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A Christmas card

>> Dec 28, 2009



Last week I received a Christmas card from my good friend in Australia. It was such a pleasant surprise J. In this age of e-Card, SMS text, Online chat, Facebook… snail mail is only for mailing your cheque payments for credit card, mortgage, insurance payments…

I haven’t received any such cards in many years. It’s an almost long forgotten thing. We normally get junk flyers, promotional mailers, receipts, statements, bills but to see a pale green handwritten envelope… wow, it’s so personal and so touching to see this tradition back in practice. There’s nothing like receiving one.

I just may do this come Chinese New Year… J


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Christmas recipe

>> Dec 25, 2009

Here's wishing you a very Merry Christmas, a lovely family reunion and a joy rediscovered with your loved ones.


A teaspoon of smile
A tablespoon of joy
A piece of love
A pinch of peace
A cup of cheers, and
A dash of laughter

Now, that's a recipe for a wonderful Christmas holidays. May the magic of Christmas brings to you and your family good health, joy, peace, love and laughters always.

Have a blessed Christmas!




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Christmas-christmas

>> Dec 23, 2009



I’ve been busy these couple of weeks, preparing my little prince for his formal schooling next year. As part of the effort by the school to make the huge milestone in a child’s life, they have made it less daunting, with orientation program at the school this week, something like a trial run. I’ll tell you all about it in the next posting.


While browsing the net (I’m always browsing the net, my biggest library in my home)… I saw some interesting stuff you might like for this festive week. I’m not sure if you have checked up Land O’Lakes (Butter) site, they have some holiday recipes brochure, menu suggestion and free printing stuff.

From one of my favourite sites, the Allrecipe.com, has some great suggestion on recipes starting from Christmas eve including some yummy cookies recipes.

I love making cookies and I regret not being able to do so this year. I only managed to try out some Christmas desserts. Next year, I’m going to make a better plan! J. This year’s strategic plan not so workable… hahahah! May be I needed another pair of hands and more free time. But at least my Christmas tree was up 3 weeks ago J and I’ve got some presents under the tree.

There are some ideas that you can get from Martha Stewart’s home decorating ideas for the holiday season, holiday crafts and recipes of course.

Some good hostessing tips from Rachel Ray, Gift Guides and Holiday Desserts that got me drooling.

I didn’t have much time but I managed to briefly glanced at another of my favourite site, Nestle’s Very Best Baking and Chocolate-chocolate Hershey’s.

Next year, I’m going to make some nice Chocolate Chip Cookies and perhaps some spiced cookies too.

It’s the 23rd.............then 24th...........but-but-but there’s still no sign of my present under the tree.



Hurry Santa...hurry!



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All I want for Christmas...

>> Dec 22, 2009

Mmmm…


”All I want for Christmas is …
something nice,
something sweet (not sugary sweet)
something personal,
something romantic,
something feminine,
something ME…something SPECIAL!

I left my latest issue of Marie Claire on my coffee-table opened on THE page with book-marker (do you need a book-marker for your woman’s magazine? … (eye-rolling!)… And, I left the browsers of my note-book opened on these pages for a couple of days now...

Not very subtle am I? But…the hints are so obvious… hehehe…let’s see if this works.

Chinese have a saying ‘ngau-pei tang-lung’ (roughly translated, leather lampshade)…sigh! I can count the number of presents under the tree…mine is still not there yet. But it’s already the 22th!

Every year, I’ve got something practical… I’ve always been practical…yeah, (sigh!) that’s why I get ‘practical gifts’… so can I change that?
 
In the past, I’ve got cookbook…alright, cookbookS… (maybe, my cooking needs improvement?). I’ve got a dress (OK, dresses), a John Grisham’s book (not a cookbook!), a beautiful set of pyrex dish (was it for Mother’s Day?....can’t remember!), a camera-phone (my old mobile-phone died on me 10 days before Christmas – how convenient!)…

Are these nice, sweet…
Sigh!...


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Mocha Cupcakes

>> Dec 17, 2009

I have this ‘thing’ to try coffee-something… hahaha, no, I’m not pregnant! Just a yearning to make some stuff with coffee or coffee-flavoured something-something. It’s not a stress thing, it’s the year-end, Christmas is coming, New Year is coming and my “Bosses” are also in holiday mood, as I am… J



While browsing the net, this gorgeous looking cupcake from MyBakingAddiction.com caught my eyes and I just knew I gotta try. If you check up Jamie’s site, you’ll know what I mean…all the cupcakes are just so yummilicious-looking. Thanks Jamie - your pics got me craving for more...hahaha!

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Finger-licking Fragrant Garlic Prawns

Like prawns?..try this!


