Monday, 29 June 2009


We heart heart heart Geelong.

It's the birth place of my husband and where he grew up. Geelong is where home is. Geelong means 'a place of the sea bird over the white cliffs', a derivative of an Aboriginal word "Jillong". We see a lifestyle so relaxed and tranquil, pristine beaches within easy reach, yet it still boasts a culture so cosmopolitan and chic. It has all the modern amenities of a big city. We can seriously live there.

In Newtown, beautiful Victorian and Edwardian houses line the streets. Gary's parents still live there. Every now and then, we'd take a drive down to visit them, like we did last Sunday.

We walked along Eastern Beach, weaving through palm trees. We played soccer on a very well manicured lawn. We enjoyed breathtaking views. The boys saw yachts, helicopters, and a sea-plane. We rode on an antique carousel. It was just lovely.

Then we were fed. With lots of love, by some of the loveliest people we know. We had Japanese at a restaurant owned by family friends. We had a lovely home-cooked meal, eating some of the freshest crustaceans from the sea. We had such lovely company.

Like we seriously can live there.

Best Blogger Tips

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Fujisan Japanese Restaurant

My boys have a good relationship with Japanese food. Give them balls of vinegared rice or sushi rolls anytime, they would lick the plate clean. They also have the capacity to stuff more than their little tummies could fill.

We know of a place in Geelong, the best place in the world to have Japanese food. Big rolls of futomaki filled with plump, juicy morsels of fresh Tasmanian Salmon, shaved carrots, avocado and cucumber, slices of sashimi atop delicious balls of vinegared rice, home-made pork dumplings sizzled hot from the teppanyaki plate. We can order whatever we want, however we want it and it will be made for us. Fresh.

We never ever miss this place every single time we go to Geelong.


148 Ryrie Street
Geelong VIC 3220
03-5224 1555
Best Blogger Tips

Friday, 26 June 2009

What we do with our time - Part 2

Today is another day where it seems like we're doing everything but absolutely nothing!

The day started early. Lachie goes to kinder.

I picked him up from Kinder at 11.30am, and with Lucas, we went to the Caribbean Gardens and Market. I bought some cheesy bread sticks, mandarins and bananas and we sat by the lake, eating our lunch and watching the ducks.

Lucas learned the word "duck".

We went for a walk at the Market and I bought some fruits and organic vegetables. The boys then spend some time at a playground. That's half the day gone.

Then, it's home time. Back we come to a very messy home, dirty dishes piling high in the kitchen sink and toys strewn all over one half of the house. At least it's one half. So the boring housekeeping stuff starts ALL OVER AGAIN. Sigh...

Fish and chips for dinner, the boys bathed and tucked in bed, and here I am blogging. That's another day gone!

Where did all our time go? Best Blogger Tips

Thursday, 25 June 2009

What we do with our time - Part 1

I'm a stay-at-home mom, and I devote all of my time for my children. But what have we been doing with our time? Blink of an eye, Lachlan is no longer a toddler. Lucas, he is now a toddler! Eeekks!

Yeah, so what do we do with ourselves? Admittedly, I have been quite slack in the last few months. My kids sleep in, and I do too. They watch TV, and that is a lot of TV, they play by themselves, they read to themselves, while I busy myself doing boring housekeeping stuff like laundry, cleaning, cooking and more laundry. We spend some time at the local shopping centre too, grocery shopping and just hanging out. Gaaaahhhh, is that all I've been doing with them? Seriously, how can that take up so much of my time, the past three years of my life! It seems like it never ever ends although I spend all day, everyday doing it!

A little over half a year ago, I wrote about our typical Thursday, the busiest day of the week. Things have changed a now. We still attend Playgroup. It's still the busiest day of the week. This is what we did today:

8.30am I woke up and have breakfast, read the newspapers. Start the washing machine.

9.30am Lachy woke up and have breakfast.

10.00am Lucas woke up!!! Yes, 10.00am! Usually it's 9.30am. O.o He drinks his milk and have a piece of toast.

10-11.00am I prepare lunch, and in between, tidy up the house, put all of last night's dishes away, hang up the laundry, make the bed, change the boys, and change Lucas again, take Lachy to the toilet, attempt to vacuum the floor etc. Break up the boys fighting, give Lachy a time out for pushing Lucas, change Lucas again, put breakfast away.

