Thursday, May 31, 2007

Comfort food on a rainy day

Before half-term hols, Varsha had arranged to cook lunch for Chitra, me and our children of course. But with my indigestion still bothering me AND Sean waking up with "I think I don't feel very well" AND the sky looking like it was about to pour anytime, I really didn't feel like taking the 2 buses needed to get to her place.

When I called her, she reasoned that since I was gonna be stuck at home anyway with the bad weather, I should definitely go to her place. She then arranged for Milin (her husband) to have lunch at home just so he could pick me and the boys up on his way back. to decline such an invitation. She is the true Perfect Hostess.

I'm glad I went. The food was great...home-cooked Indian food. Chicken curry, prawn curry, some mushroom-pea spicy mix, dhal, fragrant basmiati rice and chapati. Super. My favourite was her deep-fried vade/wade with mango chutney (see picture). Chitra and I popped them into our mouths almost as fast as they were being fried.

What about my indigestion? That was momentarily forgotten. All I can say is Indian Food?...Not a cure for no...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

30-minute Culture Vultures

Tate Modern was our destination today. We (Hsien & her little boyo Stephen, me and the boys, and Alicia) spent a whole 30 minutes at the much for soaking up some culture. Both Sean and Stephen wanted to leave after 30 minutes of moving from room to room; poor Brian wanted very much to stay on. I'm sure we would have stayed on much longer if the installation you see in the top left picture were still there....wheeee....but no, that was not to be :( I was disappointed, but grateful the boys had gone to Tate not expecting nor knowing anything about Holler's Test Site.

When the two little ones wanted to leave, I was secretly happy too. Yup, 30-minutes of being artsy-fartsy was enough, my face was going green from, not from the artwork, but from dinner last night and lunch earlier.

Lunch was at Chiswick's Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK). These are our orders, clockwise from top left:

Junior Chicken Burger - Fresh chicken breast fillets & mayo (shared by the 5-year olds)
Portobella - Whole portabella mushroom, sweet red peppers, rocket, red onion & pesto (for me)
Junior - 100% Aberdeen-Angus Scotch beef, cheese & tomato sauce (Brian & Alicia)
Barbecue - 100% Aberdeen-Angus Scotch beef, smokey barbeque sauce, salad & relish (Hsien).

My Portobella Burger was heavenly..mmmmm... Heaven doesn't come cheap though, it's £7.25 a pop. Ha, that's about Malaysian Ringgit 50. How many Ramly Burgers do you reckon one can buy for RM50 these days? GBK's great, but I'm still very much a kampung-girl at heart, and would opt for a Ramly Burger (two actually) any day.

One last picture: the boys on the Millenium Bridge (you can see St Paul's Cathedral behind them).

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Wet Bank Holiday

That's a picture the boys took with Alicia, who joined us for dinner at New Fortune Cookie. Today's a Bank Holiday (in Singapore we call it Public Holiday) and true to form, it was a rainy, windy, almost wintry day (7 deg celsius and we're almost in June now).

Dinner was good; we had half a Peking Duck, half a roast duck (too fat), Japanese seafood tofu, Fried frog's legs with chilly and Belly Pork with Mui Choy.

Father and Firstborn had earlier in the day gone for a 3-hour movie, Spiderman 3. Sean didn't want to watch and I wasn't keen either, never did like Tobey Mcguire nor Kirsten Dunst. At home, I watched a dvd of Gosford Park while Sean watched Tom and Jerry.

A lazy, lazy, holiday.

ps: Alicia wanted to take pictures of us to show her fiance in Singapore. I was in no state for photo-taking and anyway, Eddie said photos can be found in this blog (not his photo though). So Kelvin, if you're seeing this, Hi from the Leongs! *waves*

Monday, May 28, 2007

Easy-Peasy Riceless California Roll

Just wanted to share how I make my riceless california roll (maki). It's really yummy and easy, no cooking required. My kind of food...easy-peasy.

I usually have 2 rolls at the very least, with wasabi and light soy sauce of course.

It would make for a good diet regime, but for the fact that I put lots of mayo...and that I usually eat 3-4 rolls at one go :(

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Daffygram? : )

Sean uses both hands to press hard the part of his tummy just below the ribcage and says to Brian, "If you do this, you will spoil your daffygram and your small intestines."
Brian: NOT daffygram! Diaphragm!

Letter to Koko

Yesterday was the last day of school before half-term break and Brian went to his friend Cristobal's house for a sleepover right after school. I only picked him up today at 4pm.