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Christmas gift ideas

>> Dec 12, 2009

I have always shopped personally, ie see, check, touch, feel, try and pay customer. Not very keen to try online purchase, for there is the fear of credit card fraud, I don’t get my goods after payment, I'm not getting my quality stuff… but there are a good many trusted sites recommended by purchasers as we can follow in forums and reviews. Perhaps I'll try some day.


For children, you may want to consider some of the followings:-


Fisher-Price’s Geo-trax is excellent for motor-skills training. I got this set for Max when he was just 1. He was able to learn to maneuver the joystick forward and back and hold it to get the “choo-choo”. It’s a bit pricey though.



Lego Duplo Explore  – Max’s 2nd Big-set toy. The big blocks are just right for their tiny fingers to learn to put together. It’s excellent to teach them colours with these. But being tough and durable, you might want to be careful if other younger children around to prevent any sibling fights with these! It sure is gonna hurt.


Lego – Bionicles with Toa Matoro, Toa Kongu, Bogarak .... these are suitable for Age group 7 and above, but I got these for Max when he was 4. We taught him to refer to the instruction manual to put the pieces together section by section…and within an hour he has them diassembled!  They’ll need help to insert some of these small pieces which has tight fit. Please remember it’s only play with strict adult supervisions only for smaller kids. He has also taken some pieces here and there and made up another awesome-looking robotic creature.



Lego Technic - now, this is very exciting as it features various technical moves, with gears, hinges and pulley...Max is very fascinated with this set.


The return of the Rubik Cube. This coloured cube made a comeback recently and is also available in 4x4, not just 3x3. It comes in pyramid shape too. How on earth is this going to be solved!



Books, sounds boring but it’s not. It’a perfect gift. A gift of knowledge and good to inculcate a good reading habit when they are still young.


Board games, the popular ones like Scrabble, Monoploy, Snake-n-Ladder, are good for family fun.



Boggle, Boggle, a very interesting classic word games, very useful for vocabulary building for age 8-up, price @RM49.90


Mattel UNO Stacko @RM54.90 for age 7 – up
Eduscience Starter Microscope, @RM89.95.


You might want to check out some of these sites, some of which offers online purchases


TOYS”R”US, Check this out, based on gender and age, the suggested toys. 


Educational Insights offers some interesting puzzles that develop children in areas of problem-solving, logical and stimulate thinking skills. I've purchased a number of sets like the 
  


and the lastest is the River Crossing





One of the most trusted site, the Amazon has a wide collection of toys and puzzle for kids.
and I found a good choice here, Kids Online Store.


Books from MPH Online, but they were having upgrading works on their website but it’s up already. Their customer service is very good. Last year, I called up to enquire on availability of a particular book. Very kindly they let me know the price of paperback & hardcover too and availability at which outlet.


Popular Bookstore is having some kind of In-store activity with the beginning of year-end school break on Nov 20 at Ikano Power Centre and Sunway Pyramid. You may want to check out the stuff there and note the interest of your kids.


FOR HIM, 


You can get a good book or CDs or DVDs at Amazon . I was thinking of getting a "Beautiful World" by Jim Brickman...I like Jim Brickman, so we'll enjoy the CD together. :-)



Speedy Video seems they have free delivery for purchases above RM100 (valid for Msia only) but available to for sale in other currencies too.


FOR HER 
Again, I'm thinking for myself, besides getting the fragrances from the local Departmental Store and you go dizzzzzzzzzy, inhaling those fragrances...& deciding on one might be hard. Maybe you can check out her sets on her dressing table.


Amazon, availability of wide range of cookbooks, cookware & even kitchen gadgets, you can check it out, as it may make good gift your loved ones or mother or MIL (mother-in-law :-P) or even sister or aunt.


Cooking.com not only has recipes online but some pretty good deals on kitchen stuff, might be a good idea to check it out.
Emmagem’s 100 onlineshop in Malaysia. Please read and check out the boutiques carefully before making the online purchases...some are pretty reliable and have build a very good reputation. I bought a couple of outfit from Layla Walk-in-closet (in USJ Taipan), very nice and very good price too.


Have fun shopping....I'm off to do my rounds shortly, looking for nice stuff and enjoying the festive cheers.


Have a great weekend.

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Shop-eat-stroll...

