My Ramblings

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Thursday, September 30, 2010

I'm just not careful enough

My brother asked me what I wanted from Australia before he came back for a short visit. I asked for snacks for Amber. Over here, I have difficulty getting snacks with proper labeling for allergy kids like Amber. I've only found one brand - Orgran and have been packing Orgran snacks for Amber everyday. Orgran is not cheap too ! One pack of cookies hardly last more than a week.

My brother got me quite a bit of Orgran snacks from Melbourne and also a pack of strawberry biscuits. My sister in law read through the ingredients, no eggs, no yeast, no dairy, PASS.

Amber loves the strawberry snaps very very much. Somehow, I have this uneasy feeling that the strawberry snack has some kinda 'secret ingredient' that makes her likes the snaps very much. I think mothers have six sense as I don't know why and what made me bring along the snaps to be tested by her doctor.

True enough, I brought the snacks to be tested by Dr Wong and it failed ! She's allergic to the snaps. I read the ingredients over and over again and can't pinpoint what she's allergic to until I read for the hundreth time and re-digest the word 'MARGARINE' - vegetable and 'animal fat'. Who would have thought margarine may consist of animal fat. Margarine may consist of animal fat. Animat fat could mean butter and butter could be dairy !

Gosh ! culprit of all culprits, the margarine.

The little girl almost cried when I gave all her favourite strawberry snaps away.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mommy's Little Helper

Nothing delights a little girl more than helping her mother. That's the case for Amber. She loves helping me in the kitchen, helping to wash the cups (playing water), helping monitor my butter/sugar whisking in the mixer (playing with my cake mixer, on-off-lowering speed,on again, then increase speed until my mixing goes haywire), sweep the floor (pouring more dust n dirt to the floor), laundry (again, playing with the water hose).

One afternoon, when my mood was little better, I patiently taught her how to hang and dry her clothes. I gave her the little items, hankies, undies and socks and she, also, patiently clipped them up the umbrella hanger.

I had a good laugh with her results :
 she folded the face towels to quarters !

Anyway, good job Amber !

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Little Masseur

The little masseur at work with the tiny but strong palms and fingers. Volunteering to give Papa a rub down while Papa waited for our noodles to arrive.  Combination of shiatsu, Thai massage and a back rub. Ada gaya betul !

Aitelyu, she's the sweetest thing when she's in a good mood. She'll ask if we want a massage..and asks for feedback too. Nice or not ? Hard enough or not ? Want some lotion or not ?

Home Spa

Our master bath has not been fully utilized. The bath tub untouched and we really should have listened to ourselves when we drew the plan for our bathroom. Having stayed in a condo previously with a tub attached to the master bath - untouched for 8 years, we made the same mistake again by fixing a tub in our home now.

Personally, I find it a waste of natural resources to soak in the bath. Not my style.

She, always asks why she can't swim in the tub and I had to explain to her the whole mother nature cycle thing. Evaporation, rain, water, waste and yadayadayada yada. To placate her, I offered her a tub bath. A luxury and fun time for her, only when Papa & Mama is home on weekends, she gets to have her luxurious play time at the tub with some toys and bath soaps. I save those little bottles that we nicked collected from hotels for her tub-time.

My blue laundry tub has now migrated from laundry area to master bath. Fits her perfectly. With the little teapot, she sometimes play pretend to shower me, pouring the water over my head. :D
Hubs also taught her to make a giant bubble too. Oh, she has so much fun in the tub :

She was soooo sooooo happy and excited to form a giant soap bubble, she shouted to me to quickly grab camera and take picture before the bubble 'pops'.

Our 'home spa' is so much fun !!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Amy Heritage Nyonya Cuisine

We bumped into a Peranakan lady at Dr Wong's clinic by chance. We were waiting for our turn and I overheard 2 chinese looking ladies conversing in Malay. Naturally curious naturally kaypoh, I chatted with them and found out they were from Malacca then, subject of 'food' came about. I almost went through a whole list of Nyonya food that I wanted to try in a day (but have no stomach space!!) and she told us to forget the touristy places and go to Amy's for good Nyonya food. The place is not easily located using GPS but search for Alliance Bank at Melaka Raya and you'll get to Amy's, just a few blocks away.

