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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cookies Specially For Her

I had to plan my baking on times when she's away at school or childminders. Due to her allergy, she's not allowed to tax my cookies like she did before.

Amber comes home, drooling at the jars of cookies on the table and asks for some but it breaks my heart to break her bubble -- you cannot take, you are allergic to butter and eggs.. . . 
BUT !!!


I promise her... I'd bake some that she can eat : 

Peanut cookies
I used canola oil and omitted the egg wash. Very fluffy and melts in the mouth. She has her own style of enjoying the peanut cookies. She'll asks for 3 or 5 cookies, place in a bowl, crumble all of it and scoop up with a spoon  :)
.. she shows enormous joy in munching the festive cookies.

Princess Snow White Tarts

 Pineapple tarts with vegetable shortening, egg replacer and I omitted the egg wash. Looks ghastly white and unappetizing. I got disheartened too but luckily I remembered having some really cute red casings with white polka dots I bought a while back stashed somewhere.

The casings made a difference. I told her.. her tarts are very special, specially made for her, white as snow white and only Amber has Princess Snow White tarts for CNY.

She said ..

thank you mummy...
mummy's cookies is the best in the world  :D

hehehehe.. innocent mind like hers is so easy to please. bluff a bit here and there and they are sold.

I felt so good. Not 'perasan' but I felt good because I could tweak the recipes a bit and churn out something for Amber. After all, CNY is all about indulgence :D

Friday, January 28, 2011

Baking Frenzy

This CNY, I baked the usual, choc chop walnut, peanut cookie and pineapple tarts. I wanted to do sugar cookies, big plans.. but preparing for the cookies below was so tiring and time consuming, I abandoned the idea. I still have 2 more days if I want to but nah.. the kitchen's closed and oven's sealed.

This is the easiest cookie to bake - choc chip walnut. On a good day and with proper planning, I can churn at least 2 dozen jars but since I'm not taking any orders except from a regular friend or two, I fulfilled the orders and with just 4 jars extra for family

Peanut cookie is by far, the worst cookie to make. No fun at all from roasting or frying to removing the skins and moudling the globs one by one. If you think you're done.. there's the packing. Oh the packing !! Slow and steady hands or else, the globs crumble. Very sensitive to touch, this cookie. I don't know what got over me as I bought 5kg of groundnuts from the market lady. She said the peanuts were limited and high quality, I was sold.. ... stupidly of course.. and ended up with whatever she has on the shelf. Took me one night to roast the nuts the another full day to remove the skin, grind and start baking. I was seeing balls by end of day, knackered, tired and grouchy BUT.... I had plenty for family, the in laws and friends:D

It always happens with peanut cookies, whenever I bake, I'll start off with full enthusiasm when frying the nuts, wafting peanut aroma in my kitchen. Lovely. The enthusiasm wanes off when I start de-skinning the nuts and have to pick them one by one. I get so frustrated and tired out (especially without a maid) and swear never to bake again the following year.. but I always will. :D  Can't help it coz peanut cookies are my family's favourites, the hub's and Amber's too ! She can't take the peanut cookies as she's allergic to the cooking oil but I've made another batch for her.

Pineapple tarts. What's CNY without tarts. The family loves tarts, including the in laws. Without fail, we'll be testing tarts from different bakers a day or 2 before CNY. We like rolled tarts best ! I enjoy baking tarts very much as the rolled up pastries are very pretty and I have to be careful not to flatten the imprints when slathering the egg wash.
The most daunting part of pineapple tarts is the paste. I truly dislike the either chewy or mushy store bought paste.Sweet and nothing else.  I only choose Josapines for it's aroma and texture and I hand grated the pineapples. I like mine a bit sourish and heavy with aroma of cloves and slight hint of cinnamon.
My tarts are limited this year as I accidentally grated my right thumb and I had it bandaged for 2 weeks !

Next year, I'll try some open face tarts or the pineapple shaped ones.

I did bake some almond crisps with flaked almond and bienetta flour. This is an easy one with almond flakes and bienetta flour. Quick, easy and always a favourite.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Welcoming the new lunar year of RABBIT - finally.

The cleaners just left. 2 cleaners x 4 hour each to clean the bits and corners of my house esp the icky parts that I don't touch - the kitchen exhaust fan, cooker hood and outdoor fans. After a horrifying attempt to D-I-M (Sasha, I like yr terminology) and ending up with sore arms, this year, I engaged cleaners, a month before the new year. 2 sessions, 2 weeks apart.

