Thursday, 30 July 2009

Is there a Medical Career left for me?

Lately, I've been inundated with quite a few medical questions. I found myself stumped, unable to answer these simple questions. It's like, my mind just goes blank. And I don't know where to start.

What antibiotic should I use for a minor skin infection? What are the symptoms of Listeriosis in pregnancy? And what are the outcomes? Please review my blood pressure medications. And do you think this medication interacts with this? Or what's the newest drug for cholesterol? Gawd...

Please don't ask me anything "latest" because just in case you haven't noticed, the "latest" news is that I have been OUT OF PRACTICE for way too long, not to mention preggo brains that automatically converts to mummy brains in motherhood, ya'know the ones like baby food consistency. Gaaaahhhhh!! I stumble, I stutter a semi coherent answer, then later google the question on the Internet for an answer! Let's just say, if you were a family or a friend and wanting to ring me for a medically related advice, you'd better think twice about it! Also, my medical indemnity expired 2 years ago, and I wouldn't be able to afford a lawsuit. Tee hee!

I went to medical school for 6 years. Did my intern year in 2004, and then residency in 2005. In 2006, I had Lachlan and took a year off. I did a few locum shifts every now and then in various fields. In 2007-2008, I was on the priority locum list for Peter James Centre, an age care and rehabilitation facility. I also did skin checks and executive health checks through a locum agency. The last I worked was when I was 7 months pregnant with Lucas, where I did 2 weeks in age care and rehab. I still knew enough to eloquently form answers for patients and their families then. No doubt, the patients loved me. Little old ladies in their four wheel frames, and wobbly war veterans with their sticks and thick bifocals. They have a thing for a friendly pregnant woman tittering on 1 inch heel, their medical records piled up high on my forearm. Sometimes they call out to me "sister", to bring them a bedpan! There was a war veteran, so confused he thought he was still in Vietnam when I was his treating doctor. Good old memories.

I miss those days miserably. In between making lunches and folding away clothes, I secretly wished to be a doctor again. To know my stuff. And to be able to talk like an adult! Will it all come back to me?

On the flipside, I find myself becoming really good at little kid's issues. Like how to remove a foreign body from an orifice (we shall not mention which one), the never-ending coughs and colds, how to pretend that the snot coming out of your child's nostril is "really nothing to worry about", red rash and all skin things. I think if I have to work in the ED again, I would be really confident to treat a child. As oppose to my childless days where I pretended to be busy whenever a child comes through. And hence, I apologise to all mothers out there who waited 4 hours to see a doctor at the emergency department! It's different now, I promise.

I love working with the oldies. In many ways, they are similar to little children. One day soon, I will be. I don't know how or when. But right now, there are other stuff more important in my life. Like reading Charlie & Lola mini library for my three year old and wiping snot for my 1 year old.

Oh, I'm just kidding about the "don't ask me medical questions" thing... I would love to be challenged every now and then with a question. Besides, it's my dad who asks me the most and I think he would demand for his entire life savings spent on my medical school fees back if I can't answer his simple questions! Best Blogger Tips

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Quick, call the Ambulance!

Me: Lachy, don't open your mouth when you're eating! You're spitting your food out!

A few minutes later...

Me: Lachy, take another bite of your lunch.

Lachy: But you just told me not to open my mouth!


Me: Lachy eat up your broccoli please.

Lachy: But it is a teeny small tree. I can't eat it. It will get hurt.


The other day, I was chopping a whole chicken to stew for dinner.

Lachy: Oh no! The chicken needs to go to the hospital. It is hurt.


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Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Mystery of the Dumpling Fairy

Last Sunday night, a dumpling fairy dropped by our house. She left a bag of delicious dumplings by our front door. Till today, I am yet to work out who dumpling fairy is.

So thank you dumpling fairy, whoever you are. They were delicious! Yes, we ate them without knowing where they came from. Because they looked too darn good.

You made us feel very loved.

Pan fried dumplings with shredded ginger crisps and a black vinegared broth.
Edit: We found out who it was! Thank you Chai! XOX
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Monday, 27 July 2009

A New Home

Today is the day of the big move.

My brother and his family migrated to Melbourne a little under 2 years ago. All these while they've been renting, while in search for their family home. We all know it's not easy. So many things to look out for: the right location, within the budget, in the school zone etc. Well, they've found it!