Amy Heritage Nyonya Cuisine (halal)

 75, Jalan Melaka Raya 24, Taman Melaka Raya.
06-286 8819.

The proprietor, Amy Koh is a Malaccan nyonya (quite obvious!!) and she was an ex dental nurse. She opened this restaurant 3 years ago upon retirement and she did well, judging from the framed credentials on the walls of the restaurant.
She was invited by United Nations to cook for the Malaysia-Melaka food festival at New York. Don't be afraid of high prices with her international exposure. Her husband, Lim , claims they have not increased their prices for the last 3 years.

 She even glazed the United Nation stamps. Isn't that something to be proud of ?

At Amy Nyonya's, you get very personal service. Her husband, Lim took our orders and I left it to him to suggest dishes except for ayam pongteh I specifically ordered just for Amber as it was not spicy. He warned us we may have to wait a while for our dishes as they cut and cook the vegetables fresh for each order, except for ayam pongteh  and oooh.. that sounds very promising of a fresh and delish dishes coming up.
The rice was served in this whatchamacallit basket.. laced with banana leaf.. and FREE FLOW too ! A delight for my fan thoong hubs !

Here's what we had : 
 Ayam pongteh.. 
slightly sweet.. but very tasty and fragrant. Amber liked the ayam pongteh here compared to the other Nyonya food we had the following day.

Sambal jantung pisang.
This is sooo delish. They take pride in being the very rare restaurant which serves sambal jantung pisang. I can't make out the ingredients but I can taste some cincaluk or belacan.

 Kangkong Kobis Keledek Masak Titik Lemak 
Very very appetizing dish. The gravy was very delish, a nice blend of sweetness and saltiness. Goes oh sooo well with warm rice. Can't say more, you have to try this dish.

 Cincalok Omelette.
Appetizing. Now I have a new idea to cook omelette. Must make a note to buy some cincalok from Malacca next time.
 Pie Tee
Top hats were very crispy and the radish salad filling did not drown the skin. Just nice.

 Sambal petai udang.. 
Another ooh la la dish.. Can't say more.. you just have to try this.

Hubs, Amber and I were very very happy with our dinner. The dishes were all typically and traditionally Nyonya. Lots of care and fussiness put in it, from the way the vegetable is cut, the correct blend of spices so as it's not overly sweet, spicy or salty but just perfect.

We had no room for desert but when Amy suggested a bowl of her homecooked bubur kacang merah and pulut hitam that's not on the menu, we couldn't resist and shared a bowl.

You wanna see the proof of a good dinner ?

Our plates licked clean !!! Only 2 of us and we had THAT MUCH !!!

Amber and Amy Koh, the proprietor of Amy Nyonya Heritage.

We'll surely be back, I have yet to try the other items.. Itik Tim, Udang lemak nenas, kari kapitan... gosh.. I'm sooo greeeeedyyyyyyy.....

On a sidenote, we went to another Nyonya restaurant with the in-laws the following day. It was a last minute decision as all other chinese restaurants were full, the 8th lunar month is popular for weddings and hence we could not find a place to eat. FIL suggested Nyonya !

This other place, Bibik Neo's was also a popular one at Melaka Raya but the service and food is a far cry from Amy's. Prices ain't cheap either. I popped in to their kitchen and it looks more like a 'tai chow' kitchen on the backyard of a shophouse, unlike Amy's kitchen which is clean, orderly and proper and Amy is always inside supervising.

Yes, I'm a busybody, I like to visit kitchens !!!    :D

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Mid Autumn That Came and Went

Mid Autum or Chung Chau Jie, a harvest festival, is celebrated traditionally in China on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. Farmers rejoice over the abundance of crops after months of hard work.

Over in Malaysia, summer all year round, we celebrate with different reasons. Mooncakes and lanterns !  A time to binge on the high calorie snack and for the the kids, play 'tanglung'

When I was a kid, I remembered playing those animal shaped tanglung, lights dimmed, we walk around the house, each carrying our animal shaped tanglung, threading with care, not to drop, else we'll end up with 'for siu tang lung'.. and pity the kid whose animal shaped tanglung burnt to flames.

