Saturday, November 5, 2011

Handmade Kiss Lock Coin Purse

I've finally got the motivation to try this project that I've procrastinated ever since I've read I like paper cutting's post on her project on kiss lock coin purse. I've also made some references to the tutorials that she recommended when she did her project, which can be found at cotton and cloud and purl bee.

This was intended for a colleague who is leaving. I thought I should give her something homemade since she has been such a wonderful colleage.

The Kiss lock frame was bought from Daiso at the Rivervale Mall. It's $2 per pack with 2 frames, each 60mm wide, comes with a 20inch paper string, a paper pattern for the pouch and instruction on how to set the frame. The fabric selection at Daiso is rather limited hence didn't manage to buy. Instead, I managed to find some clothes that can't fit anymore and cut them out to form the outer and inner pouches. Yey, i did some recycling!

It took me nearly 2 hrs to complete this as this is actually my first project that involved a pattern and sewing machine. I guess this can be handsewn but with the sewing machine, it's faster. The only thing that I did not have was the fabric glue. I used UHU super glue for plastic/metal surfaces instead. Pretty secure still.

Frame from Daiso

The end product not perfecto though with litte threads showing in the inner pouch. Still, it looked pretty decent. I'm looking forward to making the second purse!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Morning Walk across Puggol Serangoon Reservoir

The 2 reservoirs are the 16th & 17th reservoir in Singapore. We did a morning walk from Punggol Promenade Riverside Walk, crossed the red bridge to Lorong Halus Wetland. The view below is taken from the wetland. Pretty scenic. Seems quite popular on a Sunday morning with lotsa morning joggers, walkers and cyclists.

I'm looking forward to see if this water lily pond (@ lorong harus wetland) will bloom bigger, prettier water lilies. They have pink purple and white :)
Healthy and enjoyable morning walk!

For those who are like me, still rather confused with all the new developments in Sengkang and Punggol, i've googled and found this blog that have pretty much info and pic.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Dragonfruit Pinky Marbled No-Bake Cheesecake - Anyone?

Super long have not been blogging! Really tight of time due to busy work schedule and with the kids and household. Really wonder how some mummies can juggle FTW, family and maintaining a blog?! Anyway, decided to post this coz really don't want to leave this blog unattended for too long and good to share this with any Dragonfruit + Cheesecake lover. The cake was made almost a month ago.

Saw an episode on "Hochak" while surfing through my broadband channels, which the hosts showed how to make a Dragonfruit Cheesecake. It looked pinky pretty! My hubby was with me and he asked if I was keen to make it. He then suggested he would buy the dragonfruits if I was. I'm not really a fan of dragonfruit but my hubby likes them. So, since my hubby's birthday was round the corner then and he liked the idea of a Dragonfruit Cheesecake, I'd decided to go for it.

Before showing the outcome of the Dragonfruit no-bake cheesecake, I'll briefly explain why I'd got into making no-bake cheesecake since all along I'd been baking cheesecake. I love cheesecake and have painstakingly read blogs, surfed articles to bake a succesful cheesecake when I first started. Family and relatives liked my cheesecake. However due to some factors, I've not baked cheesecake for erm almost 2yrs. I didn't have the confident to bake one now so decided to explore if the no-bake version is simpler and less of a hassle. After a little recipe searching, I tried twice and concluded that it's definitely much much easier and requires shorter time, but also definitely don't taste as good as my bake ones.

 My 1st attempt to make no-bake cheesecake

 Kids decorated and personalized some coloured papers and used them to wrap daddy's present.

The Dragonfruit No-Bake Marbled Cheesecake.

The look of the cake turned out well and pretty. The taste truthfully i didn't like it. My hubby enthusiastically prepared too much puree from the 2 large dragonfruits that he bought. The recipe calls for 2 dragonfruits which in my opinon one small dragonfruit is enough. I think the cake lose the cheeseecake taste and tasted too much of the dragonfruit. Also, as there were too much puree, I've had to put the cake in the freezer to prevent it from bleeding dragonfruit juice. My hubby and MIL liked it and said it's like dragonfruit ice-cream!

Anybody game enough can refer to here for the recipe and cooking video from 8TV Ho Chak! One of my favourite channels to catch currently if I'm home. I like the female host..she's rather quirky! 

