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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Weekend Before Christmas

We didn't have any holiday plans for Amber and decided to go Malacca for a short visit. A very last moment decision and since it's also school holidays and Christmas being very near, it wasn't  a wise decision. Malacca was packed, the whole town was congested.
It was flooded.

Flooded with Singaporeans. 

No offense but I see more 'S' car plates than M'sian cars.

We're lucky to get a room through a contact as all other hotels were fully booked. We left for Malacca early Saturday morning, with this in mind :

 Yummylicious lip smacking chicken rice balls. 

This place is where locals go and recommended by my colleague, Anthony. After previous disappointed visits to the chicken rice balls at Jonker's Street, Anthony checked out this place for me and warned me to be there early. The tau-keh closes shop when her chicken rice balls sells out and that can be as early as noon, depending on the crowd. I can't read Chinese but this is easy to locate. Follow the sign to Pusat Bandaraya, past the Malacca Hospital, next to Wang Food Court, once you see a makan shack under a big tree and you're spot on !

We met up with Thomas, Joanne and Sharon at Malacca. Thomas was our tour guide of honour and other than the chicken rice place, which was on my priority list, I let him take the lead on where to eat and what to do. .

He took us for a hike up St John's Fort. Perfect to burn off the chicken rice.
 Hiking up to St. John's fort, we found these saga trees, a reminiscence of my childhood, where saga tree grows in abundance near the stone hall of my primary school :
I collected a handful home. Amber wants to do something artsy with it.. perhaps stick it on a cardboard to the shape of a butterfly. I have better ideas. I might just sew five stones with them. I miss my childhood days of playing five stones by the corridor of my classroom.


and everyone roped in to help pick up the tiny red saga seeds.
 the kids were too happy to playing catch ...

and laughing...
and screaming too.
 Amber plucked some flowers and asked me to clip to her hair.
 On our way down, we found someone selling fresh coconut. A refreshing treat for all of us.

And the daddies did something silly, they asked the girls to climb up the pinang tree :P

and the 2 little monkeys tried and called for help when they realised it wasn't easy being a monkey :)

 Our next stop was A Farmosa Fort and St Paul's Church..

Again, an interesting photography place with lotsa space for kids to run around


By late afternoon, the kids were flat out and so were we. Took a short nap, showered and hit the streets again.

Wanted to take the River Cruise but the queue was too long.

The kids were in tears, they could only see the barge go past and waved to each barge :(

We hopped on to the Portuguese Settlement at Ujong Pasir.
This one is a must during Christmas time. Most of the houses (at least 90%) was decorated with Christmas splendor. I've never seen such elaborate decorations, really amazing.

As usual, it was very crowded and many residence were expecting tourist, we chatted with some and they told us all lighting and decoratives are at their own expense. No sponsorship from the state government except for a few houses with Aik Cheong, Julie biscuits or Tiger logo. We only made a short stop, take some pics and head off for supper at Jonker's Street's Geographer's Cafe.

Guess who had most fun at Geographer's Cafe ?
After a few jug of beer, the daddies took their princesses to the dance floor and disco-ed away. 
We moms, too old for the dance floor, just relaxed, had a few drinks and took pics.

When the daddies got tired of dancing (they are old too !!!), the girls took on the dance floor 
Look at Amber, it was already past midnight and she's still jiving away with Sharon..

The next morning, after breakfast, we went straight for the cruise. The girls has been nagging about it all night and chanting in their sleep and there's no way we can return to KL without boarding the river cruise.

We were early, we got our tickets and waited for around 15 minutes for our turn :
 The cruise is 45 minutes long and goes along the Malacca River... to and fro. Something exciting for the girls but I fell asleep during the journey *yawn*

Then hubs took some photos of the girls near the riverfront while I sneaked out for shopping at Jonker's Street. 

Then Thomas took us for the famous Malaccan pork satay ..... it's slightly off Jonker's Street, and it was good.. the gravy is different from our usual Satay. Sweet and spicey with lots of blended pineapples. 
Very nice satay and definitely worth a trip back here again.

We left Malacca in the afternoon and got caught in a massive jam getting out of Malacca, again with Singaporean cars at our front, back and sides.. sigh.. took us an hour to get to Ayer Keroh toll.

That was our weekend before Christmas ! 

On the fifth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Soy Ice Cream

I've finally found the perfect ice cream for her from a Shojikiya, a  Japanese food speciality store. 
Vanilla soy ice cream at RM5.90 per tub.

Rich, creamy, tasty vanilla soy ice cream

egg free, dairy free.

This is the best, she said.

Finally, a tub of comfort food for her, and cheap too. Now, I'm on a vanilla soy hunt. Many outlets have run out of stock. I'll surely stock up some at home soon.

She's been taking 'approved' ice cream from : 

Gelatomio -  only soy apple flavour
Gelatissimo - all 99% fat free sorbets. the 95% fat free sorbets are has slight milk content
New Zealand Naturals - all fruit sorbets.

