Monday, 30 November 2015

#Bento 80 - Yakitori

Yakitori for hubby's lunch today. Used dark soya sauce, wine, mirin, brown sugar, grated ginger and honey to prepare the sauce and brushed some onto the rice for extra flavor.

Feeling excited because we are going to watch "A Good Dinosaur" later, which I am sure my boys will love. Being a Mummy is wonderful because I get excited over little things like this, feel very much alive again..haaa...Holidays are great but the bad thing is we will all have a hard time adjusting when school reopens.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Bento #79-Chicken burgers with curry mashed potato

Prepared chicken burgers for all of us because I'm bringing the boys to Kiddy Fun at Grandstand today. Chicken patties and bread were all bought from NTUC, though I wish I can make my own burger breads one day. Egg with spring onions, chicken patties, cheese and lettuce for the burgers. Curry mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli and some fried scallops and nuggets for the sides. Oh dear, I kept forgetting the name of the cylindrical looking thing but they taste something like cuttlefish ball.
Wanted to fry some fries actually to make it an authentic fast food set..haa..but we have been feeling under the weather recently so nope, decided to replace the fries with mash instead.

My lunchbox is full after stuffing in the burgers, I need to really squeeze the sides in.

The lunchbox on the left is for #1 and the one on the right is for #2. #1 loves mash while #2 loves tomatoes, he can easily pop 20 into his mouth. So, we got to keep the tomatoes out of his sight else he'll be too full for his meal after all the tomatoes. It's a joy looking at my boys enjoying their lunch. After eating, they still have half an hour more to enjoy the indoor playground. Thank God for blessing us with a wonderful Friday and keeping us safe on the road. Love our dear Father in Heaven.

Recipe for Curry mashed potato 

1) 1 potato
2) kewpie mayonnaise 
3) salt and black pepper
4) Curry powder


1) Put the potato into the boiling water and boil for about 20 min. Let it cool completely because if it didn't, it'll turn oily when mayonnaise is added.
2) Mash the potato with a fork and add in the mayonnaise. The amount really depends on your preference. Add some salt and black pepper to season.
3) Add the curry powder which does magic and gives the mash a very unique taste. I like to add in some parsley too.

Very easy to prepare and convenient to pack in lunchboxes. My #1 simply loves it.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Bento #78 - Ban Mian with ginger sauce

I decided to cook something different for hubby today, dry ban mian with ginger sauce. I pan-fried the chicken and fish cake and took them out. Thereafter, I added fried ginger, one tablespoon of dark soya sauce and a bit of chicken stock to the juices left from pan frying the chicken pieces. Bring the sauce to a boil and add the ban mian and mix them thoroughly. The vegetables and mushrooms were boiled separately. I also added some spring onions for the added aroma.

My style of dry ban mian. =P

But the best is yet to come, after all my efforts and time spent on this new dish, my hubby forgot to bring his bento to work. A big sigh from me.

#Bento 77 - Sumptuous Bento

I have cooked grilled saba umpteen times so nothing really special. This combination is something which I will prepare on lazy days because it's really easy. Just pop the fish into the oven and use my air fryer to fry the sunny side up.

But I do think the bento looks pretty sumptuous today. Certainly worth a picture.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

#Bento 76 - Onigirazu with chicken patty

Only need to prepare food for #1 today so I prepared a simple onigirazu with chicken patty, omelette, cheese and crunchy lettuce for him. Onigirazu is really easy to prepare and is a good option to bring out for picnics or outings because you packed everything in and there is no mess at all. To me, it's like 'Japanese sandwich'.

For detailed steps on how to prepare onigirazu, you may wish to refer to Ochikeron's video. 

Monday, 16 November 2015

The last goodbye.

Before I took over the car and drives to work everyday (thank you hubby!), my hub would send me to school everyday. After he dropped me, we would kiss goodbye and I would stand outside my school gate and waved as I watched his car disappeared down the road. People ever commented that it was unusual for me to do that. I am not sure if that person is complimenting me or disapproving of my behavior. Well, our family kind of have this 'cultural' of saying numerous 'goodbyes' to each other and endless waving before we disappear from each other's sight. My boys kind of caught this virus too as they will often stand by the gate waving and tearfully saying 'goodbye' to me as I went off for my date with my girlfriends. Everyday after we drop off our #1 at school, there will be many kisses, waving at the gate and at the window before we drove off, as if we are never to see each other again. I have a reason for doing this.

