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Friday, 28 November 2008

A day at the park

There is a really cool park at Rowville. It has a fairly large compound and has play equipments for the young and the young at heart. There are forts fit for mighty toddlers, shiny slithery slides, swings for everyone and even a little hammock swing. Aahhh.... I wish this was my backyard.







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Turning point

Say hello to Mr. Bishi (Mitsubishi).



About one week ago, I got this for Lachie for being a good mommy's helper at the shops.

Mr. Bishi goes places. He lives in pockets or a certain little boy's hand. Sometimes, Mr. Bishi gets tossed about in a certain mommy's handbag. It's hard to believe Mr. Bishi is only one week old from the picture above. When the sun goes down, Mr. Bishi sleeps in a very special place, right next to a very special boy.

You see, we have been playing musical beds for the last 2 and a half years. Lachie slept in his cot. Lachie slept in mommy's bed. Then Lachie moved into his big bedroom, on his own big bed. But soon after, mommy and daddy moved in with him. Then mommy got too big and had to move out of his very crowded bedroom. Lachie moved back into mommy's bedroom. When Lachie's little baby brother was born, not long after, Mommy kicked Lachie out of her bedroom and along went daddy. Finally, ONE week ago, Lachie takes Mr. Bishi to bed by THEMSELVES!

Have we finally got it right???? Best Blogger Tips

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Cars in bed

I've been upstairs in the study for a little while now, busy putting up a list of books for sale on ebay. I heard a tiny sound on the stairs... what could it be? Hubby is not home, the boys should be in bed. I tucked them both in an hour ago. I went downstairs and almost tripped over Lachie at the bottom of the stairs. It was dark.

"Lachie, what are you doing?" asked me.

"I want to wake up," said he.

"Go back to bed," I said.

"There're too many cars in there. They're racing, vrroommm vrrooommmm"

I went into his bedroom and there on his bed were 26 cars of all shapes and sizes, lined up in a row!

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Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Playgroup

Lachie has attended playgroup for a little more than two years now. It has been a truly amazing experience, learning through the power of play and growing up with his playgroup buddies and now building his own little identity. Through playgroup, we have found some great friendship.

Playgroup Victoria is a non-for-profit organisation that helps families start and run playgroups themselves. Playgroups are informal, not highly organised but are a happy combination of adults and children playing and sharing experiences together. We attend playgroup locally in a council run facility. We meet once a week for 2 hours. The kids get together and play mostly outdoors. There's a great huge outdoor play area with a sandpit, cubby house, a fort with a slide, swings, rocking horses etc. There are bikes, trikes, cars, trolleys, lawn mowers etc. Sometimes we'd do some structured activities with our toddlers like craft or painting, reading and storytelling. The moms get together for a cuppa, share and winge about nothing and everything, and most importantly just being there for one another. I think this is just so important and I consider myself so lucky to belong to such a wonderful playgroup family.

This year, I thought it's time to give something back. I've always enjoyed working with people, and working WITH the community. I became heavily involved in the committee having volunteered to be the fundraising officer. Over the year, I've organised a fair few fundraisers (as well as being heavily pregnant, giving birth, breastfeeding, mothering a 2 year old and all that jazz). This enabled us to buy a few things for the centre like new toys and books, a few pieces of furnitures and a new cubby house. We've sold 2400 chocolate freddos (having bought about 200 myself!), 30 entertainment books, father's day aprons, stickers, photobooks, photography sessions, raffles, cookie dough and christmas cakes. It was a successful and fulfilling year.

Next year, I will be vice-president. It's great to sound like you're a SOMEBODY when you're a full time milk machine, spit swiper, poo-patroller, cleaner-uperer etc.

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Kindy

I have just attended the annual general meeting for Lachie's kindy for next year. This is where the new committee members are elected for 2009. I am really excited! My little man is going to kindy next year!! He will only start in term 2, as he turns 3 years old in April. He will be there twice a week for 2 hours each time. That's how it is here.

From April next year, he will have his own classroom, his own teachers, his own circle of friends, and his own school bag to pack! I think it will be a huge boost to his development and confidence.

This is my conversation with him today:

Me: Wow big guy, you're going to school next year! What do you think you'll be doing at school?

L: I pack my bags, and I go school...

Me: What else do you do at school?

L: I poo poo and wee wee in the toilet like a big boy...

Me: Oh really? What else?

L: I do painting, play with Miko (girl from next door who will be going to the same session), ...babbles on excitedly....

This was when I was tucking him into bed about an hour ago. Now it is 10.16pm. He is still babbling and singing away thinking of school next year!! What have I done?? Best Blogger Tips

Monday, 24 November 2008

Loaf


One of life's pleasures is the aroma of freshly baked bread. Lately, I've been trying out different recipes and experimenting with different grains and flavours.

Wholemeal sunflower seed, honey and oat loaf.

1 sachet (7g) dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups plain or bread flour
1 cup wholemeal plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup rolled oats

Combine yeast, water and sugar in a small bowl. Whisk until yeast dissolves. Stand for about 10 minutes.

