birthday is just a week a way.

Actually, I did many of those miniatures days before as I knew Isaiah couldn't finished doing all that in a day. He was caught with a surprise himself when I told him what to do, he thought we are doing a big cake instead. It took him quite awhile to warm up, but he did the cars eventually.

I bake those cupcakes while letting Isaiah to have a little fun with the fondant. When the cakes were all cooled, I showed Isaiah how to assemble them. I started with the "happy birthday papa & mama" and he got the idea. He asked to let him decorate and assemble the rest.

The three faces represents the three boys (Solomon, Isaiah and Abraham) that my brother has and 2 cars that they owned and a house. Then I saw a volcano! I asked why is there a volcano? What does it represents? He said, mommy la, like volcano sometimes. Oops! (The volcano was the first thing SIL noticed when she came pick up Isaiah, luckily she didn't blow. LOL!).

I think he put a bit too much of sprinkles, looks too busy for me. Isaiah was definitely excited and thrilled to see his own creation and he couldn't wait for his daddy to come home :)

Will see what my brother says tonight. I bet his first reaction will be "huh? how to eat? all the coloring!" Yeah, my brother is a very conscious person. But I'm sure he appreciates the effort from his son :)
*The volcano is on the "b'day" cupcake. Not very clear from top view. Pardon my photography skill :p

Monday, August 3, 2009

My First Birthday Cupcake Creation

It's Pat's birthday today and I had this idea in my head since several days ago, something that I want to try and hopefully to put a smile on both Pat and Charlotte's face. I waited and waited, until this morning, after sending off everyone to school and to work. Finally, I have a nice quiet and peace of mind to work on my little "project".

I took out the fondant, colors, cutters, food picks, trays, rollers and I tied up my hair, washed my hands and...yes, I wanted to make birthday cupcakes for Pat! I just want to make something simple, not so much of fondant as we don't really have sweet tooth, not even Charlotte. Something simple yet meaningful, and hopefully not too sweet.

Honestly, I already know what I want the cupcakes to look like and I just get down to business right away. The clock was ticking and I needed to get everything done before Pat and Charlotte gets home. I did it just barely as Pat came home when I was assembling the cupcakes. Being his usual self, he didn't bother of what I was doing but just asked why I bake again, or maybe he knew?

After dinner, I told Charlotte to wish her daddy happy birthday and told her about this little secret. I asked her to bring the surprise to daddy...

We planned to have a little desert after dinner and I was really hoping to get nice ice-cream treat, like BR31 or Häagen-Dazs but Charlotte wanted McD Sundae twist :( Here I am trying to stay positively, it was good for our pockets and it was good for my diet too. My little princess is very easy to please, yes? :)

Happy Birthday Daddy!