Friday, September 30, 2011

Mom's first attempt at baking muffins

And what a failure! First, I forgot the oil. How can this happen when oil is one of the most important ingredients? Second, I didn't sieve the flour using a proper sieve. And lastly, I should have used butter instead of olive oil!

Despite the failed infant attempt, the consolation is I had a very enthusiastic helper in the kitchen. In fact, prior to the baking session, I had ambitiously assured him that he could be having muffins as his snack the next day.  And, he was convinced that Mom can really bake edible muffins. 

The recipe seems simple enough. I thought this shouldn't stop a novice from making nice muffins, what with Mom who used to bake banana cakes umpteen years ago.

This was what we used to sieve the flour.  I thought this would be better than not sieving at all as I had totally forgotten about buying one.  Sigh....
As Wyng was the one who beat the eggs for me, I had carelessly forgotten about adding oil or butter into it before mixing the egg and milk mixture into the flour.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the egg mixture into it. Stir well but do not overmix.
This is the result of the batter. Wyng enthused and pointed eagerly at the recipe book that the batter looked exactly the same as that in the picture.
Separating the batter into two portions.
Instead of cocoa, I used Milo to make my chocolate marble muffins. Wyng had such thrill just by mixing the Milo into the batter.
The batter, separated into two portion, one portion with Milo, one without, was to be spooned alternately into the tray.

It was only at this stage when the muffins were being baked in the oven that I realised, OMG! Mom had forgotten something!
Look at the flat muffins. See how dry and unappetising they are! They look so different from the glossy and mouth-watering muffins in my recipe book.  Not wanting to give up, I made another 6 more muffins, this time I didn't forget the oil but I used olive oil because that's the only type of oil I have in my kitchen. 

Sigh... Probably because I was using the healthy olive oil, the muffins weren't moist at all and they didn't rise! The recipe did say sunflower seed oil or butter. So, I figure olive oil will do the job.

Oh no, and I thought making muffins was easy. My 18 muffins turned out to be rather flat, dry and hard. The hardness is similar to 'nien gao' when it's not cooked.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Should I sell the piano?

Now that Hoe has taken his Grade 5 piano exams and would not be attending music classes (not until he has decided whether he will commit some time to piano), the piano seems to be a white elephant at home. Not only that, it reminds me (and Daddy) of the hard-earned money spent on investing for a piano for the kids.

It is almost a month now since his practical exam, and the piano is still untouched! Dusts is thickening day by day.  My reminders to play the piano (play just for fun) fell on deaf ears.  Probably a sterner reminder is called for. Or perhaps a threat will work better. 

Wyng is not musically-inclined to want to even learn the piano. So, there is no hope on him to even touch the piano.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Children Learn What They Live

I'd like to share this with readers of this blog.  It was from the editor of

Children Learn What They Live

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Long-life drink for Mom's mom

This was posted on 12 January 2009 in my previous blog. Here is a reposting.

My Mom is already 72. That day, Hoe told me he wishes that his grandma lives forever. He really can't accept it if she is not around anymore.

After saying those things, he then served her a mug of 'long-life' (as Hoe called it) drink (it's just plain water) that day and wished her long-life. At the same time, Hoe served me my drink in my usual little tumbler. You know what he's trying to do? To prevent jealousy, what else?

My Mom gladly drank the water with a big smile. Hope this means good.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Talking about males and females

We were watching one of Wyng's favourite TV programme, Animal Planet. Mom commented that the female snake was much bigger than the male snake.  To this statement, Wyng quipped,"Of course la, like praying mantis and spiders."

Mom tested,"What else?".  The seemingly knowledgeable Wyng replied, "Lizards, frogs, beetles, even fish and sharks." Mom scratched her head and immediate Google came to mind to check the accuracy of his statement.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Reading without Mom's guidance at 5 years

Wyng was 5 years and 3 months old then. We were in a car when he picked up his 'No Monsters Allowed' book and read it for the first time without Mom's prior guidance.  He has never read this book previously.  From this book, he learned a new word 'excellent'.  I still remember I tested him for a second time and he actually remembered it.

As I was driving, I was pleasantly surprised that he could read words such as 'thought', 'cheered', ' imagine', 'butter', 'scrambled', 'ladder', 'blushed', 'slumped', 'wondered', 'everybody', 'different', 'moment' and 'voice'.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My kid saw a smile in the sky too

This was posted on 15 December 2008 in my previous blog. Here is a reposting with minor changes to the wordings.