Sean showed Brian a letter he wrote:

Dear KoKo I Miss You
But Do You Miss Me?
Well MuMMy Misses You.
DaDDy Misses You and
I Miss You. Love Sean.

He drew little hearts inside letters such as D, e, a and o : )

I wish Brian knew just how much Sean loves him...

Friday, May 25, 2007

What's your beef?...

Nothing. Not after I found this in Sainsbury's. For some time now, my beef with Bovril had been the lack of, well, beef, in it. I had not been able to find Bovril with beef in Singapore for many, many years now but apparently it had only gone missing in the UK after 2004. See this and this.

Well, it's back on the shelves now, and that's all that matters to Mama Bear - I love Bovril with porridge.

Fa la la la la Fa la lu da : )

I'm just being silly with the title. What you see here is Faluda, an Indian (I think) dessert made up of ice-cream, rose syrup, vermicelli and I dunno what else. Chitra, a mother from school, ordered this when she joined us (Maeilla, Varsha and me) on our repeat trip to Wembley and Chennai Dosa. Yes, we bought Alphonsus mangoes again, at a higher price (£6 a dozen instead of £5.50 previously), apparently, the season's gonna be over in about 3 days.

Ate too much again.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Japanese* food overload

Bumped into Alicia, the most recent SQ posted staff in London, at Sainsbury's yesterday and we arranged to possibly meet for lunch today. Alicia arrived in London only a week ago.

Anyway, after my acupuncture session, she picked me up and we headed for my favourite Japanese restaurant Sushi-Hiro, opposite Ealing Common station. Lunch was very good as usual. We then headed for Atari-Ya, the Japanese grocery shop in West Acton that Lisa told me about.

Bought the fattest belly tuna, scallops, fish roe, unagi, chasoba and other condiments. Asked Alicia to come by for dinner later. A good thing I did. With the spread of unagi, scallops, tuna and california roll ingredients (I could kick myself, forgot that I had run out of roasted seaweed!, so no California Roll!), miso soup and sushi-rice,....

....what did the boys want?...Sean: Egg with rice (not sushi rice, but normal rice) and Brian begged and begged for GarlicSambalSweetSauce Rice. Grrrrr....

Alicia and I ended up eating everything (Ed's out of town), then chatted over Haagen Dazs ice-cream, grapes and honey-melons till past 9pm. It was fun.

*I would have titled the post Jap Food Overload, but I learnt from Hsien that in the US, Jap is a derogatory term. We use it so freely in Singapore. Well, you learn something new everyday huh.

When I was 5...

My first ever meme -- tagged by the lovely Stef. Here goes nothing:

When I was
5: I wanted to be a tiger; I also wanted to marry my father :)
10: I wanted to be a lawyer; I thought you only needed to be talkative to be one.
15: I wanted to be an architect; I liked math and art you see.
20: I wanted to be a hot-shot banking dynamo, wearing Max Mara clothes, driving a fancy car out of my Shenton Way office carpark, and earning tonnes of money.

None of my wishes came true. Yup, I'm a big fat failure -- now you've got me all depressed Stef! hee...

Tagging Wendy, PP (private blog) and Roslyn then. No fun tagging Hsien cos it's gonna be Scientist all the way.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Been ages since I last...

...slept for 12 hours straight. And it was utter bliss.

Yesterday, I crashed at 6pm. I was so tired, have been keeping late nights doing research on some stuff (talk about this another time) and also websurfing randomly (StumbleUponlah what else).

I only woke up at 6am today. Pleasantly surprised, cos I'm not usually able to sleep so long.

The boys went to bed at 9pm. I found out today they were reading Calvin and Hobbes. I vaguely heard them going to bed, and Brian whispering harshly to Sean, "Don't WHINE!" x5...:) Sean listens to his koko when I'm not there to complain to.

It's 8pm now, I think I'll go to sleep early today again and leave them to put themselves to bed. Brian's folding clothes now and bribing Sean with Maltesers for help in storing each item he folds.

Nite all.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Stumbling along

I'm losing my blogging mojo, not least because of this. I'm hooked, all thanks to Hsien! Am spending all my time stumbling, can't get anything else done (this includes housework, time with kids, blogging...).

This is what The Wall Street Journal had to say about StumbleUpon: "Next time you want to wander the Web, forget about Googling it. Stumble it."

