Thursday, April 30, 2015

Book of the Month : Ladybird Storytime for 2 year olds and Storytime for 4 year olds

Little One picked these as her favorite bedtime books for the month. These were assorted stories and peoms for 2 and 4 year old respectively. I do not read the whole book to her each time. I would read only a few a time.

Storytime for 2 year olds
I like quite a few stories from this book. "The  dirty dinosaur", "Stop, look, listen!" and "The race".
particularly "Stop, look,listen "which teaches children about traffic awareness and road safety. I had wrote a post on this years old.

Storytime for 4 year olds
"Ernest take a ride", "Noisy Norman", "Just the job for a dragon" and a few others are pretty entertaining stories for Little One. This book explores dreams and ambitions, pretty mind provoking for  Little One to think of what she wants to be when she grows up!

Both books are written by Joan Stimson. It is a series of books from 1-6 year old. These two books that I introduced are hand-me-down books from Little One's cousins.

PS: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are our own.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

First attempt on Stewed Mushroom with Fat Choy

Stewed Mushroom with Fat Chay (black moss)is something which my mom would cook for Chinese New Year reunion dinner. She would cook with garlic and chestnuts as well. This is my hubby's attempt to recreate the dish. It is not bad for first attempt.

Have you been trying new dishes?

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Little One's New Love- Ang Ku Kueh

Different kuehs
Traditionally, Ang Ku Kueh (Hokkien for Red Tortoise cake) are red in colour, filled with cooked mung beans or grounded peanuts and sugar.The soft sticky skin is made from glutinous rice flour and sweet potatoes. Now there are a lot more varieties. Ang Ku Kueh are presented on  square pieces of banana leaf.

From the above picture, the red ones contain the fillings of traditional grounded peanuts or mung beans.  The purple and black are variations, containing yam and mung beans with salt respectively. The white kueh is not a ku kueh but it is one of my favorite with grated coconut fillings. I have bought this as a package from Seng Siong due to sudden craving for Ang Ku Kueh. I personally likes variety and hence chosen the pack of assorted flavours. I offered Little One the kueh to try a small bite, I was not a fan when I was young because it was sticky and oily! So, when she said she likes it and ate one whole kueh, it surprised me!

The Origin
Ang Ku Kueh are shaped like tortoise shells because the Chinese traditionally believed that eating tortoises would bring longevity to those who are eating it. Also, they bring about good fortune and prosperity. Each Ang Ku Kueh are made from mould with the Chinese Word 寿 which means longevity. 

When is it available?
Ang Ku Kuehs are traditionally prepared to celebrate auspicious Chinese festivals (see Wikipedia) , birthdays and baby showers. Now it is available all year round in some supermarket (eg, Seng Siong), some pastry shops and bakery such as Bangawan Solo. I do see some food centres which sells them and also some shopping centres in Orchard. Don't buy a lot unless you intend to share. Food made from glutinous rice are very starchy and filling. There is some popular stalls which sells this kueh, I have yet to try. Ji Xiang Confectionery at Everton Park. Poh Cheu at Bukit Merah Lane 1. Kuehs and Snacks at Bukit Merah Lane 1 too. If you do, please let me know your review.

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Friday, April 17, 2015

Mom, I can't hear you properly...

I guess that statement from a kid would have send many parents scurrying to the doctor. If only Little One had said this to me, I would have brought her to the doctor sooner.

Early this year, Little One complained she heard weird sounds. She kept tagging her ears. She said she could hear better when she did that. Then, I noticed when I tried speaking to her, she does not seemed to hear me unless I raised my voice. Initially, I thought nothing of it and thought that she was too engrossed in the things she was doing. However, the frequency increased to a point it worried us. Hence, we brought her to the polyclinic for a diagnosis.

After looking into her ear with an otoscope, the doctor declared that she had accumulation of dried ear waxes which blocked both her ear canals.

The doctor advise that a few drips of olive oil over a period of time would do the trick. All I need to do is to make her lie on the bed or sofa and drip those drops twice a day into both ears and it should clear out her waxes in a few weeks time. The doctor asked whether we used cotton buds on her ears. We never really do that because we think her ears are too small to handle cotton buds.  He told me this ear wax accumulation is a rather common problem. I am not very sure about that because both my hubby and I did not have that issue. Neither does our family members.

After a few weeks we used up the olive oil the doctor prescribed and still there was no improvement to Little One's hearing. We went to the same polyclinic. This time it was another doctor. He said that the waxes were still relatively dry and suggested that we do a syringing. I was pretty nervous because I need to sign documents for the procedure to be done. I was worrying whether the procedure would hurt. Ear dums are pretty sensitive, you know?