11.30-1.30pm We go to Playgroup!

Today, we were the only ones there because our friends were either unwell, or their moms had kinder duties for their older siblings. So, we hung around for a little bit, had lunch and left early. We went to a friend's place for a play. Actually, it was more like I dropped Lachy off at their place, so I can quickly dash to the shops to pick up some things. Yes, without Lachy, that means less time spent on coin operated machines. So I can't say NO to invitations such as these!

3pm We came home, Lucas had a nap. Normally it's difficult to get Lachy to nap in the afternoon, but he fell asleep in the car, so he had a little nap time too. That gave me some time to tidy up my bedroom, throw some unused items in the wardrobe for charity collection.

4.00pm I attempted to do some of the things that I've planned for earlier during the day. The boys watch telly. They both have a cup of warm milk.

5.00pm I start dinner. And in between, take Lachy to the toilet, change Lucas, play a bit of Wii fit with Lachy, he loves doing "Yoga" and jogging. Roll about with Lucas for a bit. Give Lachy another time out for hitting Lucas.

6.00pm We have dinner.

7.00pm Watch MasterChef on TV. I haven't missed a single episode. Hee Hee. Gary does the washing up.

7.30pm Get the boys bathed and ready for some "quiet time". Is there such a thing? Nope. We just "hang out" for a bit, doing nothing much, just like what we did ALL day!

9.00pm The boys go to bed. I blog or surf the net, while Gary does a bit more work.

Midnight. Wash up and go to bed.

So where did all our time go? Best Blogger Tips

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Big Brother Little Brother

He copies everything his older brother does. All that Lachie has, Lucas wants it too.

Like he would drink water, only from a straw bottle not a sipper cup. Only because his brother does it.

In this picture, Lucas literally climbed up the chair that Lachie was sitting on and shove his older brother off. Maybe he meant to share.

Snatch. Push. Fight. Hit. Cry. Scream. Wail. Complain. Bite. Kick. Constant bickering.

Drive me nuts!

These are like almost a daily occurrence now. But isn't this all part of growing up, a healthy normal relationship?

Otherwise won't the world be such a boring place? Best Blogger Tips

Coin Operated Rides

3 year old: Mum, I need some money.

Me: But why?

3 year old: I want to ride in this.

Me: I don't have money.

3 year old: Yes you do, check your wallet.

Me: *rolls eyes*

I don't give in. I just don't. I think once you do, you always have to. Besides, there are other things you can do with a gold coin. Like buying ice-cream.

Now, that's money well spent. Best Blogger Tips

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Bush Walking

I feel blessed living in this part of town where there are hiking trails, just minutes away, that makes you feel like you're out in the bush. Just today, I went for a 11km hike through the Dandenong Ranges with a few good mates from the medical school days. The walk was quite OK, not as arduous as I thought it would be, given that I've not done this sort of activity for quite a while. Let's say, since my pre-wedding days!

Ada, Jess and Grace
Ada is training to conquer Mt. Kinabalu in August, the highest peak in South East Asia. I did this when I was 14, a little less than half the age of what I am now! Geez... has it been that long? Anyways, I have always loved hiking, walking through the woods. I love breaking out in a sweat, feeling the heart thumping, breathing the clean fresh air and the cool wind on my face. It's so refreshing, rejuvenating. And the feeling afterwards, a sense of accomplishment and calm.

The trail started at the base of the 1000 steps at Mt. Dandenong National Park, a replica of the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea. We went on further up to One Tree Hill, and then to several other trails around the area. It took us about 3 hours for the entire journey, which wasn't too bad. There were some parts which were quite steep, testing our quadriceps and cardiovascular capacity. We saw two somewhat elderly ladies walking up a rather steep slope, which was inspiration to us and pushed us along. Most of the way, it was just a gentle slope.

And of course, there's always a decent meal planned for after all the work is done. We had a Chinese banquet dinner at Crown Palace in Vermont South, a reward for all our hard work. My legs are hurting like monsters, and I'm waddling like I'm 7 months preggers. And right now, I just want to go to bed.
Best Blogger Tips

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Lil' Cupcakes Diary for RSPCA

Will you just have a look at these gorgeous little things! They're cupcakes made by a very VERY talented young lady, a qualified pastry chef and a budding entrepreneur. I went to uni with her sister, Michelle and in those days we hung out together quite a lot.

