Health Freak Mommy


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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Awful Day

Today the stars are not aligned for me 😪

Two godawful things happened.

In the wee hours of today, some crooks stole my credit card number and made a GBP300+ transaction in the UK. You can read about the story here.

In the afternoon, our new Teka washer was delivered to our home. The two delivery staff from Teka, blur like sotong, told me that they weren't sure how to operate the washing machine when I asked them to show me.  Their reply was (in Malay): "Don't know la. Ala, normal la, just like any other washing machine".  But I figured how to operate the washer as it's pretty user-friendly.  After the washing machine was installed, I tried one cycle without any clothes under "Quick" which is a 15-minute duration and everything seemed fine.

Fast forward several hours later.  For my maiden wash in the machine with clothes, I chose a "sports cycle" with a 45-minute duration and a 1200 spm (spin per minute).  About thirty minutes later, we heard an awfully loud crash in the kitchen followed by extremely loud 'machine-conking-out' sounds emitting from the washing machine. I was shell shocked to see the washer, toppled onto the floor (from the four legs to prop the washer up).  Everything on top of the washer was scattered on the floor. The machine was vibrating very violently, like in an earthquake scene. It sounded as if it was going to explode any time.   I quickly turned off the switch to stop it from swaying.  Several minutes later, I tried to open the door but it was still locked as the cycle had not ended. I turned on the washer again and again it shook violently, hitting the sides of the wall (and scraping off some cement) and fridge door.  Again I turned off the main switch.  Thankfully when I tried to resume the last 5 minutes of cycle, the machine cooperated, ended the wash and I could finally open the washer door to remove the clothes.

I quickly made a call to Teka service centre and told them the problem.  The first question that the service staff asked me was "did the delivery guy remove the four screws behind the washer?"  

What, how the heck would I know?  The staff were supposed to know what to do. They were supposed to even teach me how to use but they did none of these.

I ran to the washer to check the back of it and bingo, the four screws were still intact.

Oh. My. Gawd!

Tragedies could have happened because of the carelessness of the delivery guys who had forgotten to remove the screws. I dread to think what would have happened had anyone of us been at the washer when it fell off.  According to the technician who came later, the washer's weight is over 100kg.  Yup, this washer from Europe is this heavy and solid.  The screws are there to protect the drum during delivery.  When the washer spun, it was moving against force / lock from the screws, thus the violent vibration and deafening sounds coming out.

What irked me to the point that I had to cuss and threaten the service manager was when he did not reply to all my Whatsapp messages to him.  I told him that the washer had fallen off and blocking the refrigerator door. We could not open the fridge door, can't cook and it's a sore eye to see the washer blocking the kitchen floor. As it is, our kitchen is already super squeezy. Much later when I managed to get through to him, he told me that as per their policy, I had to wait for 24 hours for a technician to arrive. But this is an emergency and it is due to the negligence of their staff that this accident had happened. Do I have to suffer because of their negligence?  I demanded for a technician to be at my door step the same day OR I would bring this matter up to higher Management and even post my bad experience on Facebook.  Finally the technician arrived at 6 p.m.  and he's a super nice guy.

I later found out from the technician that the issue of the delivery staff forgetting to remove screws from the washer is very common.  I couldn't believe what I heard. How can this even be happening at such a large multinational company with headquarters in Spain and Switzerland?  Why aren't the staff briefed, trained and reminded on this?   This is totally unacceptable.

I hope that our Teka washer wouldn't disappoint me. I've used an Electrolux washer for almost 10 years and I still love it but the hubs said that it's time to change to a new one. I think I still prefer my old Electrolux.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Sunday, 11 March 2018

The mil wanted to treat us to a dinner of steaks and chops to make up for her absence during the recent CNY.  So the hubs brought us to Victoria Station, a long forgotten restaurant that we have not set foot on for over a decade.

It was a WRONG choice.  The quality of the food has dropped SO MUCH.  Had I been blind-folded and eaten the food, I would have  thought that the food is from some unknown Western food stalls at a food court.  Sorry for the criticism, but that's just how all of us felt after last night's dinner.  I am usually not as critical as the hubs but this time, I had to give a lukewarm rating on this restaurant.

Firstly, the restaurant seriously needs a refurbishment. It was how it used to be 20 years ago ~ same tables and chairs, probably waiting staff too. Never mind about that if the food is good.

When the mushroom soup arrived, Drama Queen shockingly commented "mum, it's can soup!"   What, for that price, we are served can soup?!    Never mind about that but for a restaurant reputed to be one of the best steakhouses in the Klang Valley some 20 years ago (?), they really shouldn't be serving can mushroom soup with hardly any fresh mushrooms added.  Hubs' seafood chowder soup tasted like can tomato soup.

When my grilled chicken with wild mushrooms arrived, I was really disappointed. They had used chicken breast instead of boneless chicken thigh and the meat was dry. The thick and heavy brown sauce tasted like some commercial powdered sauce mix. The wild mushrooms served were some under-cooked oyster mushrooms. No portobello. For that price, I had expected some portobello and puccini mushrooms. Not that I am a fantastic cook but I think I can definitely prep better tasting grilled chicken.

The hubs' T-bone steak was acceptable though, but nothing to shout about.

Alycia who ordered a ribeye steak with cheese wasn't too pleased with her order as well.  There wasn't the slightest taste of cheese on the steak nor the sauce. Instead, the sauce tasted very similar to the sauce that was on my grilled chicken.  LOL!

