Blog Challenge!

Hi everyone

Firstly, just wanted to send out a reminder to all my wonderful followers that I’m switching this blog over to my new “branding” if you want to call it that – my new blog is called Mummy of Dragons and can be found HERE.

If you want to keep up to date with what’s happening with us, in particular my two little boys Jacob and Jared, please subscribe there! And you can also subscribe to us on Facebook over HERE.

Anyway, enough of shameless self-promotion! I actually wanted to share a little blog challenge for May that I’ll be doing (and hopefully will be able to stick to!).

I was invited to participate in a blog challenge by Tanya from iReview Global on the Bloggers United Australia community! I am looking forward to this and hoping it will keep me committed to blogging (as sometimes it can get a bit difficult with 2 littlies) – I’m really relieved that I only have to blog on odd days, not every day!

This is what I’ll have to follow during my challenge:

blog challenge

Can you believe it’s May tomorrow? I’ve only just gotten used to the fact that it’s 2016!

Anyway, If you want to join, you’re most welcome! You can view Tanya’s original post HERE. Please comment here if you decide to join in so I can check out your posts as well!

Over and out!🙂

Mummy of Dragons

Hello to all my loyal followers (to whom I have not delivered of late)

Firstly, I wanted to announce that as of the 23rd of February, I have become a mum of two, not one! My new little boy, Jared, was born at 11.00pm weighing 3.47kg and was 52cm long.

chubba

Since then, he has absolutely smashed his brother’s records and has been putting on abut 50g a day. Here is my little chubba at just 3 weeks old:

chub2

But I also want to announce that I will be shifting my blog to a new space. This is my new blog, aptly named Mummy of Dragons:
https://mummyofdragons.wordpress.com/

If you would like to stay in touch and hear the tales I have to tell, please follow me on the other side!

Thank you once again for reading my blog – I hope you enjoyed my escapades as much as I enjoyed writing about them!

Over and out. xoxo

bitter.sweet

little bird, little bird,
am i enough for you?
will you still love me
if i split my heart in two?
will you still kiss me
in the morning dew?
little bird, don’t forget
how much i love you.

little bear, little bear,
can i watch you play?
i’m trying to hold on
to the ghost of yesterday.
if i wish hard enough,
can i make you stay?
little bear, don’t forget
you showed me the way.

little lamb, little lamb,
do you remember when
it was just you and me,
the chick and the hen?
you are the king of my heart
just as you were then.
little lamb, don’t forget
we will meet there again.

little child, little child,
you may not realise
a new part of me lives
while another part of me dies.
may you see the joy,
not dwell on the goodbyes.

little child, my beautiful child
no matter the lows or the highs
the smiles on our faces,
the clouds in our skies,
you will always be the apple
of your mother’s eyes.

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A day.

Eyes shut, hazy dreaming
Tiny footsteps down the hall
Dusk lifts its veil outside
Into the sheets comes something small

Toys, board books, drool on face
Lights, action, jerking awake
Hazel eyes and pearly white smile
Day begins without mistake

Get up, let’s sing, come and see
Stumble, clatter, fumbling around
Wash face, ouch – stepped on car
Breakfast is served; it’s on the ground

Spilled it, broke it, purposefully done
Sigh, whinge, shout, cry
Who is to be the adult here?
Guilty hugs and wipe it dry

Packing bags, look for the keys
Rushing, pushing, I will be late
Won’t brush teeth, won’t wear clothes
We will still go there in this state

Shut door, in the car, music on
Screaming, angry day care goodbyes
Tell myself it will be alright
Back to life with tears in eyes

Hello adults, coffee, fake smiles
Blame the sniffles on hay fever
Love the work, hate being away
Still much to do, have to leave here

Grubby face, tousled hair
Muddy shoes, played in the dirt
Kisses, let’s get your bag
Sunscreen smell, must soak that shirt

Cook, don’t cook, let’s defrost
Chocolate is not a main course
Eating, dropping, crumbling, throwing
Main nutritional group is sauce

Droplets rain down onto soft skin
War paint melts and suds away
Pajamas on with a tug and tussle
When will it be the end of day?

Toys, board books, put them away
Lights off, singing, quiet prayers
A few false starts, lie down again
Day ends with too many cares

Eyes shut, hazy dreaming
Gentle breaths encompassing all
Sleep, my darling, ‘til the morn
How I love you, my one so small

Joy, relax, finally I breathe
Feet up, drink, soldier on
Dream of days for myself again
Sigh, one day this will be gone

mum and boy

Hitting the spot with hot pot!