It's not exactly dream home, there's much to be done. Some things needed fixing. There're a lot of cleaning up to do! There is so much potential in this home and I can see today that it is all unfolding. It is turning into THEIR home from an empty shell. I can see the kids playing in the garden (with mine), I can see them blossoming into their teenage years, going to a good secondary school nearby and then hopping onto public transport (bus/tram) just a stone's throw away, going to uni. Oh, maybe I'm getting off a bit too far. By then, my brother would have struck rich to buy my sister-in-law's dream home, eh?

Congratulations guys! Wishing you all things wonderful in your new home.

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Sunday, 26 July 2009

Birthday Pandas

On Saturday, we went to Mt. Martha to celebrate the birthdays of two of my friends from uni. M's mom has a holiday house perched picturesquely on a hill by the bay. It was lovely!

Upon request, I made their birthday cake. It was a two tiered, dark chocolate, orange liquer mud cake and white chocolate mud cake. It has two hand-moulded panda bears lounging on top eating bamboo from my garden. What do you think of the little fellas?

Years of playing playdough with the boys are paying off! Best Blogger Tips

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Hungry Boys

After swimming today, we stopped at a park to eat our lunch.

It is just amazing what swimming does to ones appetite! Nothing gets left behind. Greens, browns and all.

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Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Product Review: Milk Baby

Being a stay-at-home mother of two young boys, I like to see what's new for the kids in the market. I like to be the first to know of a product, to give it a test-drive and to spread the good word if it's worthy. I've been a member of Vibe Village since September last year and I've enjoyed doing a number of product reviews for them. The FUN part of it all is that, it is absolutely FREE! And who doesn't love a freebie, especially if you're part of a growing family.

Today, I would like to point you over to Milk Baby.

Milk skincare was created by mother of two Lindy Klim, and wife of Olympic swimmer, Michael Klim. She developed a range of skin care products based on all things natural and organic as influenced by her Tasmanian and Balinese heritage.

This morning, I received a Milk Baby package in the mail from the good people at Vibe Village. The one product that got me thrilled was snotty grotty, a room spray intended for sniffles and blocked nose. I love the pleasant aroma, light and refreshing and not overpowering. The spray contained certified organic chamomile extract, rose hip oil, lavender oil and ylang ylang oil. I sprayed our living room quite liberally with the spray and immediately felt quite at ease. I just loooooveee the smell! It was actually quite soothing and calming.
I like walking into my house smelling something pleasant and welcoming, and lately it hasn't been that way! Sometimes it's the smell of last night's curry, other times the smell of damp stinky socks or poo-ey nappies. Uggghh! Anyways, after coming home from gym, walking into a house smelling like freshly washed baby...aaaahhhhh!

So does it actually unblock a congested nose? I don't really know. We'll find out next time!

All I know is that it smells wonderful, clean and refreshing, it is natural with certified organic ingredients safe for the little ones! And as part of spreading the good vibe, you can get 30% off their Milk Baby range of products by shopping online at and entering the code "VIBE" at checkout.

150ml snotty grotty RRP $24.95
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Swimming School

Today, Lachy attended his first official swimming lesson after a little while living on dry grounds. He enjoyed every minute of it.

He gained confidence quite quickly, trusting his new swimming teacher Rebecca and letting her take him into deep waters. He learnt to blow bubbles under water, to relax his body and paddle, he could tread water for a little bit on his own, float on his back and jump into deep water with the supervision of his teacher. He learnt cues of when to dive in, and also basic safety in water like twisting and turning from the side of the pool and swimming back to the wall.

Let's see how he progresses.

Lucas had his first baby swimming class last Friday. Let's just say he's not as adventurous as big brother Lachy in the water. He gripped on to me so tightly that I had his finger imprints all over my neck! I guess he was feeling very anxious about jumping into a huge bathtub with hundreds of strangers. Eventually he relaxed a little and enjoyed the water. Today, when his koko had his swimming lesson, he wanted to jump in. Oh well, he'll have to wait till Friday. Best Blogger Tips

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Sleep Eating

Have you ever seen a child eat while sleeping?

I couldn't help having a little chuckle at the end, and what you didn't see was me bursting into a hysterical ball of laughter. And I still do, watching this video over and over again!