Last 2 weeks, they only did grills, windows and blinds. Today, they cleaned kitchen, outdoor fans and toilets. One of the cleaner developed a very bad rash after cleaning the fan blades. There were white spores on the blades and she itched to the max upon contact. I applied some magic camphor cream from China - Bao Fu Ling and asked her to take a shower. Some manpower wasted there so I had to chip in to scrub the driveway and patios. Backbreaking but 3 of us got the task done.

Last night I baked some pineapple tarts for Amber. She saw those that I made earlier and wanted to have some, eagerly. Heartbreaking, aitelyu ! I improvised a bit and made a version with vegetable shortening and Orgran's egg replacer. She was happy. Very. No words can describe the look on her face. She spew out her sweetest words - Mama's cooking is - THE BEST IN THE WORLD! And that, melts !
The oven's been cleaned and baking trays and such put away. Leftover ingredients frozen and repacked. The cleaners did the final job of cleaning the countertops throughly.

The gardener came today too, trimmed and cleaned what was needed. All I did was tell him to make my place nice for me, I don't care what you do :D  He's a nice chap, in his 60's and takes his time to prop up my garden meticulously.

I gave away bags and food to his family. As the new lunar year approaches, I try to have a clean fridge and cupboard, clean sofas, clean house... basically everything clean and uncluttered.

I feel so relaxed now, with a clean house to welcome new lunar year. .and oh.. the kitchen's closed too... until the year of the Rabbit.

We are eating out today.. and every other day till the new year. ... ..... YIPPEE !!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Princess Wannabe

Every little girl wants to be a princess and mine is no exception. Some days she'll be Princess Snow White, some days, Cinderella or Mu Lan.

Her current craze is Princess Rapunzel coz she likes the movie very much. She believes there's a Eugene out there waiting for her.. ... :)

She's princess, I am the Queen, hubs is the King. Her children will be princess too and she will have 'girls'.. never boys because boys can never be princess.

One afternoon, I showered and changed her but I got a shock later when I saw all dolled up as a princess, complete with Barbie necklace and ear-rings from Aunty Annie

She put on the necklace and clipped the earrings on her own and put on a pair of new shoes

and asked me to : TAKE PICTURE ! TAKE PICTURE !


Princess Rapunzel Amber, at her best behaviour, best polka dress from Shireen's and best smile :)

Eck-zam - passed !

She received her certificate of examination from teacher last week. She passed the most elementary level - Level 11. Level 11 is the lowest level and she'll progress to level 10 and so forth.

This certificate came all the way from Taiwan and is very precious to us. Hubs, the proud father, handled the certificate with meticulous care. Nobody can touch until he has taken a photo and he wants me to laminate up his princess' achievement.

Like all parents, we are proud of our kids' every little achievement, not bragging but just proud and happy for her :)


Amber Ong, I hope you can cope with mental arithmetic but if the homework is too much for you, we are prepared to pull you out, what matters most is your emotional wellbeing, we don't want you to be overly stressed up.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mental Arithmetics

Amber has completed her Mental Arithmetic Book 2. She's into double digit addition and subtraction. She's come a long way since April, when we first enrolled her for mental arithmetic and she could barely count past 10. Her pre-school had just started teaching the kids numbers and she can't even write 1 - 10 yet.

She enjoys the class but hates the weekly homework that follows. On good days, she gets a page or 2 but on most days, she gets 5 pages of homework. One page has 48 sums ! ! !  We lose our heads getting her to finish her homework. I try to get her to do a page each day but there's always the distraction of going out for dinners, weekend activities .. etc. etc. etc and by Sunday, I start to freak when she's lagging in her homework.

The deal on mental arithmetic is practise, practise and PRACTISE. Practise makes perfect and conditions the brain to think fast. Numbers comes in pairs of 10 like  3 is to 7 as 4 is to 6 and 5 is to5 and so forth.

Amber gets distracted very easily and whines ' I don't know how to do ', or she'll play with her eraser.. scraping shreds of rubber off with her fingernails or she'll deliberately drop her pencil and asks to sharpen. Self distraction, I call it.  I believe she knows how to do but wants us to accompany her and I was told not to seat by yr kid when doing homework, unless she really and honestly do not understand and needs coaching. Sit with her once, you'll have to sit with her thru her UPSR and PMR !

