Thursday, 7 September 2017

For the Love of Ngor Hiang

As I grow older, I tend to reminisce about my younger days, days when my late grandma was still around and cooked much.

My paternal grandma was a good cook, cooking most of our meals while Mum works.  During festivities, she, my mum and aunts will cook up a storm.  Curry chicken, pork stomach soup, ketchup prawns, fried beehoon, ngor hiang, Hokkien popiah and so much more...  Sometimes I wonder if such "traditional" food aren't learnt by our generation, will we or our children ever get to eat them next time...

Just that day, I was missing Ngor Hiang.  I have never made them.  Ate a lot of them though.  So I ringed Mum for help!  

These cannot be compared to those bought outside.  Because homemade are always the best.  Initially thinking it is going to be difficult, but it was not!  In fact, I made a batch and kept some to be air fried another day.

I do not know if you ever have such a problem, but recipes passed down to me are 80% about estimation.  My Mum will say, "agak-agak" a.k.a estimate.  :D

Ngor Hiang

8 prawns, de-shelled and chopped
500-600g minced pork
6 water chestnuts, peeled and chopped (I liked mine with the crunchy bite so I do not chop them too finely)
1.5 tsp five spice powder
1/4 tsp white pepper powder
1.5 tbsp corn flour
1 piece of dried bean curd sheet, cut into rectangles of desired size
1 egg


1. Combine everything except dried bean curd sheet and mix.  Leave aside.
2. Wipe the dried bean curd sheets with a damp cloth to remove some of its saltiness.  Do not use a wet cloth or the bean curd sheet may tear.
3. Fill the middle of each bean curd sheet with about 2 tbsp mixture.  For a Ngor Hiang the size as shown.
4. Fold the sides in.  Lift the side nearest to you and roll tightly inwards into a roll.

5.  Steam the rolls for about 15 minutes, or till the meat is cooked.

I love to eat steam Ngor Hiang actually.  Much more than fried ones.  It isn't that difficult to make them, just more work than stir frying and steaming.  

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Tuesday, 5 September 2017

{Media Invite} Changi Loves Kids - I Kid You Not!

Changi Loves Kids - I Kid You Not!

I am sure you know how much we love to hang out at Changi Airport.  Many times, I hear my boys saying, Mummy, so and so said they went to the airport on Saturday.  So I guess, many love our award winning airport.

This September school holidays, Changi Airport is set to wow children with their Changi Loves Kids Carnival.  From now until the Children's Day weekend, get ready to have fun at our own airport with games and rides.  There are dining specials too!

Carnival operating hours:

31 Aug - 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30 Sep & 1, 6 - 8 Oct : 12noon to 11pm daily
15, 22, 29 Sep : 6pm to 11pm

Apart from the Carousel, Heli Jet Ride and Western Train, there are these carnival games.  Looks easy but not!  The boys love these and tried hard to win a prize.

Each capsule in the claw machine contains a note and if you are lucky enough, you may win something!  I heard that there are Sea Aquarium tickets and Nanoblock!

Purchase of carnival passes is available at the ticket counters at the carnival area located at Terminal 3, near Departure Hall check-in row 11.  Each pass is S$10 and allows the holder access to any four rides or games.  Alternatively, one may redeem by presenting a maximum of two same-day receipts with a minimum spend of S$60 (S$80 for supermarkets) from any Changi Airport Public Area retail or F&B outlet to redeem three carnival passes.  Other terms and conditions apply and more information can be found here.

I thought the easiest way to redeem the carnival passes is by eating at one of their F&B outlet.  And to sweeten the deal, at some of the F&B outlets, kids dine for free - on weekends between 11am and 2pm during the carnival period.

There are lots of food outlets that offer kids menus.  From japanese to western.  From rice to burgers.  And one of the food outlets that is participating in "kids dine for free" programme is the famous Hello Kitty Orchid Garden.  With every adult main ordered, the child gets a complimentary kid's meal.

