Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A slow week?

It's the week before CNY and there are loads to do. I have been busy all week so far. I have kept 2 appointments and attended a meeting on top of my usual schedule. Yet this week feels to be passing by so slowly. Why?

It just dawned on me. It is because there is something missing in my life. There has been less quarelling around the house, there has been less clothes to pick up. Even though it makes it a little easier for me, with one less to worry about, one less to nag at, it makes my life feel empty. Is it the case of the empty nest syndrome?

Must be! My nest is less crowded as my older daughter, S, is at school camp. Last year, when she went to school camp, we were worried for her, as it was her first time away from home without us. We talked about her in her absence, and even contemplated visiting her. But she came home, all happy after an enjoyable time. This time round, she was actually looking forward to going to camp. Also with our busy schedule, we did not even have time to talk about her in her absence.

She will be home today. I guess it's the case of "absence makes the heart grow fonder"!


Can you believe it - this picture was drawn in a single stroke!! Incredible!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Forever Friends

Received this Forever Friends Award from Sweetiepie. Thanks sweetiepie for giving me the award and being my friend!

It says:
A Ball is a Circle, no beginning, no end.
It keeps us together like a circle of friends
But the treasure inside for you to see
Is the treasure of friendship you've granted to me.

So today, I am passing the friendship ball to some new friends and some "old" friends:


Thank you all for being my friend!!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

An early reunion

Every Chinese New Year a reunion dinner is held on New Year's Eve, where members would gather for a meal. Family members, even those living afar, would travel home for this important celebration.

This year, the family had an early reunion. This is so as my brother-in-law and his family moved to Australia last year. Last year, they made the trip home for the Chinese New Year, and as a result, his daughter missed school for close to a week. When they got back, the parents received a shelling from the principal!! So, this year, going against custom, they decided that they cannot be around for the reunion dinner on the actual day, as school only reopens on 4 Feb.

So, last evening, our group of 16 went out for dinner. We were really fortunate that the restaurant we chose had a table big enough to accomodate all of us. The food was good but the service was slow. The children were really hungry. We were all there by about 7 pm. but were only served out first dish at about 7.20pm. However, we had to wait until 825 for the 2nd dish. By then, you could tell, the children could hardly take the wait any longer. I guess, that's the problem with eating out.

M-i-l being the traditionalist, would still be cooking a feast on the actual new year's eve with all of her "must have" dishes (which was why we chose to eat out last evening). So, we would still get to enjoy the traditional NY's eve dinner, but I guess it will be a quieter affair with less of the "clan" around.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Food for thought

Received this from a friend, and thought that I should share it.

"The happiest people in the world are not those who have no problems, but those who learn to live with things that are less than perfect."

A group of graduates, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups -

porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking,

some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee, the professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice looking, expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the simple and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee.

In most cases, it is just more expensive and in some cases, even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups... Then you began eyeing each other's cups."

Now consider this, said the professor, "Life is the coffee. The jobs, money and position in society are the cups.

They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of Life we live. Sometimes, by concentrating on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee life has provided us. Enjoy your coffee!"

The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.

Four things to take note of in life:

1. Live simply

2. Love generously

3. Care deeply

4. Speak kindly

Shine a light & enjoy your Coffee!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Where is that Cockroach?

Last evening when I was having my shower, I spied a cockroach in the corner of my bathroom. It did not move at all, so I left it alone and continued my shower. After I was done, armed with my bottle of insect killer, I attacked it.

First, I gave it a small dose of the "odourless all insect killer". It then started crawling in a drunkard manner. I gave it more of that special dose, and it then started moving all over the bathroom in a random manner. More "ssst", "ssst" and "ssst". 5 seconds later, it lay dead in a corner. Wow! the new improved formula sure "kills all flying and crawling insects instantly on contact".

