My Ramblings

Lilypie Kids birthday Ticker

Monday, June 27, 2011

Over the Weekend

Another uneventful but busy weekend has passed. Uneventful is good. I prefer to stay home coz if I don't the housework piles up.

Saturday was spent finishing up part of her abacus homework. 4 pages this week. Lately, I'm not happy with her progress in school. Our arrangement with the teacher was a 1 to 1 coaching for Amber and we did pay her slightly extra for the arrangement of 1 to 1, 1.5 hours per week (group lessons are 2 hours) but lately her hours at the center is getting lesser. Last week, she completed a page of calculations in 15 minutes and that's all.. For a whole 1.5 hours in the center, she could do more but Ms P, her teacher, takes in other students for abacus and school level homework and I don't see how she can manage so many kids, all with different subjects to coach too. Hubs and I think we are getting a raw deal from her, we really should start looking somewhere.

I looked up another school on Sunday, a renowned mental arithmetic center and they did an evaluation on Amber. We found out, not all mental arithmetic are taught the same way. Amber's current method is different from what's taught the the renowned mental arithmetic center. Amber needs at least 2-3 months to 'undo' what's been taught, to 'cut old, copy and paste new method' to her memory. We've decided the change is good for her and the plus point is having a dedicated teacher who's willing to spend some time to 'undo the done' in her.

So, it'll be new class at a new center for her. She likes the place very much, more conducive and comfortable with air-conditioning. :D

I cooked simple meals for lunch and dinner. Too darn lazy for fancy schmancy cooking, simple and homecooked is good. I also steamed and freezed some lor mai kai for Amber's supper.  Her appetite improved lately and I must always have something in handy when little missy is hungry otherwise she'll be having cornflakes and soy milk every night for supper and cornflakes again in the morning.

The sharp tongued Amber said something that irked me. I was busy mopping the floor and pushing her to do her homework. I said.. everyone has their own homework to do. Daddy's is to feed the fish, her's is to complete her school work and Mommy's is to keep the house clean by sweeping, mopping and basically, just keeping things clean.

Her sharp tongue speaks faster than she can think, she said "Yours so easy only, just push the mop front and back only mah, so easy also !"

Grrrr..... she really talks too much for her age.

We've been maidless for 1.5 years, coping but at the expense of not giving her enough attention and not being patient with her. We are in the midst of hiring a helper and I pray hard to choose one who's trustworthy and would not run away ! *sigh*

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Controlling FB privacy

Today, my friend got very annoyed when someone from her hometown added her as a friend in Facebook. Thinking she might know her or she could be a long lost friend from her hometown in East Malaysia, she added her. Soon, the 'friend' started promoting some slimming stuff and added people from her friend list. She was, angry.  I would too.

I taught her to change some simple settings to protect your friends privacy. I do think some people take advantage of strings of contacts available on Facebook, friends of friends and friends or friends' friends.. whatever.. the chain never ends.

If you'd like to block people from checking your friends list, follow the simple steps :

Simple steps :
You can change who can see your friends from the "Connecting on Facebook" section of your Privacy Settings page. To get there:
  1. Choose the "Privacy Settings" option in the Account drop-down menu at the top of any Facebook page.
  2. Select "View settings" in the "Connecting on Facebook" section.
  3. Change the setting for "See your friend list."

Cheers and Happy FB-ing ...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chatime Craze

The hubs and I love bubble tea. There's something about biting into the dense and chewy pearls. It's addictive. Our usual haunt was Little Taiwan until Chatime opened it's new outlet at Gardens. Most bubble tea kiosk concocts their drinks with all powder and flavouring but Chatime uses as much natural ingredient as possible and that's what gives them an edge above others in the bubble tea mix.

I love their latte for very simple reason - freshly brewed coffee (read - not instant coffee) and fresh milk (read - not creamer). 
I've tried the Pearl Milk Tea, Caramel Milk Tea, Grapefruit Pearl Tea and Iced Latte Pearl. I'd say all are nice but if you need a the chilled caffeine kick, go for Iced Latte. Only RM5.90 with pearls and slight sugar.

Be forewarned though, the wait time for Chatime is very long. I was at the Pavilion outlet last Friday at 2pm. Was told to wait for 20 minutes for my drinks. I shopped around and came back after 25 minutes and my drink was still not ready. I had to wait for almost an hour for my drink. Crazeee !!!  Next time, I'll preorder my drinks first.  ;)

Local Avocados

The local avocados are back in season.  I was back to the in laws last weekend and I was in luck. Her friend, with the avocado tree, shared some of her bounty harvest with MIL. No one likes the fruit at home except MIL and me. She gave me a few fruits and I've been gorging on avocados. 