The mil and Drama Queen both ordered spaghetti and there were more complaints and criticisms coming from them. Both plates of spaghetti cooked in different styles were lacking in flavor and ingredients. The spaghetti noodles looked and tasted dry and hard as if they were pre-blanched and kept in the kitchen until they dried up.  Alycia commented that if she (a non-kitchen person) were to cook spaghetti, it would taste just how the VS spaghetti tastes like. Everything was unfinished, except for hubs' T-bone steak.

The bill came up to a whopping RM302 for 6 items. That's a total rip off for the quality of food served.  Though we did not enjoy our meal, we all had a good laugh. This meal will definitely be etched in our memory forever. The hubs said that this will be our last time to VS.

To end our Sunday night in a sweet note, the hubs brought us to Inside Scoop for waffles and ice-creams!

One of the best waffles around in KL can be found at Inside Scoop. Our waffles were served with a scoop each of cempedak and Gula Melaka ice-cream.

The Guide To Choosing The Perfect Prom Dress

Prom night is the most important dance of high school senior year. The night revolves around having a date. Most teens would rather avoid the prom altogether than arrive without a date. On prom night, the girls spend hours getting dressed and dolling up together. The guys hang out a while, and then get dressed at the last minute. Formal dress is still in, with the girls wearing gowns 👗 and the boys wearing tuxedos. When the boy arrives at the girl’s home, he is likely to be greeted by proud parents wielding a camera 📷

As the prom night is such an important night in a teenage girl's life, finding the perfect prom dress is such a big hoo-ha.  Every girl wants to look her best in a jaw-dropping, flattering prom dress and be treated like a queen.  Get started early and follow this guide to be the belle of the ball:

1. Plan In Advance
It takes time to do your research and choose the perfect gown. Plan to make a choice and your purchase about four to six weeks (or even earlier) before your prom night. You may need alterations on a dress and purchasing it in advance gives you ample time for you to have the alterations done.  Decide if you'd like to purchase the gown online, from a boutique, bridal shop or tailor-make it.

2. Do Your Research
Take cues from what you saw on the red carpet, catwalk, magazines, and what you are seeing in the stores now to find some of the most sought after styles of the season.

Start out searching for your perfect dress by flipping through magazines and online to see what kind of dress you are most attracted to.  Just key in prom dresses image and thousands of prom dresses will pop up on your screen. This allows you to see what you like and dislike about the current season’s different dress types. Start this process about three to four months before your prom date.

Some girls order their prom dress and accessories fully online. Others use the Internet for research, narrowing down styles and price ranges online before venturing out to brick and mortar stores. However you utilize it, the Internet is a powerful shopping resource.

This would be amazing for the gala! Possibly in black or green too

Mermaid Spaghetti Straps Sweep Train Gold Sequined Prom Dress, modest gold spaghetti straps mermaid prom dresses, unique v neck sequined trumpet evening dresses #golddress

3. Plan Your Budget And Stick To It
One of the worst feelings in the world is trying on a beautiful dress and then finding out that the price is way out of your budget. So before you even begin to look, let the salesperson know what your budget is, and if you’re doing your shopping online, filter the results so you can only see the dresses you can afford. One place to get affordable prom dresses is

Mermaid Spaghetti Straps Grey Detachable Prom Dress with Lace, modest grey detachable mermaid prom dresses, unique spaghetti straps lace evening dresses #promdress

gold dresses

4. Look For Precious Fabrics
For your prom dress, look for precious, fine and luxurious fabrics such as satin, tulle, silk, chiffon, organza, lace and velvet.

Mermaid V-Neck Open Back Sweep Train Champagne Sequined Prom Dress, modest champagne open back mermaid prom dresses, unique v neck sequined evening dresses #mermaidpromdress

5. Match The Dress Style To Your Face and Body Shape
Finding out what your face and body shapes are will help you to match these to the ideal dress, one that flatters and accentuates all of your good features, hiding anything you might consider a flaw.

6.  Decide The Style That You Want
Once you have done your research and decided the style that you want, narrow down the search to save time.  It could be two piece prom dresses, mermaid prom dresses, long prom dress or short prom dresses.

7. Know the School Rules 
Many schools have instituted prom night dress codes. Strapless styles, spaghetti straps, plunging necklines or other sexy details may not be permitted. Additionally, the school may institute a theme for prom night and request that students’ outfits reflect the theme. Be sure that you fully understand all of the school rules and guidelines before you begin shopping.

  Mermaid High Neck Sweep Train White Prom Dress with Beading, modest white mermaid prom dresses with beading, unique criss cross straps high neck evening dresses #mermaiddress

Now that you have the tips to find your perfect prom dress, it’s time to get started. Remember to look for a great fit, a beautiful color that plays up your best features, a dress with embellishments if you want that extra special quality, and remember to go for a dress that you feel your best in!

Photos credit:

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Glorious Street Food

I am a firm believer of karma ~ what comes around, goes around. We can never ever escape the claws of karma, whether good or bad. I am no saint. I sin. Everyone sins. And by human nature, we are all selfish but I try to be generous, to do good and have good thoughts and be compassionate and benevolent.  Karma is a bitch and don't even try to  mess with it.