During those yerteryears, we indulge in traditional mooncakes from famous mooncakes  houses - Yook Woo Hin and Kam Lun Tai.

Unlike now, mooncake or Mid-Autumn festival is celebrated with much commercialism. You'll find mooncakes available almost 3 months before the festival. Every hotel and bakery sells mooncakes and varieties of flavours too (with many out-of-the-world flavors - cheese, sambal, gosh !!)

I still prefer my lotus single yolk. At most, I can accept white lotus single yolk. No other flavors, please.

Changing along with times, our kids now play with battery operated tanglungs. Amber has almost 10 of them, amassed over 4 years from her grandparents. Some play very annoying music, but the kids love them, what can I say ?

Hubs got her some paper lanterns with Mickey Mouse pictures (not-so-traditional, again). They were lying around the house coz we didn't have any candles to light them with. Amber pretended they were handbags and sling over her hands.

On Monday, we went to a friends house to have a pre-celebrations. The kids will play lanterns and the adults indulge in some chitter chatter with beer, snacks and all.

The candles ! We didn't have any candles !

So, off we were, on a frantic search for candles.

Hardware shop

No candles ! I can't believe it. I can't find a box of candles in my neighbourhood. !!!!

On Tuesday, hubs got her a battery operated one.. a goldfish that flaps it fins with blinking lights. He was so excited to show Amber the lantern. Guess what he did ? Passed the lantern to Amber, turned on his hi-fi and read newspaper  leaving Amber to 'play' with Mr Goldfish ! *sigh*

Yesterday, the actual celebration day, we were at my father's place for dinner. My nephews had passed the lantern playing age and no kids for Amber to play with. Luckily the neighbours invited her over to light some lanterns and later in the evening, hubs had an appointment and I asked him to drop me off at a friends house to play with some actual lanterns, lighting candles and all.

That was our Mid Autumn festival that went by...

'Tradition is only kept alive ...... if we chose to'

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Stopby at Malacca

I've been reading so much about Barbara's and Annie's visit to Malacca, I was itching to go Malacca again

After being married almost 10 years to hubs and going to Malacca everytime we visit the inlaws, which is like almost 10 times in a year, we never get to go places like Jonker Street and absorb all things historical about Malacca. We'd just go to the malls where the kids can play and adults shop, have dinner and then back to Tampin.

We had plenty of time after Amber's visit to Dr Wong's and I pestered hubs to detour to Malacca. The mild weather was perfect to stroll the streets of old Malacca, stopping by for souvenir shopping and cendol, along the way.

We parked our car a walking distance away from Jonker Street for only RM2 per day, a guarded car park. Very reasonable and safe place to park. Parking is never a problem if you don't wait and turn into Jonker St where roads are narrow and traffic is horrific especially on weekends and public holidays.

We stopped by the museum and the little one was pestering Papa to bring her in to the museum when hubs said Yeh Yeh (her grandpa) used to bring him in when he was a kid. Hubs and I, was more interested in cendol and we talked her out of visiting the museum. Maybe next time, Amber.

Then we took a stroll along the back of the shophouses which was fronting a river. We were surprise to come across many cafes and pubs. A few tourist was having beer, watching the river cruise go by and reading a good book. I likeee the idea of chilling out here. I think it was here that hubs fells in love with Malacca again and vow to be back, for a nights stopover.

They kept the river clean I think it'll be nice to chill out here at night too.

 Amber kept pestering us to go for the river cruise and we had to walk quite a distance to get to the queue for the cruise. Again, we talked her out of it. .Cendol was more important!

 She was happy to take a pic with the river cruise passing by behind.. Kids.. if small stuff can make them happy, let's just leave it that way ya ?

Walking along the riversides, we saw a mixture of  old 'antique' houses, some built with bricks from the Dutch era, like above, cafes, al fresco dining, tailors and others. Basically, a quaint mixture of old and new.
I peeped into the backyards of the shophouses. Many has been converted to cafes and eateries but there's still a few that's maintained as homes.  You'll find many with beautiful homes with courtyards facing the riverside. Hubs didn't take any pictures, it'll seem very intrusive to pop in our camera and take pics of somebody's courtyard right ?