Angeline, her baby sister (who of course is not quite THE baby anymore), has started a business from home making cupcakes, and also taking orders for wedding cakes and wedding favours. It's called Lil' Cupcakes Diary. Check out her site on facebook for the prettiest cupcakes ever seen! These photos are some of my favourites.

On Monday, the 17th of August 2009, Angeline will be doing a bake off. She is raising money for RSPCA Cup Cake Day. 100% of the profit will be donated to RSPCA, a non-government community based animal welfare charity. So, she's baking up a storm and selling her scrumdiliumptious cupcakes to public.

Please support Angeline in her efforts to raise funds for charity. For more information, do contact Angeline directly at Cupcakes are priced at $2 each or 3 for $5. Or drop me a note if you're in the eastern side of Melbourne. I will make a bulk order.

And if you're looking at having cupcakes for a special occasion, be it a birthday, an anniversary or a wedding, I am sure Angeline will be happy to take orders! Do email her for a quote.

Photos by Lil' Cupcakes Diary. Good Luck Angeline!
Best Blogger Tips

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Mini Model

Leonny from Spring Kids asked if we'd mind her putting up some snap shots of my boys on her site. Of course we'd be delighted!

So I went on to try and get some photos of Lucas in his Chibiko Corner Garden Tee. Man, it was hard! He is such a wriggly worm and he crawls like a lightning bolt.

Best Blogger Tips

Fallen Rockstar

This is what a hardcore guitar hero fan looks like.
Best Blogger Tips

Monday, 15 June 2009

Making Fresh Pasta

is so easy!

General rule of thumb is 100g of plain flour to an egg for one serving, and a tiny pinch of salt.

Really, that's all it is! Well, OK, the process is a wee bit more than opening a packet of dry pasta, and throwing it all together in a pot of boiling salted water. BUT, hey, once you've tasted home made pasta, you might not even want to buy packaged pasta again! OK, maybe you might still want to keep a packet or two in the pantry for those days when you're in a hurry or lazy.

Last week, I made pasta from scratch for the very first time. It took me a little while to get used to working the gluten in the dough but once I got the hang of it, it really was quite fun.

Serve 6

500g Plain Flour
5 eggs
1 tsp salt

Sift dry ingredients into a food processor, make a "well" and whizz in the eggs so the mixture doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl. Mix it until it comes together in a ball. Take dough out and knead on a lightly floured surface. Divide into smaller 4-6 portions. Flatten a portion, working the gluten through a pasta machine. I did this a few times until dough is rolled out smooth and elastic. Run it through the cutter, either flat and wide (fettuccine) or round and thin (spaghetti).

Cook in boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes until al dente.

Serve with your favourite pasta sauce or pesto. You could even use this in an Asian style dish, like I did last week. I made spicy Taiwanese beef "noodles". And mom made a stir-fry for lunch the next day with some leftover "pasta". Best Blogger Tips

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Winter Harvest

With the cold snap coming in, nothing is growing in the garden but weeds. I'm too lazy to do anything in the garden.

My father-in-law planted these little babies in my empty plot a couple of weeks ago.

They've been thriving on the boys' bath water, still nice and warm. And a sprinkling of Gloria Jeans coffee grounds in the morning.

Looking forward to spring, a little more sun and a little more rain. Having said that, it HAS been raining quite a bit here. Still, water restrictions are in place and we're not wasting one bit.

Looking forward to munching on these crunchy cos lettuce. Best Blogger Tips

Friday, 12 June 2009

Winners are Grinners!

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Spring Kid's launching and giveaway contest. Well, guess what? A little brown parcel was left at our doorstep this morning...

It contained, not one but TWO very lovely T-Shirts. One for each of my boys.

Thanks to the lovely Leonny from Our Everyday Things and creator of Spring Kids. Spring Kids is a new online, all-in-one kid's clothing and accessory store, perfect for everyday shopping or getting gifts. They've got a great range of kid's day-to-day wear and cute little extras for the wardrobe. One of Leonny's mission was to make sure that the items sold in her store are of top quality, and they've been trial and tested, on her kids!