Just before CNY, I did some spring cleaning of my cupboards. I gave a bag of 90% new clothes to my part-time helper as my closet was so packed with clothes that I could hardly put in anymore new clothes. I could have easily snapped pix of the clothes and sell them cheap as pre-loved clothes at my online store. But I chose to give them to Maria, our loyal and efficient part-time helper. The next day, I gave her a pair of wedge sandals. Later in the week, I cleared other cupboards and gave her three handbags no more than 2 years old.  She was so grateful and thankful to me. I didn't expect to receive any good karma back in return. I just wanted to thank Maria for being there for me and for keeping me sane for the past 6 or 7 years ever since Dyah, our live-in helper returned to Indon for good.

This week, I received three pre-loved branded handbags from someone. The handbags are about 95% new. When I received them, I couldn't help but to wonder what a coincidence this must have been. I gave away three bags to my helper less than a month ago and this week, I received three 'new' ones! This is not the only coincidental karma incident that had happened to me, whether bad or good.  What we give to the universe will be what we receive in return. Someone is watching us. So watch our actions and words.

I can’t even think of the vaguest connection between food and my account on karma, so I’m not even going to try 😀  So... jumping right into it ~ glorious street food that I had this week 😋

After being away for 3.5 months and missing Malaysia street food, hubs and I brought the mil to dig into some glorious street food for breakfast the past two days to satiate her cravings.

Today we had char koay teow, nasi lemak with sambal sotong (not in picture), pan mee (also not in picture) and bitter gourd noodles:

On Tuesday we had curry noodles and yesterday we had chicken, char siew and siew yoke rice.   The 'sui kow' (dumplings in soup) from Good Taste restaurant are one of the best that I've tasted. This is something that I will always order over and over again with no sign of getting sick of it yet.

While we indulged in not-so-healthy street food, Cass and Drama Queen had homecooked food for breakfast and lunch. I don't believe in feeding kids with outside food everyday.  Thankfully Cass and Drama Queen are content with just blanched buckwheat or green tea noodles seasoned with a dash of soy sauce, sesame seed oil and toasted sesame seeds, served with an egg or some grilled chicken drummets. They wouldn't even mind eating what we had for dinner the night before again for breakfast or lunch. For that, I'm grateful and thankful that I can just keep some dinner and pop it into the microwave oven the next day for these two girls. Cass can even eat my homecooked spaghetti bolognese for FOUR meals in a row (dinner, breakfast, lunch and dinner again!).  Alycia settles her breakfast and lunch in school.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Home Cooked Chinese New Year Dishes By Papa

My papa and mum baked almost 10 types of cookies for Chinese New Year this year.  On the eve of CNY, papa cooked a feast for the reunion dinner. My older brother and his family from Singapore traveled back to Ipoh, so did my younger brother from KL.  We only joined them on the first day of CNY.  My older brother even purchased a new MPV that could fit in the entire family of six just on time for this trip ~ they welcomed twin babies late last year.

On the third day of CNY, papa cooked all the CNY dishes that he cooked on the eve again, just for our  family as we had missed them on the eve.  My late maternal and paternal grandmas used to cook these dishes and it's a passed down tradition to cook them during CNY.

Clockwise from top: Braised stuffed dried oysters with black moss (Ho See Fatt Choy), waxed meat and cured sausages,  sauteed leek with roast pork, lotus root and pork ribs from the soup, abalone braised with black moss (Pau Yue Fatt Choy), braised stuffed mushrooms with black moss (Toong Koo Fatt Choy), steamed cod fish, sauteed lettuce  and steamed chicken in the center.  Many of the CNY dishes have black moss (fatt choy) in them as the word 'fatt choy' in Cantonese means PROSPER, which is an extremely auspicious word, especially during CNY.

Are you droooooling already? I am, looking at these pix 😆

It will be another one year before we get to dig into these CNY dishes again and I am already starting to miss them now 😋💗

Monday, March 5, 2018

OCD And Germaphobes?

Would you believe it if I told you that I mop the floor of our home at least twice a day? On average, it's three times a day ~ morning, after lunch and after dinner.  Bedroom floors are moped once (sometimes twice) a day while the dining area and kitchen floors are moped between twice to thrice a day.  The more we cook, the more times the floor has to be moped.  I don't get how some people can cook a feast but have no urge to  clean up the  aftermath of their cooking.  I admire these people and wish I have such high tolerance to a greasy floor and stove.

I have to thank my blessings that we live in a condo where space is small and it does not take very long for me to mop the entire unit of 1,500+ sq feet.  This is one of the pros of condo living.

With daily twice or thrice mopping, yet the floor is still dusty. And I just don't know why.

See the disposable floor wipe here? That's from the second round of moping with two pieces of wet floor wipes used.  I do the first two rounds of mopping myself. When my part-time helper comes in the evening, she does another round of mopping. I have two part-time helpers who take turns to come in 5 times a week.  One of the helpers is a clean freak who is super detailed with her work. I love her and so do the girls. I have almost zilch complains about her work.  The other helper often rushes through her job, cuts corners and is very calculative with the number of hours that she puts in. When she leaves, I have to clean up after her.

With my overzealous cleaning of the house, would you consider me an OCD and germaphobes? 😀  I know my eldest daughter is a confirmed washer OCD.

Gorgeous Hair Colors

I've been talking a lot lately about coloring my hair but I still haven't gotten to it yet.  A big part of me is hankering to try a different color for my hair, especially blonde but there is always a BUT! The big BUT stems from the fact that I can't seem to find the time to spend half a day at the hair salon to either do a rebonding or soft curls to my hair. And I hate to think of the chemicals penetrating every strand of my fragile hair and scalp causing God knows what harm to my hair and body. I'm just paranoid to the max like that. But I want a new color to my hair to welcome a brand new number to my age this year!