Our first stop at Jonker Street was to look for cendol, hubs favourite. I'm not a cendol fan and had cravings for the iced coffee Annie and Barb said was sooooo good. We were too lazy to walk to Donald and Lily's for their cendol.

Hubs settled for cendol at San Shu Gong's Lao Qian Cafe where we could sit comfortably at the air conditioned cafe.
Hubs had their cendol in an unique durian holder which eventually became Amber's mask and then hat.

I had the ice coffee. Really slurpsss... Served in a icy chilled carafe with frozen chipped ice inside, this is sooo refreshing.  I must come back here again for this icy cold coffee... much better than cendol, in my opinion, that is.

Refreshed and recharged, we were ready to tackle Jonker Street. We walked along the narrow streets, bought some souvenirs and I found my favourite souvenir shop that sells tops from Thailand - Mango of Furano, got Amber some knick knacks to play and I bumped to Chinnee. Of all places and of all co-incidences, I bumped to Chin Nee, a Malaccan living at KL, at Jonker Street. We looked at each other and passed each other without giving much thought until I saw her hubs and QQ and I called out to her.LOL !
Such a small world eh ?

We also came across this nostalgic printing house :

The Royal Press. FIL used to engage Royal Press to print matters for the family many years ago. Still standing tall today !

Coming up.. Peranakan Food !!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Going Eggy over EGG !!

Amber had breakouts recently, on her heels, behind knees, elbow and arms. The cracks especially those on the heels are quite bad and when it's dry, it tends to bleed. She had a bleeding episode on Jusco after too much running around at Jusco Malacca, her dry heels cracked and bled.. Hubs had to carry her as her legs were bleeding and in pain.

We consulted her allergy specialist - Dr Wong from Tangkak again. Since it was school holidays, we took the day off to Tangkak and stayed over the weekend at PIL's.

I suspected something amiss with her diet or exposure to something new that caused the breakout but I really can't pinpoint the actual cause. Her diet is normal, the usual stuff she's been taking for the past 5 months, nothing new. I've pumped her with freshly squeezed orange juice + honey recently and I don't think honey can be the cause.

Surprise ! surprise ! surprise ! Guess what was doctor's diagnosis ?

Eggs 12
House Dust Mites 0
Milk 0
Candida 0

The culprit is EGGS !

Her results from the visit on 19 June 2010 was :

House Dust Mites 0
Milk 0
Eggs 7
Candida 0

and we were told she should be fine after a month, given the appropriate antidote but her condition only got worst.

I've repeatedly told the childminder and kindie principal Amber should be off eggs. No party packs, no birthday cakes and nothing with eggs, dairy or yeast. They've complied and been very co-operative to see Amber win this battle.

I really can't think of where she was exposed to eggs.

I don't give her egg bath
I don't apply egg white on her !
and I don't think she runs downstairs to steal eggs to eat when we are asleep !

I'm so frustrated ! I cannot think of any occasions she's consumed eggs. We watch her diet like a hawk and that's not good enough. Reading food labels is not good enough.. what else can I do ?

Arrggggghhh !!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Not so good purchase - The Bumbo Chair

We made many mistakes buying baby stuff. Amber was our first baby and we were a sucker for ideas and anything new in the market. Some were so well used like the rocker and some were not touched at all, notably the Ikea changing table, the Anakku jogger stroller, the bottle warmer, the playpad and many many many more.

Another bad puchase we made was the Bumbo Chair. It was very popular then, almost every new mom would get a Bumbo chair. I told my sis I wanted a Bumbo chair when I was preggie. I thought every parent should have it.

Not to be left out, we had to get one too. The instructions said for baby from 3 months and above. 
At 3 months, she was fat and wobbly and didn't look sturdy in the Bumbo at all. Her body was always tilted to one side

We waited for another month or so and tried her on the Bumbo chair. She didn't sit long and was fussing coz her body 'tilted' and she felt unsupported.

She felt stiffy on the Bumbo chair and we finally gave up when her fat thighs were stuck on the chair. I couldn't lift her up from the Bumbo without lifting the Bumbo along.