I realized the fragility of life. People around me starts to fall sick, really sick and left us, some at a really early age. While I was looking forward to welcoming my #1 who was to be due soon then, I lost a sister-in-Christ, who was a mother to a barely 3 year old boy, to an illness I do not know of. Friends who were barely 30 passing on. Tragedies reported on the papers, especially in recent years, planes crashed, the Sabah quake which took away so many lives. We really do not know when will it be our turn. Sometimes, lives of our loved ones are taken away so suddenly it's really difficult to accept. 

My heart is also heavy with news of the terrorist attack at Paris. They are people going on with their everyday lives, going out to enjoy a match, a concert, planning to have a great time with their friends and perhaps have a chilling session at night to talk about their dreams. Perhaps there were mothers dead whose children were waiting for them to go home to kiss them goodnight. Perhaps there was a couple who quarrelled with each other and planned to make up with each other when they reached home. All of them thought that 'tomorrow' exists for them. 

Of course there are many other war torn areas where people are suffering and fighting for their lives everyday. People who do not dare to think of their 'tomorrow', children who do not have any future to dream about. I'm fully aware that the condition of this world will only continue to deteriorate. There is nothing much we can do for them other than praying. But we can do our part to make the world a better place by loving the people around us, regardless of their colors, status or backgrounds because every person has a soul which God loves and has an equal chance of receiving salvation. The person being ostracized by his friends today may very well turn to the wrong company for the wrong attention.
A person who is loved, I hope, will think twice before doing things that will jeopardize his family's and his own life.

Let us treasure each and every waking moments with our loved ones. We will do things differently if we know that we are doing it for the last time. This could be the last bedtime story you read together, the last movie you watch together, the last meal you eat together, the last hug you give your child, the last lesson you teach, the last time you take a stroll back home together......I never know when is the last goodbye with my loved ones, but if it is the last, I want to ensure that I remember their last look, their last smile and their last touch.

 James 4:14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, "If The Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that." 

Friday, 13 November 2015

Bento #74 - Fried rice with kimchi flavored bbq pork

Fried rice because of this special kimchi flavored bak gua. I don't usually take bak gua, not even during Chinese New Year but it goes especially well with fried rice. I guess it's fine to eat these unhealthy food in moderation once in a blue moon. 

I love frying lotsa garlic and ginger for my fried rice as they made the rice so fragrant. For today's ingredients, I used grilled salmon, corns , onions, mushrooms and fried egg. The beauty of fried rice is you can add in anything you like and make it specially yours. 


Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Bento #73 - Baked wings with tamagoyaki

These days, I look forward to eating the food that I've prepared. I guess it's a good thing, which means my cooking has improved?Haa.

Love these wings as they are very easy to prepare. Only used 3 ingredients, soy sauce, wine and grated ginger for the marinade. They taste really flavorful today as I marinated them overnight. I think they were even better than the honey baked wings. The juicy tamagoyaki completes my satisfying lunch today. I'm glad that #1 loves his lunch as well.

                                                                                       Hubby's lunchbox

                                                                           Complete set for the 3 of us.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Bento #72 - Curry Minced meat with tofu

Wanted to cook mapo tofu but did not have any douban sauce at home so I just add in curry for that bit of spice. 

Bento #71 - Grilled Mackerel and Mayo Cod fish + Fried egg with Luncheon

Grilled mackerel with fried luncheon and egg for my hubby, we eat unhealthy food once in a blue moon. I love the orange stars, seem to brighten up everything.

#1 requested for his garlic mayo cod fish again. Hope the smiling onigirazu brightens up his day, it looks abit lonely though,can't find any friends to accompany him.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Teacher,is my child too quiet?

Sometimes, I will get this question from parents during parents-teachers meeting (PTM) at school and it really sets me thinking. I'm certainly not an expert in this area nor have I conducted any research and have statistics on hands. I'm just speaking from my view as a teacher,how I view quiet pupils. We usually associate 'quiet' with 'shy' or 'introvert' but there is actually a difference between these 2 which I'm not going to go into. Although 'shy' is not necessary a negative term but it seems we do not consider it a desirable trait and our society still places a greater value on being bold and outgoing.

I understand where the father is coming from. Perhaps he has been told at every PTM that her daughter is too quiet and needs to speak up more.It makes him worried if her daughter will be at a disadvantage and gradually starts to believe that being quiet is indeed a problem and something which her daughter needs to get out of.

So we have to ask ourselves a question, is there really a problem with being quiet? Coming from a teacher's view,if my pupil is so quiet such that she will not communicate or make any eye contact with me then I'll be concerned.There's no way for me to know if she's feeling alright,there's no way for me to help her should she face difficulties with her studies and what about her oral examinations?In this case,I think we might even need to seek professional help.