>> Dec 7, 2009

Every year, starting December, we’ll do the rounds of the shopping malls to catch the festive spirits, take a couple of pictures, meet some Santas and Santarinas and of course, shopping. J

Here are some pictures,

The Gardens @Mid-Valley


Pretty Santarina & Santa, his beard seems to be growing from his nose :-)


The Carolers @Ikano Power Centre



The seahorse is celebrating too... :-)



The stage set for pictures-taking with Santa @Sunway Pyramid


Near the ice-skating rink @Sunway Pyramid



Indoor Funpark Ride (yet to be completed) @Sunway Pyramid



Uncle Clown entertaining some kids



I just couldn't resist taking a pic of this cute dragon dressed as Santa, the mascot of BBQ Plaza @Sunway Pyramid



Sunway Pyramid



One of the Best Shopping Centres in Klang Valley with Pyramid, Sphinx and Mid-Eastern decor

We had an enjoyable weekend despite only managing to get a book this time as we were so busy catching the carolers, the clown and taking pictures.

This book, I Love Butter Cake by Kevin Chai was a sold out for some time and finally I found it at Popular Bookstore in Sunway Pyramid. It seems it’s the 4th re-print. Thanks to the recommendation of my friend, J, who gave the thumbs up after having tried a few unqiue butter cake recipes of Kevin Chai. I’m going to try a few of those recipes… Now, this book is my Christmas present to myself J.


With Christmas drawing near, shopping malls have become livelier and nosier with beautiful decorations, and huge glittering Christmas trees. As it’s the year-end school term break for most kids, it’s so nice to see many families making the most to have fun with their kids, enjoying the festives spirit. We could see some toddlers demanding to walk independently, some sleeping angels in baby strollers, some Daddy chasing after toddlers, whining kids demand purchase of toys are familiar sights... (Smile J)

When I needed to do real serious shopping, I’d rather not take the little one along. It is difficult to expect these little kids to have the patience as their Mama choose, inspect, compare and decide J. I've gotta to sneak off...

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Another Cheesecake

>> Dec 6, 2009

I made a Strawberry Cheesecake and took some nice shots but forgot to take pictures after it was unmolded!


It was so beautiful with strawberries and kiwis topped, kind of Christmassy…you know, red and green. Next time I’ll try to remember to get a few nice shots after unmolding too but before digging it. Oh, so sorry, isn’t it terribly unlady-like?

After the Cheesecake Saturday I wasn’t going to touch any, at least for another few weeks, but I just couldn’t resist making another for Max and hubby since I found these plump juicy strawberries in the local fresh market.



Here goes, I’ll let you guys, sorry, gals too, have a peek at the cheesecake…it’s without the jelly layer.






Have a great Saturday...Xmas shopping? :-)


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Kiddie's Mixed Vege Soup

>> Dec 5, 2009

Oh!…another tooth came loose. It’s that time again, so ‘soft food’ is in.

Max doesn’t like vege, (sigh!) like most kids and it’s always,
“Mom, I’m not hungry”
“This is not mine!”
“Mom, can you please remove this strange stuff”
“This is yucky”
“Mom, can you take out the grass from my bowl please”

These may sound familiar to you…hahaha.

I made a quick Vege Soup and rice, that’s all last night. Sigh! I know, I seriously look like the Bad Step Queen-mama, so bad of me, no choice for Max. I explained patiently to the little young man, how these veges will help him feel better. Do you think it works?

No-no, the next thing he said was this, “Although I don’t like vege, I know I have to eat them because it’s good for me and will make me stronger”.
“How clever, you must have been reading the encyclopedia?”
“Yes, Mom”… there was no smile from him…

Ok-lah, at least he finished the soup with his small bowl of rice but took almost 25 minutes. I don’t like this method but this is the quickest. I raided my almost empty fridge and this is what I can come out with...for a quickest dinner.

1/2 tsp sunflower oil or sesame oil
1 fist-size cauliflower florets, cut small
1 medium potato, cut into strips
1 medium carrot, cut into strips
3 stalks of choy sum or cai xin (Brassica parachinensis), cut small
Fish fillet (I used Grouper fillet, boneless about 150g) slice thin
Salt & pepper, to taste
3 - 3 1/2 cups water


1.  Bring water to boil, add in the oil.
2.  Add carrot, potato and small cauliflower florets, let boil about 5 minutes, they should be almost soft.
3.  Add in choy sum, bring to boil for 1 minute.
4.  Lastly add in fish pieces, let soup boil for 2 minutes.
5.  Add in salt & pepper to taste.
6.  Serve hot (Optional to garnish with chopped parsley or chopped spring onion)


It's quite tasty though simple and suitable for toddlers too.

I guess there are many Moms out there in the same predicament as me and seriously wish to tempt their little ones and encourage them to enjoy food with the limitless preparation and presentation to tempt them.

Have patience, have patience, one day… I thought I spotted a piece of white hair as I took a quick glance in the mirror this morning!

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