Oh dear, it's past midnight already, got a little carried away...should be working on my slides instead of here....Working me it's like back to a rat race, running that wheel round and round...

Friday, May 6, 2011

The First Author in my kids' life - Mo Willems

My girls recently fell in love with a series of book by Mo Willems called 'An Elephant & Piggie Book'. We started his Pigeon series about half a year back and the girls were always delighted about the Pigeon. They loved the way it was drawn and the silly things that the Pigeon does.

It started a few months ago, when I chanced upon two 'An Elephant & Piggie book' books at the library. I liked the simple short phrases and the relatively big fonts used as it seems simple for Kaylene to learn to read on her own.

I would usually read  books to them at bed time and these books were read to them as usual but with a little animated voice.  The kids loved the books. The addiction came when I suggested us 'acting' out as Gerald (the Elephant in the book) and Piggie. Kaylene chose to be Piggie whilst Shiranne and mummy will be Gerald.  It was SO SO MUCH FUN following the dialogues and actions! We followed the illustration like hugging each other,  showing delighted or angry faces, waving arms etc and I think my girls have pretty good acting skills :)

Most importantly, Kaylene learnt to take note of the Author's and illustrator's name. She never ever did previously. And whenever we go to the library previously, mummy and daddy would be the ones choosing the books to borrow. She will usually find a seat at the children's corner and make herself comfy with a book. The last trip to the library was different as she actually asked about borrowing more Mo Willems's book. I taught her how to search by the last name and she was thrilled to find some more of his books that were new to her. I really hoped that was a good start for her to get interested in looking for books herself.

The series of 'An Elephant & Piggie Book' we borrowed from the Library

I did the "I WILL NOT LET YOU GO" on my girls as exaggerating as Gerald and the girls couldn't stop giggling!
I sniggered and rub my palms liked Gerald and the girls learnt to snigger cheekily too :p
I commented how nice and generous Piggie is to share the new toy with Gerald and how this action can make a friend so happy. Oh, sometimes I'll do the above with more exaggeration to show the degree of  appreciation * hee hee*

Kaylene enjoys reading some of the books herself now, with enactment sometimes.... and Shiranne, when asked what books she wants me to read nowadays, her answers will be ' piggie and gerald'. She is very good at taking an imaginery toy in her hand and admiring it just like Gerald. *awww*.

 I think these books really gave me a chance to amuse my girls and made reading more fun!

Have FUN with your little ones!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Kaylene's first & second stage swimming test

Kay started her swim lessons when she was about 3.5 years old. She stopped the lessons when we had to leave Singapore for half a year. In Sept last year, we started her swimming lessons again and half a year later, she was ready for her first & second stage swimming test, as indicated by her swimming instructor.

So as i found out from some of Kay's swim mates' parents, they had dangled a reward for their kids for passing the test. My Kay was just happy when I told her that her friends will be taking the test together. I was indeed relieved that she was motivated in a non-materialistic way. Furthermore, I'm not that a thoughtful mum in the area of material rewarding and why initiate it when she don't seems to need it!

 9am at our condo's pool. Kaylene and her friends warming up and playing in the pool while waiting for the test to begin. Kaylene was so anxious when she saw so many other kids and parents at the pool

Kay's swimming instructor briefing all the kids on the items for the test.

 The kids' 1st item was to perform a step in to the pool. The pool is 1.2m deep. Kay was second in line in the pic and i think she was the smallest amongst the kids.

 She had finished her 2nd item 'dive in and pick up pebble from the bottom of pool' and relaxing at the side.

For her 3rd test item, she had to put on her pyjamas and swim 25metres. It was the most tiring item but she made it.

All the kids in pyjamas waiting. So cute! My kay was still nervous about the crowd as I noticed she was biting her nails a lot.

They had wearing life jacket and floating skills for the 4th and 5th items subsequently. The above was the 6th and last item, the theory test. Kay was biting her nails again!

I was very proud of her and glad she enjoyed herself during the test. Still, like I said before in my previous posts, I hope she'll grow out of her anxiety soon.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Visit to Sengkang Fire Station

Our Saturday morning : After Kaylene's morning swimming lesson and the showers, we took a stroll to the nearest Fire station, just about a 10min walk away. We have put the visit at the back of our minds and waited for a Saturday when there is no art lesson for kaylene. 

