Our first Chinese New Year!

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The very first Chinese New Year for the little man, and the very first at our second home. We have lots to be thankful for.

From our little family to yours, may you enjoy bountiful blessings, the best of health and bagfuls of happiness in the year of the Goat/Sheep/Ram.

HUAT AH!

9 years

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Received this on 16 February. Wow. It has been 9 years. Before this blog, I had another blog which I started in November 2002 which means that I have been blogging for…gulp, 13 years.

That’s a long time of blogging, and a lot of ramblings :)

Post-HK

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Boo!

So we went on a quick break (half work, half play) to Hong Kong last week. It was nice to be a couple again without Elliott although I have to say that I did miss him a tad. Then again, I was glad that he wasn’t with us because Hong Kong is mad crowded with PRCs and it was nice to eat with both our hands LEISURELY. And yes, be eye mask buddies. Our poor skin has been severely neglected since we became parents.

I’d try and blog about our trip. Soonish. I hope.

Till then, we have Chinese New Year. The little man’s very first! ANG BAOS HERE WE COME!!

Note to Elliott – 11

Dear Elliott,

You are ONE MONTH away from turning 1. ONE MONTH!! My little squishy bubu will no longer be a baby but a…toddler. Gulp. I know it all sounds a tad melodramatic but I constantly look at photos of you as a tiny newborn and marvel at how much you have grown. One moment, you were all tiny and cute. Suddenly, you’re much bigger and (still) cute.

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Wow.

People tell me that your brain is like a sponge that absorbs the most before the age of 1. I marvel at how you model your actions after us despite not ‘teaching’ you. Like how you instinctively move the keys to the padlock at Ah Ma’s house when they are taking you to the park, or sticking your index finger out and trying to press the lift button because you observe us doing it all the time.

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You have also discovered how to dance. Well ok. The word ‘dance’ is used very loosely here. What you actually do is to wiggle your butt and jerk like an electric shock is passing through your body. It is very very cute to watch and it makes us laugh. Whenever your favourite songs come on, you’d do this ‘dance’ and it inspires us to dance wiggle along with you.

You also love the songs ‘Bow Wow Wow’ which you sing during music class and ‘B-I-N-G-O‘. You’d go ‘wow-wow-wow‘ and try to sing along with us, accompanied with jiggling of butt, of course.

The other day, I was showing you the flashcard of the word ‘owl’ when you suddenly repeated after me “aw-er“. I was stunned and said: “DID YOU JUST SAY OWL, ELLIOTT?” I swear you did but you never did repeat it again.

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Your favourite books are “Where Is The Green Sheep?” and “Where’s Elmo?” We read the green sheep book to you almost every evening after your bath and you sit and listen intently. On the last page, you know that you’re supposed to ‘turn the page quietly to find the green sheep’ and would reach out enthusiastically to flip the page. You also enjoy lifting the flaps to ‘find Elmo’. It fills our heart with joy to know that you enjoy ‘reading’ and hope that you’d grow to love reading as much as we do.

Being at Ah Ma and Ah Gong’s house in the week has exposed you to Mandarin which is wonderful. You now understand ‘风扇‘ and would point at the fan. Ah Ma has also taught you the meaning of ‘衣服’ (clothes) where you’d pull your own shirt whenever we ask. I was also most impressed that you know how to ‘放回去’ (put it back) and would diligently keep all your toys into the box. Just the other night, we practised putting back and taking out your pacifier (which you don’t use, for the record) in and out of my pyjamas pocket. Oh and we did it like 50 times but to see you break into a big smile whenever I tell you ‘WELL DONE BUBU!’ warms my heart so.

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This was also the month that I tried to night wean you. Well, that worked for a bit until you fell ill with a runny nose and Mummy here has no heart to refuse you your comfort feedings. Now that you are older, trying to clear your nose with the Pigeon nose cleaner makes you scream like a banshee. Our neighbours must think that we torture you on a nightly basis. You yell (very loudly), scream, kick your legs, use your hands to swat at the tube and shake your head violently from left to right. Sometimes, you grab onto the tube and clench your tiny fingers around it so tightly, it takes a lot out of me just to pry it free. Sigh, my dear child. It breaks my heart to hear you in such distress so can you please make it less painful for all of us?

You can now toddle along on your feet with the aid of the learning walker that Daddy bought for you. You look like a drunk little person with an  unsteady gait which makes us giggle. However, you get tired easily and still prefer to crawl because you do it at top-speed. No hurry, my child. Take your time to learn how to walk and I am sure when the time comes, you’d be zooming around with your exhausted parents behind, trying our best to keep up. No wonder all the pro-baby ads are always advocating having babies when you are YOUNG because youth equates to energy, both of which your Daddy and I don’t possess at this stage.