This is part 2. You can hear him snore... And Lucas was trying to wake him up.

Oh dear! Now my sides hurt from laughing too much. My funny little guy, he is a bag of tricks that one!

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Friday, 17 July 2009

Otrivin Saline Baby

So the boys are sick. There's snot and goobligoo dripping from every orifice. Their coughing sounds like seals barking. There's constant whinging, their appetite is shot, they are moody and not happy chappy.

Oh well, just as well I received the Otrivin Saline Baby trial packs from the good people at Vibe Village. It consist of single use, sterile, preservative-free saline solution vials and a bulb aspirator. The saline solution dilutes thickened nasal mucus and the bulb aspirator sucks out the gunk.

To be perfectly honest, the boys hated it. I loved it! As sadistic as it may sound, I have an obsession with the sucking and the squirting of goo. Joy. All for the much needed relief of unblocking their very congested nose. It helps them breathe easy and rest well.

Hop over here to see a demonstration video of how it is used and to earn points for my charity.
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Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Growing Cos Lettuce

They were grown from seedlings that my father-in-law had sown in early winter. They're really easy to grow, doesn't require much maintenance and provide us plenty of crisp lettuce that is nutritious and flavoursome. I grew them in a slightly raised garden bed, in soil with lots and lots of home made organic compost and shop bought mushroom compost. With watering restrictions in Melbourne, I give it a good hose down with my final cycle of laundry water, and recycled water from the kitchen. I once read somewhere that they love coffee grounds and tea leaves, so I saved all my coffee grounds and tea bags and give them a good sprinkling every now and then.

I've grown lettuce in a box, but now that I've grown it from the ground, I don't think I will ever look back. It grows a lot quicker from the ground and in abundance .

3 rows of lettuce grown from the ground is plenty to go round. It tastes great in sandwiches, makes a wonderful salad and knowing that it's from our very own garden makes it even more special. It has a delicious nutty flavour, a hint of macadamia. I've given a few bunches to family and friends, and they're always appreciative. 100% home grown, totally organic. Come and get some!

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Monday, 13 July 2009

Winter Coughs and Colds

This is the time of the year where coughs and colds and other viral miseries become inevitable.

KIDS: They are the best medium for spreading germs. And because of their developing immune system, they're the ones who get sick first themselves. You can't stop them from passing it on, else you might as well have them quarantined all season and of course that ain't happening! In fact, the general thought is for them to have at least 7-10 infections in a year in order for them to develop a "healthy" immune system!

Walk into playgroup, you'll see snot flying everywhere, nasty coughs being heard at different corners, little kiddies slobbering over bits of toys. Germs! Ah well, spread the love.

Having said all that, Lachlan and Lucas are both sick. They have snot running down from their nostrils like a leaky tap, they're both grumbly and grumpy, they're tired and lethargic, they have a cough that makes a mother with a shopping trolley full of kids cringe, and they're hot with fever. But, they're OK. They've just caught some love from our friendly playgroup.

Grandparents READ: They're FINE!

So apart from the obvious, rest well, eat and drink well and lots and lots of TLC, here are some tips and tricks from a SAHM and a once-upon-a-time-ago Doctor.

  1. Don't be afraid to use Paracetamol and/or Ibuprofen. Panadol and/or Nurofen. Whatever you like to call them. They both have analgesic (pain relieving) and antipyretic (fever relieving) properties, can be used on their own or in adjunct. Always use as directed, an appropriate dose for age and weight, and take note of the time interval.

  2. I steer clear of cough medicines because coughing is a defence mechanism. I want them to be able to bring out the gunk from their chest instead of suppressing it. Instead, try a humidifier or a vaporiser with a few drops of Eucalyptus Oil. It helps break down the phlegm and congestion.
  3. Almost always, these infections are caused by viruses. It does NOT need an antibiotic. But if in doubt, always see your GP. Trust your maternal instincts.
  4. Someone once told me to rub Vicks onto the soles of their little feet and then put socks on them. It works! Try it. Perhaps it's the soothing touch of a foot massage. Or the hot tingly feeling of menthol. Who knows? It's nice anyways, and whatever works right?