Sift flour and salt into a mixing bowl. I use my Kenwood Chef with a dough hook. Stir in honey, milk and yeast mixture. Knead on low setting for about 20-30 minutes. At this stage, I would leave the machine and go on to do other important things like blowing raspberries with Lucas or playing trains with Lachie. When the dough is smooth and elastic, stir in sunflower seeds. Knead for a further 2-3 minutes.

Take the dough out of the mixing bowl and give the bowl a quick spray of cooking oil. Put dough back in the bowl and cover. Stand in a warm place until dough doubles in size. This usually takes an hour or so. I leave mine for 2 hours or sometimes more.

When dough has risen, take it out of the bowl and knead lightly on a floured surface. Roll out to a rectangle and roll up like a swiss roll. Place in a baking tin. Brush surface with milk and sprinkle with rolled oats. Cover and stand once again in a warm place for about 20 minutes.

Bake in moderately hot oven for 30 minutes. Mmmmm..... Best Blogger Tips

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Shapewear buzz


There's a hype in shapewear. Celebrities are wearing them. They are even making their own range of shapewear and calling it celebrity secrets to perfect figure.

Recently I went for a wedding dinner. I wanted to look my best and feel fabulous. I saw a recent story in today tonight about shapewears and review on a few pieces of these fantastic undergarments. The idea is that it takes some inches off and keeps those bits where it should be! Hey, as a mother of two, this story interests me.

I bought my Hollywood Shapes from sportsgirl. It's an all over body shaper with compression panels to flatten the tummy and abs. It has removable and adjustable bra straps, still breastfeeding friendly. The suit is continuous, and that means no VPL's or bulging hips. One size fits most.

With first look, it tells me that there's no way I could squeeze into that sock! However, it is surprisingly very comfortable and easy to wear. The whole idea is that it should be tight, and that there should be some difficulty getting into them. I slipped mine on in 2 seconds. I thought it didn't make too much of a difference, but sure it did firm up my tummy area. There are no VPL's and the breast fit comfortably. I wore it with pants today, and voila, no muffin tops! I am happy with it even if it means taking everything off when you need to go to the toilet!

I know what to get mom for chrissy. :)

RRP $69.95
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Snip Snip Snip


Read all about my lettuce box here.
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Family time

It was lovely to spend the day with family. I invited a couple of cousins and their girlfriends, my sister-in-law and her kids for lunch today. A casual get together. We wanted the kids to have an early birthday celebration as they'd be flying off to Malaysia at the end of next week and we'll be missing their birthday on the 30th. (Yes, they both share the same birthday with their papa!)

We had sausages sizzling, steaks in oregano and red wine, grilled lemon grass chicken wings and freshly baked crusty bread, a balsamic salad and potato salad. For dessert we had a cheesecake slice and fruitcake with custard. Mmmmm.... all a little bit unkind to the hips. I can feel it coming, the start of many backyard barbies.

Yeap, our christmas tree is up! Best Blogger Tips

Saturday, 22 November 2008

M & L

Last night, we went for a wedding reception. It has been the date that I've been looking forward to in the last couple of months, since it's been such a long time Gary and I went out without the kids. I must say I enjoyed myself tremendously, it was such a classy and elegant affair. I felt so GROWN-UP!


The dinner was held at Butleigh Woottons Receptions in Kew. The building has such an amazing architectural design and a classy ambience. I would love to have taken some photos outside but it was raining quite heavily, so we hurried inside. We were greeted by so many familiar faces, some of which I have not seen for over 5 years. I was truly overwhelmed, I'm sure I chattered all night like a teenager!

This photo is just one of the photos from the website. My little point and shoot canon is just not for taking photos at night, and I didn't like the flash, as you will see later.

M and I attended university together. He is now a cardiology registrar. L is a piano teacher. They're such lovely people and make a handsome pair. They look so happy last night. I congratulate them again and wish them the very best in married life.

The dining room was once again very elegant and romantic. There were roses on every table, candles and chandeliers. As you can see from the photo above, the room was dimly lit. There was a 2 piece band playing soft jazzy music and familiar songs from the 70's, 80's and 90's. Overall, there was so much class.

The food was superb. In fact, Butleigh and Wootton has been a finalist for the best caterer in RACV Awards for excellence in 2005, 2006 and 2007. The service was wonderful.
For starters, I had prawn and smoked trout cocktail. It was a salad of cucumber, avocado and iceberg with Marie Rose sauce and lemon oil. It was lovely and refreshing. Gary had a warm salad of duck confit, with baked roma's, charred witlof and salsa verde. It wasn't me not to whip out my little camera and take pictures of every single item on the table, but we were sitting with some very important guests. I was busy minding my table manners and also I didn't want to look too paparazzi-esque! More on that later.



Anyways, these are our mains. I had the atlantic salmon fillet, served on mash of parsley, asparagus, prosciutto shard with lemon and caper dressing. The fish was moist and soft, and very well complimented by the tangy sauce. The crispy bacon shard almost cost me a trip to the dentist though! Gary's eye fillet was definitely screaming to be eaten. It was served on a thyme potato roesti, with caramelised shollots, beetroot and horseradish relish, spinach and red wine jus. Again, the photos didn't do justice. I had to use the flash because of the lack of light, and I'm not a flashy sort of person. :) To end, we had a lemon tart with passionfruit coulis and passionfruit sorbet.