When little D came into the bathroom to shower, she totally freaked out when she saw it, even thought it was in the far corner of the bathroom. I had to carry her into the shower and out of it. I left the dead cockroach there, thinking I would clear it later.

However, I forgot! When I woke up the next morning, I noticed that it was no longer lying in the corner. It was nowhere to be found. I assumed that hubby had cleared it. But when I checked with him, he said he did not.

So, what happened to that cockroach? Did it not die from an overdose of that insect killer? (I must have used close to half a bottle!) Or was it just mabuk (drunk) from it, only to wake up from his hangover and walk away?

Maybe I should change brands?

One Year Old Today!!

Yes, this blog is one year old today. Amazing that I managed to write, post, maintain and update this blog continuously for a whole year, and am enjoying it. Did not quite imagine that when I first started. Thanks everyone for being a part of this blog!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

To share or not to share

Was just commenting to my friend Hw, the other day about our helpers. Everytime m-i-l cooks her delicious "treasures pot" (a hotpot with loads of goodies like dried oysters, sea cucumber, abalone, fish maw, mushrooms, fatt choy, etc), our helpers will conveniently forget to serve it. And if they do, they will just serve out a small portion of it. Why? Because they love to eat it. There was once, we realised that none of us had any of the sea cucumbers coz they had them all!!!

My friend's comment was: I dont share these things with my help. Sorry, I work hard for my money, so I enjoy my goodies myself. As long as I provide them with a decent balanced meal, they cannot complain.

True! But, in my home, m-i-l does not feel good telling the helpers that they are not to eat certain things. They are free to help themselves to all of the food. But, I feel that they have gotten a little out-of-hand. I have even seen them helping themselves to m-i-l's chicken essence soup, even before any one of us has had any! In fact, the only food they do not touch are those that have pork in it. M-i-l is so accomodating that she tries not to cook pork so often, so that the helpers can eat everything that we have. But do you know, they have even pinched "bak hoo" (pork floss) before!

I feel, enough is enough! Sharing with them is one thing, but I think they have gone over-board. They have too much food to eat, that they sometimes refuse to eat left-overs. It accumulates, and accumulates, and get thrown away eventually! As a result, I am very tempted to tell m-i-l to add in a huge piece of seo bak (barbeque pork) into her treasures pot when she cooks it for the reunion dinner.

So, what do you think? To share or not to share?

No tags

To all those bloggers that have tagged me recently, and not too recently - my apologies. I have not done any of the tags. Have not been in the mood. Maybe sometime down the road.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hair today, gone tomorrow

Since I was young, I have always sported short hair. My mom never let me keep my hair long as she always said that it made me look older than I should.(However, I think she just didnt want to have the hassle of tying my hair for me).

The longest I have grown my hair was for my wedding, and that was only a little longer than shoulder length. It was long enough for me then to bun it up too. As a result, I had flowing tresses during the church solemnisation, and a sophisticated bun for the wedding dinner.

However, after the wedding, I cut my hair short again, and I must say, it made me look younger. I also make my girls keep short hair now, as it is easier to manage, and I believe, it makes them look fresher and younger. But girls, being girls, all want to keep their hair long, so that they can tie it up, plait it, etc.

A couple of years back when rebonded hair was the "in-thing", I was again very tempted to grow my hair long. just so I could have it rebonded. However, my hairdresser advised me against it, as I have natural curls, and he said that I would only be wasting my money. I then considered growing it long, and doing a ceramic perm - aaah, those lovely big curls. But again, my hairdresser advised against it. (Hey! looks like he doesnt like to earn my money!)

Time and again, I have eyed girls with long hair, with envy. They can do so many thing with their hair. In the middle of last year, I put my foot down. I told him that I needed to change my hair-do. I was sick and tired of this short hair with which I cant do a thing! So, he agreed to let me grow it. If he hadn't, I would have taken my custom to the very famous "Ah Bu" to the stars, to see what magic he could perform!