If you're a StumblerUpon, let me know so I can add you to my Friends.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Current food fad

I'm terrible when it comes to eating. When I like something, I can eat it all day, for weeks. At one time, it was Pate with toast. In the past month, my food fad was a very healthy one, minimal carbs; home-made california roll without rice.

But my latest food fad is Baaaaad...loaded with carbs. It requires no cooking, except for the rice. What I do is pile my plate high with rice, pour Adabi Kicap Manis (Sweet Soy Sauce), some light soy sauce, lots of chopped raw garlic, sambal belacan, then mix them all up. Heavenly! The crunchy garlic is really shiok. Brian loves this as well.

Please pray that I'll get sick of this very soon...cos carbs and lilian...bad combination :(

Sunday, May 20, 2007

OUMNH Revisited

Here's a summary by reader Barbara about my day out at Oxford.

C'mon, what's the worst that could happen?

From Bob Parson's 16 rules to live by, my favourite one is No4:

4. With regard to whatever worries you, not only accept the worst thing that could happen, but make it a point to quantify what the worst thing could be. Very seldom will the worst consequence be anywhere near as bad as a cloud of "undefined consequences." My father would tell me early on, when I was struggling and losing my shirt trying to get Parsons Technology going, "Well, Robert, if it doesn't work, they can't eat you."

Ladies' night IN

Picture shows Eddie's cufflink on his nice white crisp shirt. The men are out tonight for the Sg-UK Association (SUKA) D&D, leaving the women home with the kids. I'm not complaining at all; I'm not up for the primping and preening, and I've some kgs to go before I feel good in a glam evening dress.

Lunch was at New Fortune Cookie; the usual, Peking Duck, Japanese hotpot tofu with seafood and Kingto Pork Ribs. Before that, we were at Whiteley's and I bought Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion for half-price. It'll probably end up in my pile of "Must finish reading" books, which includes this and this. And there's this other borrowed pile to read too.

Gonna have an early night, lots of bedtime reading to do.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Skills learnt in 10 days

This is the bowl Sean cleaned up this evening, all by himself. Not a grain of rice left.

No biggie, you might say. But it IS a biggie, to me. Up till early last week, Sean still insisted that I feed him during meal-times. I knew he was quite capable of feeding himself, as he had done so occasionally, but he just wouldn't.

From this list, I knew there were 2 things he could well start doing himself, feed self with utensils and brush teeth. The funny thing is once I started expecting him to do these himself, he lived up to this expectation, and slowly but surely gained confidence in these "skills".

Happy to report he's been feeding himself since last Tuesday. No complaints, no whining. In fact, today, he came by to where I was (at my Mac as usual) and proudly showed me his empty bowl. Oh, he brushes his teeth too (needs help to squeeze toothpaste); I give him a final brush to make sure it's really clean. Still, a big Yay! from one happy mummy.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Ferrari of skate scooters

Some months ago, I bought Sean the Micro-mini kickboard scooter (picture right), what I dubbed the Rolls Royce of skate scooters. We've really made good use of that and school runs have been a breeze. No regrets there.

A week ago, our internet order of the Kickboard Compact (picture left) was delivered. If Sean's was the Rolls Royce of skate scooters, this surely must be the Ferrari. Look, I don't know a thing about cars, I'm just assuming a Ferrari is more expensive than a Rolls, so feel free to correct me. Brian's Ferrari is quite a beauty huh? There's a price to pay for beauty though, a whopping £83 including delivery. His old two-wheeled one from Woolworth was only £10!

It's still early days yet, but Brian's not having as easy a time whizzing around in the Ferrari as Sean is with the Rolls-Royce, I'm thinking because of the weight. You've guessed it, I'm a bit worried the Ferrari's gonna turn into an expensive white elephant. I'm gonna get an earful from Eddie if that happens :*

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Moms' Day Out

A couple of weeks ago, Varsha showed Maiella and I what India in London was all about. Today, it was my turn to show them China in London, in other words, Chinatown. Not that I've ever been to China-la.

So from school, we had Varsha, Maiella, and another mother Jane (pronounced Ja-nee), trotting to Piccadilly Circus after coffee at Maiella's. We're quite the Motley Crew, me, Malaysian-SingaPRean, Jane (Brazilian married to a Dutch and living in London), Varsha (Indian but has lived in Houston and for the past 10 years in Milan) and Maiella (Italian-Haitian from Milan).

The first place I guided them to was my favourite Japanese grocery store at Japan Centre. Then to Chinatown, where I showed them where I sometimes shop. They had never seen Lotus Root before, and I showed them Durians and bought Mangosteens and Rambutans for them to try. They loved the Mangosteens but didn't find Rambutans all that special, somewhat like Lychee.