We were a very well behaved couple that night, for reasons I shall explain a little later.

Dress: Diana Ferrari
Clutch: Kate Hill
Jewelery: Swarovski
Shirt & Tie: G2000, Hong Kong

Perhaps the highlight of the evening was sitting right next to Lord Mayor Cr John So and his lovely wife, Wendy. We felt deeply honoured and privileged to have such opportunities and to be regarded with such importance to be sitting in a table with so many distinguished guests. It was a lovely surprise as well. A few weeks ago, we had dinner with the bride and groom, and Gary lightly joked about Cr. So being his bro (John So, he's my bro!), and he was definitely excited about meeting him at the wedding. We didn't think Mr. Groom would actually put us right next to them! What an honour, so thank you M.



He is a perfect gentleman. His lady, Wendy, is warm and friendly. We chatted about all sorts of things, mainly just our lives in general, parenthood, chinese restaurants and history of the chinese migrants in Melbourne, something Gary and John had in common, as Gary came from a family of restauranteurs and John being one himself. Wendy spoke so tenderly of his son, John So Jr. With one more week in the office, John is looking forward to having some time off and spending quality time with his family. He told me he just wanted to do some gardening and go fishing! He will get his very well deserved rest after 17 years as a councillor and 8 years as the lord mayor of Melbourne.

More photos of the night:


And oh, a special thank you to my sister-in-law, my nephew and niece for looking after the kids!
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Friday, 21 November 2008

A date

I am so excited!

We are attending a wedding reception tonight. Just my babes and I.

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Thursday, 20 November 2008

Eczema

Lucas has had eczema for as long as I could remember. It is mainly on his cheeks and forehead, and a few spots here and there on his trunk. I wasn't fussed initially, it's not uncommon for babies to have lumpy bumpy bits on their skin isn't it? Not until it started cracking and weeping and it didn't help with little fingers scratching, and big adult ones touching and pinching those adorable cheeks. (Not to mention mummy's daily shower of kisses!)

I used Lucas' paw paw ointment, which works for everything under the sun: mozzie bites, cuts, heat rash, any other lumps and bumps, nappy rash, cracked lips and even grazed nipples. I swore by it. I have a tube in every handbag. It was so great they even named it after my son... O.o (not!) Eczema left for a little while, but came back with a vengence.

Then I tried saline dressings. I remember this from my brief stint as a paediatric resident. Basically it's just keeping the skin moist. It's rather fiddly and doesn't quite work for a 6 month old bub. I tried mosturizers, from first pressed pure sunflower oil to the finest certified organic baby mosturizer. All of which did not work. I left it alone, ignored it, pretended it wasn't there. Not for long, Lucas kept scratching, it bled, he cried and cried, it woke him, he woke us... poor thing.

The doctor (nope not me) prescribed a light corticosteroid cream, which is effective but not better than the paw paw ointment.

Where do I go from here? I didn't think it could be the food that he's grown to love because it was there even before I started him on solids.

A few days ago, I eliminated dairy from my diet. It seemed to have gotten better. I lost a couple of kilos too! Great...


Does that mean I can no longer have froth on my coffee????
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ABC Rapper

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Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Neigh, neigh.

"Mommy, I want to eat a horse."

(That's cos dada said he was so hungry he could eat a horse!) Best Blogger Tips

What do I do with you today?

I remember doing this when I was a kid. Back then, I'd forage the garden for leaves of all shapes and sizes, raid the veggie crisper for ladies' finger or okra. The spine of a banana leaf works well too. Ahhh... can't believe I'm now doing it with MY son!

We shall call this Spud Stamping!

A red star. Cut a potato in half. Using a cookie cutter, press roughly 1cm into the spud and cut out the outside of the shape with a paring knife. Dip into some poster paint and start stamping!
We've got ourselves a blue elephant too.



Stamp, stamp, stamp.

Squish, squash, stamp, stamp.

He was kept entertained for a grand total of..... 8 minutes!

Mommy's work of art.
Now, back to watching the 56th episode of Thomas the Tank Engine.
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Monday, 17 November 2008

Banana date muffins



I baked these yummies today. There were two over-riped bananas looking at me, just pleading to be mashed up and made into puffin muffins! I love making muffins. It's just so easy. Grab a few ingredients and a mixing bowl. Combine all ingredients, voila!

This recipe is from the Australian Women Weekly, Muffins, Scones and Bread Cookbook.

2 cups self raising flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar (instead of 1/2 cup firmly packed, I'm not a big fan of overly sweet muffins)
1 cup mashed banana
1 cup seeded chopped dates
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup buttermilk

Bake at 180 degrees celcius for 20 minutes. Makes 12.

So delicious, eaten hot! We brought these to the park to share with our playgroup friends. Best Blogger Tips

Picnic at the park






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