I had a fruit this morning, spread on crackers and with coffee.

 Rich and ripe avocado
 I scooped out some flesh
 Smashed it up, add instant coffee, evaporated milk and little sugar
 Avocado Coffee !!! It'll be nicer if I added ice cubes.

I ate the balance with crackers. Yummy !

Belated Father's Day

Amber came home very excited. Something for Papa... 

a card..

a belated Father's Day card from the school :


The kindie forgot all about Father's Day celebration and quickly made it up on Monday !!

tsk tsk tsk !!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

How to Slice a Pineapple

I shall show you how I handle pineapples here. Not too difficult a task if you have the correct technique and tools.

Mamapumpkin and Barbara, this tutorial is for you.

How I slice away the skin depends on the shape of the pineapple. Today's example is a Yan Kee pineapple, not easy to slice due to it's irregular shape.

Here's what I did. Cut of the crown. Keep the stem, handy as a handle especially when managing a big pineapple.

Wash pineapple.

Start from base and slice away, going round the pineapple. This is when the stem comes handy. Turn slice, turn slice. Like this :

And this is what you should get. Don't worry if it breaks halfway. Continue slicing in circulars. I find this method of slicing saves me time and I waste less, ie I don't accidentally slice away much of the flesh

Rinse pineapple with filtered water. Do not rinse after removing the pineapple eyes as you'll remove some of the sweetness and it clogs the fruit with water. If you want a clean and neat looking pineapple, rinse before removing the eyes. The pineapple eyes will run from lower right to upper left or lower left to upper right, depends on how you see it but the direction you slice towards is important. Look at the pineapple below. Look for the direction that gives you a longer strand of pineapple eyes.

Next step - the tricky part, to remove the eyes. Where to slice first ? I always start from bottom, the stem and you need to check the direction of the eyes.
 For this pineapple in sample, you should start from lower right to upper left. Remove the eyes with only one direction of the knife. Do not go zig zag. Too much zig-zag will damage the fiber walls and your pineapple will be juicing (a lot of juice dripping). Use a very sharp knife. The sharpest you can handle. 
 Slice and remove 2-3 eyes. then move to the next line and start slicing and go back to the first line and slice away . Keep this direction. You can also slice one whole line from bottom to top and then slice another line but I'd rather not turn the pineapple so many times. Less handling is better. Less juicing and neater cuts.
Tadaaa.... . total time : 7 minutes.
 Slice away the handle and slice to half and then quarters. Some pineapples like Sarawak and Dole presents better in  horizontal slices but the Yan Kee is tall and long and irregular shaped (large bottom, narrow top) looks better sliced vertically.

Use a very good knife. Not necessary big as long as it's sharp and thin blade knives are preferred. I used a Victorinox paring knife here. The serrated blades are excellent for slicing the tough fibrous skins.

I enjoy slicing my pineapples. I find it therapeutic and I always strive to slice it as neat looking as possible.
How do you slice yours ?

Father's Day

We celebrated with my father last weekend. An early Father's Day and I'm sure those with in laws will understand why. There's the father, the father in law and the hubs. 3 fathers and there's only 1 Father's Day.

My family celebrated earlier as they know we will make a trip back to hubs hometown to celebrate with his dad. We took FIL out for dinner, at 'New Lagoon Restaurant' Melaka Raya, currently the family favourite. Their coconut pudding rocks !!  No pics to show, lazy a** me always always forgets my camera and even if I do remember the camera, I forget to take pics. *eat first, shoot later*.. sigh..

I sneaked in a card and gift for hubs. Sneaked sometime to get Amber to scribble up lots of 'I LOVE YOU' in the card. She kept her lips zipped throughout the weekend and gave hubs the card early Sunday morning, and so, it's a surprise. Hubs is a very easy father to please.

We came back home after lunch yesterday, didn't want to get caught in the crazy KL-Seremban jam. Hubs wanted to watch Green Latern and since it's Father's Day, the father calls the shot. Had dinner at TGIF (again, lazy and forgot my camera). Hubs had bacon burger and I had grilled lamb, shared with Amber. The portion was so small and lamb, dry but Amber finished 80% of it. We also had complimentary buffalo wings, my favourite and I whacked it all. I'd very much prefer Hard Rock Cafe and American Chilli's over TGIF. I went to Hard Rock recently with a friend and the food really rocks !

