Friday, 27 November 2009

Pregnancy Diary: Week 12/13. My Baby's First Picture

So, a few weeks ago we attended our very first ultrasound for Baby 3. A big sigh of relief for it's a singleton pregnancy! I wouldn't have a clue at this moment, how I could deal with more than one baby. I don't know why I was paranoid to begin with, it doesn't run in the immediate family. But I guess having 3 babies in the span of 4 years is enough to start me thinking a little bit more about family planning. Oh, isn't that what they do BEFORE they start having babies? Anyways...

Baby looks healthy from all angles, at this stage. We may have him/her a little sooner than expected. We went in for the ultrasound thinking we're at 12.5 weeks, but the figures are measuring up to a 13.9 weeker. Surprise surprise? (Or is it just going to be another whopper?)

Even better news, I'm feeling a whole lot better now. I'm getting a lot more energy back (to be wasted on mopping kitchen floors and brushing mouldy bathrooms!) and I don't feel half as bad as I was in the first few weeks. I'm back at the gym, just doing light workouts. So yeah, I'm feeling great.

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Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Girl Next Door turned 4

So, Girl Next Door came over one day and we baked mini choc chip muffins, if you remember that not so long ago. That day, she actually pointed out to me, what she really REALLY wanted for her birthday cake this year. It was on the cover of the Women's Weekly Kid's Birthday Cake recipe book. I couldn't say no... So it was my promise to her.

It was my second attempt of making a fairy toadstool cake. Threw in some cupcakes for good measure!
Click here to see the collection of celebration cakes that I've made over the years.
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Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Teaching L1 to Sleep

For years now, my oldest child Lachlan always had a little trouble with sleeping. In fact, I don't think he had ever slept through a night without waking up once since birth. Yep, 3 and a half years ago. He wakes up, once, twice, three times or sometimes even more and needed one of us to put him back to sleep. He's addicted to stroking our ears, or holding us near. Sometimes, Gary would wake up with sore ears, as bright as a tomato.

We I have read countless of books on sleep. We have played musical beds, moving from one bedroom to another. We have tried numerous tricks/tips/threats/treats/techniques etc. but it has never worked. It's partly our fault. When Lachlan was a little baby, he slept with us in the same bedroom. He then graduated from his own little cot, to our big bed. We've never really been strict about it. Whatever works right? Sleep is too precious then. I loved him being close, feeling the warmth of his body and just watching him snore gently. It's the best thing in the world! So now, I guess you can say we're paying for it. He doesn't want to leave our bedroom.

Yes, he has a normal bedtime routine. He goes to sleep in his own bed, in his own bedroom. But without fail, he would creep and crawl into our bedroom, onto our bed EVERY NIGHT, sometimes without me even knowing it!

Lucas is the total opposite! He has been sleeping on his own for... I can't remember. We kiss him good night and lay him in his cot and won't see him until the morning. He prefers it that way, he couldn't sleep well any other way. So one day, a few weeks ago, I moved Lucas to Lachlan's bedroom, hoping that he would teach his older brother a little thing or two about sleep. It was a little crazy at first, they took turns waking each other up.

Now? Lucas sleeps through the night. But Lachlan? He still comes into our bed. Back to square one. But at least we got our spare guest bedroom back.

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Friday, 20 November 2009

Pregnancy Diary: Week 11 Being Mrs.Grumps

I'm not normally bitchy about anything, really. Not openly bitchy anyways. But lately I have been a bit of a grump. I would be nit picking on little matters, blowing it into slightly larger proportions, and sometimes I could erupt emotionally like an active volcano without any warnings. I find myself teary eyed more often than not.

One day, Lachlan caught me with tears in my eyes and asked if I'm sad. I said, no, not really. They're just "nothing tears".

Nothing tears? He then wiped them with the tip of his pointer and "popped" them. There, he said... feel better now? What do you know? Soon enough, nothing tears started pouring out.

Oh no! Mummy, your eyes are raining! I just couldn't help but burst into a fit of laughter. Nothing tears soon became funny tears.

Oh, back to the topic of bitchiness. This little incident happened a little while ago. I had to blog about it only because I had to get it off my pregnant bosoms! When and if I do look back, at least I could blame it on the hormones!