Her teacher has very good things to say about her. She's the youngest kid at her level and does well in class.
At home, she's entirely different, complaining and whining all the time.. However, on few occasions, I threatened her with abacus homework and once she made hubs very very angry for some reasons I cannot remember, I told her to quickly finish abacus homework, tell daddy you've been good and redeem yourself.
She quicly 'tik tik tak tak' the beads... so FAST  and in no time, finished one whole page of sums, with no mistakes too.  Hubs and I watched her over the cctv and had a good laugh, no dilly dallying but concentrating and on the beads.

We concluded - she likes abacus but hates homework but then, who likes homework ???

This is what she has to deal and even I, find it boring but as long as it improves her concentration, she has to go through the grind :

 Another trick to help her concentrate is to empty everything off her table or else, she'll get distracted. No papers, no color pencils, nothing. Just a pencil, eraser, abacus and book.

How about you ? Do you have difficulties coping with your kids abacus homework ?

Friday, January 21, 2011


Thanks for the get well wishes for Amber. She's a whole lot better now. Probiotic helps, although slow acting, but helps a lot. That explains why her mild fever keeps coming on n off for almost a week. She's back to her normal self now and last night she asked for rice and soya sauce.. and fed herself.  Strange combo, soya sauce and rice but in between I stuffed her with steamed pomfret fish. When I was young, I hated food too and my favourite is hot steaming rice + soy sauce.  I was a skinny kid.. no joke, yes, I was really skinny then. I wished I had more photos of my childhood to remind myself, I was once slim : )

Back to Amber, I heard bad news today. I called her previous babysitter, a Por-Por, if she could care for Amber while hubs and I attend a seminar by the great investment guru -  Marc Faber. I wouldn't miss this for anything. Por Por was in tears, she told me she can't as her brother passed away last night. He complained of tummy ache, went to the toilet, fainted and that's it. I don't know the exact details yet.

Hubs and I want to pay our last respect and hubs insist Amber should go. Ah Keong is in his 60's, a strong, tan and cheerful man. When Por Por wasn't well, she sent Amber to Ah Keong's wife for a couple of months. I was very nervous then, as Amber had just started walking. I thought she would not get used to a new nanny, but I was wrong. When I sent Amber over, Ah Keong would carry her, play with bubbly Amber, making her laugh and promised to buy her san char kou and lollypop. Ah Keong would always wait to greet Amber with lollypops and san char kou. A nice man, he is. Although Amber was only there for a few months, she remembers them well and loves to play with Ah Keong's 11 yr old girl - Wan Teng.

Hubs thinks Amber should know that Ah Keong had passed on. We want her to pay her last respects and remember Ah Keong as the kind lollypop and san char kou man We are prepared for the never ending strings of question that follows. .. .. .. about life and death.

She needs to learn that life is not permanent and she has to appreciate and cherish what god had bestowed upon her. 

Above all, may Ah Keong rest in peace and I pray for Ah Keong's family to  and the courage to face the days ahead and remember him as a kind husband and father he was.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Not Well

There's signs of her being unwell recently. Started from mild fever last week which we kept away by self administered paracetamol. Over the weekend, she was up till almost midnight, we had a wedding dinner to attend Saturday and she was cranky and restless and rude.

Her appetite was bad. Took her 2 hours to eat half a bowl of rice and by Sunday, we didn't bother force feeding her anymore. Wanna eat.. eat.. hungry, eat.. dun wanna eat.. forget it. We had a birthday party to attend on Sunday and I wasn't going to kick up a big fuss on her meals.

Yesterday afternoon, Boon texted me and said Amber was crying of stomach pain and 'backside pain'. She pooh-ed and later diarrhea-ed.. Hubs and I rushed home to take her to a new paeds at Setapak, Sharon's regular. I don't trust our neighbourhood clinic anymore after 2 failed antibiotic doses on me.

Amber kept crying 'buttock pain',, 'stomach pain'... and was so fussy, she had to sit at a certain angle in the car, otherwise her buttock will hurt. Poor girl, cried all the way to the clinic.. she even said 'pang pui also pain ahhh '. .. hubs and I almost broke out laughing.

We got her some mashed potatoes from KFC as the poor girl didn't have lunch or dinner. While waiting for the doctor, hubs had a quick dinner next door. Amber threw up forcefully, a projectile vomitting. So fast till I couldn't open a paper bag for her in time. So, she was messy all over... body, legs and all, not to mention us too, spots of vomits on our clothes.