The fire station opens for visits every saturday 9-11am. We were there at about 10.30am and after exchanging our NRIC for a visitor's pass, a friendly fireman greeted us and showed us around the ground level of the station. The kids were given a plastic made fireman's hat as souvenir.

Kaylene was apprehensive in holding the hose when the fireman offered to let her hold but I knew she enjoyed the moment when she held it with daddy.

The fireman warned the kids not to do this at the playground. Exactly what i wanted to tell Kaylene as she has always been attempting to jump up the playground's pole and pretend to slide down, even though she was just maybe 30cm up the pole!

 The water mist spray

Marilyn monroe lookalike dress?
anyway, we were glad the kids get to see different types of fire engines, though they couldn't keep still to listen much to the fireman's description and explanation.

maybe we will visit the fire station again in another 3 yrs time for her.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Baking a simple Banana Cake without a mixer

I heard my hubby mentioned about wanting to eat banana cake the other day. So, it gave me a a tingle that I can probably bake one. I've always liked to source for simple and hassle free, yet well received recipe. After going through some blogs, I've decided to use Jaime Teo's recipe which her post title mentioned "Easiest Ever Banana Cake Recipe" which can be found here, which she took it from here with 116 reviews!

To those who has done baking, the recipe did not even call for creaming the butter. What!?
I gave it a shot and it really turned out soft and moist. Not the super light and fluffy but my hubby and children loved the taste and texture.

Here is the recipe:

125 g butter
¾ cup sugar
(185gm but I reduced to 140gm)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 egg
2 ripe bananas mashed (large)

1½ cups self-raising flour (225gms - but as i don't have SR flour, i substituted with 225gm Plain flour +
2 1/4tsp baking powder + 3/8 tsp salt. Got the substitution formula from Joy of Baking)
¼ cup milk 

1. Melt the butter, sugar and vanilla in a medium sized saucepan.(I microwaved sugar and butter in a glass bowl til the butter melted(20s), and stirred it to a gooey mix. THEN I added the vanilla essence )

2.  Add mashed bananas and stir through until just blended.

3.  Add egg and mix in well.  (I didn’t beat the egg in a separate bowl. Break egg in and mix well.)

4.  Stir in flour (I sifted in the flour and baking powder, half cup at a time and added the salt)

5.  Add milk and mix lightly.
(I stopped mixing the moment I couldn’t see the milk. I'd also added chopped walnuts at this stage when i baked the second time)

6.  Bake at 170°C for approximately 40 minutes.(Mine took approx 50mins – do the skewer test!)

BTW, this recipe did not mention about the type of pan used. I used my loaf pan which measured 9x3x3 inches. I buttered it and lined with baking paper. Remember to preheat the oven at 170°C.

Kaylene enjoying the stir. She looked so focused and seriously at work with a full grip of the fork!

Shiranne attempted to mash the bananas. Not much strength so i gave her a helping hand. And i knew she was proud that she helped when she announced to daddy that she "helped mashed" :)

I think the banana cake tasted the best when warm! heat up your slice after it has turned cold!

Side note : this should be my last post as a SAHM. I will be starting my FT work on Monday. Goodbye to the days when i can have the luxury to bake on a weekday with my kiddos...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Fun Sunday @ Kallang

Sunday morning, hubby suggested bringing the kids to old Kallang airport which is one of the exhibition venue for The Singapore Biennale 2011. It's ongoing till 15 May and information can be found here. . He thought there might be some kids activities for them to have some fun. However, it turned out the activities were only for the open house... Nevertheless, we went ahead to tour the place.

@ the West Block - Kids drawings
My kids were either admiring some of the drawings or trying to figure out what some of the drawings were about. There were nice ones which we get the kids to look at and they would usually 'wow'. But we also came across some gruesome ones for eg. a bloodied heart being pierced by a fork.. those we shun..

We toured the other blocks but as we couldn't really appreciate a lot of the art there, we ended our tour quickly. Then we had a leisurely lunch at the not-so-crowded Toast box which is within the compound. 