I am one person, who gets a hair-cut every 6 to 8 weeks. So dutifully, I have been visiting the hairdresser when the "due date" came along, for my trims. When I went again just before Christmas, he told me that the next visit, would be when we changed my hair do. And that day is tomorrow!

My hair currently isnt all that long, and I doubt he can change the style substantially. But guess what? I think, I will ask him to chop it all off, as I cant stand the hair sticking out here, there and everywhere. I also cant stand the mess I look, with this long hair!! But which short hair-do should I have?


So, hair today, gone tomorrow.

Talk about women having fickle minds!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Our Economy is doing well

Yes, the prices of most things have gone UP again!!

My daughter was just commenting about how the fishballs in school have shrunk in size, and now noodles only come with 2 (instead of 3) fishballs.

My favourite walnut loaf (bought from one of the hotel pastry shops) went up in price from $8 to $10. Since the price increase, I have decided to forgo having it for breakfast. Even Gardenia's milk loaf has gone up from $1.90 to $2.15.

Yesterday, I went with m-i-l to buy some dry goods. We paid double what we paid last year for some things - eg fish maw was now $48 per kg vs $30 last year.

I shudder to think about the prices of the New Year goodies I have yet to purchase.

Price inflation usually sets in when the economy is doing well. Market sentiments are good, everyone is bullish, property prices have gone up, so everything goes up in tandem. People were spending during the Christmas season like there was no tomorrow, and still are. Top-end restaurants were full. It was the first time I had heard car ads telling people to buy their loved ones a car for Chrismas!! People become more materialistic.

But did wages increase at the same rate as these price increases? I dont think so. Some teachers in my daughter's pre-school commented that they did not get an increment this year. Also, what happens to the lower income group in society? I am sure their wages did not rise in the same proportion as these price increases. They are the ones that suffer as a result.

Should we not be more prudent and not over-indulge? Spend only if necessary.(Makes me sound like a scrooge). I know everyone here is still bullish about everything. But stop! Look at the Dow. Our STI follows it quite closely, and the Dow has been hit recently. With the sub-prime mortgage loan problems in the US, I forsee a recession there soon, and it will move to our shores before we know it. So spend wisely, and save for the future!

What kind of chocolate are You?

As most of you probably know by now, I am a chocolate lover! So when I was blog hopping and I came across this, I couldnt help but do the quiz. Initially, I thought I should be dark chocolate, coz that's my favourtite, but the results are as follows:

You are Milk Chocolate

A total dreamer, you spend most of your time with your head in the clouds.
You often think of the future, and you are always working toward your ideal life.
Also nostalgic, you rarely forget a meaningful moment... even those from long ago.

So is it correct? Yes and No. I think I am pretty level-headed - definitely not a dreamer. But I do work towards my ideal life, and am often nostalgic. Also, with my elephant memory, I rarely forget anything that is meaningful!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Ironing blues

I am one person that does not hate ironing. In fact, I enjoy it. I find it kind of theraputic. It gives me time to myself to iron out all those creases. However, since we returned from living in New York, we have had help at home, so I no longer need to do the ironing. You know what? Since then, I have been having ironing blues! Why? I have had my silk favourite cheong sum sleeve burnt, amongst many others disasters. There are also times when my cupboard and the children's are completely empty, coz the ironing had not been done for days! I guess my helper does not enjoy ironing.

The sales lady from a boutique I frequent recommended me this:

It is a garment steamer. So, we invested in one of it just this week. It is easy to use, and there will be no burns - guaranteed! Why? Coz it uses steam to smoothen out creases and it is done with the garment hung up. And, it can used for all types of fabrics.

Hopefully, my wardrobe will start looking better now.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Can you read this?

Can't read a thing? Then try sitting back about 3 feet and look.

Still can't make out what it says? Then, close your eyes 90% and look again.

If you still can't see anything then, you have been spending way too much time on the computer!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I am a Bankress??