Got this picture in my email recently. Coincidentally, while at a house-warming party of a relative, Wyng pointed up to the sky and told me that there was a smile in the sky. It was 6 December 2008.

The smile was almost like what was shown here in this picture emailed to me. This picture was supposedly taken from Perth, Australia. At that very moment, I didn't really appreciate that there was such a phenomenon in the sky. Not until I receive the email and when Wyng pointed up in the sky.

With their naive and clear minds, kids are able to 'see' a lot of things which adults miss. Don't we always miss the nice things?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wolverine and my kid

Wyng got upset that I accidentally scratched his hand with my long fingernail.  Apologetically but jokingly, Mom said, "Sorry! You think I'm Wolverine who can keep his long nails?"

Wyng asked me as though testing my knowledge," Do you know that wolverine is also a kind of animal? Like a hedgehog.."

Mom, uncertain but kept her cool, "Ok, let me double-check this."  Before I post this on my blog, I searched the online dictionary and true enough, Wyng is right again.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The family's favourite food

The first time we had Teochew porridge, Wyng did not like it at all, neither was Hoe.  Mom and Daddy love  the porridge.  Surprisingly, after a few times, the kids start to love it. In fact, they were 'addicted' to this food.  Whenever it's time to decide where to eat out, "Teochew porridge!" would mostly be the kids' choice.

So, Mom started to investigate the reason they like this food.  We discover they are intrigued by the dishes which are served in small plates.  Wyng particularly love the canned ground nuts from China and the pickled radish omelette as well as stew potatoes.  They are not allowed to take the porridge but rice as the latter is more filling for them. 

As opposed to eating other local hawker food, Wyng gobbles this food without Mom's intervention at all.  This meal is not so cheap as compared to mixed rice.  With about 6 or 7 dishes, the bills comes up to around RM30.00 most of the time.  Daddy doesn't mind at all as long as Wyng enjoys it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Mom bids farewell to traditional steaming

As I advocate steaming as a healthy and grease-free way of cooking for the kids, the traditional steaming with a wok has become a regular part of my cooking routine until I found this wonderful invention.  This appliance is definitely not new in the market.  Not knowing anyone close who has owned such electric steamer before, I began to google for reviews of food steamers in the market. 

After analysing some reviews, I settled for Tefal Invent food steamer. It has made my life easier in the kitchen.  Oh yes, by the way, being frugal, I had checked with my credit card reward catalogue first before surfing for reviews.  In short, I am enjoying the benefit of this wonderful appliance without forking out a single cent. 

No longer do I have to wait near the gas cooker to make sure the water in the wok doesn't dry out when I am absorbed in my work. Or run helter-skelter to the gas cooker when I realise the water in the wok is drying out.  My misjudgement can also land me having more work when I had to add water to the wok as the food wasn't 'cooked' perfectly. 

With this steamer, the steaming time can be set to suit the type of food.  The keep warm function works wonderfully for me.  Alas, I can now steam my food and leave the kitchen without having to worry about over-steamed or dried wok.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A bowling game for the family

I've never even played so many games of bowling when I was young. All four of us played 3 games. It was the Christmas and the year-end school holidays last year, I actually asked Daddy to take a few days off. The kids have been wanting to go for a bowling game since their first game in the previous term break.

We had quite a good game. Hoe and Mom took turns to lead, except Daddy, of course. He topped each game, of course la, I think he used to be a top player among his friends in his younger days. I never like bowling. It was like rolling coins into the drain. Well, it was like that for us if not for the rail on both sides of the lane which was for kids' training. Having the rail is bad and good for bowlers. Hoe and I didn't like it but at times when we really lost badly, we hoped that we didn't remove the rail as it really helps to push the ball back to the centre to hit the pins.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Strolling down memory lane with the kids

Despite having been to Cameron for four to five times, this place failed to attract my interest until the recent trip. It was only after some persuasion by the kids that I agreed to walk into this 'tunnel', well, it's not exactly a tunnel.  My, I was in for a pleasant surprise!  At the end of this visit, I was glad that the kids were persistent enough to convince Mom to change her mind.