By noon, we were at our planned destination, Yauatcha, for dimsum. Both Maiella and Varsha have never heard of dimsum, while Jane has been to and love Yauatcha. She's also been to lots of places I've only heard of, like Hakkasan (upmarket version of Yauatcha) and Nobu (Japanese).

They left it to me to decide what to order, and they raved about almost everything. They really loved it! Phew! Varsha gave it 10/10. Maiella wants to come back again. Let me see, I ordered Hargao, Shiumai, Charsiewbao, Turnip cake, CheongFun, Penang Fried kuey teow, two types of lotus glutinous rice, fried mango spring roll, spinach cubes, I think that's about it...I know, it's pretty standard fare...but I'm a creature of habit...when it comes to food, it's all about Tried and Tested.

After lunch, which was at the uber-chic basement, we proceeded upstairs to the tea-room for the excellent cakes. Mmmm, so fragrant and yum. We all really had an excellent time, sharing about our different lives and backgrounds. Jane's story had us really enthralled. An extremely interesting day we had.

Next outing, my call again, this time we're going Japanese...Sumimasen...

Ask a silly question...

...and you get a...?

Sean's questions today; and in green, my answers.
How does a clock work? This is how.
Why isn't there an end to the universe? Because there isn't.
Why is a spiderling small? Because it's a baby spider, of course it's small.
Why do spiders eat flies? Because they do.
How are plants made? Plants aren't made, they grow from seeds.
Why do we grow? By eating and drinking. Oops, that's the answer to How do we grow? Correct ans: Because we do.
What helps us grow? Food and water.
Why do we eat food? Because we're hungry, and to live and grow.
Why do we drink water? Because we're thirsty, and to live and grow.
Why does the sun give us light? Because it does.
Why isn't glass hard? Glass IS hard. But sometimes you break it. Oh, because it isn't.
Why is stone hard? Because it is.
Also, why is metal hard? Because it is.
Why is a head round? Not all heads are round.
Why do a triangle and a rectangle have angles? Because they do.
Why don't an oval and a circle have any corners or angles? Because they don't.
Why are we going to Moscow? Oops.
Why did koko bring three hearts that stick together? Because he made it at papier mache club.
Why do snails have slime? To help them move.
Why do flies have wings? To fly.
And where do leaves grow? On plants.
I don't have any more questions.
And don't write anymore.
Hey I said don't write anymore.
I said don't write anymore.
I said don't write anymore.
I said don't write anymore.
I said don't write anymore.
I said don't write anymore.
I said don't write anymore.
I said don't write anymore.
I said don't write anymore.
I said don't write anymore.
I said don't write anymore.
I said don't write anymore.
I said don't write anymore.
I said don't write anymore.
I said don't write anymore.
I said don't write anymore.
I said don't write anymore.
I said don't write anymore.
I said don't write anymore.
I said don't write anymore.
I said don't write anymore.
I said don't write anymore.
I said don't write anymore.

I stop typing, and think, can't believe he outlasted me, grrrr.

If you have a proper answer to any of the questions, please leave a comment. TIA.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Pngs are coming!

Wendy told me today that Gev and her may be coming to London for a few days in June. It's a totally unexpected trip cos they're headed back to Singapore that month, for good. As the Brits say, I'm well chuffed about this; the last time Wendy was here, I had not discovered as much of London as I have now (not that I've discovered very much lah).

She is my baking guru after all, and I really want to take her to Kooks Unlimited. And when she was last here, I hadn't developed my luke-warm love for baking yet, so we're hoping to get some bakes done this time...yippeee, with Wendy around, I know my cakes will get off the ground!

She's quite the foodie as well, and likes the angmoh type of food, so I wanna take her to Cheyne Walk Brasserie too.

The picture above is the banner I helped erhm, design?, for Wendy's blog. She seems so, em, at the risk of overusing the phrase - well chuffed - about it, that I feel a bit paiseh to admit I didn't really do anything much, just used some cute fonts. Go check her blog out, she has some fantastic photography skills, makes me go green with envy.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Discovering Triangular Numbers

In the morning, I was surfing the net when Sean came over to say this, "1+2+3 equals 6."
Me: Good, do you know what's 1+2+3+4?
Tries using his fingers to count, and gives up almost immediately: I don't know what 1+2+3+4 is.
Me: Okay, you know what 1+2+3 is right?
Sean: I don't.
Me: You just did it. 1+2+3 equals...?
Sean: 6.
Me: So 1+2+3+4, just add 4 more...
Uses fingers to add 6 and 4, then shouts: 10!*
He immediately goes on to say (without using fingers): 1+2+3+4+5 equals 15
followed by: 1+2+3+4+5+6 equals 21
Me: Great! What's 1+2+3+4+5+6+7?
Sean: 28
Brian shared with us that these are all Triangle/Triangular Numbers.