Bronde (shade that falls perfectly in-between blonde and brunette) was one of the most popular hair colors in 2017,  besides balayage, rose gold and playful colors. This year's hair color trends are shifting to warmer highlights, red-toned hues, and a new take on honey golden blonde.

Ultra Violet was named Pantone's Color of the Year, so it comes as no surprise that shades of purple and violet are really popping in 2018.  Are you game to try this color?

Created with Pravana Vivids Violet at root and Vivids Silver with drops of Violet through mid-shafts and ends.

If you are hankering for a change in your hair color but do not wish to have chemicals damaging your hair, or if you just want to hide the growing-out-a-pixie cut, the ultimate option is to wear a wig.

If you are open about wearing a wig then you can experiment with fun colors bob or blonde weave, blonde lace front wig, blonde bundles with frontal or the intralace system which gives you more freedom and looks incredibly natural.

The appearance of wigs has improved dramatically over the last few years so take your time when choosing the right style and the right color. An initial consultation with your chosen provider is the best way forward.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

How Do You Eat Your Dried Meat / Jerky?

Every Chinese New Year without fail, we would have a left over of dried meat / jerky sitting in the fridge for months. Mum and dad still have their dried meat sitting in their freezer left over from last year's Chinese New Year. It looks like they will have to bin it again as they received more jerkies during the recent CNY.  These jerkies don't come cheap. The hubs bought half a kg of pork jerky for RM55 last December. He ate only a slice and as usual, the jerky moved into the refrigerator a week later, after which I gave some to a friend and then we forgot all about it until two months later when I cleared the fridge to store Mandarin oranges and of course more jerkies, given to us by Alycia's tennis coach. With a heavy heart, I discarded the old batch of jerkies.  It's a norm every year that these jerkies end up being binned several months post CNY.  It's not the healthiest of snacks around ~ it's loaded with salt, sugar and MSG. The burnt parts of the meat are carcinogenic.  Much as I love snacking on them, I have to try hard to resist them for reasons mentioned earlier.

This CNY the jerkies that we received are really delish.  I decided not to keep them too long in the fridge but to eat them sparingly. It's morally wrong to discard food and I try not to throw food but to recycle it. To make it less unhealthy, I cut off the burnt parts and rinsed the chilled slices of jerky with water to remove the excess oil, salt and sugar.  Then added the bite-size jerkies into stir-fried vegetables and fried rice.  Yummy!

What do you do when there's an excess of dried meat / jerky from Chinese New Year?

Friday, March 2, 2018

Shopping For Evening Dresses

Today I did a mini spring cleaning of my closet and gave away a bag of clothes to my part-time helper. The clothes still look brand new as I had only worn them fewer than five times. Being in the online clothing business, I have the privilege to buy clothes as wholesale prices.  Thus, my wardrobe is always bursting with new clothes. On a few occasions, I had even forgotten that there was a couple of new dresses hanging in my wardrobe!

Today I realized that I have hardly worn most of the dresses in my closet.  And I need to get a couple of new stylish cocktail dresses for three upcoming wedding dinners lined up for this year.  But I could barely hang up another new dress in my closet. My practice when it comes to getting new clothes is if a new dress goes into the closet, an old one has to go out. The same goes with shoes. This way, my closet will not get too glutted.  My part-time helper is always the happy beneficiary of most of my clothes and shoes.  For all the hard work and dedication to my family for the past 5 years, she deserves my pre-loved clothes and shoes.

Ok, back to cocktail dresses and evening dresses!  Do you splurge on a glitzy dress just to attend a wedding dinner? Or do you rent them? I don't normally spend lavishly on an evening dress as I do not intend to wear it more than twice. So I shop for them online as they are normally cheaper.  There are many websites that you can shop for elegant yet affordable evening dresses, wedding dresses and vintage prom dresses. You can even find modish maternity evening dresses online from such websites as Dresshopau

I love these evening dresses from Dresshopau.  Which one should I choose?  Should I take all three for the three wedding dinners lined up this year? 😁  Just so you know, I need three new dresses for the three dinners as the two brides and groom are cousins who coincidentally decided (or conspired) to get married in the same year and the same group of people will be attending the dinners!  I'm already feeling sucked dry just thinking of the three big angpows for the bride and groom and three new dresses! 😵

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Chinese New Year 2018

Besides visiting relatives and friends, this is how Cass spent her time in Ipoh on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd day of CNY.  Her two sisters were as usual hooked to their phones 😡

Continued with her Hello Kitty cross stitch project and of course popping on granny's homemade cookies into her mouth throughout the day.  Ju, my bff in Singapore gave this lovely gift to Cass for Christmas when we met up in Singapore in December last year.

Cass only works on this cross stitch project whenever she has extra time on hand, i.e. when school and tuition homework is completed, piano practised and my BM homework for her is done.  She hardly has time on school days, which means that she can only work on this project during school holidays.

With the very little time that she had, she managed to complete only one Hello Kitty since she started the project in late Dec 2017:

I'm amazed with the patience and focus that Cass has with cross stitching, just like how she could spend hours on end solving boxes after boxes of jigsaw puzzle when she was just 3 years old.

Below: our reunion dinner at Kok Thai Restaurant on the first day of CNY.