We waited anxiously for the procedure. Despite that I was worried, I had to reassure Little One that it was  just water going into her ears, Nothing to worry. Little One sat patiently and did not fidget. The doctor syringed and washed out lots of earwax. I did not know that her little ears could contain so much waxes. At some point of time, the doctor wanted to give up because some of the waxes were so stubborn and did not dislodged. He decided to give the ear a rest and syringed the other one before coming back to it. After the last piece of wax was off, it was truly a relief. I asked Little One whether she could hear clearly then, she nodded happily. We were given another bottle of olive oil. The doctor suggested to drip some drops into the ear weekly and the oil has to remain in the ears for 10 minutes before cleaning off. So far, Little One has been hearing quite well. I hope the problem will not come back.

If you are checking on my post because you or a relative had similar symptoms, please do consult your doctor for advice. We were lucky that it was just earwax. It could be something worse.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Little One's favorite one dish meal

I love to cook one dish meal for lunch. That is because minimum washing is required and it get done within half an hour or less. For the past 3 months, these were her favorite.


Chinese Chive Porridge

Ingredients: Chopped Chinese Chive, Chopped Ginger, Mixture of white rice (75%) and barley(25%), Sliced Pork
If you like, you may add pepper, sesame oil for taste.

I am rather surprise Little One likes this meal as Chinese Chive has a rather strong smell. She does not like Chinese Chives dumplings though.


Minced Pork Kuey Teow

Ingredient: Kuey Teow, minced pork, frozen peas, wolfberries, plucked bean sprout
If you like, you may add pepper, sesame oil for taste.


Fried Rice

Ingredient: Cooked Rice, frozen vegetables, Cocktail Sausages, Chopped Chinese Sausages, beaten egg, pepper,sesame oil

Pepper and sesame oil is a must for fried rice. Usually, I do not put sausages in my cooking due to its high salt content. It is only once in a blue moon I will cook them. Usually, I will substitute with fresh meat instead.

How about you?
What have you been cooking?

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

My Simple Kitchen - Simple Cooking Ingredients

Can't do without these every week. They are the "must have" in my kitchen! They appear in the fridge every week!

Simple condiments and cooking oil : Sesame oil, any vegetable oil ( I will usually rotate) , salt, sugar and pepper. I usually use pepper and sesame oil while my hubby prefers salt for seasoning.
We usually cook during the weekday and dine out during weekends. We usually do not put much condiments to our food. Usually, we prefer to cook with fresh ingredients rather than using canned food. Cooking with food such as carrots, pumpkin, red dates makes the dish taste naturally sweet. While cooking with food such as tomatoes, pineapples makes the dish sour.

When it comes to seasoning, I would most of the time leave it as it is or add some pepper. I love to use sesame oil because it makes food smells extremely delicious.

So usually, 1 L of cooking oil can last us for about half a year, 1kg of salt last between half a year to 1 year. The 500g of sugar could last us for a pretty long time, depending on whether I am making any cakes, bread or desserts.

We are not that health conscious but just try to eat more plainly so that Little One would not indulge too much on sugar and salt.

You may be surprised at the rate of salt consumption. We used them to wash our vegetables and salt solution. How do you wash your vegetables and fruits? Do you use condiments? Which are your favorite?

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Little Development (Jan to Mar 15)

This year, Little One is attending morning session at her Kindergarten. I made that arrangement last year, I thought she would probably need to get used to waking up earlier in the morning since majority of Singapore's Primary School operates in a single (morning) session. I thought we would probably have more time in the afternoon for some home schooling or outdoor trips. But alas, she is getting grumpy especially when I ask her to sit and study. I realised she is not getting enough sleep and most of the time, she spends the whole afternoon napping away. Hence, for the whole quarter, I had not done any homeschooling except during the school holidays which we recapped and reinforced on what she had learnt in school.

Nevertheless, here are some of her academic milestones. Mostly are skills development for entering Primary One next year.

The school alternates English and Chinese spelling. Most of the words are relatively simple but some I do find bombastic for her age.

Show and Tell
She did only once last term. Teacher informed parents via communication books to prepare her for the big day. We prompted her with questions and asked her to remember her answers. According to her teacher, she did rather well.

Articulation and reporting
Little One is talking more about her school, sharing what she has been doing in school. She talks about her friends too. I am surprised at this age they already have cliques of friends which they would hang out during playtime. She even told me about her friends disputes which sort of upset her because she wanted to be friends with all of them. She definitely start earlier than me as I only had my own cliques during Primary One.