I checked the net for more information and demonstrated to Sean by drawing dots on a piece of paper why these numbers are called Triangle Numbers (they correspond to the number of dots in a triangle).

Impromptu lesson completed, I dismissed Sean with my usual, "Okay, now go away." I went back to my surfing.

I later saw what Sean did in the living room.

He actually arranged his blocks in a triangular number pattern. I thought today was a perfect example of what I wrote earlier about watching out for learning spurts (see Point 8 of this post) in our kids. If your child initiates a 'lesson', take him as far as you can, don't just follow textbooks/curriculum/lessonplans. Research the net together cos there's just so much more information out there. And kids take in much more than we think. Like I said, they may not show you that they understand what they've been taught today; it may take some time for them to internalise the information, but they'll show you soon enough just how much they've learnt. It's so satisfying when they do that.

*Brian saw me typing 10! and smartaleckily says "10 with an exclamation mark, isn't that 10 factorial? 10x9x8x7x6...?"

Dolsot Bibimbap

I'm not beat-boxing. Dolsot Bibimbap is the name of the Korean dish I had for lunch at Yoshi-Sushi today. Dolsot means "stone pot" while Bibimbap literally means "mixed rice" or "mixed meal." Dolsot Bibimbap is served in a heated stone bowl, in which a raw egg is cooked against the sides of the bowl. Before the rice is placed in the bowl, the bottom of the bowl is coated with sesame oil, making the layer of the rice touching the bowl golden brown and crispy. (source: Wikipedia)

To cut a long story short, I didn't enjoy it.

Last night the boys had a sleepover at Neil's. It was Sean's first ever sleepover. He wanted very much to go for the sleepover, and as Ed & I had a dinner & mahjong/karaoke session to attend, we decided to let him go. Varsha said everything went well without a hitch. This morning, he was dropped off at 1130am. Brian continued on to the Science Museum with Neil and his family.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

What colour are you?


You give your love and friendship unconditionally. You enjoy long, thoughtful conversations rich in philosophy and spirituality. You are very loyal and intuitive.

Find out your color at!

Somehow I knew I'd get blue, my favourite colour.

Friday, May 11, 2007

B Leong's Little Red Riding Hood

Once upon a time,
Little Hoodie had a dime,
And she bought some food,
For her granny sweet and good,
So that was how it started,
To her granny's house she darted,
And now you'll find out,
How this story came about.

The weather's so sunny,
May I please go out, Mummy?

Okay, but remember Hoodie,
Don't go stopping in the woodie,
Or talking to strangers,
Who pretend to be goody-goody,
Because trouble comes,
with a wolfie.

So Little Hoodie went strolling,
And down a wolf came rolling,
He stopped on a bush,
and gave it such a push!

Where are you going, little Red?
To visit your granny who lies in bed?
Please tell me where she lives,
I'll give her some nice gifts.

Then the woodcutter saw him,
He thought he would like to saw him!
Up into little pieces,
To give to his nieces,
But then he turned and ran,
to Little Hoodie's gran.

Oh Granny, please be careful dear,
For a big bad wolf is near!
Quick! Go hide under the bed,
Because after that comes little Red.

All right then,
I'll hide under the bed,
I don't want the wolf,
to bite off my head!

So the woodcutter went away,
Saying he'd visit again another day,
The wolf, however, was not so polite,
As he walked in he ate everything in sight,
Only when he heard little Red,
Did he fling himself in bed.

Granny dear, it's time for tea,
It's just me, Little Hoodie,
Now you won't sit all alone,
Because you have me in your home.

Come, my dear,
Come over here,
To my jaws, (Whispering)
And shiver with fear. (Whispering)

Grandma, your teeth,
do you brush?
Or do you go to bed,
in a rush?

Of course I brush,
That's why my fur,
Makes the lions,
curl up and purr.
Er no, I mean,
That's why my hair,
Always looks,
so clean and fair.

But Grandma, don't you mean your teeth?
And your big red gums beneath?