These T-Shirts are made by Chibiko Corner, very very soft and cottony. The Little League T-Shirt fitted Lachlan perfectly. And what's more, it had his daddy's name "Gary" embroidered on the top. I don't know why, but it was part of the reason why I picked this top. This is the look of a happy chappy doing a monkey dance in his brand new T-Shirt. He wore it to kinder today.

So thank you Leonny! You have started something wonderful! Wishing you the very best of luck in your new business, may it continue to grow, with the love and tender care that you have shown us through your writing and your lovely photos on your blog. Good Luck!
Best Blogger Tips

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Paper Bandit

Someone's been stealing our morning newspaper. And we know who.

Our lovely neighbour across the road spied someone taking our newspaper from the front porch, and then made a dash for it. She knows this person, often seeing him waiting around the corner for a lift to work. This evening, she saw him again and played detective. On the pretense of walking her dog, she followed him all the way home! Now we know where he lives!

What do we do? I mean it's no big deal, only newspaper. But hey, how many mornings have I woken up to, drinking my coffee with NO newspaper, no headlines, no gossips. Sometimes, they're my only connection to the real world. Hello?

Paper prowlers do not prosper.

Oh, and guess who fell asleep at the dinner table tonight? Hahaa....

Best Blogger Tips

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Sleeping Habits

Lucas, now at 13 months of age is sleeping all through the night. 12 hours, in his own bed, in his own bedroom. All. By. Himself. Sometimes, all I have to do is kiss him goodnight and plonk him into his cot and wave bye-bye.

Lachlan, my 3 year old baby, on the other hand, wakes up at LEAST twice a night if not thrice. Without fail, he would run over to our bedroom to snuggle up between us. Every. Single. Night. At least now he falls asleep himself. For a long long time, he would want one of us in his bedroom, laying there next to him, lending him one of our ears physically for a very painful half hour rub. He needed to touch our ears to sleep. Kid you not.

Now we tuck him in. He's allowed to read a little before bed. But he falls asleep by himself, next to BullsEye (Toy Story), who's next to Elmo, who's next to a fluffy brown giraffe called Daisy and a few hundred of his toy cars, hazardously placed on the floor.

He will wake up at midnight, calling out. And we'd have to put him back to bed. Then somehow in the morning, I'd wake up to him kicking off my warm, snugly doona or being pushed off the bed. (It's usually Gary who gets pushed off the bed!)

Those who know us would know that we've actually come long long way, trying to get Lachy's sleeping habits right. We played musical beds, even musical bedrooms! It's our fault really. We chose to co-sleep, which I think is absolutely fine. It feels right, and natural then. But we're now paying the price. How much longer will he be sharing our bed? For the next 18 years? I hope not...

I guess with Lucas, we were a lot calmer, a lot more experienced. We don't give in to the first cry. We just wait... and wait... And sometimes he falls back to sleep (Which is the way they learn to put themselves back to sleep). And sometimes he just needs a little pat on his back, some soothing words to get him back to lalaland. Ahhh... he is just such a good baby! Best Blogger Tips

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Photobook: Father's Day Promotion

Some parts of the world will be celebrating Father's Day in June. I hear whisperings that the promo code is valid also for the Australian website. So why not start your book for your dad this year. Fathers Day in Australia is celebrated on the first Sunday of September, just a blink of an eye.

20% OFF ALL orders including free shipping, valid until 15th of June 2009.
Best Blogger Tips

Monday, 8 June 2009

Happy Little Vegemite

We're happy little Vegemites
As bright as bright can be.
We all enjoy our Vegemite
For breakfast, lunch, and tea.
Our mother says we're growing
stronger every single week.
Because we love our Vegemite.
We all adore our Vegemite.
It puts a rose in every cheek!
Best Blogger Tips

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Mom's Famous Hokkien Mee

Remember Mom's Hokkien Mee? Well, that was in Malaysia. Now Mom's in Melbourne and guess what? Yes!! She made it yesterday.

Mom's Hokkien Mee is made to her own family recipe, and years of fine tuning. I watched her cook yesterday, hoping to learn a few things and I did! There's no secret recipe really. To get a good prawn stock, you just need to ensure that only fresh prawns and a generous amount of pork bones are used.

The prawns are lightly blanched in hot boiling water, which will be later used in the stock. All the goodness of the prawns are never wasted. It is then shelled and deveined.