The stroller that Alycia is lugging here once belonged to her.  It's a gift to Alycia 15 years ago from Marene 'kham mou' (my  brother's wife) from Singapore.  Who would have thought that 15 years on,  Alycia would be lugging this very stroller for her kham mou's babies.  In fact, the twinnies are now using the playpen and baby cot that Alycia once used whenever we went back in Ipoh when she was a baby.

A trip to Ipoh will always involve a trip to Kinta City, a shopping mall located just a couple of minutes away from my parents.  The girls just have to drown themselves with books at Popular Book Store.

A trip to Ipoh will never be complete for Cass if she doesn't get to go to the arcade at Kinta Cinty to try her hands on the claw machines, bouncy ball machine and crystal machine.

Cass gasped in disbelief when she saw a woman with a big bag of plush toys that she won from the claw machine. How did this lady do it?!  Chances of clawing out a plush toy successfully are 1 in 10, perhaps even 1 in 20.  And this lady had about 4 or 5 toys inside the bag. I think it was pure fluke at that moment. When Cass and I stood behind her to watch how she did it, she didn't succeed anymore after several tries.  And nope,  I didn't give Cass any money to play. She knows it very well that one must be a million times lucky to 'hit the jackpot'.

But I think Cass was very lucky coz when she went into the arcade at the kids' department of Aeon, we met a woman who was extremely amiable, warm and generous who she gave Cass a giant 'crystal'.   The woman in her late 40s and her husband were accompanying their 15-year old daughter.  The woman must have spent about RM50 on tokens for her daughter to play on just one game machine ~ which dispenses colorful fake bling bling crystals. The more tokens you slot in, the more chances of getting a giant crystal.  Cass and I stood there watching the girl play at the machine with her parents cheering her on and jumping in excitement each time the machine dispensed 'crystals'.  The sound of the crystals dropping out of the machine, like the sound of gold bars dropping out is enough to excite and tempt you to slot in a few more tokens to win more crystals.  The girl and her mother would then gleefully collect the dropping crystals as if they were collecting real gold and store them in a plastic bag.  From time to time, the woman would chat with me while commenting "I spent more than RM20 just on plastic for my daughter", followed by a cheerful guffaw. She must have been in a real good mood that day.   After a good 20 minutes or so with her daughter filling up a huge bag full of fake crystals, the woman walked towards me with two gigantic crystals in her hand (one is green and one purple) and asked Cass to choose one.  Cass was flabbergasted and said 'NO'.  The woman was persistent and persuaded Cass to choose one. Seeing how sincere the woman was,  I chose the purple one on Cass' behalf and thanked the woman profusely before we parted ways and wished each other "koong hei fatt choy" 😆

The giant purple fake crystal is now on my table top.  It reminds me of one woman's generosity, kindness and sincerity and how much joy the cheap crystal has brought to Cass. One day, I will pay it forward and pass the kindness to another kid, perhaps in an arcade.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Stomach Flu

On the day we returned to KL from Ipoh, which was the 4th day of CNY, Cass wasn't her usual chirpy self throughout the train ride. I thought it's because we all had to wake up at 5:45 a.m. to get ready to catch the 7:25 a.m. ETS and she was just tired. We hadn't had enough sleep throughout the CNY holidays as we had to wake up early almost everyday. When we got back to KL, she had chills and felt malaise. When we went to our usual shop for lunch, Cass who usually has a ravenous appetite, had zilch appetite. The only food she could put into her mouth was an organic apple, half a glass of fresh apple + orange juice and two small pieces of steamed free-range chicken sans the dressing of oil and sauce. Cass purged many times that day and had abdominal cramps. She must have caught some  bugs from one of the many lavish meals that we had in Ipoh or it could be her innards just weren't used to processing so much fattening food for 4 days straight. You know the kind of feast that we Chinese have during CNY, along with cookies, dried meat, Mandarin oranges and waxed meat.

By the time we got home from lunch, she was running a temperature of 39.1C. I gave her a luke-warm shower, a packet of Izumio with two capsules of Super Lutein before she took a nap. Dinner for her was another organic apple, four pieces of cream crackers with strawberry jam and another packet of Izumio. I gave her a suppository before she went to sleep that night. Thank God the next morning she was fine and dandy again. But she still had mild stomach cramps and purging throughout the day. Slowly but surely her appetite returned.  She recovered just on time to return to school on Wednesday (6th day of CNY).  She still had mild tummy pain on Wednesday morning but she was steadfast that she wanted to go to school. I applied peppermint essential oil on her tummy (which almost always gives her a pain relief) and gave her a bottle to bring to school.

For dinner, I cooked a big pot of roast pork bone porridge with organic pumpkin and carrot and sauteed Chinese mustard greens with shimeiji mushrooms and egg. 

So glad to see Cass regaining her appetite and chomping down the bowl of porridge.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Chinese New Year 2018 ~ Day 2 (17 February 2018)

We got up early to go to the Yaps' ancestral home to have reunion brunch.  This is the first time our family had reunion brunch on the second day of CNY at the 4-decade old refurbished ancestral home in Ipoh.   The previous ancestral house was a huge mansion at Thompson Road, opposite the Ipoh Turf Club. The mansion was sold a few years back and the piece of land is now developed into a new housing estate.  Our first day of CNY for the past few years had been in KL with the mil and we would then travel back to Ipoh on day 2 but this year she's still in Hong Kong.