We were at a kid's party and there was a pirate's treasure hunt. In this treasure hunt, presents and loots were hidden in little bushes and plants, and kids were meant to get their elbows and knees grubby and look for their loot. Read: KID'S treasure hunt. Anyhow, it was over within 30 seconds, because a MOM stood over the loot, pointing to the treasures, well literally fished them out herself and put it in her kid's palm. Trivial? Yes. Annoying? Oh yes!

Even my 3 year old said "Not fair, she's a GROWN UP" Ah huh.

OK...see? I'm getting bitchy.

To read the entire Pregnancy Diary, click here. Best Blogger Tips

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Caramelised Upside Down Peach Cake

I had a craving. It wasn't anything bad, really! I wanted canned sliced peaches, and what do you know, I was well stocked up! In my pantry was a whopping 825g can of sliced peaches. I can't really remember why I bought such a big tin of peaches, it must have been for a party or it might just be on special at the supermarket.

Anyways, I was already planning what I was going to do with the rest of the peaches, if I were to open that huge can! I took out some recipe books, remembering reading somewhere about an upside down cake. It was actually an apricot upside down cake, but they're pretty similar anyways. After a little bit of tweaking, here's my version of it, adapted from one of the Women's Day small recipe book series.

Caramelised Upside Down Peach Cake


425g can of sliced peaches in syrup or juice, drained.
50g butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
125g butter, chopped
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon milk


1. Grease a 20cm round cake tin. Melt 50g butter with brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Pour caramel mixture onto base of the tin, swirl it evenly so it coats the bottom of the tin.

2. Line the sliced peaches over the top of the caramel, in a nice and even circular pattern.

3. In the mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla essence and eggs one at a time. Fold through sifted flour, sour cream and milk.

4. Bake in a moderate oven (160 degrees celcius, fan force) for 40-45 minutes, or until skewer comes out clean.

5. Cool in pan for 5 minutes before overturning cake onto a cake plate. Serve warm with a dollop of fresh cream or ice cream.

The recipe calls for 125g butter in total, half of that melted for the caramel. But I find it really hard to cream 60g of butter, it all get stuck at the sides of the bowl! So I doubled the quantity of butter. Then I realised, oh crap, I didn't have any eggs! But I have duck eggs! Rich, creamy, huge duck eggs. (Why do I have duck eggs? My lovely mother in law gave them to me, freshly laid, free range duck eggs!) While rummaging through my fridge for bits and bobs, I found sour cream! Gaahhhh, why not make this dessert a triply rich and super naughty dessert. I figured the people around me need some fattening up, so I don't look too bad around them.

The cake turned out really really moist, and fluffy and rich. The gooey caramel just oozes out as I tip the cake upside down. The peaches went really well with the rest of the cake. Two thumbs up, a recipe I would keep and make again when I have a massive can of peaches.

Hah! What a naughty craving this has become! Best Blogger Tips

Monday, 16 November 2009

Pregnancy Diary: Week 10. I am a Spitting Machine

I can't remember what it is, with being pregnant and a hyperactive salivary gland. Something about the hormone progesterone?

Anyways, my salivary glands are on overdrive. I would wake up in a puddle, or I get teased about the drool patch on my pillow to no end. Yuck, I know.

One day, I was trying to break up a fight between the two boys. I went up to them, and in the middle of a stern lecture, Lachlan had a look of disgust, wiped his brow with the back of his hand and said to me "stop spitting mom! I'm getting wet!"

Oh gosh, this is severe.

To read the entire Pregnancy Diary, click here. Best Blogger Tips

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Cooling Down by the Creek

We have had scorching weather here in Melbourne over the last week or so, a little bit unusual for this time of the year. Last weekend, we took a leisurely drive to Badger Creek. It was a nice little secluded spot up in the Yarra Valley, not far from the Healesville Sanctuary. I packed a picnic lunch and huddled the boys in the car. We drove for about 40 minutes into the picturesque countryside, pointing out to cows, sheeps and horses that dotted the rural landscape along the way.

Soon, the boys are splashing in the icy cool water, fossicking for rocks, twigs, leaves, gumnuts and every other thing from the creek. Despite the hot weather, the water in the creek was numbingly cooooold!

Lachie enjoyed a warm sunny spot after a cool dip in the water. He was hesitant for a little while, but as soon as he saw his little brother jump in, clothes, diapers, sandals, gusto and all, he too charged into the water.