Walking through the place was like taking a stroll down memory lane.  It reminded me about my childhood and teenage as well as the early part of adulthood.  The kids actually caught Mom and Daddy's enthusiasm as we walked on enthusing and feasting our eyes on a wide array of old and antique items on display.

'Tikam' was what Daddy called this.  This used to be my favourite but we rarely had a chance to play as our parents were not financially comfortable enough to give us so much of pocket money. 

Looking at this old Gameboy reminds me of the current PS2 or PS what version now.  Kids are so fortunate nowadays that almost each of them can be seen playing a PS but not my kids.  How satisfied were we then if we could even own this?

Just a few weeks ago, I was talking to Hoe about this favourite pastime of mine.  I was telling him about how in those days kids don't get to play electronic gadgets. We actually had to make our own toys or games.   I told them how their Mom used to make dozens of fashionable clothings for these picture models when Mom was not given any money to buy these.  Indirectly, I was trying to tell him that he can still enjoy with less things. 

 Ermm...Sarsi was my favourite drink during the Chinese New Year. Kids nowadays are so lucky that they get to savour soft drink in cans. For us, we only get to do this during festivals such as Chinese New Year. We cherish more of things we don't get enough of.

My family could only afford a telephone when I was in upper secondary.  Unlike now, where the kids do not even appreciate a telephone but keep demanding for a camera or 3G mobile phone.

Still remember these piggy banks?  These remind me of fun fairs in those days. Going to fun fairs was one of the outings we'd love to go.  Now, these lacklustre fun fairs are deserted as they failed to entice kids with the thrill-filled rides we have at Sunway Pyramid.

We could only have one of these sharpeners or erasers during our time. This is definitely a contrast with the dozens of stationery items kids can possess nowadays.  I reminded my kids that they should appreciate the many sharpeners and stationeries they own now.

Roller skates!  Mom's favourite when she was young.  However, we could only own ONE pair to be shared among three girls in the family.  And, we were not allowed to go outdoor to play this. So, we ended up playing along narrow and short balcony of our old flat.

This visit gave the kids a very valuable lesson that Mom didn't have a lot to enjoy last time.  And, they should appreciate what they have now. This trip is much better than just talking to them as they got to see in their own eyes what Mom used to have. 

Verdict by the kids supported by Mom : this is the BEST museum that we have visited.  

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Chilling out with the kids on Gunung Brinchang

A trip to Cameron Highlands will not be complete without going up Gunung Brinchang, by car. We never failed to access this hill each time we came. It's quite easily accessible by car but we have to be cautious of the winding narrow path leading to the hill. 

Gunung Brinchang is the second highest peak in Cameron, I just found out.  After googling about this hill, I realise we didn't get up to the peak.  Most of the time, we would go up to Sungai Palas tea plantation to have authentic tea and enjoy more breathtaking mountaineous view.  Unfortunately, this time we didn't get to go to Sg Palas as it was closed on a Monday.

If you have never explored Gunung Brinchang yet, this video takes you for a short ride up to a part of the hill.

This was Hoe's third trip and Wyng's second trip to Cameron but they had such jolly moments this time.  Tireless of posing for the camera amongst the tea plants, both these laughing kids became a little unruly as they daringly wove in and out of the infinite rows of tea plants. 
Come catch us if you can, Mom!

Relax with the kids at Cameron Highlands

Our initial plan of a weekend at Genting Highlands turned out to be a relaxing 2day/1night trip to Cameron Highlands, much to the disappointment of the kids. They had yearned to have a thrill-filled day at Genting but were let down when Mom couldn't book a hotel at the highlands packed with holidaymakers during the school holidays cum Hari Raya and National Day break.

Mom and Daddy couldn't wait to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city to chill out at the green highlands.  Mom prefers the green and serenity of Cameron to the noisy and packed Genting. 

The kids posed for the camera after a short break of scones and tea (for Mom and Daddy).

A view of Bharat tea plantations from the tea house.

 Our first stop at the Bharat Tea House before we reached Ringlet.

As though stung by shutter bugs, Wyng didn't tire of posing with flowers and greens for Mom's album. He willingly and obligingly smiled and posed for Mom whenever strikingly coloured and unusual-looking plants caught Mom's sight.

Ouch! Those spikes really prick.

Mom: Stop pulling those dangling plants!
Wyng:  I didn't. They are pulling me!