We were watching Deal or No deal last night, and it was the Hunks episode. ie hunks were holding the briefcases instead of those pretty girls.

M-i-l decided to tease little D and asked her: Look at those men. Handsome or not? Is papa one of them?

Little D answered: No! He is the banker!

M-i-l: If you were one of the pretty girls, what case would you be carrying?

Little D: Number 8

M-i-l: What about mummy?

Little D: No, mummy is the bankress!

Not sure where she learnt that word from?? Could be she thinks:
actor - actress,
waiter - waitress,
so banker - bankress!!
(Hmmm, must get her to spend some time at

Does she think I am not pretty enough to be carrying one of those cases??? Boo hoo!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Improving your vocabulary

As most of you know, I love puzzles. Any type of puzzles. I chanced upon this web page when I was blog hopping. It is not a puzzle but it tests your word knowledge. So, being the person that I am, I started having my fun.

I learnt new words as well as confirmed my understanding of words not frequently encountered. The best part is that for each word that I answer correctly, 20 grains of rice is donated through the United Nations to help end world hunger.

According to the United Nations, about 25,000 people die each day from hunger or hunger-related causes, most of them children. So do your part, and learn and have fun whilst helping to end world hunger. And you would be pleased to know I contributed a total of 500 grains to the poor today!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Entertaining kids at Dinners

What do you do with your kids when there is a long dinner to sit through?

I know of some who bring DVD players or laptops to entertain their kids. Others bring electronic games (eg gameboy). I, for one, am totally against it. It is difficult to get a young child to sit through a long dinner, I agree. But if you try, it can work. It is difficult initally, but perserverence will win the day. But I notice some will just take the easy way out and say that their kids cant sit thru' a meal, and those electronic gadgets come out the minute they arrive, and remains on the table until it is time to go home!

I bought a DVD player for little D, but most of the time, I dont even let her watch it. Why? Studies have shown that too much tv for young children is no good. Also with those electronic games, I feel that the kids become "anti-social". They are so engrossed with the game that they become oblivious to everything around them. Sometimes, they dont even know what they are eating! It becomes addictive too after a while.

For my older children, what we used to do was to bring lots of drawing/coloured paper, and colour pencils / crayons for them to draw. If it was someone's birthday / wedding, they would make a card while waiting for food. If not, they were free to draw as they wish. As they got older, we changed it to puzzle / activity books, and subsequently story books /novels. That way they could entertain themselves without getting restless. Now, I dont even need to bring anything to entertain them. They are able to sit thru 3 hour meals with no problems.

With little D, I have yet to start on the drawing (as she still cant draw) but we are into educational sticker books. She loves them, but they can be quite expensive. I bring the DVD player occasionally, but it doesnt get brought out until I really have no choice. I find that for a 2 and a half hour dinner, she is able to sit through at least an hour and a half without fussing. She learns to socialise as well as learn good table etiquette. And the best part is - she knows her food!

Do give my suggestions a try!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Help !!!


For those of you who me sent good wishes for the New Year,



It didnt help! I am just as frazzled. I am still shouting at the kids to do their homework, Little D is giving me a replay of what happened for the first term in school last year, and I am truly NOT on top of things.

Next year please send Money, Wine or Petrol Vouchers!! I think it would alleviate the pain.

Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Where to go for a meal - Who decides?

My family eats out for lunch most week-ends. But who decides where to go? This is always a problem for us. I feel that the one who pays should decide. But the kids want their way ALL the time.

The problem lies with my kids. Actually, it's only my son, as my eldest has recently become fairly adventurous with food, and Little D will generally not kick up a fuss, unless the other 2 influence her. He only wants 3 types of food:
Japanese, Italian or fast food.

I love Japanese food, but too much of it can make you "jelak". Also, it is not cheap.
I am not a big fan of Italian food. I dont mind it occasionally, but to have it on a weekly basis is a bit too much for me. As for fast food - I dont think I even have to talk about it, I think most mums would feel the same way - it's just not healthy, and I dont enjoy it at all. Period.