Frequency and Volume
We had fun getting our shadows to pose for photo taking

Since we were at Kallang, we decided to drop by Kallang Leisure Park and check out the bowling.We were expecting a long waiting list for a Sunday afternoon. To our surprise, we were told we can get a lane immediately. We were all excited as it was the first time the family bowled and hence didn't mind paying S$33 for 2 sets of games for 2 adults and 1 child, shoes rental and the socks (good to bring your own socks and note they do not sell kid's socks. Kaylene didn't wear any socks with her rented shoes but she seemed fine).

Another thing to mention, I'm not sure about other bowling places,  but I'm glad that Kallang bowl has the bumper barrier for kids to prevent their bowling balls from falling into the drain. Otherwise it'd be as if we are throwing our money into the drain.

The kids couldn't wait to get their hands on the balls. I had to stop them in case they roll some 15 pounds ball onto their feet. I've gotten the lightest ball, which is 6 pounds, for Kaylene. It's a good weight as she can lift it up with both hands and then throw it with both hands.

Kaylene was really enthusiastic about the game. The heavy ball did not even deter her from trying to use her thumb, middle and ring fingers to pick up the ball! Look at the lane behind her. It was her turn hence the bumper barrier was up. When she finished with her 'throws', the bumper will automatically be withdrawn for the next adult. I was really amazed by this feature and this shows how long I've not been bowling!

Shiranne had her experience of bowling...erm..rolling too.. and was 'yaying' away when she saw her ball knocked some pins down :)

While we bowled, she entertained herself by putting her face above the air blower from the ball dispenser, either getting her face 'cooled' from the excitement or simply enjoying flying her hair as she shook her head?!...Ha ha

I knew it was obvious that I need not check with the kids if they enjoyed themselves. We adults did. Kaylene actually requested to do bowling again the very next day. Guess we have one more activity to keep in mind for the weekends!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Weaving for Hope - my first crochet is for preemie

My first crochet project - a beanie hat for preemie

I have not been blogging for some time as I was busy training my new maid and also trying to complete the 'Weaving for Hope' crochet beanie hat for the premature babies. Got to know of 'Weaving for Hope' through Motherinc and found it meaningful hence decided  to use a Sunday to go down NUS at bukit timah campus to learn crochetting the hat.

It was a group of NUS students' project. They had instructors to volunteer for the 2hrs workshop and the crochet needles and yarns were all sponsored. The students aiming to spread awareness about the need for preemie hats by premature babies facing potential medical risks. The hats will then be delivered to neonatal units of hospitals who have expressed their desire for this sort of help. I'm not sure how long they are continuing this project but some details can be found here and can try contacting them for those keen.

 The instructions on the board

 The workshop

My Work in Progress. A couple of rows only after a 2hr session. I had no prior experience in crochetting hence it was rather difficult for me to remember the steps and I was really clumsy with the needle. Had to remove and re-do a couple of times. Patience ..Patience ... is the way to go..
Finally completed a not-so-perfect piece (some rows had less crochets), after 2 weeks, and was ready to be sewed into the beanie hat. I was so slow that I'd actually busted the 14th March deadline to snail mail the students. Will be doing so right after this post!

Hope the preemie who is going to wear my beanie hat can feel the warmth & love i put in and
will grow stronger and stronger every day!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Maid Woes - Am I too strict or she is not a maid to keep?

I've had previously 2 maids (1st an indo, 2nd a filipino) who have worked 2 years and 1.5 years consecutively for me. The 3rd maid that I have now is new from Indo. She came in October 2010 and I thought she is a maid I can keep for 2 years until I found out some of her daring acts.

On her very first day that she arrived, I'd given her a list of house rules and explained them in English and Bahasa Indonesia. I've also made sure she acknowledged that she understood. BTW, my house rules are from the agency and I've aso made references to Singapore Maids Guidelines and Schedules.

I was quite alright that she picked up her English slow hence a lot of miscommunications and uses 'no understand' conveniently, rather forgetful, rather choosy about food, has occasional demands, can't play with my kids well, get pains/aches here and there occasionally, lack of initiave till now and her butt seems to be stuck on the floor most time, I was willing to tolerate...

However, the following happened and I'm not sure if I were too strict with my 33 year old maid or she's too daring for my keep..