If not,I think there's more good than harm being a quiet person. A quiet person will most probably put her ears and brains to good use since she doesn't speak that much.She'll be a better listener,use her brain to think harder and has a lesser chance of saying the wrong things. They learn better in class because they are like sponges,absorbing everything that the teacher said.

They are silent observers with a higher level of awareness than their peers. They are more alert and have a sensitive temperament that predisposes them to look before they leap.

A quiet person seems less aggressive because they will not stamp their ideas on other people and is more likely to be more receptive to feedbacks. They are gentle and more empathetic because they have observed how people are hurt by inconsiderate actions and will spend time to reflect on their own. They might not have many friends but are contented with one or two close ones.

Quiet people like to keep a low profile and do not yearn for attention.This is definitely a strength because people often lose themselves when they mind too much of what others think of them and they will start doing things which other people like and not things that are right. You may say that being too low profile is a disadvantage because you'll soon fade into the background. However, I believe that a person with capability is like a pearl among the sand.There's no way to hide it hence there's no need for trumpet blowing.

A quiet person is not afraid to be alone.They are independent and are comfortable in spending time with themselves.Thus,they will be less likely to succumb to peer pressure because they can jolly well be alone.

With the above qualities, a quiet person will certainly become a very good leader as well.

From a parent's view,if my child is a quiet child and can spend time doing his own activities, for example reading a book rather than joining his other friends for some fun.Why not? As long as he's comfortable with it,I see no reason in stopping him.

I used to think that being a quiet person,we might not be able to spread the Gospel effectively but I realized this isn't true either. Talking isn't the only way to spread the Gospel. A quiet person diligently serving in Church and doing the Lord's work is his own way of spreading the Gospel.He's leading by example and his actions speak louder than words.

My husband is a quiet man.I used to think he is shy but then I realized I am wrong.He just does not like to talk. He loves spending time with the cells in his research laboratory and eats his lunches alone. However, he always take the initiative to approach visitors in Church and waste no time in having a chat with them.I guess that's because he believes that this is important because it concerns their Salvation and he's well aware that his mission is to spread the Gospel to them.

Being in a society that prizes the bold and outspoken, we ought to be careful not to overlook the strengths of our quiet children. Just because all their friends are bold and outspoken isn't a valid reason for us to force our children to change their personalities. They're unique in their own ways and we have to love them just the way they are.

And to the parent asking me this question,your girl is indeed quiet but I have no problems with that. During lessons,she always maintain eye contact with me. She doesn't raise up her hand much but I know she's engaged from the quality work and answers that she had given me. She gets along well with her group members and contributes in her own ways during group discussions. She has improved since the first day I taught her and I believe she will continue to grow with confidence.

Just a gentle reminder to all teachers, the next time when we want to comment to a parent that their child is too quiet and needs to speak up in class, maybe we can think through the above points again because our comment makes it seem like being quiet is a problem but this is not true.

1 Pet 3:4
rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

I said No to Epidural

Using epidural has never been an option for me. It has never even crossed my mind. Even before I was pregnant with my #1, I was already very sure that I will give birth without epidural. Even after I listened to all the horror stories about labour pain being the most, most, most, horrific, terrible pain that you can ever experienced, I never once wavered. 

Why don't I want Epidural?

First of all, I always believed that God's way is always the best. Eve and the women in the past had no epidural so there is no need for me to use it too. Although I believe that epidural is generally safe, I also have reservations about it, you will never know about the side effects that you do not know about. There are limitations to humans' knowledge, even if the doctors said it's safe, it might not be the case 10 years later. Moreover, taking the epidural sounds scarier to me than going through labour pain, really. 

Besides the above reasons, I really, really want to experience the pain. Not that it proves anything, but because I want to experience what my Mummy had gone through. I was born from a natural breech birth, with my bottoms out first. My Mummy had to withstand 12 hours of pain without epidural and no one by her side. She went through it alone. Thank God for blessing her with a brilliant doctor who was confident enough to deliver me naturally. 

My experience......

My gynae is very supportive as usual, she never once mentioned that I might need epidural. Probably because she could sense my determination. And she termed labour pain as a joyful pain. Due to high blood pressure, I had to deliver my #1 at 36+ week. It was a Wednesday and we had a hearty Macdonald breakfast. I was actually pretty excited about giving birth, finally, I can experience what childbirth is like. I knew that God will be with me and my labour will be a short one.