Then it was popcorn and coke during the movie.. Amber kept her eyes closed and ears shut at some parts of the movie. Green Latern was good but some scenes were rather loud, I'd say and the little one couldn't take the excitement but she behaved and didn't annoy other patrons.  This is the 4th movie we've watched this month and the hubs and the kiddo is keeping tabs on all DC and Marvel movies. They're really movie buffs and honestly I'd rather spend the 2 hour shopping alone :)

That was, Father's Day for us. :)  How was yours ?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Backdated - Hubs Bday

Backdated  - 23 April 2011
Location - Renaissance Hotel, Vogue Cafe

Hubs celebrated his birthday at the Vogue Cafe. A small family affair with only his brothers and their family.  Ever since Amber came along, hubs b'day had always taken a step back, the little one's birthday do always outshines the fathers. 

Side track a bit back to 2006, the day Amber was born. Hubs bday was a day after. With a newborn in the house (I was discharged the following day), no one remembers hubs bday. We had breakfast in the hospital, he had his coffee fix, I had tomato soup. By night, he was getting restless already and invited our confinement lady to have coffee with him at San Francisco Coffee at Ampang Point while he claimed his birthday coffee treat. :D

Amber wore a lovely rose dress. My sister in law, Pearl, got this dress for her and I think it fits the my skinny princess perfect. She donned plenty of 'Barbie jewelries',birthday presents from her aunties.
She put on the accessories on her own - hairband, necklace, ring and wristband. All dressed up and she really puts me to shame :(
Birthday boy and his princess
Yuen Wen cheh cheh was there too and as usual, both of them created a ruckus.

The hotel obliged to my request for dairy free ice cream and gave Amber a cup of strawberry sorbet. Sometimes, all I've gotta do is ask and explain Amber's situation. Most reputable hotels will oblige.
The girls were in a 'gila gila' mood. Both dressed up to the nines but the climbed up and down chairs, laughed loudly and made faces  *sigh*... after a moment of nagging 'do-nots'.. I couldn't bother. Let the pictures speak for itself, on what they were up to.

*slap head*

Pining for Pineapples - The Yan Kee Variety

Pineapple has many health benefits. It contains bromelain enzymes that helps breaks down meat protein, manganese, anti-oxidant and host of vitamins. More information on pineapples available here. I always make sure the family has pineapples when we take a lot of meat especially during barbecues or festive dinners like Christmas or the New Year.
We're all fan of pineapples. Me,hubs and the in laws. We're always on the lookout for nice, sweet and juicy pineapples. I remember the first slice of pineapple I had was horribly sour, cuts my tongue and yet, I finished the whole slice. I was 8yrs old then and I bought a slice of Morris from the school canteen. There's a small bowl of salt with a piece of cut chilly for us to slather salt with and I'd slowly relish the slice of sour and salty pineapple.

Many years later, sweeter and juicier types pineapples appeared were available, namely the Sarawak pineapple and Johor pineapple and later the Josapine (hybrid of Sarawak and Johor pineapple).
We also had the imported Dole pineapples from Philippines, very sweet, juicy, consistently shaped and easy to handle. As more and more pineapples were available in the market, our tastebuds for pineapple upgraded from Josapine to Dole. Dole is the most expensive and can cost around RM6-RM9 per fruit.

MIL gave us one 'Yan Kee Pineapple' recently , very unique coneheaded pineapple. Initially she didn't know what it was called, she just said... funny shaped but very delicious !

I searched and googled and found nothing until I saw some at the OUG market last weekend and the lady told me it's called 'eng kee wong lai' and from Klang.. That too yields nothing from the search engines until I typed Klang pineapple and found out here that it's known as Yan Kee or Selangor Super Sweet Pineapple
The Selangor Super Sweet or YanKee pineapple. I picked up 3 large fruits for RM20. It's seasonal and do pick up one if you chance upon it. It's juicier and sweeter than Dole and less fibrous. I give my thumbs up to Yan Kee !

Coming up - how to peel a pineapple !

Monday, June 13, 2011

Up Genting Highlands Again

School reopens today.

We took a trip to Genting yesterday and renew-ed our Theme park pass. Another year of fun (or not-so-fun) rides. Choosing the last day of school holiday to go up Genting was a good choice. We didn't have to queue that long for the rides and weather was good even though there's short shower spells, it was, well, short and we managed without umbrellas.