We had such a good laugh when I lifted Amber and her fat thighs was stuck on the Bumbo. Till today, my in laws make a joke out of it.. really funny.. Fat Amber and the Bumbo.

The Bumbo was never used again after the laughing episode but I did pass it around to other friends whose kids had not-so-fat-thighs and could make good use of the Bumbo.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Rocker - Our Best Purchase

Where do you place your babies when they were infants ? Baby rocker ? Bed ? Tilam or Sarong ?

Amber 'seat' was the bouncer when she's awake.
 The bouncer did not last long. After 2 months, I couldn't bounce her anymore, her bouncer was touching the floor.  You can see above, the safety strap was sliding away. If I'd leave her in the bouncer unattended, she would have wriggled her way down the bouncer and out.

Then we got her the Fisher Price Infant to Toddler Rocker for a princely sum of RM299 but I can tell you, it's worth every sen. The rocker was where I placed her safely when I need to get things done. The rocker went with us to the kitchen, when I needed to cook :

The rocker was also where she discovered her fingers and thumbs. She was about 7 weeks old. I was cooking dinner and I saw her enjoying her new discovery and I snapped some photos.
I placed her on the rocker when I need to get some work done, like ironing. She'll give me aimless looks, like 'Why are you not playing with me ?' The pic above was taken on one of her bad eczema attack days. Her cheeks looks red, tired and raw.
I sent the rocker to the babysitter so Amber can have a more comfy chair to play with Por Por and Por Por need not break her back carrying my little pumpkin all day.  We carried the rocker with us everyday to the babysitter's until we got fed up and left it there and got another rocker.. different color. So, we had 2 Fisher Price rockers.

Her rocker was my saviour as she grew too fat for me to carry. I'd just plonk her there and talk to her.. play with her, watch her blow bubbles and giggle giggle..

but she's smart too, after a while.. she wanted 100% of my attention, leave her alone for too long she'll wail !

We spent many moments with her on the rocker. Coz we were too darn lazy to carry her. and she was too fat and clumsy to climb out of it.

We fed her rice cereals - her first solids, on this rocker too.

She had her meals on the rocker for quite some time coz she could only sit on a feeding chair at age of 1.


4 years on, she has outgrown her rocker and not willing to part with it. 
Both rockers are at home now, one in the living room and the other in our bedroom.

She insists to 'tharn' her milkie on her rocker everynight, watching cartoons: 

She has certainly outgrown her rocker. Not willing to give it away, I think she'll use it until the rocking legs gives way !

Wine Gathering during the Raya Weekend.

We basically did nothing and went nowhere. *Bliss* I needed this long awaited break. No travelling, sleeping in, minimal cooking and going shopping when I felt like it.

We only had one event for the weekend, that is our wine roundtable at Leonard's.

Paired with good food. Some homecooked and some bought , we had aged cheddar, blue cheese, homecooked hakka char yoke, roast duck, hokkien mee.
In the spirit of Raya celebrations, we contributed the lemang daun lerek from Gombak.
It was the first day of Raya and business was brisk. We waited 2 hours for lemang. Our gathering was at Kota Damansara and hubs needed to go Popular at Ikano to change some cd and so. we took a long drive from Gombak to Ikano back to Gombak then to Kota Damansara. Although it was raining heavily, the roads were clear and I didn't mind driving.

The lemang and serunding. Yumzz and perfect for a Raya day gathering.

We started with a customary white. An appetizer to begin a trail of what's more to come but somehow, everyone was in a jolly mood of chit chatting and not drinking to much and we only had 3 reds of the above, notably the St Emillion's Chateau Canon Grand Cru Classe and a Penfold 2006 RWT.

The kids were busy on the own, forming their 6yr old club and Amber so wanted to stick to the cheh-cheh's. Sorry babe, you're still too young to join their Monopoly games but you can watch tho' or join the adults and chit chat along with us.

The honour of opening the bottle of wine.. the first to sniff the palate and check the goodness of the bottle, if it's been aged well and kept well.


A toast to friendship and good health and many many many more wine roundtables to come.

The driver.. can't have too much of the good thing.. I save it for the best.. the RWT 2006 !