After inducing, I just lied there pretty bored with nothing to do. My hubby sat beside me and sang some hymns. I could only really feel contraction pain when the dilation reached about 6cm and the intensity peaked at around 8cm. Actually what is most miserable for me isn't the pain but towards the last hour of labour, when the baby was coming out, it felt really like a big chunk of shit coming out. Hence, I was very worried that I would defacate and cause inconvenience to the nurses. However, the nurses patiently explained to me that it wasn't shit, but my baby who was coming out. Something really big was obviously making his way out of me, but yet I could not push as my dilation had not reached 10cm yet. Now, that was the most miserable part because the rhythm of the contractions made me want to push naturally so it was really difficult to go against it. When it was time, I just had to ride on the waves of contractions to push. There were several failed attempts as my #1 had quite a large head circumference and he just could not come out, in the end, my gynae had to use the forcep. 

For my #2, my waterbag burst at week 35 and dilation was already 3cm when I reached the hospital. I was ecstatic and all ready to give birth, thinking that it will certainly be a really short and not so painful labour. However, my gynae ordered for me to take medicine to stop the contractions and take steriod injections to let my baby's lungs mature faster. This will minimize the chance of my #2 of being admitted to NICU after he was born. My heart sank when I heard this. I had to stay overnight in the hospital and be induced the next morning. Induced again! Although labour for my #2 lasted for only 3 hours, it is somehow more memorable because without epidural, I was very tense and could not relax, hence my dilation stayed stagnant at 8cm. Nurses walked in and out of the room, poking their fingers into me to help me to relax. Certainly ain't a good feeling. Fortunately, my #2 was out with just one push as he weighed just a mere 2 kg.

During the last hour of labour, when the pain was the most intense, there were 2 things on my mind which kept me going on. I thought about Jesus Christ, the pain that he had to go through, being crucified on the cross, for all of us sinners. Did I even experience 0.01 percent of his pain? Secondly, I thought about my Mummy, she went through all this pain when she gave birth to me, the pain she experienced might be even worse. I could finally understand a little of what she had gone through. If she could do it, I could do it too. 

After all the pain that I have experienced, you could not imagine the immense joy that I felt when I feel my baby slipping out of me. I was overjoyed! Relievd that we were well and fine! And looking forward to a good meal as I was getting pretty hungry from all the pushing. The fruits of labour taste all the more sweeter when you had worked so hard for it.

I had no epidural for both my boys. For my #1, labour took 6 hours and #2 took 3 hours. Both were induced. If God is willing and bless me with our 3rd baby, I really hope that I do not need to be induced anymore and maybe I could have the chance to compare the degree of pain between induced and natural birth.

How does labour pain feel?

People have commented that my threshold of pain should be really high. But I think the degree of pain varies with different people. What does it feel like to me? I can only say that it feels like very, very, very bad diarrhea. The pain feels somehow familiar to me because I used to have bad diarrheas when I was a teenager. Every morning, during my secondary school days, I would break out in cold sweat while singing National Anthem and then rushed to the toilet before lesson starts.....the diarrhea would last 2-3 times before it stopped by noon. I really have no idea what is the cause. However, I gradually recovered from it. 

If you do not want epidural......

If you are already considering or have made your decision, then be firm and stick to it. Leave yourself with no other options or there is a high chance you will give in. When you have decided to breastfeed, then do not buy formulas, just in case you have insufficient milk, because you must believe that you definitely have milk. When I signed on to be a teacher, I really do not know how much I will need to pay should I break the bond, because I know I will definitely serve the bond. There is no what-ifs for me, no other options to take. People around you will continue to tell you horror stories about childbirth but do not take them to heart. Believe in God and yourself and that all will go well.

I did not say that it is not painful, but the pain is bearable. And should I need to go through it again, I'll still feel nervous about it. But I will pray for strength, for my labour to be a short and smooth one and leave everything in the hands of God. I believe that psychological factors have greatly magnified and mystified labour pains. The fear of fear itself is the ultimate fear.

Childbirth lasts at most for only one day, but it marks the start of yet another challenging but oh-so-joyful journey - Parenthood. 

Gen 3:16
To the woman He said: I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.

Bento #70 - Fried Hokkien Mee

Fried hokkien mee for lunch today. It's really easy to prepare, what's missing is a nice, fragrant slab of chili. But I'm very lazy to learn how to prepare chili....I will in will then make my hokkien mee set complete. Hubby enjoyed his lunch nevertheless.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Bento #69 - Sweet and Sour Chicken

Sweet and sour chicken for lunch today. I'm not very satisfied with the food today. Supposed to fry the chicken before mixing it with the sauce but alas, my fryer did a bad job at frying or it's actually my fault for overcrowding the fryer. I should have just thrown the chicken meat into the sauce to cook instead. 

However, my ever thankful hubby still gave thumbs up for his lunch and my #1 finished all his food I feel very appreciated. 

Thinking about what to cook for the rest of the week......