Lucas was a busy little bush ranger. He kept us busy too, for we were at first wary that he might slip from the slippery surface of the rocks. He peered in between the rocks, collecting little objects of interesting shapes, texture and colours and put them in a pile. He climbed up big rocks, and down again. Twice, he stuck his head beneath the water to reach for a pebble or two. He is the dare devil of the two, and yep he definitely takes after his mummy! :)

It was a nice little getaway. I enjoyed the peace and tranquility, the sound of water running down the creek and the chirps of the wildlife amidst the laughter from the boys.

Lachy asked me today, wanna go there again?
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Monday, 9 November 2009

Kuih Lapis/Malaysian Steamed Layered Cake

Kuih Lapis is one of my favourite childhood treats. It brings back fond memories of my childhood past. I remember peeling the layers, one at a time and popping them into my mouth. It's texture should be soft, and yet a little springy. The simple flavours of coconut and pandan leaves makes such a wonderful combination, and is the essence of most Malaysian dessert. Traditionally, this steamed layered cake is made out of 2 colours: red and white, the cake is 9 layers tall, with the last layer a deep orangey red.

I have made Kuih Lapis only a handful of times, trying out different recipes and also experimenting with different colours. Aahhh... just for the fun of it!

The last few weekends have been particularly hot! And all I wanted to do was stand in front of a big hot steaming wok pouring layer after layer of sugared rice flour coconutty mixture, cooking each layer before the next. Oh, so not! Well, it wasn't too bad in an air-conditioned house, and all I wanted was some entertainment for myself, indoors. Yes, I do find it amusing!

Malaysian Kuih Lapis
(Adapted from My Kitchen Snippets)


230g rice flour
45g corn flour
840ml coconut milk, I used a 400ml can of good quality coconut cream and topped the rest up with water.
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pandan paste
A few drops yellow and pink colouring

For the syrup

280g castor sugar
250ml water
3 pandan leaves, knotted

1. Combine sugar, water and pandan leaves in a saucepan. Bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Set aside to cool.

2. Put rice flour, cornstarch and salt into a large mixing bowl. Pour in coconut milk mix well. Stir in syrup. Strain the batter to ensure it is free from lumps.

3. Divide batter into 3 equal portions. Add the pandan paste (green) to one of the portions, a few drops of yellow colouring in another, and a few drops of pink colouring in the third. I love the light pastel colour, so I went only lightly on the colourings.

4. Place a greased 8 inch tray in the steamer and heat up for 4–5 minutes.

5. Ladle the 1st layer of batter on the heated tray. Cover and steam over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until set.

6. Follow by the next color and steam for 2-3 minutes and then the next layer.

7. Repeat the procedure, alternating the color until all the batter is used up.

8. After the final layer is set, steam the kuih for a further 15 minutes.

9. Cool the kuih thoroughly before cutting it into diamonds.

Verdict? Pretty good! I can't wait to savour more Malaysian delights at the end of the year! Home, here I come!
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Pregnancy Diary: Week 9. Choosing a Hospital

With Lachlan, I went completely private. I remember booking in with an obstetrician and a private hospital as soon as the word go. With Lucas, I went to a public hospital under a private obstetrician because I knew I was having an elective Cesarean Section. Both times, I had the same obstetrician and was completely happy with him. Comparing the two hospitals, I really have no preference to which one is better. Both have their pro's and con's.

In a private hospital, you have the luxury of a private room, where you can fill the entire room with flowers, relatives, guests and free biscuits. You have your own TV and your husband can stay the night. The bed is soft and fluffy, which worked to my disadvantage. I had a C-section and it was difficult to get in and out of bed. There are so many midwives and nurses waiting on you, and sometimes you get a lot of "interference" with your recuperation. Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate what they do, but every time there's a changeover of nurses, a different person comes in and offer a different advise as to how to breastfeed your child, and it could get a little annoying.

When I had Lucas, right after he was born and after I was stitched-up, he was just plonked on my bare belly, naked, left to his own devices. He found his own way to my nipple and started suckling rightaway. That, was the most beautiful thing in the world. He stayed there for a good 4-5-6? hours, I could not even remember, until I raised my arm and said to one of the nurses... errr, there's a baby under my covers? The nursing staff was supportive and accommodating. The one thing with my public stay was that I shared a room with a drug user on the Methadone program, a young mother who had a baby with shoulder dystocia who wouldn't stop screaming, a mother who gave birth in the morning and wanted to check out the same day, a plethora of weird and wonderful people. 3 days/nights to me, wasn't such a big deal. I saved heaps of money!