At Cameron, there's nothing much to do except to keep those shutters snapping and look at rows and rows of flora. This is definitely a more conducive place to unwind than the annoying din at the Genting theme parks. Perhaps, age is catching up for Mom.

Friday, September 2, 2011

He was too old to join Yamaha JMC

Wyng was 6 plus when I signed him up for Yamaha Junior Music Course.  So, what's the real reason for enrolling him only at that age?  The ignorant me thought that JMC is open for kids from 5 to 6.  Another reason was that I was pre-occupied with my home business every Saturday which clashes with JMC classes held on Saturdays.  This explained why I procrastinated to send him to JMC.

It was when he passed 6 that I started to get panicky.  I want him to experience the fun and joy of learning music, like his Qo Qo.  I could have started him on the ABRSM system but the boring one-to-one lesson with the teacher may just kill his interest in music.  I still prefer the Yamaha system.  I used to enjoy looking at Hoe singing and clapping joyously to the music with his classmates.

After making a few enquiries and persistent follow-up with the Yamaha centre as well as tonnes of patience, we were finally able to attend a week-day class on Tuesday nights.  Initially, I was rejected by the frontline staff on the reason that Wyng was overaged. The relentless me who doesn't take 'No' for an answer easily, pleaded that they gave me a try as I had been following up for a weekday night class to be opened since a few months before Wyng turned 6.  It was only after my pestering that they later allowed me to talk to the teacher. 

It was easy convincing the music teacher as she was a nice and understanding lady.  Agreeing that Wyng was too 'old' to join JMC, she nevertheless kindly allowed Wyng to join her class.  I sincerely told her I wanted Wyng to experience the joy of learning music in a group and in a fun way. Any dedicated teacher will not turn away an eager learner.

As can be seen from this video taken during his third lesson, Wyng (in yellow tee) towered over all his classmates who were aged from 3 plus to 5 plus.  Well, he was quite enthusiastic at first.  Following the notes and instructions wasn't difficult for him.  His singing sessions were a little awkward as he wasn't really singing passionately.  Nevertheless, he followed the crowd.  It was only towards the second month that I sensed his enthusiasm dwindled.

Wyng started to give remarks such as, "They are so childish" which I didn't deny as the younger kids could barely comprehend the poor but patient teacher's instructions.  Those 3 plus kids were too young to join JMC, they still needed to be babysat.  I salute to the teacher's passion and patience.  I,too, was getting impatient with those kids.  Not only was Wyng feeling out of place, I felt the same way too when I could feel that Wyng wasn't enjoying learning with them. 

He stood out among the younger kids in terms of height and age.  Anyway, I persisted as I wanted to be sure that it wasn't an impulsive decision to take him out of the class so soon.  It wasn't long,about three months when Wyng had to drop out. Anyway, thanks to the teacher who gave him a chance, the JMC wasn't suitable for him.

He's either not musically-inclined or starting him with JMC at the age of 6 plus was the wrong move.

Strike while the iron is hot, Mom needs to know this is so true a lesson to learn for the benefits of the kids.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Is this disrespect?

This post appeared on 19 April 2009 in my lost blog. Here is a reposting.

Hoe related to me an incident in school. Well, he didn't actually volunteer the information to me. We were talking about a particular subject and he came to the part of how he got lectured lengthily by his English teacher for his discipline problem of which Hoe already received his punishment earlier. As to why was the English teacher so concerned and spent so much time reprimanding students in an area where the teacher has no control of or something not within his jurisdiction? Only the teacher would know of his own agenda. Why would he want to waste time harping on the issue instead of teaching the students?

Anyway, back to Hoe. He told me that he really couldn't stand his English teacher's long nagging that he raised his hand and said,'Teacher, we got your point already.' This bold statement received a fierce stare from his teacher (he was lucky that he didn't get any physical reprimand!) but effectively terminated his sermon.

After a while, Hoe was signalled to see the English teacher at his desk in the classroom. Hoe was asked the occupation of both his parents. I hope this interrogation would be the end of this episode.

Hoe's rationale for vocalising those bold statements to his English teacher was that he was already punished by the discipline teacher although he was not the culprit. He was unlucky that he was locked in the toilet (along with his two other friends) cubicle and was frantically banging the door when he was spotted by the discipline teacher who happened to pass by. Banging on the toilet door was seen as creating havoc. Hoe couldn't prove much to defend himself as the culprit had already gotten off scot-free. Talking about justice!