I have to be very careful, not all fruit sorbets are dairy-free and egg-free. Once, a promoter at Mid Valley was giving out free gelato samples. I asked if there's milk and the guy claimed.. No ! No Milk ! Guarantee !
After Amber had sampled, he said.. no milk, only yogurt ! I so wanted to SMACK him with a spade. I have to be careful who I asks, some blank looks don't convince me but now I try to google on the product before I let her try.

Now, I've found a gem.. Shojikiya's soy vanilla.. tastes like the real thing. :)

On the fourth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

Saying Goodbyes

Her school term ended on 30th November. She bade goodbye to her teachers and some friends. 
Each new year is a new beginning, new teacher and new friends. Some of her friends have left for other preschools and there'll be new friends from new enrollments.

The preschool had a party for the kids on the last day of school. I sensed some sadness in her. She hardly talked but I know what's on her mind. She hates to bade goodbye, be it to friends, family or teachers. Just like a song I remember singing in my younger days..

so long, farewell, it's time to say goodbye
i wish, you will, remember us in time

She had 2 very caring teachers - Teacher Mila and Teacher Mernie 

Teacher Mila, on the left, is Amber's class teacher. She has been very patient with Amber, who's always seeking her attention. Things didn't go smoothly for the first few months and many instances, Amber was sent to the Principals' room. :(
Her patience paid off and Teacher Mila eventually learnt how to deal with a very manja Amber who always demands her attention and insists to sit on her lap while she's teaching.

Teacher Mernie, the sweet young girl on the right, is a trainee teacher assisting Teacher Mila. She's currently taking a course on children education. She's leaving for another kindie closer to her college. On her last day, she gave each kid a momento for keepsakes and Amber got a hairtie from her.

This is Teacher Jo, the principal, a very kind and caring teacher/principal who is also a substitute for Teacher Mila if she is away. We discuss a lot on Amber's development and behavior. Quite a few times, we made a pact on dealing with Amber, especially the concert occasion where she wasn't happy with her concert costume. Teacher Jo spoke to me and we both 'pakat' and bluffed Amber her costume looks more 'princess' than others.. LOL ! She's one funny but wise lady and I look forward to seeing her again next year.

Above all, I thank the teachers and principal for co-operating with me in dealing with her allergy issues. 

Come  2011, Amber will be upgraded to the upstairs class for 5 year old's and she is looking forward although she sometimes tells me she will miss Teacher Mila and Teacher Mernie a lot :)

haih.. this girl can get very sentimental and emotional....

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Bits and Bops - Pre Christmas :)

It's not too late to wish stopovers here a very Merry Christmas. There's 12 days of Christmas and today is only the 3rd.. and so what did my true love gave to me ? 



Well, I feel I should post up all my backdated post before the New Year starts, just like Annie. Let's see if I can get it done. I have say... 4 days left and so here's starting my blog diarrhea with what we did pre Christmas that I had not blog about before : 

was busy baking fruitcakes for my sales.. business has been good :) I'm really fussy and made sure the fruits has to be well macerated.

 then repeat orders came in last minute... in blocks of 4 or 6... ***help***.. on some days, I was baking till 1am in the morning. I thank god for the blessings endowed on me. 
rezeki jangan ditolak, betul tak ?

I truly apologize for orders that came in right before Christmas that I had it to turn down. I don't believe in shortchanging my customers and taking shortcuts just to get business.

I had fruitcakes stuffed everywhere, my home and office. No grocery shopping as there isn't space for any.  The hubs volunteered his wine chiller for storage and I shall keep that in mind next year :)

then... I baked gingerbread man for my clients and friends. For everything I bake, I had to bake an egg-free, dairy-free version for Amber, I can't be possibly excluding her from the fun and yummy stuff.

One some crazy nights, I baked 3 batches of gingerbread man.

My sis and niece was in town. I was juggling between baking time and shopping time with her. Their visit is a blessing, I roped in my niece, Li, to help with the gingerbread man decorations. She's way way more creative than me :)

these are the allergy free ones. Made them with margarine and egg replacer but somehow I couldn't get the royal icing right, lack of volume and texture but nevertheless, she loved them to bits :

My niece, Li, the very creative one, amongst us, came up with different designs for each gingerbread man and I only had to copy one which I liked :)

My sis, gave up decorating after few failed attempts.. blame it on 'lou far' , she said but she's a great help in packing up the gingies.

Amidst all the baking and busy-ness, we found some time hit the malls to absorb all things Christmassy

Amber's cousin sister, Li, was in town and she's of great help in distracting Amber away from me. Amber only wants Li Li cheh cheh.. she insists on seated next to her, insist on holding her hand.. etc etc.  much to my delight !

 More coming up....

On the third day of Christmas, My true love gave to me, Three French Hens, Two Turtle Doves,
....... and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Thursday, December 23, 2010

where were you ?

I feel a tad guilty for not being at her 'mini concert' yesterday. 

She asked where we were.