Don't worry,
there's no need to brush,
Because with my jaws,
you will be crushed!

And with that,
the wolf leaped out of bed.
But the ceiling was low,
so he bumped his head,
He stomped out muttering,
I'll just go eat some pork,
From those 3 little pigs?
Don't forget your knife and fork!

This was Brian's homework last night. The assignment was to write a script for another version of Little Red Riding Hood, which the class will then perform at their assembly. I thought Brian's version was quite funny.

Noticed anything different?

Look up there, I've got a new banner. That header image's called a banner right?

Hsien was suggesting that I might want to jazz up my blog a bit. She did something fun with her banner here.

I know it's still pretty minimalist but that's about as jazzy as I can go for now.

Of Dinos and Volcanoes

Sean's hands were oily from eating bbq chicken wings and he needed to pee so off to the bathroom I went with him. Brian was in there washing his hands and he started telling me about why he thought a comet colliding into earth couldn't have been the reason for dinosaurs going extinct...when as usual...

Sean starts asking loudly, about extinct volcanoes.

It's really hard trying to listen to two loud boys, both trying to get their points across to one mummy. I nod and feign interest, when all that's going through my head is blah blah blah blah extinct blah blah blah blah dinosaurs blah blah blah blah extinct blah blah blah volcanoes blah blah blah blah mummy blah blah blah...

Most of the time, an argument would start, each insisting the other should shaddup cos "I started talking to mummy FIRST!!" If we're lucky, like today, I manage to convince each of them that he had my unrivalled attention.

And with Brian having a ready answer to Sean's question today, "A volcano that hasn't erupted for a long time but may still erupt again is a dormant volcano, a volcano that erupts frequently is an active volcano, and a volcano that won't erupt anymore is an extinct volcano.", both boys trotted out of the bathroom, satisfied. Phew.


When does a dormant volcano become an extinct volcano?

Preacher man in the making?

After school, Brian read what I wrote below (2nd last para), and he clarified that what he said was targetted at those who don't believe in God...not for believers like himself. So it was actually an argument FOR believing in God, not, as his cynical mummy thought, his reason/motive for believing.

Is it a compelling argument? Any agnostics or atheists biting?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sean's googles...

...well, what he's asked me to type on my google toolbar, have included...

Why are apples red?
Why do leaves fall from trees when it's autumn?
Where does food go?
Why does water turn into urine?
Where do minerals come from?
Why do we get blackout?
Who were the first gods to make earth?

In bed last night he asked, How did God make us?

and this morning, he asked me to google, How was the earth formed?


The last three clearly indicate I've not been doing enough to impart the basics of Christian teaching to him (Genesis Chapter 1!!).

There's a whole debate out there on Creationism vs Darwinism, should I just direct him there?


Brian attended Sunday school regularly when he was Sean's age, so he had more biblical knowledge ingrained in him, even then, he would ask things like, "If God created everything, then who created God?" I think he was 5 then.

And his motive for believing in God is rather self-serving; he recently told me, "Mummy, do you know why it's better to believe in God than not? Because if you don't believe in God, and you're wrong and there is a God, then you're in trouble. But if you believe in God, and you're wrong and there is no God, nothing will happen to you."

Talk about covering your bases. Whatever happened to simple child-like faith?

Luuuuurve my presents : )

The best presents are those you receive for no reason other than because the giver thought of you when they saw them. Hsien gave me these today when we met up for her visit to my Chinatown hairstylist. She got them when she was back in San Francisco last month.

Sooooo pretty...Pink and Red heart-shaped silicone cupcake cases...and...

a cupcake-shaped cupcake recipe board-book...eeeeeekkkk...cannot cute!!

Thanks Hsien, you're a sweetheart, and you know it!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Brothers by chance...

...Friends by choice.

Hello Koko!
Hello Sean!

(Boys spot each other after school at the playground)

Sandwich sliding with koko and his friends...


Wheee...that was FUN...let's do it again!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Bookish Boys

Brian's friend Ivan came by yesterday for a sleepover (today's a Bank Holiday). Here the 3 boys are reading their books. Both Ivan and Brian love Brian Jacques' books, and at High Street Kensington's Waterstone's where we picked Ivan up yesterday, they each bought a new Jacques' book.

The two of them get along tremendously well; unfortunately for Brian, Ivan will be leaving the school very soon (next week actually) as his parents have sold their London house and will be moving to the country, specifically Salisbury.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Skills to learn by age 5?