I had to clean her up at the clinic and luckily I had a spare set of school uniform with me.
Doctor couldn't detect anything except wind and he prescribed Pedialytes, Ibuprofen and Novimin.When Amber kept crying 'backside pain', doctor checked on her 'backside' and asked us in detail on Amber's care history. I think he was doing his job, looking for signs of abuse  and I had to assure him that I trust Amber is in good care while we are at work. Quite funny, this doctor, but I appreciate his concern..

Back home, she diarrhea-ed again, this time with lots of wind.. long bouts of fart came along with her motions.
She felt much better and I fed her the balance of mashed potatoes.
Showered her clean and put her to bed.

A restless night for her, she kept talking in her sleep and dreaming. Woke me up at 2am, 4am and 6am, asking for orange juice. I don't know why, I was in such a sleepy state and only fed her water.

She's off school today. I let her rest at Boon's and Aunty Choo had suggested boiling some ginseng with warm rice water. I told her to do the works and I'll pay her back. I know very well if I take the effort and double boil anything for her, she'll manja and refuse. Aunty Choo is better at stuffing things down her throat. :P

A boring and tired day for me, sleepy state and needing coffee badly

Another episode worth noting for Amber for she hardly vomits. I think for her entire 4.5 years of being my baby, she hasn't vomitted more than 10 times.. or perhaps.. less than 6 but yesterday's projectile spew was like water gushing out the Merlion but at a much faster speed.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Been yonks since this blog was up-to-date. Any matters to blog about then,  is no longer blogworthy anymore now. Busy, busy, busy, just plain busy-ness.

Few things to note before :

Amber started Yr5 of preschool. Not sure if it's K1 or K2 and what's the difference anyway? I'm so blur with it all and this blur mama here got all her dates mixed up. I thought school starts on Wed but found out last minute that it's Monday and not Wed and was rushing to get her uniform ready.. yaddaaa.. yaddaaaa .. yada. !
Then, school hours were short.. till 10.30am only not 12noon as I thought. I didn't know until the third day. Thankfully, the transporter is reliable, good for blur mamas like me.

Her schedule starts earlier and she has to wake up at 7am sharp. Feed her probiotics and wait for another 30 minutes before she takes milk. Will update on her allergy later.. no good news :( .... BUT.. we are hopeful :)
She watches a lot more tv now, I must say, I am glad !  She's never keen on tv before and now that she can watch a whole cartoon show, I can work in peace.

She has to be up and changed to her uniform by 7.30am and the motivation ??? Angelina Ballerina!!!! She absolutely loves the dancing and prancing rats :) She insists they are rabbits and not rats, I stopped arguing with her that bunnies do not have long tails like rats but as long as she's happy to be up early, Angelina Ballerina is my saviour, rats or not, I don't care.

She's completed Abacus Book 2 , subtractions and addition of double digits. We are considering to stop her abacus class and enrol her to dancing or music. Abacus is good but the homework is killing. Killing us and her too. Max 240 sums per week. Very taxing for me, not to mention 5 yr olds. On top of that, she comes home with homework form her kindy too. Bad news ! Homework almost every other day. I thought kindy and abacus is too much work for her. Every evening the poor girl is greeted by "Have you finished your homework ? How many pages of maths have you done ? Why didn't you finish ? etc etc.. instead of relaxing and goofing around with her. Why would kindy have homework ? Why ? why ?   I don't  remember homework during my preschool days... err.. I don't even remember doing homework when I was in Primary school !!!

We'll see how she fare in her next abacus exam. She likes the class but absolutely hates the homework.

At home, it's been exactly a year since Sopheak, my ex Cambo helper left us. We still think of her occasionally. I wonder if we are in her thoughts as well. hmmm.. most likely not. hahaha...
We don't intend to get another maid anytime soon. Despite the house being a lot little more messy than usual and always loads or laundry unironed, I'm still alive and kicking !  Mei sei tak !!

CNY is around the corner. I'm cutting down on my baking after grating my own thumb nail off yesterday while grating pineapples. Ouch ! No nice Konad nails for new year ! :(
Had a good lashing from hubs, no more pineapple tarts but this is one cookie I heart so much. No other tarts live up to mine.. (cheh .. perasan betul !!). I spent the whole of Thursday baking peanut cookies, I smell like peanut butter and I dreamt of burnt peanut cookies in the oven. LOL ! I think enough is enough.. I don't know what got of me.. all 5kg of peanuts hopped from my wok to the miller and in and out of my oven. I'm so done with peanuts !