She asked how come I didn't see you.

and she said.. I thought.. PapaMama must be hiding somewhere .. 


I should have made it clear to her I won't be there and not let the poor girl stretching her neck, looking out for me.

Where was I ?

Shopping at Pavilion... shopping for pressie for her  and enjoying myself too. 


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Program Ends Today

Her 3 week holiday program officially ends today. I am happy with her progress as she comes home a happier child, talks better and is more polite. Now I realise how important peer influence is. A happy environment breeds a happy child. The program I sent her to focus on phonics and she learns sounds of words, piecing words together with lots of singing, dancing and happy happy things.

She amazed us when she came home one day and told my sis about the gingerbread man story. I've been busy baking gingerbread man and all I know is some old lady and gingerbread man can run, I didn't know the details until she told me.

The story, as narrated by Amber, in English, as spoken by her :

the old lady make gingerbread man, bake them in oven
then the old lady wasn't looking ah.. the gingerbread man say... help ! help ! it's too hot in here
he started running away ,
then he came to a river, but cannot cross because got water 
then he met a fox
the fox ask him to climb over to his short tail and walk across the river
then the gingerbread man climb on the tail
until he reach the fox head and fell down
the fox ate him..
nyom.. nyom.. nyom..
then no more gingerbread man already lor !

 She was very excited today and specifically wanted to wear a long skirt she asked me to buy for her last week at 1 U. She hardly ask me to buy clothes but liked this 'wheeeeee' skirt very much. She's also wearing a very pretty headband from Aunty Shireen. Her ladies and children collections are available here.

It's a pity the small performance is not open to parents. The school had no proper venue for the event and parents were warned of no seating space and I thought I'll skip it. I trust she will perform with confidence and grace. I can't wait to see in the facebook next month.

She has one more week off.. with no class. Hmmm.. how should I keep her occupied ?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

9th Anniversary

Today marks our 9th wedding anniversary. 

16th December 2001 - hubs and I tied the knot. 9 years has passed with a blink of an eye. Time passes by fast when you are having fun right ?  :) :)

We should be celebrating our union but after 9 years together and many many nights of baking fruitcakes, all I want is some quiet time together and a good rest.

The first few wedding anniversaries were celebrated with much anticipation, having a nice dinner somewhere.. notably Ma Maison, Federal's Revolving, Chalet and Chalet Suisse with us 'cling' - ing our glass.

Then came the little one, the joy of our lives, the purpose of many things we do. The dim lighted dinners slowly faded away. We felt guilty leaving her behind and any celebrations  is always a threesome affair.

Last weekend, we were back to the place where we held our union for another occasion. Amber knows we celebrated our wedding there and hubs took her for a long walk up the stairway. Feels so nostalgic, he says..  9 years ago, walking up with me and now, holding her little hands up the stairway..

Happy Anniversary and any day is just as special as long as 3 of us are together, safe, healthy and happy : )

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Very Pretty Pretty Gingerbreads

Having had a disastrous attempt with the gingerbread-man-on-the-tree project, a very very kind and sweet lady - Javapot, personally made me some gingerbread man to hang on our tree.

Look closer .... aren't they too good to eat  ? Look again... real close :
 These very pretty pretty gingerbread man are hand stitched by Javapot.. Thank you so much.. My tree is filled with a special selection of ornaments we love very much and your gingerbread man tops the list !
 Pretty eh ? I truly admire your fine craftsmanship. I feel so proud to have the handsewn gingies hanging on my tree.

 Our tree, filled with all things nice and pretty.
Thank you Javapot. Thank you millions ! Wishing you, your hubs and master prince very Merry Christmas filled with love, good food and all things nice !

p/s  you got me started on sugar cookies already !

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Tree Is Up..

After the disastrous attempt with the gingerbread man, I dug out some hidden treasures from my store, from my B&K (buy and keep collection). Amassed many years ago.. before I even had Amber. These mini wooden ding-a-lings . ard 25 piece in a box, I got it for a steal, only RM1 from Watson's warehouse sale. 

I was sick and homebound last week, I had some time to hang the ding-a-lings, baubles and hubs did the lights. Our tree, standing tall, proud and warm. I look forward to turn off the lights at night and leave only the Christmas tree lights on :

 My favourite ornament of all has to be the extendable Santa Claus.. Cute eh ? We fell in love with it immediately and just had to bring one home.
Cute eh ? 

We wish you a merry Christmas, We wish you a merry Christmas, We wish you a merry Christmas ....And a happy New Year.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Disaster Gingerbreads!

Look what happened to the gingerbread man Amber baked.. I hung them on the tree and we were away for the weekend. I came back and they were, broken, handicapped, DECAPITATED !!! The ants were having an early Christmas feast while we were away.

 All our hardwork went to the wastebin !

Gingerbread man is really not for decorations, especially in our hot and humid weather. Like javapots said.. it'll invite cicak and ants

All our hard work gone to the waste bin.. I'll just stick to recyclable ornaments !