Feast fit for a king, dished up by the hubs' aunts who are all skillful cooks and bakers in their own rights:

Clockwise from top: sauteed mixed vegetables, braised Hakka pork, seared fresh scallops, pig intestines pepper soup, acar, steamed waxed meat with arrowroot, braised Hakka pork and steamed fish.  The star dish at the center of the table is Phoon Choy.

I guess I should count on my blessings that I needn't have to put on my apron to dish up a few mean Hakka dishes for the relatives during CNY. So thankful that I never have to cook anything on CNY except to help around.

And this year we had a big pot of delightful 'Phoon Choy' (Prosperity Abalone Treasure Pot) from Tuck Kee Restaurant costing a whopping RM500++

Getting ready to "Loh Sang"

The girls helping to babysit baby Raeanne.

The next time we meet the twins again could be in another half a year's time or maybe even longer. It's such a hassle to travel from Singapore to Ipoh (or even to KL) with twin babies. When we meet the tweenies again, I guess they would have already learnt to crawl or even walk. Can't wait to meet them again.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine's Day ~ 14 February 2018

Today is also the eve of the eve of Chinese New Year and Drama Queen's birthday.  Yet today is quite an eventful day.

While cooking dinner half way at 5:55 p.m., I received a call from Drama Queen. She had used the public pay phone at school to call me. She said she was feeling nauseous and had a tummy ache. She asked me to fetch her back pronto.

This girl has been feeling unwell since last week.  The recent heat wave and sizzling hot afternoon sun are a killer to anyone.  Being in a public school, the classrooms are non-air conditioned, unlike her Chinese primary school, where all the classrooms are air conditioned.  The Chinese primary school that Drama Queen went to is partially subsidized privately. Parents have to contribute to the school's electricity bill too.  Can you image how terribly stuffy and hot it is in those classrooms with no air-conditioning in the hot afternoon with temperatures hitting 38C?

Since Drama Queen started attending high school, she's been pretty active in sports. As she is in the afternoon session, most of the sports activities are held in the afternoon, though some are held in the morning.  I think this girl has over worked her body and had a mild heat stroke, just like Cass a month ago. Drama Queen wasn't that into sports in primary school. Plus the heat wave is exacerbating the situation.

Back to this evening.  In the call from school, Drama Queen asked me to fetch her home as she felt like throwing up, her tummy hurt and she felt horrible. But the pork nuggets had just gone into the oven. And I was sauteing the cabbage half way through. I told her to give me 20 minutes.  After cooking the cabbage and flipping the nuggets over, I changed into my dress and then turned off the oven, leaving the nuggets to continue browning while I went to fetch the girl.  I wore a skimpy dress as I was drenched in sweat after cooking in my sauna kitchen and thinking that I needn't have to get down the car.  The girl told me to wait for her outside the school gate.

Just as I had parked my call, the girl called me again. She said I had to go up to the office to sign a form.  WTF! I was only wearing a skimpy dress and the guard would stop me again. Just for the record, the school guard had reprimanded me twice for wearing a sleeveless outfit. He said that the school is a government building and I should be dressed "dengan sopan" (with respect).  Thankfully I have a shawl in my handbag. After the two incidents, I now always have a shawl in my handbag to put over my shoulders in order to enter the school without being stopped by the guard.

Then it poured really heavily. I ran inside the school after telling the guard my situation. He let me off the hook again haha!

Long story short, my legs and feet were soaking wet with rain water when we returned home. But the moment I got down the car, the rain stopped short and it was bright and dry again. Even the skies are playing me out!

Anyway, my super quick and easy baked pork nuggets / begedil / potato croquettes meant for super busy moms turned out beautifully and super yums.

Recipe And Instructions:
Marinate ground meat with salt, pepper, dash of soy sauce, olive oil, mixed herbs and chopped garlic for at least an hour in the fridge

Boil some potatoes and mash it up. I only used one potato. I didn't intend to use potato but because today is fridge clearing day before our trip back to Ipoh for CNY, I added the remaining potato into my nuggets.

Add mashed potatoes into the ground meat. If the mixture looks dry, add some more olive oil. Mix everything well with your hands (wear a pair of disposable gloves if you have to).

Shape up the nuggets and place them on a lined and oiled baking tray.

Bake at 160C for 30 minutes (15 mins on each side).

On the subject of Valentine's Day...

C – did dad give you any Valentine gift mummy?
Me – nope.
C – he likes to give you perfume. Why didn’t he give you anything this year? No flowers? No ring? No Versace dress... on the floor?? I hope he will give you some love, a hug and a kiss tonight. You know, you two should go for a Valentine movie while we kids have some play time. Oh it rhymes! Valentine and play time, haha! He should give you a massage too. A relaxing foot massage will be nice!

My baby girl is just too adorable.

Hubs has been busy with work and CNY functions the past 2 weeks. He did bring home two slices of cake from Huckleberry Food And Fare to celebrate Valentine's Day.  Ok la, I forgive  him. Anyway, with the Drama Queen being unwell, how do we go out and celebrate?  Plus, I've been busy too with rushing off some online assignments before our trip back to Ipoh on Friday.

Someone too impatient to dig into the droolicious chocolate cake and photo-bombed my photo again!

Sick? Feeling nauseous and tummy ache? Body and eyes pain? Yes meh? Can still gobble down the nuggets, an egg and sauteed curry cabbage? 😁  My Drama Queen, truly dramatic.