I almost never get to choose where to go. And if I do, the meal would not be pleasant coz there would be at least one super sulky face at mealtime, and that sure spoils my appetite. And that happens even on my birthday - tell me is that fair?? I never insist on something or somewhere that the kids have nothing suitable to eat. As a mum, whereever I choose, would have food suitable for the kids, just that it may not be their favourite. They just have to try it, they will like it eventually, I tell them. Which is becoming the case for my eldest. But would they listen?

So we came up with a new way of deciding where to go. We play: Deal or no deal! Just like the TV show, there is banker that decides how much to offer in exchange for the chosen box. The amount of money "won" would be matched against a pre-determined list of food places. This list ranges from instant noodles cooked at home, to hawker centres, restaurants which serve some food I have not had for ages, as well as some of their favourites. Hopefully, this would solve our lunch "problem"!

Monday, January 7, 2008

One more month

Yes, it is just one more month to Chinese New Year. The days and weeks are going to just fly by very quickly, and there's just so much to do. Spring cleaning, baking (or buying) cookies and gifts for close friends and relatives, shopping for new clothes for everyone, deco for the house, planning the reunion dinner menu, etc.

I started a bit of the spring cleaning already, in fact right after Christmas, when I threw away as much as 12 bags of "trash". I have also started giving away old clothes. The children's old toys that were still in good working condition, were passed on to friends with younger children. Old school books were donated to the church group who was collecting it for the needy. Must say, it was a really productive "spring cleaning" week. Now, at least, there is some spare space in the house for me to accumulate more "treasures"!

I hope that if you are not making your own goodies, you have already ordered them. The really good ones have already stopped taking orders. I already have, more or less, planned my schedules for the next few weeks - Shopping for dried goods (things like dried mushrooms, fish maw, lap cheong, etc), a visit to the hairdressers (those white are getting more obvious, must do something about it!), go for a facial (must show off some porcelain white skin when visiting rellys), shop for shoes, go for a pedicure, etc.

But have to get Little D back to school first. 2 more days before she starts school again!!

Beauty World Cha Cha Cha

Beauty World is a Singaporean musical written by Michael Chiang and composed by Dick Lee in 1988. Set in the 1960s, it tells the story of a young Malaysian girl who comes from Batu Pahat to Singapore in search of her father and winds up in a sleazy night club, and learns the truth about love and life.

I first caught the original production in 1988. It had a second run in 1992 which drew full-house performances, and the show even went on a tour to 4 cities in Japan. In 1998 it was remade into a musical for the President's Star Charity. This year sees the 20th Anniversary Celebration of Beauty World, and the musical has been revamped to include new songs, new scenes and some twists to the script. This new production is directed by Ivan Heng.

I managed to catch the performance on Saturday and I must say, this new production sure lives up to Beauty World's world-wide reputation. The music was good and the actors commendable. There was even some slap-stick element added to it this time round, including "pokes" on local issues (eg foreign talent issue). A truly enjoyable performance, which I would recommend.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Mom's Overture

Hope you enjoy this. She sure sounds like me!!

Cat naps

Cat naps or power naps, are short naps taken during the day. They are a great way to catch up on lost sleep or to refresh ourselves. For some people, though, napping can lead to problems sleeping at night.

Since I have been waking up really early recently (4.30 or 5am, on most mornings), I usually catch a cat nap whilst trying to make Little D take her afternoon nap. I would just close my eyes and doze off. But after just 10 minutes, I would awaken on my own, feeling really refreshed and all set to take on the rest of the day. It is one of the little luxuries which I manage to indulge in, and I find that it does wonders for me. I feel less tired. I am less grouchy. I am more willing to co-operate with the children. The children are less likely to "torch" me. AND I am able to function happily for the rest of the day

Give it a try!.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Leap Year

Just realised 2008 is a leap year!