  5. A nice warm bath always calm my hysterical baby down. My boys have a love affair with their bath tub. Although, the Chinese ancient saying would probably forbid this, saying you might catch a "chill" or the wind will seep into your bones etc. Who knows? Whatever works right?

  6. Keep the fluids up! Your child may be off food, but just as long as they're properly hydrated, they'll be right. Trust me, they'll catch up on their calories later on when they're better.

  7. And lastly, stay calm. The last thing a hysterical child needs is a hysterical parent. They get your vibes.

Enjoy the rest of winter! And stay healthy.

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Friday, 10 July 2009

3 year old Ambitions

I asked Lachy the other day, What do you want to be when you grow up?

He was silent for a while, thinking.

Do you want to be a fireman? He said no.
Do you want to be a doctor? He said no.
Do you want to be a policeman? He said no.
Do you want to drive dump trucks? He said no!
Do you want to be a businessman like Dadda, and sell Photobooks? Uhmm, he said no.

Then he said "I want to be a ROCKSTAR. I want to play the guitar and sing in a band. I want to play Guitar Hero everyday." *Plays air-guitar*

Errr..... I think I smell trouble. Best Blogger Tips

15 month old Vocabulary

Lucas is 15 months old. He is learning to speak!

I remember Lachie when he was this age. Apart from just random babbling, he didn't say much else until he was almost 2 years old! Ahh, they say "Boys, they're just a little slower in picking words up". However, eversince he started talking, he hasn't stopped. He's like a little M16, shooting out words.

Lucas on the other hand, spoke quite early at 13 months. His first specific word was "Kong-Kong" which meant grandfather in our dialect. It was when my dad was here from Malaysia. That made him a happy happy grandpa. Soon after, he called my mom "Poh-poh", his brother "Ko-ko", his other grandpa "Yeh-yeh", his dad "Dadda". "Mum?" Well, it was more like a non-specific random babble "Mamamamama...". Like "Mamamamama" could mean I'm hungry or I want to be picked up, or a complain when Ko-Ko is being a bully.

Now, he says a handful of words. He loves "Ball", it's his absolute favourite thing in the world to play with. He picks up a ball and say "Throw" or "Kick" when he's kicking it.

When I took him to the Caribbean Gardens, we sat in front of the lakes watching the ducks swim. He said "Duck". And then he said Duck Duck Duck Duck Duck...

His change table is right next to a big window that overlooks our neighbour's roof and the sky. Most often there will be a bird perched on the roof. He says bird in the funniest possible way. It's more like "Berk" and he says it with a staccato and so much gusto. It's just funny, I could not describe it!

He could name a few things in his picture book. His usual favourites, "ball", "duck" and "car".
He says "Star". And when you ask him "Where?". He points to the night sky and says "There!"

I am full of pride. My little fellow is so clever!
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Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Just Another Icing on the Cake!

We attended a couple of birthday parties last weekend. I helped a friend ice this cake for a special little boy who loves Thomas and donuts.
I raided Lachy's toy box for this one because I really didn't have a clue at first what to come up with, with a dozen Krispy Kremes and an Indonesian layered cake (which I didn't bake).

I'm adding it to the list Of All The Cakes I've Made Before.
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Sunday, 5 July 2009

McHappy Weekend

We celebrated a friend's birthday at McDonald's this weekend.

The boys had their Happy Meal. Their nuggets and fries were wolfed down even before I had time to say Boys eat up your Veee.... but wait, there's none.

Look how big Lucas has grown now. He's still a little unsteady on his feet, could walk a couple of steps but looses his balance and tips over. So he crawled all over the soft playground, still wet from the rain, splashed in puddles, got soaked and got very very happy.
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Saturday, 4 July 2009

MasterChef: Open Beef Kofta

So, they said MasterChef is making people fat and I reckon there's a little bit of truth to that.

Every Friday night after a Master Class, I had to try a new recipe out. It's funny, I sit in front of the telly with my notepad and my pen jotting down recipes just like one of the contestants. OK, sometimes in my dreams I'm one of them.

There was an episode that I recorded, when George Colambaris made his dark chocolate mousse with just dark chocolate, olive oil and whipped cream. I literally paused half way through, ran to my kitchen and whipped up a batch of chocolate mousse. It was so soooo goooood.

So this is what we had for dinner tonight: Open Beef Kofta made to George's mother's recipe. Click here to watch the episode.