I apologise for the hiatus (I have said this MANY times, haven’t I?) but I’ve just been a bit undecided about the nature of this blog. While I still want it to be a place to celebrate my journey into motherhood and the milestones my little boy achieves, I feel that I need to take the blog into a slightly different direction.

Hence, this year at least, the things I’m going to be focusing on are:
– Real life experiences with babyhood/toddlerhood (e.g. travelling with a toddler, veggie smuggling, etc.)
– Food glorious food! (recipes particularly kid-friendly ones, cooking with Jacob)
– My opinions (just because I can!)
– Random pictures of Jacob, like this one of him pretending to be a wallaby. wallaby cob So anyway, onto my post today (which you may be able to tell is about FOOD!!!)… If you are not a fan of Asian food, look no further (but trust me, this is one dish that you can fall in love with!).

Growing up in Malaysia, I think I took food for granted. Good food was always around the corner, and I was never left wanting. Whether it was soupy noodles from a coffee shop or roti canai and curry from a mamak stall, or even if I wanted “Western food” (good ol food court “lamp” chop), there was always something I wanted to eat.

noodleHere is Jacob enjoying kolo mee for breakfast – a Sarawakian delicacy!

Here in Australia, I’m finding more and more reasons to venture into the city to eat my favourite Asian dishes or at least venture to my Asian grocery to get something that tastes remotely like food from home. When I used to work in the city, it was fully possible to indulge in such luxuries but now I’m stuck with an objectionable toddler whose table manners are questionable, cooking things at home just seem to be the norm.

image-d66217a1f71e9ec50fcd3f6e2870fd41d5ab3d6fae57958561d214a1f16fb2da-VWe don’t get snow here, but we did have an icy day over the weekend!

The combination of cold weather and pictures of delicious food coming up on my newsfeed made me really crave Asian food! So, the other day, I urged Daniel to accompany me to my local Asian grocery to pick up some ingredients. Many Malaysian dishes are soon to be made, but for tonight, I felt like having hot pot.

Hot pot is basically dining in front of a boiling pot of broth and adding a myriad of vegetables, meat and seafood (though we don’t eat seafood) into the pot to cook. It’s a longer dining process, but very satisfying, especially on a cold day. In Malaysia, we call it “steamboat” and we usually use a clear broth to cook it – however, my friends and I here usually eat at a Chinese-style hot pot place which has really spicy broth, so I was looking for something of that sort. image-99789a5c3f70e1a0453f163b3defacc96c607fa1a71dbb65e5833299d6ddcc58-VAlas, I found a soup base so that’s a start. Sorry, I’m a bit of a cheat – I suppose I could have found all the different herbs and spices to make a good soup base, but why do that when I can have the convenience of having it all in one packet? The packet says only to add 1.5L of water but I found it way too spicy and flavourless, so I also added 1L of chicken stock which made it taste much better.

Anyway, on to the fresh ingredients – I think it’s so important to have a balance. While I have to admit that I love the meat in it (beautiful pieces of fatty beef and lamb sliced paper thin), it would be hard to eat this dish without lighter ingredients like green vegetables, mushrooms and tofu. image-106da53fb55ca1e7351ee4154e0991eee2a6fdc7eea24c510e110be0227571fa-VI bought the sliced meat from the Asian grocery (because I don’t think I’d be able to slice it that thinly on my own!). I made up a veggie platter with bok choy, spinach, golden mushroom, tofu, potatoes (mainly for Jacob) and glass noodles. Take note that glass noodles are not rice vermicelli – they are made from bean starch and are transparent, not white. I also cut up some fish and threw in some dumplings (bought, not made. Sorry, I don’t have that kind of time!!).

And then the sauce – there are many varieties to the sauces you can make, but I like to make a simple garlicky sauce that just uses chopped garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil and chilli flakes. Quantities are completely up to your tastebuds (though I recommend not putting too much sesame oil as it just gets too oily!).
image-f9b822b65c28289a96daf13fccd54fa30f610602780d066bf28ed1aa79c2f334-VReal hot pot enthusiasts actually invest in a burner so that you can control your hotpot on the table itself, but I just made it on the stove and transferred it when it was done. Some simple rules around it are:
– Add the food that takes the longest to cook first – common sense! The ingredients in hot pot don’t take too long to cook really, since they are cut finely.
– Don’t double dip – use “serving” cutlery. As tempting as it is to fish something out with your chopsticks, it’s not nice. Hubby and I don’t really care at home but it does matter if you’re having a meal out with a group of people.
– Don’t put raw food in amongst the cooked food – fish out as much as you can and then put a fresh lot of food in. hot potSo, what’s the verdict by our judges?