The Theme Park was running a Annual Passport Promotion for month of June and we renewed our pass with heavily discounted rates. The pass entitles us to selected unlimited rides in both indoor and outdoor theme park. The indoor rides are more for younger kids and the exciting and nerve wrecking ones are outoors.

Amber was most happy to meet her cousin sister Yuen Wen there. Both of them queued up for rides and freed us from accompanying her all the time *winks*

The Paris deGenting ride is a must have. This was her first ride at Genting and she never gets bored going up and down the 'eiffel tower' in the little vehicle. I think in a year or two, she'll be too tall for this ride. Let her enjoy while she can :)
 Then we went to the outdoor park. There's some balloon parade going on.
 Balloons and clowns that makes the kids go ga-ga !

 Up the rodeo rider. Up and down and up and down again. Multiple times ! I ain't complaining as the queue was short and hubs and I took turns for ice-cream break while watching over her.

 This girl in a balloon costume. Looks like an Alien species to me .. lolol...

We went for boat pedalling too. Only 2 person per boat, Amber decided to tag along with me while hubs took another boat. We must be the only family who's constantly bickering and shouting in the waters. Amber's legs were too short to pedal but she insist and I couldn't wait to get us out of the way as there's out boats waiting to get out too and we were blocking.. and there's the hubs who.. was ahead of us, decide to turn back and complain of his faulty boat and BANG to us... tsk tsk tsk. .. 3 of us caused a big commotion and I bet many eyes were staring at us. Turns out hubs boat is not faulty but the steering works the opposition direction. U're supposed to steer left to go right and vice versa. Trust my hubs to complain when no one else did.. LOL.. tiring but FUN !!

The worst ride I went up to was The Spinner. Amber wanted to go up with her cheh cheh cousin but it looks scary and being the protective parents, I roped hubs in. Both of us and the 2 kids buckled up and I was expecting the worst, if Amber cried and screamed for help, she has to endure the whole ordeal before the ride stops but our little friend was very brave and laughing ! I was the chicken hearted one, closed my eyes and prayed my amitabh waiting for the ride to stop. Once down. I reached for my tiger balm. sei mou ? really getting old and my heart cannot take this kinda excitement anymore.... LOL....  
We had early lunch McDonalds. Amber had the fried chicken and fries and she also had a mashed potato for tea.

We left at 8pm, pooped.. skipped dinner with my BIL at the Mushroom Farm as Amber konk-ed out before we could leave the First World Car Park. We ended up having instant noodles at home while Amber slept through till morning.

A fruitful and fun day !

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Family Trip to Malacca - 24 April 2011

Backdated post - 24 April 2011.. 
We made a daytrip to Malacca, the Tan family. A very rare occasion to holiday with Father, so, this is an occasion to treasure.

Big Brother was back visiting with his family. This trip, he's a little bit more adventurous, took the kids to Sunway Lagoon and climbed up Batu Caves with his friend. (Shame !!! I've never been to Batu Caves and it's just a short drive from our home. shame ! shame ! A to-do in 2011 for us)

We left KL early Sunday morning, with an empty tummy. First stop was the chicken rice balls at Jalan Tun Sri Lanang. 

Adults congregation :
 Not so adult (yet, not so kiddo) congregation of the cousins :

Next, Jonker's Street. Got a decent car park opposite the to-be opened boutique hotel  - Casa del Rio Melaka. Uhh.... I think the hotel is opened now that my post is 2 months late.

Next stop : Makan again.. Cendol at Donalds and Lily's. I think father had a shock, his children and grandchildren can really eat !!

Walking down Jonker's Street, sightseeing and souvenir shopping. Amber had the best view, this spoilt brat was on Papa's shoulder's.

Hats, umbrellas, sunnies and sunblocks, we were ready to tackle Jonker's Street
 Quaint and interesting places ...

We were ready to tackle St Paul's Hill to check out the ruins of St Paul's Church, Christchurch and A Famosa fort. Father and hubs rested at San Shu Gong. There's no way father's gonna walk up the hill and down. Too strenuos and hot for him. Amber insisted on coming along and I know she cannot complete the whole walking journey of going up the hill to the ruins and coming down at A Famosa fort. Oh well !!!

Lots of energy running up the hill... but her battery went flat short after.. :(
 Statue of St Francis Xavier in front of St Paul's Church. This is a-must for holiday keepsakes.
The cousins ..

Her lovely cheh-cheh cousins from Melbourne
They left for Krabi and Singapore before flying back to Ozzieland the following week.

Looking forward to have you here again (or better still, if hubs can take a week off, we'll be at your place soon !!!.. )