The shells, heads and all are then tossed in the wok, getting a nice toasty, aromatic crustacean caramelisation that permeates through the walls of the house. This will be appreciated by most, but for some, it will create a frantic rush to quickly close all bedroom doors with face and nose crinkled like a raisin. The golden shells were then added to the stockpot and simmered for 15 minutes or so.

They were then taken out of the pot, strained and liquidised in the blender. This will make a rich prawny essence which will be strained through a muslin cloth to get a smooth finish. This will go back into the stock. Liquid gold.

Mom made the chilli paste one day earlier. About 15 dried chillies, soaked in hot water and cut into chunks; 5 fresh red chillies, deseeded; One red onion or about 5 shallots, A small square of toasted belachan or shrimp paste, all blended into a smooth paste with some oil. The chilli paste is then toasted in the wok with a bit more oil until aromatic and luscious red.

The spice for the broth also consists of this chilli paste with a bit more onions and garlic.

Bear in mind the figures are only approximate. It's always a handful of this and a knob of that, a piece of this as big as your thumb or a splash of that. Right.

Other ingredients include hard boiled eggs, shelled and halved; A piece of pork loin, gently cooked in the broth for about 20 minutes and then sliced thinly; And these lovely water convolvulus or kangkung, lightly blanched in hot boiling water, then rinsed in cool water to retain its fresh green colour.

Noodles, yellow Hokkien noodles and vermicelli are cooked in hot boiling water and then drained. These are assembled in a bowl, topped with kangkung, sliced pork, prawns, egg and a generous sprinkling of crunchy fried shallots. And oh yes, a heaped tablespoon of the sambal or chilli paste and hot, spicy prawn broth ladled into the bowl.

The best bit... wait for it... is sucking the juices and marrow off a piece of pork bone that has been cooking in the prawn stock, it's flesh soft and falling off the bone. Mmm... yumm. Just too good! Don't ask me to make this again without mom!
Best Blogger Tips

Thursday, 4 June 2009

DIY: Cool T-Shirts!

Here's an easy crafty idea for you and your three year old, if you've got one.

Last year, we were given some plain T-Shirts for Christmas, and they've been sitting at the bottom of the drawer for a little while now. It was one of those days where Mommy's creative juices wouldn't stop flowing and was really pumped to do art. And so that's when I had to rummage through all the junk we have in our garage to look for whatever leftover fabric paint from a Playgroup project last year.

It is water-based, permanent fabric paint. It fixes permanently onto fabric when it is heat set (with an iron). It’s really good stuff! I picked it up from Art Mart for like less than $5.

We painted one little hand with yellow paint, and one bigger (mommy's) hand, and then transferred our hand prints onto the T-shirt. When the paint is dry (a couple of hours), set it down with an iron on medium setting. I'd put a plain white paper or a cloth over it so the paint wouldn't come off onto the iron.

It's very very personalised and very very cool, and I'm sure when it is dry and heat set, it will return to it's original place at the bottom of the drawer. I'm not sure if wearing mommy's hand print is so so cool after all?! Or is it?

Best Blogger Tips

Creative Space

I used to love art in high school. It's the one subject that could push my results average up a couple of notches. Unfortunately, the class genius doesn't have a single creative bone (sorry!) and so I happen to leap my way up to top of the class, only because of art. Oh don't get me wrong, I'm no Picasso, but hey, they aren't too bad either!

And it's been a little while since I last picked up an oil pastel or a brush (Apart from Lachie's paintings of course!). So yesterday, Lachie and I sat down and painted. I drew a bird and coloured them in with oil pastels, then painted the background with a bit of Lachie's poster paint. Brought back good ol' memories! And Lachie said... "WOW!" Haha...

It's therapeutic!

The family almost went without dinner though, only because mommy wanted to finish her drawing! Best Blogger Tips

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Spending the day with Grandpa

Today, Lachlan spent the day with his Yeh-Yeh. He packed his gardening tools, pulled a beanie over his head and slipped on his gumboots. He was planning on doing some gardening with his Grandpa.


Later, Grandma told me Lachie plonked himself in front of the telly and wanted to eat breakfast cereal all day. When they asked him to do some gardening, he sighed "It's too much hard work!"

And when they laughed, he said "That's not funny!" which made them laugh even more.

What a bum he is! Best Blogger Tips