Daniel: It was good – could be spicier! (Hubby’s a firebreathing dragon, I reckon!)
Lianne: Achievement unlocked, and craving satisfied!
Jacob: Yucky! (which is his new favourite word) 20150717_171458 I cooked Jacob’s food separately as he probably shouldn’t be having full on spicy food. However, I reckon this was just too many new tastes and textures put together. The soup was too wet, the noodles were too thin, meat was too stringy (even though I cut it into small pieces), vegetables were too vegetably – but he did eat some potato and all the tofu. He’s a tofu monster! He then requested a hash brown and ice cream. Oh well!

Anyway, I’m definitely making hot pot again – anyone want to join me? The more the merrier!🙂

Just going to end this post with a picture of Jacob having a baby cino – one of the winter luxuries that he certainly indulges in! To my Aussie friends, keep warm – to my Malaysian ones, Selamat Hari Raya and to my friends in UK and across Europe, keep cool! babycino

Bake with Jake: Pumpkin Muffins

Today, Jacob didn’t want to take a nap hence was a bit bored in the afternoon. After eating a mandarin orange, he started pestering me about “cup-cake” again so I decided we’d bake some muffins together. I’ve decided to call these “Bake with Jake” sessions.

Today, we decided to make pumpkin muffins. Jacob doesn’t actually eat pumpkin in its true form, but he loves his pumpkin muffins (we are becoming avid veggie smugglers)! So we got out our ingredients and readied ourselves. We found the recipe online on Kidspot so we had the computer open in the background to check our quantities (though we messed it up a little bit anyway).

20150522_152407Jacob says, “Flour and sugar are in! Now to put in some baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.”

20150522_152433Mummy says, “Oh Jacob, not the whole bottle of nutmeg!”

20150522_152727Jacob then stirred up the dry ingredients with the raisins. I think he ate quite a few of them before we managed to get the muffins into the oven!

20150522_153317Next, we mixed the wet ingredients. In the process of taking all these photos, mummy forgot about her pumpkin on the stove and burned it! Oopsies. Oh well. Jacob mixed the wet ingredients and mummy says, “No, Jacob, don’t eat raw egg!”

20150522_153614I think this was his favourite part – putting the cupcake cases into the trays. Jacob loves solving puzzles and having things put into their right place. After this was the messy bit though – I was trying to spoon the mix into the cupcake cases while Jacob was trying to take them away and pour them into other ones! Argh!

20150522_162850Oh well, a bit messy but they look quite alright, don’t they?

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Just as a reminder – toddlers are pretty good at wiping up too! Jacob even wiped his face with the cloth afterwards, argh! :) He was incredibly helpful today and I am sure he’ll really enjoy eating his “cup-cake” tomorrow. 20150522_163104

Thoughts on Mother’s Day

I meant to post this yesterday but never got down to it. Came home from Malaysia sick and I think the extreme change in temperature just made things worse! But I’m sure to be better in time…

Lucky for me that today was Mother’s Day so I got to relax!🙂  I wasn’t feeling like much food so didn’t really bother with the whole breakfast in bed (I can’t taste anyway) but I was surprised with some lovely gifts in the morning:

mom dayJacob sorta blew the surprise by shouting “Shoe! Shoe!”

Feeling very blessed – and feeling a bit bad because I didn’t have all my Mother’s Day gifts ready for particular people I wanted to give them to. I was planning to get things wrapped and cards written after I got back but that didn’t really happen as I was pretty much in bed the whole time. But I will get organised, I promise!

This year I was very blessed to almost spend Mother’s Day with my mum. I’ve been overseas since 2009 so it’s been quite different – we haven’t shared as many milestones as we’d have liked, but I also find that when we’re together, we put in more effort to get along (or at least we try)! It was good to see her again in the course of my travels and I’m sure there’ll be more of it in years to come.

wedding mum

It was a bonus to see my grandma this trip as well – my parents flew her over so I got to spend some time with her. When I was growing up, we used to visit them at least a couple of times a year (they lived in a different state so we’d have to fly over there) and it was wonderful. Nowadays, we still write letters to each other – probably the only snail mail I get aside from bills!