I love the smell of coriander seeds and cumin seeds being toasted in the pan and then pounded in the mortar and pestle. Instead of a cucumber salad, I made an easy rocket leaf salad with red onions and coriander to go on mine. And oh, with a little minced meat left, I made a meatball pizza with garlic, sliced tomatoes, onions and cheese, using pita bread as the base. It was such a deliciously quick and easy meal. Best Blogger Tips

Friday, 3 July 2009

We'll be flying... in December!

We have finally booked our tickets! And we got it real cheap too.

Now, if you're thinking of a holiday, just don't think. Go BOOK your tickets now. There's a sale happening at Air Asia. We got our tickets for less than AUD$350 per person return, inclusive of all taxes and fees. Lucas pays only $35 each way! Yep, you have to believe this.

We have travelled with Air Asia once before, and really we didn't mind it at all. Just don't expect anything fancy. This is a budget airline, there's inexpensive food and drinks for sale. You have to bring your own entertainment, warm clothing or blanket. Otherwise there's comfort and entertainment kits for sale. Cabin crew were friendly and helpful on our last trip. We had the front row seats to accommodate a bassinet for Lucas, so leg room wasn't a problem.

One thing I'm anxious about though, is the departure time delays. Our last trip back, our flight was delayed from midnight to about half past four in the wee hours of the morning. Just imagine us, hanging around at the airport, zombie-like, chasing after 2 highly charged-god-knows-where-they-get-their-energy-from boys. And just last month, my parents' flight was delayed too, until 6am. They were given a $20 food voucher each, and guess what? The only place opened was McDonald's. So mom and dad ended up with $40 worth of quarter pounders and fries (YUCK).

But hey, they are amazingly cheap. I will fly with them every time they run a promotion like this one.

Go! Go book your holiday! Best Blogger Tips

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

The Perfect Chiffon Cake

My mother-in-law likes a cake that is light and airy. Each mouthful is like biting into fluffy bits of marshmallow. She likes it plain and simple, not too sweet and preferably with no icing. I have baked many a times for her. Usually a butter cake, sometimes sponge and many times a banana cake. She loves it too. I know she is always appreciative but rarely gives me a feedback. Like is it good? Is it fluffy enough? Is it totally fabulous? Or totally NOT?!

Last weekend I baked her a cake that saw her smiling from ear to ear. Just perfect she said! She wanted the recipe! It also won her friends over, and they have nothing but praises for her daughter-in-law who made this really really simple chiffon cake, fluffy, airy and light. It is really just like biting into clouds! Nothing makes me gloat more than a praise like that from my Mother-in-law. Score!

So yeah, here's the recipe for a very simple pandan (you can use any flavour you like) mother-in-law pleasing chiffon cake.

Chiffon Pandan Cake

225g cake flour*, sifted
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
200g + 50g castor sugar
80ml pandan juice
3 tbsp coconut cream
50ml water
125ml vegetable oil
7 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
9 egg whites
3/4 tsp cream of tartar

* I bought the cake flour from an Asian grocer. It's imported from Taiwan, I can't tell you what brand it is. I tried using just normal plain flour, the outcome is not as fluffy as the Taiwanese cake flour.

Sift all dry ingredients into a bowl, using just 200g of the castor sugar. Make a well in the middle and whisk in pandan juice, coconut cream, water, oil, egg yolks and vanilla extract. Mix well until smooth and thoroughly combined. Set aside.

Using a mixer, beat egg whites until frothy. Then add cream of tartar. Now beat on high speed until soft peaks form. Add in remaining 50g of castor sugar, one tablespoon at a time and beat until stiff peaks occur.

Gently fold egg whites into the cake batter in a few additions until just blended. Pour mixture into a clean UNGREASED 25cm (large) angel cake tin. Bake in a moderately hot oven (170 degrees celcius) for about 1 hour. Remove cake from the oven, and while still hot, turn the entire cake and tin upside down, balancing the central column on an empty jar. Leave to cool completely. This step is quite important as it ensures that the cake doesn't "sink". When it is cooled completely, release cake with a flat bladed knife and cut into slices.

Voila, a happy-mother-in-law cake.

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Bowl Lickin' Good!

Mummy, look what Cailler taught me!

Yumm... I love peas!

X Lucas
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