My dear Sherilyn, as you are on the brink of entering teenage-hood (well actually you've been acting like one since two years ago), I wish you only happiness throughout your teenage years. Enjoy your birthday, which you'll be celebrating in Ipoh.  Your crazy mum wishes you a blessed 13th birthday and may Jesus bless you with the best of health, longevity, wisdom, compassion and all good things in life. 💓😘  I won't have the time to do a post on your birthday as we will be busy eating and visiting during CNY.

Using The Right Hair Products For Your Type Of Hair

Most women misdiagnose their actual hair type and end up with shampoos, conditioners and styling products that are all wrong for them.  I'm one of them and I had to learn it the hard way over the years.

I had also used the wrong detangling oil for Cass and she ended up having coarse and entangled curly hair!  Did you know that baby oil only makes entangled hair more tangled?  I finally experimented with different combo of essential oils and the best oils to tame Cass' frizzy and curly hair is extra virgin coconut oil mixed with a few drops of essential oils. I mix and match the essential oils and usually use melaleuca, peppermint, grapefruit, lime, lemon and lavender.  Would love rose essential oil but it's frigging expensive!

Have you always wondered what type of hair products suit your type of hair?  Whether your hair is fine and straight, thick and straight or kinky and curly,  different types of shampoo, conditioner and hair styling products should be used.

The flat blahness of fine straight hair (like mine!) needs volume without weight—which only sounds like it defies the laws of physics.  For such hair, it's best to use a thickening shampoo and conditioner but use the latter only on the very ends of your hair and rinse it out thoroughly.

For thick and straight hair, avoid volumizers and that's it. Your hair can hold its own against any styling product (when used in moderation, of course). You have the texture to pull off almost any style. But you'll still need time and patience. Start the styling process by combing a few drops of styling oil through wet hair section by section, followed by a small dollop of styling cream.

For kinky and coiled hair, your tight curls require an intense, carefully considered approach to styling products. Your routine should start in the shower, which is a deep conditioner, but only rinse it out halfway. Conditioner residue helps keeps curls shiny and smooth.  Post-shower, immediately comb through a leave-in conditioner.  You can also use a curl enhancing cream to enhance natural curls and tame frizz.

If you are currently using a wig, whether it is a straight human hair wig, hair extension, virgin brazilian hair, brazilian virgin hair or virgin brazilian curly hair wig, your faux tresses need washing and conditioning to keep them clean. But do not wash your hair piece too often as often washing will shorten the lifespan. Gently wash the hair piece under cool running water with a proper wig shampoo.
Gently squeeze excess water from the wig (do not rub or wring) and lightly blot hair with a towel (do not twist or wring).  You may apply a small amount of argan oil treatment throughout the hair to add vibrancy, moisture and protection to the hair piece.

This post is brought to you by BHF Hair.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Fried Rice With Grilled Chicken Satay

I cooked this vegetables + egg + garlic fried rice with grilled non-skewer chicken 'satay' 2 days ago. This can be done in just 30 minutes and is almost every kid's favorite.  Well, adults too, and it requires minimal effort.   After this was cooked, I walloped it in a jiffy before resuming my Uber duty.  This is an almost guiltless 'treat' for myself to rice as I used Basmati rice, which is low in GI.

Basmati rice has a GI (glycemic index) ranging between 43 and 60, which falls in the low to medium GI category, according to the University of Sydney GI Database. Other types of rice have GI reaching 72 to 98.

Wholegrain Basmati rice has the lowest GI  of all rice types, which means once digested it releases its energy slowly keeping blood sugar levels more stable, which is a crucial part of diabetes management.  On the other hand, sticky and risotto type rices have much higher GIs, so less suitable in a diabetic diet. The varying GIs of rice depends on the type of carbohydrate present in the grains. Basmati rice has the greatest amount of a type known as amylose which does not gelatinize during cooking and results in fluffy, separate grains.

GI aside, I like Basmati rice as it's not starchy.  Our girls know how to choose their rice too and prefer Basmati rice over other types of rice as they love fluffy, non-starchy rice.  We eat Basmati long grain rice, which is the type of rice used in the preparation of Nasi Briyani.  That's one of the reasons why Nasi Briyani is expensive.

OK, back to my Basmati fried rice, which is pretty eventful and the story ended only today!

When I opened the oven to put a tray back inside today, I was shocked to see this plate of fried rice with chicken inside the oven! The exact thing that you see in the photo here has been sitting and rotting inside the oven since Thursday.  No wonder the entire kitchen has been smelling of garlic since yesterday. Holy shit!  I was puzzled and my mind was racing frantically trying to track back how on earth this plate of rice, which should have been already eaten still be sitting in the oven!  Cass who heard me exclaimed in shock ran to the kitchen and said "Oops, that was supposed to be for ME!! And I forgot to eat it. And I took the fried rice from the wok!!"

The display set for photography was meant for Cass. But this dawdler had not finished her homework or practised the piano. I had warned her that if these two things were not completed, she wouldn't get to eat her dinner.   So I placed the plate of fried rice back into the oven, told Cass that she could claim her dinner after she had finished doing everything and off I rushed to fetch Drama Queen back from school.  When I came back, Cass told me that she had completed her homework and practised the piano. She then darted to the kitchen to get her dinner. I had totally forgotten about the plate of rice in the oven; and Cass too.  She took her fried rice from the wok and grilled chicken from the oven, overpassing the plate of rice sitting on the lower tray in the oven. How could she even have missed the  big plate of rice?!  This is yet another blood-vomiting incident from Cass. Together with Drama Queen, I have more than enough of drama each day.  Every single day. I don't need any k-drama for entertainment. And I don't even have the time for the TV anyway.