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Things wouldn’t be the same without my mum-in-law here in Adelaide. Before you get married, you hear all these scary things about horror mothers-in-law who can be overbearing, pushy or sometimes crazy! But my mum-in-law is nothing like that – she’s as nice as they come and welcomed me into the family with open arms. The same can be said about my sister-in-law, who’s really down to earth and has set a wonderful parenting example for me with her three lovely munchkins.

family shot

But behind every great mother is a great father, which my husband truly is! He’s always been the “fun” one from day one and Jacob is well aware of that (and always runs to him when I’m being strict/mean).

baby

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Thanks for helping me get through the day; for doing all the little things that add up to big things in the end. Thanks for taking the reins when I have to put them down and for being there through it all.🙂

But I would not be a mum if not for my wonderful son, who in about 3 months’ time will be turning 2. Two years! Can you believe it? How time flies.

20150430_193505I’ve been made a better person by him – even if it doesn’t seem that way sometimes! Parenthood is such a steep learning curve but he’s taught me to trust my instincts. And no matter what challenges we have along the way, he’ll always come up with something sweet like talking about “mama” in his sleep or giving me cuddles and kisses when I need it the most.

I hope that all of you mums out there had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

April.

Summer never truly arrived, and we are already into autumn. I have to say that this is one of my favourite times of the year because I love seeing the trees cloaked in coats of ever-changing colours, shedding them slowly onto the green grass. I don’t like the impending cold that is about to come, but I have some great memories to keep myself warm.20150322_080336Can’t have Easter without eating some hot cross buns! In all truth, we aren’t really into hot cross buns and Easter eggs; rather, we aim to keep the true meaning of Easter which resonates in the death and resurrection of Jesus.🙂 20150405_123515During the Easter long weekend, we decided to head out to a kite festival at the beach. We didn’t buy a kite for Jacob but he had an awesome time looking at the kites, watching the steam train chug along and chasing the seagulls. 20150411_111833We had two weddings to go to recently – one was for a Uni friend of mine who was renewing her vows, and another was for Daniel’s cousin. On both occasions, I completely regretted putting Jacob in a white shirt due to the mess he made (though that is his only formal outfit – and you have to admit, the bow tie is cute!). 20150412_110753We took Jacob to the Baby Expo the other day and there was a petting zoo! Jacob loves animals and was squealing and stroking the little animals. He got to try out some Gymbaroo equipment as well, which he didn’t mind but was more interested in running away! 20150413_115946I love school holidays, particularly because we can all get up to mischief as a family! Whether it’s heading out to playgrounds or going shopping or merely sitting at home making a mess, it’s more fun when we’re together! ~~~ I’m having one of those nights where I’m listening to old songs and reading things I wrote a long time ago. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not necessarily sad, more pensive and nostalgic. And I often wonder just how much has changed and how much I’ve changed as a person over the years. One piece of writing that seems to resonate with me tonight is a poem I wrote when I was like 14 or 15. I think it got published in a yearbook or something. I think that I was quite perceptive at this age, but I could also have just been a daydreamy teenager.

My beautiful star
Sparkling, shining, scintillating
Silver and golden embers
Suddenly falls on a night
The whole world remembers
It feels so lost, so sad and hurt
It stumbles upon the lowly dirt
The night is darker than it seems
The star, lost in a schism
Crumbles and fades away
No one knows
How it felt that day
Only me

So long, grandpa.

Yes, I have been AWOL again. Oopsie. It has been a very busy time of year, but the main things that have been keeping me away from this are sickness (Jacob’s, not mine – he’s had HFMD, colds, gastro, etc.) and travel.

On 13 Feb, my grandfather passed away so I embarked on a trip back to Malaysia, solo (with Jacob). He had had a heart attack the week before but his condition was supposedly stable. However, it declined that night and he passed away in the wee hours of the morning. He would have turned 90 in May.

wedding

Anyway, I jumped online to purchase a flight home and lo and behold, all the direct flights were sold out because it was Chinese New Year season. Hence I had to book with Air Asia (which has my full support, by the way – I’ve always enjoyed flying with them) – the only drawback was that I had to manouvre 3 flights and had to go through Melbourne which is like the busiest airport ever, especially at Chinese New Year!