More responsibility
The school is engaging her with more responsibility like keeping her readers in the cubby hole. She is also to bring her stationery to school and is held responsible for all her belongings.

On my part, I made her checked her bag each night prior the school day to ensure she bring everything (which is just a pencil case with stationery and a communication book) she needs to school. I also made her read her spelling list and note when is the spelling date so that she could learn her spelling on time. Most of the time, I have to remind her over and over again because she tends to forget about them. I am also entrusting her to purchase items and teaching her to count her coins.
This term I shall see how she fare. This week, I have not seen much improvement. Probably due to the one week holiday break about a fortnight ago, she had.forgotten her routine.

Next year, she will be in Primary One. I am pretty nervous at the rate she is going. I wonder whether she would fare well when the time comes.

Health issues
Little One had hearing problem earlier this year. Yes, she had hearing problem. We brought her to see doctor twice and now finally solved. I hope to share this on my blog when I find time to draft it out.

Other activities

Speech and drama 
Little One attended a 5 day speech and drama class over a period of 5 weeks. It was a workshop conducted by the library. I had signed her up to test whether she likes such classes. It turned out that she does not really like drama classes although she does enjoy watching.

Frying egg
Little One learnt to fry an egg despite not having a schedule for her to work around the kitchen this quarter.

Street Smart skills -Memorising numbers
I made Little One memorise phone numbers so that she would know what numbers to call when there is a need to. This is, I think, an important survival skill.  I started with hubby's number. However, I remind her that she is not to call daddy when it is not required. In near future, I would teach her where to seek help from when she needs it.


Despite the "lack of time" to do anything together with Little One, we managed to visit quite a number of places last quarter. Most are done during the weekends and school holidays. Others are done when we managed to squeeze some time out. Many of these are her "first" trips.

Walking trails
We went for Tiong Bahru Heritage Trail. It was her first guided neighbourhood heritage walk this year. Last year, we signed up for Balestier walk. It has much interesting stories and sites to visit. I particularly like the air raid shelter and stories of it. The air raid shelter is not opened to public. I think the only way to visit it is to sign up for its heritage trail.
Tan Tock Seng's grave. One of the must see in Tiong Bahru

We made our rounds in Emerald Hill. It is a neighbourhood located near Orchard Road. It was former homes of wealthy Peranakans. Hence, if you are in Orchard Road, you can take a walk down this lane to have a look at the pretty Peranakan houses.
I think it is pretty cool to have such lovely house number plate!

This quarter, we also took a walk in Wessex Estate. This area is very peaceful and quiet. You will find lots of black and white colonial bungalows here. Besides these, you would find the Colbar Eating House (Cafe Colbar) which has a history as early is 1953.

Black and white bungalow

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Book of the Month : Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

Last month, we missed out the post on the Book of the Month. Hence, this month, there will be 2 such posts. Little One chose this book, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, to be told repeatedly prior her bedtime in February.

I had ordered this book from Scholastic Inc. while Little One was in childcare 2 years ago after reading good reviews about it. It is also a Caldecott Award Winner. The story is written by William Steig. I have not been reading the book to Little One because I thought the book is too wordy for her then and that she may lost interest if I were to read to her.

As some of you may be aware, I rotate books for bedroom at least once per two months. Hence, Little One does have the option of choosing the book for me to read if she wants to. However, many times, it did not happen. Hence, I was surprised when she chose the book for me to read one night. I knew it was time to introduce some wordy books to her.

I knew many words she may not know such as "extraordinary", "ceased" and "inquiring"  but I translated in Chinese so that she has a better understanding of the story. To my surprise, night after night, she requested for the same book again and again. It lasted for almost a week.

The gist of the story is about a donkey named Sylvester who loves collecting pebbles, found a special magic pebble which made everything he wished for come true. Until he met a lion, and then an unfortunate turn of events followed.

From this book, Little One learnt about hobby. A hobby can be anything from collecting stamps, coins, stickers , cards, etc to sewing, crafting and such... She told me she wants to collect saga seeds!

What I like about this book is the thoughtfulness of Sylvester. He had thought of making everyone's wishes come true. This is quite a kind act from a young donkey. I hope Little One would learn from him.

The book also make Little One realised when one panics, they could make foolish decisions. Best solution is to calm oneself. She also realised when someone is missing from the family, every members will be sad.

The illustrations captured Little One's attention and she wanted to know what exactly is the story. As I started to tell her the story, she was intrigued by the idea of magic pebble and wished she had one too. She also wanted to find out what would happen to Sylvester after he own the pebble.

Little One requested me to read again when she saw me reviewing the book on the blog. That is how much she enjoys the book.

PS: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are our own.

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