This time *deep breath*, I am going completely public! I called a friend I used to work with, someone whose work I've always admired, who has such lovely work ethics and demeanor. I lightly joked with her one day that when I have my babies, I will come to her. She wasn't quite ready when I had the two boys but now she is. She will be performing my third C-Section in a public hospital. Having worked in a public hospital and knowing how the system works, I am a little nervous but at the same time, having done this the third time round, what matters is that the baby is safely delivered. Who cares if the lady next door is snoring. Aahh, why do we pay for our private health insurance anyways????

To read the entire pregnancy diary, click here. Best Blogger Tips

Friday, 6 November 2009

Pregnancy Diary: Week 8. A Busy Time

(By the way, I am now Week 15! This is a pre-written post)

This week, my little magic bean is being busy. It is growing rapidly, the formation of some of the major organs are getting a little more complicated. The teeth and the palate are forming into a beautiful smile. The ears are continuing to develope and eyelids are beginning to cover the eyes. Its little webby feet and hands are shaping up and can now do a little jiggy with it.

My little magic bean is no longer an embryo, but now a foetus.

I remember my very first pregnancy with Lachlan. I was so excited. Everything was a new experience. I guard my pregnant belly fiercely. I never carried anything heavier than a box of cereal. I watch EVERYTHING I ate closely, caffeine and alcohol was a big No-No. With Lucas, my second child, I ate so much sushi and sashimi and then got terribly guilty at the final weeks, thinking I've given this child of mine Listeria. Now with my third, I don't know. Sometimes, I get so busy with the other two I forget I'm pregnant! I do eat sensibly though, but I'm not over the top with the do's and don'ts. Especially when there are so many versions of it.

Don't eat watermelon, it's too "cooling". Mangos will give your baby "bad skin". Bean curd and soft boiled egg will make baby's skin soft and smooth (When there could possibly be Listeria lurking in semi boiled egg). Caffeine slows growth of baby (Gaahh... I have massive 4kg babies anyways! A cup or two won't hurt!). Lamb might cause epilepsy in a newborn child (Have you even heard of that?????). And the best of all, do not renovate your house whilst pregnant, you'll have a baby with deformed limbs or even a miscarriage! O.o

Oh well, some of these old wive's tales are pretty harmless anyways. As long as common sense prevails!

To read the entire pregnancy diary, click here. Best Blogger Tips

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Pregnancy Diary: Week 7. Cravings

The thought of me being at the height of my first pregnancy makes me cringe with horror. I was massively overweight, my behind was just about the size of a momma whale and my legs were like two hot air balloons, except very much grounded. With my second pregnancy, I was a little more active, I didn't get as much water retention but I was still massive.

Now, with my third, I could sense that it's happening all over again! I eat and boy I mean I do EAT! Just 2 hours past lunch, I'm hungry again. I mean, my baby is now the size of a peanut. How much food does one need to consume to sustain a peanut?? Is it really hunger? I wake up and have a bowl of cereal, 2 hours later a cup of coffee and two slices of toast. Lunch time is whatever, and a couple of hours later, I'll have another serving! Dinner MUST be at six otherwise I might just be too sick. And in between all these, I eat fresh whole lemons like oranges, sour snake gummies or extreme sour straps in Apple flavour. Kid you not, I eat 5-6 lemons in a day! I also have a thing for balsamic vinegar, but at least I have that guilt free with a serving (or two or three) of rocket and pears. Yes, a bowl of salad eaten with a spoon! I'd rather not be caught drinking balsamic of modena from a wine glass.

My gym membership is on hold due to my all day sickness, I feel so sluggish and unfit and fat. I'm incapacitated to do the things I normally enjoy doing, like blogging, cooking, baking or just going out. It's really quite miserable. Wasn't I meant to feel blissful, feminine and on top of the world? It seems that with each of my pregnancies, I'm feeling more and more dreadful, sore, tired, moody and lousy, among other things.

Will somebody please remind me not to get pregnant again after this?
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