Daring act #1 - leaving the house without my permission

On the 1st day of Kaylene's K1 school, I caught her coming out of the lift from the ground floor, leaving the house without my permission. That afternoon, I'd sent Kaylene to school with Shiranne and came home after half an hour time (school is within walking distance). I've asked her the reason for coming down and she said she wanted to go to the school to pass me Shiranne's water bottle which she thought I'd forgotten. It was raining then and I'd asked her where was her umbrella? Also, it was only half an hour later that she thought of that?I thought she was just a muddle maid hence willing to forget the incident. Of course, I did not forget to give her reminder that unless I call home for assistance, she is not allowed to leave home without permission.

A couple of days later, she'd ask if she can go downstairs to have a stroll on her own. I did not permit as I didn't want her to know some other maids which will put bad influence on her. However, I offered that if she needs a breather outdoor, she can follow me whenever i go out with the kids to school or for a stroll. She said she's fine but only asked me twice so far. I asked her a couple of times but sometimes she would prefer not to follow me.

On 28 Feb, Shiranne was napping so I left her sleeping in my bedroom. I'd informed my maid that I would go fetch Kaylene from school and that she had to keep an eye on Shiranne in case she wakes up. I went out 10 min earlier and went to hide behind our level's stairway door. Just a couple of minutes later, through the little window of the door, I saw my maid walked past! She had took the lift down. I waited and she was up 10min later. I was very angry that she left my kid at home and went out without my permission again. I chose not to confront her immediately till I've decided what to do with her.

Daring act #2 - using our home's IDD to call home without my permission

For all my maids, I would allow them to use our home IDD to call home once every month, not exceeding 10min. If exceed I'd deduct from their pay. Unless it's absolute necessary, I'll let them use the phone again but with my permission. My first indo maid complied and wrote letter in addition to the call per month. My 2nd filipino maid complied too but uses her own handphone when she's done with her work. This 3rd indo maid, we found out from our phone bill, that she was using our  home's IDD in our December bill, chalking up the bill to S$25 of IDD charges. We noticed the timing of her calls were when I sent Kaylene to her holiday enrichment classes. I confronted her and she begged for forgiveness while crying and promised not to repeat.

Subsequently I bought her a S$10 value calling card(about an hr of usage) for her to use for 3 mths. If she finishes it within the 3 mths, she has to use her own money to buy another card. She had some money from the red packets recieved during Chinese New Year. Just into the 3rd week of usage now, the value of the card left 46cents. I kept her card number to check on her usuage sometimes. I was really shocked to find out that she had called so frequently.

Arrgh, it is really frustrating to have a maid like that who doesn't seem to have the heart to work and only seem to hope that we go out without her so that she can get into some 'hanky panky'! It gets me affected mentally as I'm the type of employer who doesn't like to bring maid out because I'm used to handling my kids outside independantly. Bringing a maid out is like looking after another person which I don't need that! However leaving this maid at home alone also worries me..

Why can't I survive without a maid!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Decorated the plastic bag into a present wrapper

little shiranne helping out by removing the paper from the foam sticker

Present is a big Minnie Mouse soft toy.
Plastic bag was used to contain the soft toy when we first purchase it.
I've used tape to bundle the top first then used a recycled red ribbon to tie a bow.
The polka dots are made from foam stickers which I have many left from my previous crafts. Foam Stickers are from Popular Bookstore.

I find this way of wrapping is so much easier than using paper wrappers. I don't have to worry about tears, whether during the process of wrapping or transporting! Also, it's rather environmentally friendly as I don't buy paper wrappers and I've made use of the big plastic bag. HOWEVER, foam stickers are not environmentally friendly which I've just realised after searching google and reading this article! I guess i'll just finished up whatever foam stickers I have and never never to buy them anymore. In the article, foam stickers are just like styrofoam cups, they do not break down and only land up in landfills...

Looks like I'll think of alternative ways to decorate a plastic bag as a wrapper the next a more environmentally way. Anyone has done so?

Snippets of the Day

 Made a simple hat by rolling a big piece of mailer and stapling top and bottom to secure. Shiranne had fun doing a little decoration on her hat : stickers, picture chops, colouring etc. After that she had fun wearing it around the house.

Shiranne is getting better with her imaginaton too. She imagined her hat to be a magician's hat and pretended to take out a bear (lying on the floor behind her) and she'll will go 'da da' with both her hands wide open! She also playfully put her two legs in the hat and managed to wobble a few steps before asking for help to get out! haha!