Got this from another mummy's website, her list of skills to learn by age 5 (for her children). Oops, Sean turns 5 in September. In bold are areas we'll need to work on, yikes, there are lots of them! In Italic are chores he's able to do if reminded (I don't even do some of these myself *blush*).

Wash hands
Wash face
Brush teeth
Blow nose w/ tissue
Go Pee w/o supervision
Comb hair
Floss teeth
Wash and Rinse Hair
Wipe self after defecation
Bathe self w/o supervision

Put dirty clothes in hamper
Undress self
Dress self
Take off shoes
Put on shoes (non-tying)
Put away clean clothes
Select outfit and dress self
Tie shoes
Do own laundry???

Put toys away after use
Make bed
Keep room tidy
Keep couch pillows straightened

Fold simple laundry
Rinse Dishes (while mommy washes)
Dry and put away flatware and non-breakable dishes
Spray and wipedown coffee table

Bring Dishes to sink after meal
Set table
Empty bathroom trash

Feed self w/ Hands
Feed self w/ utensils
Drink from "big cup"
Wipe self w/ napkin
Know where basic foods are located
Identify and pass foods at the table
Help mommy prepare meals
Prepare simple food w/o supervision (like Pb&J)

Hitting the books

Borrowed 6 books from the library:
i) yes, please, thanks! The Essential Guide to Teaching Children Manners - Penny Palmano;
ii) That's My Boy! A modern parent's guide to raising a happy and confident son - Jenni Murray;
iii) Why won't my child listen? - Myra Grisdale & Janet Cater;
iv) How to be a Better Parent: No matter how badly your children behave or how busy you are - Cassandra Jardine;
v) Raising Happy Children: What Every Child Needs Their Parents to Know (from 0 to 11 years) - Jan Parker and Jan Stimpson;
vi) The Complete Secrets of Happy Children - Steve Biddulph and Sharon Biddulph.

I'll let you know if they are any good...that is, if I manage to read them...the last time I went to the library, I borrowed eight parenting books and ended up reading just one!!! So much for wanting to improve my parenting skills.

See the titles of the last two books...Please leave me a comment if you think Happy is over-rated.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Mango cake or Mangled cake?

I love mangoes and mango cakes. Just look at this gorgeous Mango cake made by a Singapore mummy.

With about half a dozen Alphonsus mangoes at home, I felt inspired to bake this cake. It was foolhardy of me. I should have heeded Eddie's advice. You see, I had shown him the picture above and asked, "If I baked this, would you eat it?" To which he replied, "Don't be so ambitious." For once, the naysayer was right.

See my Mangled, er, Mango cake. Utter disaster.

And it tastes worse than it looks. I cut two slices, one for myself (forced it down my throat) and another for Brian, who loves mangoes (he couldn't finish his tiny slice). He summed it up best with this, "Overall, I think it looks appetising, but if you were to sell it, I don't think your customers are going to come back for another."

The rest of the cake went into the bin. I'll stick to cupcakes and chocolate cakes, thank you very much.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Brian's back : )

See all the gancheong spider mummies (me included of course) waiting for their precious babies? baby's back! He seemed so subdued, and it feels like he's grown 2 inches taller. Hee...mummy's imagination goes wild again.

This morning, the first thing Sean said in bed was, "Is it Friday now?" When I said yes and asked him why, he didn't want to say anything but we know why, don't we?

Sean has one kind of character. He's been asking for Brian every single day. But when Brian entered the apartment, Sean, who was reading on the living room sofa, did not acknowledge him, and continued reading his book. Even when I said, "Don't you want to come and give koko a hug?", he just sat there reading. Only when Brian went over to hug and kiss him did he start talking to his brother. Cannot tahan him.

Well, Brian said he had a superb time at Moorland Hall. They sure did a lot over 4.5 days, including abseiling, rock-climbing (not on fake climbing walls, but on granite tors, and he reached the top!), assault course, archery, body-boarding in shallow seas, Jacob's ladder, gorge walking, sand-castle building and treasure hunt.

Brian's not had much schooling done over the past two months. This week was the residential trip, and before this 4 weeks of half-term hols, and before that 3 weeks of rehearsals for Jack and the Beanstalk. Should I be getting worried?

Back to work now boy, you hear?