A leap year is a year with one extra day inserted into February. The leap year is 366days with 29 days in February as opposed to the normal 28 days.

In the Gregorian calendar, which is the calendar used by most modern countries, the following rules decide which years are leap years:

1. Every year divisible by 4 is a leap year.
2. But every year divisible by 100 is NOT a leap year
3. Unless the year is also divisible by 400, then it is still a leap year.

This means that year 1800, 1900, 2100, 2200, 2300 and 2500 are NOT leap years, while year 2000 and 2400 are leap years. This actually means year 2000 is kind of special, as it is the first time the third rule is used in many parts of the world.

Leap years are needed so that the calendar is in alignment with the earth's motion around the sun. Using a calendar with 365 days would result in an error of 0.2422 days or almost 6 hours per year. After 100 years, this calendar would be more than 24days ahead of the seasons (tropical year), which is not a desirable situation. It is desirable to align the calendar with the seasons, and make the difference as small as possible.

By adding leap years approximately every 4th year, this difference between the calendar and the seasons can be reduced significantly, and the calendar will follow the seasons much more closely than without leap years.

So should I be happy or sad that this year is a leap year?

I dont know!

Sad, because it means one extra day of the school year, where I will have to nag and cajole my kids to do their homework. One extra day of house work to do.

Happy, because I have one extra day to enjoy my kids and hubby. One extra day of life. After all, life is short. We should thank God for that one extra day!

Hey, every 29th of Feb should be declared a holiday, dont you agree?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New School Year

Today marks the new school year for most kids in Singapore. Why do I say most? Because my little D does not start until the 9 Jan! Arghhhh!! Why? Because her school is in the midst of moving to new premises (with rising rentals, I guess they had no choice unless they raised school fees drastically which wont be terribly welcomed by the parents.) So it means - No rest for me until then.

My other kids will be like the rest of school going children, getting up early and trying to get used to the waking-up-super-early schedule again, rushing with other kids to get to school on time amidst the morning traffic jams, especially in the first week.

This year sees my eldest in P6, and my second in P3. I can forsee a stressful time ahead for me. In fact, I just looked at the school calendar for the 1st week and realised my big Boo boo. We have booked tickets to Beauty World this saturday for a Matinee show, and there is this briefing for parents in school at the same time, which I feel we should attend!! Oh dear, it may mean $350 of our hard earned money down the drain, and the kids not getting to enjoy a show which they have been looking forward to.

Sigh, What a thing to find out on the first day of school and what a way to start the school year! Hope things get better from here!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Ushering in the New Year

Did you usher in the New Year?

I have not done it for quite a number of years already, as to me, my beauty sleep is more important.

Before the birth of my son, every new year's eve would see hubby and me (and my daughter, S ), rewarding ourselves on New Year's eve at one of those high-end F&B establishments or hotel, with our hard-earned cash on a too-expensive dinner. But after my son arrived, I left my job to be a full time mum. Unneccessary expenses were trimmed, and this was one of them, as it became too much of a chore to be eating out nicely dressed with two very young children. Since then,New Year's eve have been homely affairs, and I had not bothered to stay up to usher in the new year.

This year, after a nice family meal at home, we brought the kids out for some durians. The kids came home contented, and we packed them off to bed. I decided that since I managed to catch a cat-nap in the evening, I could and would actually stay up to watch the count down on TV.

I thought the New Year count-down show was a little boring, and dozed off in front of the TV. Luckily hubby's mobile rang just in time to wake me up. (It was his office calling!!). I must say, the call was timely, as shortly after, there was the count-down to the New Year. The fireworks display was quite impressive, (though the Sydney one was much better), and as soon as it ended, I quickly ran up to bed. Did not want to waste my beauty sleep watching that boring show.

So, after a 8 year hiatus, I ushered in the New Year, this time in the comforts of my home!