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We can’t talk about your development without speaking about eating solids. I have to confess that I have given up trying to get you to eat all that steamed and pureed food that I carefully prepared because all you do is make a face and spit them out. Thankfully, your Ah Ma faithfully prepares fish porridge for you but she also shared that you are not very keen on it. Oh well. Hopefully this solid food journey will get better after you turn one. Maybe something will click in your head and you’d want to EAT FOOD. These days, you only eat this and this. Oh and the occassional fruit like papaya and rock melon.

Your Mummy here also trimmed your hair for the very first time. We see you tugging at your ears and I was starting to wonder if you’ve got a ear infection (#paranoidmother). Turns out that the sides were just getting a little long and tickling your ears. I have zero experience with cutting hair but one’s gotta to what one’s gotta do, right? I thought I did a pretty decent job but Daddy was horrified that it was uneven and begged me to stop. Tsk. Oh well. Hair grows and I’m sure we’d be carting you off for a proper haircut in time for your first birthday and Chinese New Year.

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Speaking of birthdays, Mummy here has been busy planning your little birthday party. Ok, I lie. I am not planning it per se. I am outsourcing it to Aunty Eunice (who plans the most beautiful parties, in my opinion) to do it. Yes, I’m leaving it to the experts so that on the day itself, we can soak in the day with our dear friends and family and celebrate you.

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Happy 11 month, my sweetie Boo!

Lots of love,
Mummy xoxo

miss ene bakes: Marble cake

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When it comes to baking, I stick to a simple mantra: I only bake stuff that I like.

This means pandan cake and butter cake (favourite and so easy!!). This also means that I do not attempt fancy stuff like macarons because it looks really difficult but more importantly, I don’t like it.

I also love marble cake but have never gotten my hands on a good recipe. Also, I was kitchen-less for a good 2 years so baking took a (very far) backseat.

A friend WT posted a picture of a marble cake she baked on Facebook and that got me excited again. Now that I have my own kitchen (hooray!) with a proper oven (double hooray!), I can bake again! These days, finding time and energy to bake is another challenge altogether.

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A couple of weekends ago, I decided to bite the bullet and bake that marble cake. Elliott was asleep and the boy was napping beside him. It was the perfect ‘window of opportunity’. I used this recipe which was the same one shared by WT. She also gave me a valuable tip which is to cut down on the amount of sugar (unless you have a sweet tooth). My personal notes are in brackets and italics.

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Marble Cake recipe
Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Bake Time: 40 Minutes | Makes 3 mini loaves

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks (220g) unsalted butter, at room temperature {I used Lurpak}
  • 7 oz (200g) plain flour/all purpose flour {I used ‘Top Flour’ from Prima}
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 7 oz (200g) fine or powdered sugar (confectioners sugar or icing sugar) {I used castor sugar and cut it down to 180 gm}
  • 4 eggs {I used eggs that were 60 gm each}
  • 1/2 tsp salt {I used sea salt}
  • 4 tablespoons fresh milk {I used a small bottle of Meiji milk and drank the rest}
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder {I used Hersheys}

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease the pan with some butter.
  2. Mix the flour and the baking powder together and sieve. Add in salt and mix well. Set aside.
  3. Use an electronic beater to mix butter and sugar until well combined or pale yellow in color. Add in the first egg. Beat well after each addition of egg until creamy. Scrape down the sides and add in vanilla essence and fold in the flour into the mixture and mix well. Finally, add in the milk.
  4. Divide the batter into two portions. Stir the cocoa powder into one portion and mix well. Transfer the plain batter into the greased baking pan. Shake it lightly to distribute evenly. Pour the cocoa batter in the middle of baking pan, and lightly swirl the cocoa batter with a butter knife. I usually do the “S” shape with the butter knife a couple of times. Do not overmix.
    1. Bake until golden brown and cooked, about 40 minutes. In4sert a cake tester in the middle of the cake to test doneness. Remove it from the oven and let cool on the wire rack for another 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and serve immediately.

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The recipe states 40 minutes but at about 38 minutes, I noticed that the cake has risen quite a bit and was starting to crack at the top. ALAMAK!

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It was actually done. Note to self: Bake it for a shorter period the next time.

Check out the bottom of the cake – the ‘Red Man’ logo was imprinted onto the cake. Hur hur.

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I let it cool for about 5 minutes (as per recipe) and excitedly sliced it open. I wanted to see if all that swirling of patterns worked out…

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Oh yeay! It did look and importantly, taste like marble cake. I was very pleased for a first-time result.

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It was a tad dry though so yes, I’d bake it for a shorter duration the next time round. I ate a few slices fresh from the oven and it was yums, if I may say so myself ;)