Thursday, January 6, 2011


31/12 was my birthday and I thank all my pals for the wishes, sms and FB. The big day started great, a week before with a massage treat from my good pal, you know who you are.... 2 hour Thai massage was heavenly when you've been working hard, running a fruitcake factory :)

My sis knocked on my door at 7am to deliver home brewed chicken essence. Heavenly ! and thank you tai kar cheh !

Then came wishes from the little one. She wrote me birthday notes. Plenty and I've kept a couple in my wallet :
A must keep in my wallet, she'll ask me if I've kept or throw it away, and ask to see the proof.. haih.. this little girl. I asked for only 1 more gift from her, that she be a good girl on mummy's birthday and don't raise an occasion for me to shout at her. So, it was a day of bribery too. I kept going on and on.. you have to do this.. because it's mummy's birthday or you have to finish your lunch, because it's my birthday and a long list of you have to-s.. It's great if everyday was my birthday right ?
No housework and no laundry on my big day. We left for Mid Valley to catch Gulliver's Travel, with complimentary pass from my sister's best pal. Bless her and thank you HT !

She also treated me to coffee and cakes at San Terri. Hubs wanted 'real coffee' and Illy at San Terri's was the best we could get at Gardens.

All of us were too full to have any cake but I chose a slice of Opera, my favourite :) for the sake of Amber, who was sooo looking forward to blowing the candles... and she fed me cake too ..nearly poking my eyes with her fork

After an evening of nothing-ness and a long nap, we had dinner at Brussels Beer Cafe. I wanted a casual place without all the New Year celebrations and most importantly, food which Amber can take. Amber loves Brussel's roast pork :)

We shared among us : 

She granted my birthday wish by obeying my instructions, my calls, finishing up her food and simply by just being happy. She's happy, I'm happy, hubs is happy. Happiness is a circle that goes round and round and it breeds on you, doesn't it ?

and somebody's ready to party.. 
but we left Brussels for somewhere more interesting

to meet our friends.. Sharon and her family.. for a late evening toast to the New Year.

Minutes before midnight, we walked out to watch the fireworks.

Happy New Year and here's wishing all family, friends and blog readers a year that's filled with peace, happiness and good health..

Monday, January 3, 2011

Our Christmas Day

I'm so outdated in my postings. I'm probably the last or the only one to post up Christmas happenings past the New Year but I have a perfect excuse. It's still Christmas and today's the 10th day of Christmas.

This year's celebration was only a small do for my friend Bella and her family who has left Malaysia yesterday. She's a sister of my ex-colleague from HK. She came to Malaysia with the HK born but Singaporean citizen hubs, about 12 years ago and settled down here.  Bella, Richard and their 3 princesses are the most adventurous family we've known. They've traveled around Malaysia so well, knows all the nooks and corners of the country and also where the good food are.  
Amber's good friend, Sharon, also joined us for the Christmas brunch.

I was so busy with my fruitcakes and didn't have time to plan for a proper Christmas lunch. Up to 2 days before Christmas, I was debating between lambshank stew or hokkien mee. Lamb shank is interesting and something hubs would have loved but hokkien mee is something I'd cook without much fuss or worry.

Consensus on my FB suggested lamb shanks, so lamb it shall be. Googled a bit here and there.. and brewed out a pot of stew on Christmas eve

 I cooked a simple brunch... roast platter of chicken drumsticks, bacon wrapped sausage, cocktails and potatoes, pasta, egg and dairy free cupcakes, peach jelly and Big Sister's fruitcakes. I ran out of homebaked fruitcakes, my customer took all there is. Anyway, the super sweet fruit cakes tasted a lot better after brushing with brandy and left to cure for a day or two.

 I packed a gingerbread man and candy stick for each kid.
 They had a swell time, playing and fooling around with each other. The house was full of.. joyful noise :)

Then on Boxing Day, we got Amber up early to open her presents :)

She had pressies from Aunty Annie, Aunty Barbara, Aunty Rachel, Aunty Joanne,  her grandparents and also Papa & Mama.

She was frantically looking for the pressie from Papa & Mama.

and we got her these :

 A ring... with crowns and diamonds !! I knew she love all things ding-a-lings, and when I saw this ring, I had to get it.

and... that was how we spent our Christmas ...

On the tenth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.