Super moon or super sun?

This photo was taken at 7:05 p.m. yesterday, on my way to school to fetch Drama Queen.

I'm stuck in this horrendous bumper-to-bumper traffic jam every single evening. When I'm done with Uber-ing for the day, I have not much appetite left to enjoy my dinner. All I want is to have a nice warm shower, plonk myself onto my comfy bed and zzzz uninterrupted until 4:15 the  next morning.  Good thing is the mil will be back next Sunday and I can then hang up my apron for the next few months 😁

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Korean Fruit Vinegar Ice Popsicle

Fruit vinegar is high in antioxidants, which helps fight free radicals that result in oxidative stress and premature aging. Polyphenols and vitamins found in different types of vinegar help ward off oxidative stress due to their potent antioxidant properties.  Fruit vinegar also helps combat constipation, which works really effectively on Cass.

Other health benefits of fruit vinegar include:

Anti-Diabetic Effects – Fruit vinegar has anti-glycemic properties to help reduce blood sugar levels. Its acetic acid lowers blood sugar by preventing the complete digestion of complex carbohydrates. One theory is that vinegar helps inactivate some of the digestive enzymes that break down carbohydrates into sugar — slowing down the conversion of complex carbohydrates into sugar from a meal into your bloodstream. As a result, this gives your body more time to digest and absorb the sugar out of your blood, preventing sugar levels from spiking.

Weight Loss – Fruit vinegar may help you lose weight. The enzymes produced during fermentation process help increase metabolism, which helps manage a healthy weight.

Brain Health – Fruit vinegar improves your cognitive function and improves memory retention. The acetic acid bacteria contained in fruit vinegar produces precursors of important building blocks of brain tissues called sphingolipids.

Cass drinks a glass of Hong Cho Korean fruit vinegar every other day. I mix  3-4 tablespoons of vinegar diluted with about 150 ml of water.  Unlike apple cider vinegar, which some people find the taste unpalatable and stings the throat when swallowed,  Hong Cho Korean fruit vinegar has a very pleasant taste. It tastes very much like fruit flavored soda. It does not sting the throat as much as apple cider vinegar, provided it is diluted at the right ratio with either plain water or juice.

Besides drinking Hong Cho fruit vinegar, another delectable way of enjoying it is to make it into ice-popsicles.  Our girls eat them almost daily, especially on super hot days. It's a guilt-free way of eating your ice-popsicles besides reaping all the health benefits.

Cass enjoying her pomegranate and blueberry mix ice-popsicle after a long day with CoCo activities at school yesterday. After a stick of ice-popsicle, she wolfed down some chilled sweet cantaloupe.

We have tried all three flavors of Hong Cho Vital Plus vinegar, viz blueberry, pomegranate and grapefruit and love them all, especially pomegranate. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Li Chun, 4 Feburary 2018

Sunday, 4 February 2018 is Li Chun day. Li Chun marks the beginning of spring and is the first of the 24 solar terms according to the Chinese lunar calendar. This year, it falls on Feb 4.

Many Chinese people would celebrate the beginning of Li Chun by worshipping and giving offerings to the gods and performing ceremonies for a prosperous new year. That practice has changed considerably over the past few years. The trend of depositing and withdrawing money on this auspicious day now seems to be the norm, with many queueing up at banks and cash deposit machines to conduct their transactions believing it can help grow their wealth and ensure good luck in the new year. The practice is that people would either withdraw or deposit their cash at a specific time, based on the zodiac year they were born.

We never observe any of the practices done on Li Chun day.  This year's Li Chun, as with previous years, my Facebook news feed was filled with friends posting photos of their egg balancing acts.  And my curiosity got the better of me. I was eager to try the egg balancing act too to see if it my egg can really stand on the tip on this day.

Many people believe that on Li Chun day, eggs can be placed to stand vertically easier than on any other day.  People believe that if your egg(s) can stand vertically on Li Chun day, it symbolizes a good year ahead for you. For me, I take it with a pinch of salt, albeit I do wish that I'll have a fantastic and smooth sailing year all year long 😊. Some say that egg standing on Li Chun day is just a myth and if you have the time and patience to try, an egg can be put to stand on its tip on any other day.

So, just for the fun of it, Cass, Alycia and I tried balancing eggs on our Li Chun Sunday.  It was pretty easy for me to get the eggs to stand. It took me around 10-15 minutes each time to get an egg to stand. And just for experimenting how long the egg could stand, we left the eggs on the floor for over an hour and it was still standing despite it being very windy on that day.  I took away the eggs to mop the floor later and Cass was enraged!  She wanted the eggs to remain on the floor just to see how long they can stand. 😆

My eggs stood on the tip on the kitchen top and kitchen floor:

After only 5 minutes of  attempting, Alycia gave up when her egg didn't stand.  She had to practise singing for her Drama Club assignment and spent the entire evening and night working on her voice.

Cass was very persistent and patient. She tried umpteen times and finally at around 6pm, she rejoiced when her egg stood on the its tip!  This girl had proven that she's got tons of patience when at age 3, she could spend hours on end solving boxes after boxes of jigsaw puzzles, with full concentration.

Here's to a year  filled with lots of good luck, good wealth and good health to me and everyone at home and I certainly wish that this year will be a fabulous one for you too! 🙏

Happy counting down to Chinese New Year!

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