However, we made it there and were able to have a good night’s rest before taking on the world the next day. Saturday night was the wake – we had a small Anglican prayer service at our house and sang some beautiful hymns (including “What a friend we have in Jesus” which left not a dry eye).

jacob and grandpa

Grandpa’s body was being preserved in a cooler/fridgeand we could look in at him (which I know is not done in some cultures, but we do it here). He looked so much smaller and thinner than I remembered, even though we had only seen him a few months before. I was then told he was wearing my dad’s suit which probably explained why it looked a bit loose for him. Grandpa was also wearing his favourite beret.

The next day was the funeral and I had the privilege to play the piano for the church. I tried my best though I think I played “Rock of Ages” a bit too fast, as I normally do. I also shared some words during the eulogy, bringing back some memories of him taking photos all the time, eating bananas with me and just spending time together even if not many words were exchanged. He was cremated and his urn was placed in a lovely spot (at the crematorium) on the top of a hill.

While it is sad that he is gone, he did live a long life and he tried his best in all he did. He delighted in small things like 100 Plus (an isotonic drink we have in Malaysia) and vanilla ice cream. We will remember him as a man of few words, but when he spoke, he was worth listening to.

RIP Grandpa.

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10 random things I’ve said to my toddler this week

People wonder why I’m so busy. Yes, I do have quite a few commitments including volunteer work and actual paid work. But I think the thing (or the person) who keeps me the most busy is my wonderful 17 month old now Jacob.

17 whole months! Can you believe it?

daddy

Anyway, here are 10 things I didn’t think I’d ever have to say but have said in the past week.

1. Don’t put the empty toilet rolls in the toilet bowl. Okay, yes it was my fault for not closing the bathroom door properly. You know how the door seems closed but it hasn’t clicked in properly? That’s one of the things that results in chaos in our house… which brings me to my next point.

2. Don’t let the dog in the house! I swear those two are partners in crime. So, I left the outside door open a crack while putting laundry on the line, and he lets the dog in and she runs amok (and puts mud on our bed, sofa, etc.) And while we’re on the subject of the dog.

20150106_165138Doing arts and craft while Skittles looks on

3. Stop giving your hat to Skittles. Jacob hates wearing hats. Skittles loves chewing hats. Not a great combination.

4. Stop putting your hands/feet/body in Skittles’ water dish. Never mind that he has a sandpit or a water table to play with, and bikes to ride on outside. The best toy is Skittles’ water dish, especially when it has mud and mildew in it. His second favourite thing to do outside is sit in a bucket:

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5. Stop tearing the flaps off your lift-the-flap books! He is overly excited about what to find under the flap. Sometimes he guesses what’s under there (and it’s absolutely adorable). But he does rip it sometimes (what’s the point of having to open a flap when you can just have no flap there, right?).

6. No, thank you – I don’t need anymore shoes. Jacob has a shoe fetish! He thinks it’s his ultimate job to bring shoes to Daniel and I. Hence resulting in this:

shoe

7. Stop putting (item) in (location). Examples:
– Stop putting your blocks in the washing machine. (Yes, he knows how to open the door)
– Stop putting your books in the bath tub.
– Stop putting bottles (i.e. baby bath, powder, nappy cream) into the clothing hamper.
– Stop putting stuff in the BIN!!!

8. Where did you get that ….? Examples:
– Where did you get that metal rod? From the window sill
– Where did you get that (name of random piece of food)? Either from off the floor in an area mum forgot to sweep, or from the pantry, or from somebody like grandpa or nanny…
– Where did you get that toy that I hid from you? You can’t hide anything from me, mum. Nothing is sacred.
– Where did you get that body lotion (that you smeared all over the carpet)? Snuck into the bathroom and grabbed it from the countertop, which he can reach now
– Where did you get my wallet? I climbed the table and got it out of your handbag, of course!

tableHere he is on our messy table pinching chocolate biscuits.

9. Get off the table. If I take the chairs away, he pushes them back to the table, climbs onto them and onto the table. It’s his favourite place ever. And he especially loves to throw things off the table.

10. Go to sleeeeeep! I won’t make it a secret – we are still a bit patchy with sleep because some nights he just won’t wind down. Hard to be angry with him as he just runs out of the room laughing.

All said and done, it can be hard dealing with Jacob but I wouldn’t ask for any other child. Underneath his boisterous nature is a gentle and loving soul, one who loves giving (let’s see how long that’ll last) and loves smiling and laughing.

flowerHe loves flowers and sharing them around for everyone to smell.

It’s a wonderful thing to watch him learn, grow and conquer new skills each day. Jacob, mum and dad love you so much – don’t forget that!🙂