Swirly Surprise

My first ever swirl. Even if no one else thinks so, I'm just gonna say it, that's a mighty purty swirl : ) I love swirls, when I look at them, I think happy thoughts : )

This cupcake was one of the dozen I made for Kieran's 1st birthday. Happy Birthday little Kieran!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Road to Wembley

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this. A sugarcane-juice-making machine. In London! Nothing beats a cold sugarcane drink on a hot day, which was what I used to enjoy on my way home from school in Malacca, long, long ago. It was quite a warm day today, so Maiella & I really enjoyed the two cups of sugar-cane juice that Varsha bought us.

Varsha and Maiella are mums of two fairly new boys in Brian's school (I've mentioned it somewhere here before; Varsha's originally from India while Maiella is Italian-Haitian, but they've lived in Milan for years.) With our boys away for a week, we decided to take the time to meet up and go somewhere. Varsha drove us to Wembley today, and as we entered the area, she proclaimed, "We have entered Indian territory." And right she was.

A fruit/vegetable shop, there are quite a few of these there. Varsha said that shopping street was typical India. So if you haven't been to India and want to know what it's like, get on the road to Wembley.

Bought Alphonsus mangoes, in-season and highly recommended by Varsha, a dozen for £5.50.

For lunch, we went to this restaurant called Chennai Dosa. This is the food platter I had, filled with rice, chapati, papadum, dhal, chicken curry, excellent mutton was buffet-style, so you can eat all you want, for an incredible (by London standards) price of £5.50!

After stuffing ourselves silly, we went back to school for Sean's pick-up. While waiting, we had ice-cream and chatted on the greens. Sure was a fun day with these two crazy ladies.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Countdown to Friday

Last night, as Sean lay in bed trying to sleep, he asked, "Is today Tuesday?"

Me: Yes, yesterday was Monday. So today's Tuesday.
Sean: After today, will it be Wednesday tomorrow?
Me: Yes.
Sean: And after Wednesday, will it be Thursday?
Me: Yes.
Sean: And after Thursday, will it be Friday?
Me: Yes.
Sean: And when it's Friday, will Koko be back?

You're not the only one missing koko, little Sean.

In the evening, while I was baking and decorating cupcakes for Kieran's first birthday, Sean suddenly said, "It's just you and me."

He continued, "I wish there was somebody else."
I asked, "Who?"
"Koko and Daddy. I wish Koko could come back again."

Well, at least it's not as bad as last July when Brian went for his first residential camp, also for 4 nights. Then, every single day, Sean would cry that he wanted his brother back, "When is koko coming back?", and shout accusatorily,"I WANT YOU TO WALK TO KOKO'S SCHOOL AND BRING KOKO BACK NOW!!!"

Flower power

Hsien brought these lovely tulips when she came by today. We had lunch with Katherine and baby Valerie at Ma Cuisine. Hsien ooh-ed and aah-ed lots at the baby; and Valerie looked mighty comfortable nestled in Hsien's arms. Hsien and babies sure go well together. Kat has shed off lots of pounds; while it was the reverse for Valerie, who looks so cute and chubby.

When Sean came home, he immediately noticed the flowers (we hardly ever have them at home) and asked, "Why did you buy these beautiful flowers?"

Me: I didn't buy them. Auntie Hsien bought them for us.
Sean: Why did Auntie Hsien buy them for us?
Me: Because she's very nice (oops Hsien hates being described as nice).
Sean: Oh.

He admired the flowers for some time.

While feeding him dinner in the living room (dining table was filled with sugarcraft materials), he looked across at the flowers again.

Sean: When it's night-time, do your flowers close up?
Me: I don't know. Are they supposed to?
Sean: Yes, they are. Otherwise, the dew will wet the pollen.

*Can't find anything on the web to confirm the information Sean shared, so I can't vouch for its accuracy

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

When I was young...

...and Christmas trees were do do do do do do do do....

Love that song, First of May.

First of May is also my sister's birthday. My sis is good, giving, generous, kind-hearted, selfless, thoughtful...yes, yes, I know,...everything I'm not. Happy Birthday Jie!

Our nest is half-empty

That's Brian hopping on the bus that was taking him and his Yrs 4&5 friends on a 5-hour long journey to West Devon, where they'll be staying for 4 nights. The house sure feels quiet with him away.

School ended at 4.15pm for Sean as he had an after-school music-makers club today. I knew he'd be famished as his teacher said he only ate bread and fruits during lunch. So on our way home, we popped into Ma Cuisine for an early dinner. The restaurant is now open all-day, and the very nice waiter availed the set lunch (last order 330pm) to us. Both the asparagus and salmon fillet were very good.