With a newly launched Kids Menu, no better time to visit them but now, right?!

One of the favourites among children, the Holy Macaroni is a hit with E.  Thumbs up!  And the portion is good for him.

There is always room for waffles, I do not know why.  And children love waffles.

The adults' main courses which we thought were pretty good.  For a theme cafe, this is pretty decent.

Rain or shine, the Airport is always a great place to go.  Bias I know, but that's because we really love going to the airport.  :)

Disclosure: We were invited to the event at Changi Airport.  No monetary compensation was received.  All photos and opinions are true to my own unless otherwise stated.

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Friday, 18 August 2017

{Media Invite} Fun Shooting with My Adventure Buddy

One fine Saturday, we stepped foot on South Beach Avenue.  Our first time there, we wondered what's in store for us.

It is always good fun attending events by Canon Singapore.  And this time, together with our new Adventure Buddy, Charmander (whom we affectionately call Cha), we ventured on what we initially thought was uncharted waters but were proved otherwise in that 1.5 hours.

Hello, Cha!
All photos watermarked "ilovedefamily" were taken using the Canon EOS M10.  Before we look at the photos taken, well, this is a camera that even my littlest can handle.  Compact and light at only approximately 300g, no doubt it fits little hands.

Come on, let's go on adventure with Cha!

A picture paints a thousand words.  Let's sit back, relax and let Cha brings us his story of how he became part of the B.C.D.E family.

Are we gathering here?  Or am I lost?

Who is that?  Alone?

Using the creative filters on EOS M10, we used the fish-net and miniature effects on the above first and second photos respectively.  #NoEdit except probably for some cropping, I really like how the photos turn out with the effects - totally on point on what we wanted to portray.

Let's continue on the story of the lost Charmander...

Maybe, we should go this way...

You asking me to go that way, little guy?
And we found our family.

Welcome Cha!
South Beach Avenue is a place for OOTD shots - beautiful backgrounds, abundant sunlight (when there's no rain of course).  Armed with just the correct compact camera, one can achieve much.  Do you know that our family photo taken above is done so using the remote function of the EOS M10?

Thank you Canon for inviting us to this event.  If not for this, I am unsure if we will take such memorable photos.  

Pretty impressed by this little imp who sits right there, among a crowd.

User-friendly, this camera has great potential of more beautiful photos and this photo of us simply shows how much we enjoyed the photo-taking, and the camera.

Disclosure: We were invited to the event by Canon Singapore.  No monetary compensation was received.  All photos and opinions are true to my own unless otherwise stated.

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Sunday, 6 August 2017

Cold Storage Kids Run 2017

The family loves going for family runs.  Since a baby in the stroller, B and I brought them out for family runs often.  Then, the number of family runs were not as many as what we have today.

One of the runs that have been around since we started our family runs is the Cold Storage Kids Run. At it's 10th edition this year, the crowd was massive!  It is heartening to see both the young and the old coming together for a great morning workout.  Be it a walk or a run, it is definitely both a healthy lifestyle and a great bonding time together.  What can be better than this?!

Who doesn't like rewards?  A medal to encourage the next run, to prove an achievement and a reminder that we reap what we sow.

The Kids Run is a very family oriented run.  With children in mind, there are lots of activities for the children.  Even milk is free for the keen little ones.

The run was carried out in different waves - one for each age group.  The good of it being that similar ages, similar capability and thus, probably easier to run.  The bad?  B had to run with E and D with me as we fall under 2 different categories.  So it was not exactly a family run.  

This run, D was tripped over by another kid and fell.  Instead of whining, he picked himself up and ran again.  Sometimes, kids show us the resilience we thought they do not have.  And I am guilty of that.

End of the day, though we were all sweaty and smelly, we thought we had much fun.  A good workout too.  We definitely welcome more family runs.  Of course, I am sure if the runs are priced reasonably, many will be interested too.

Disclosure: We were invited to the event.  No monetary compensation was received.  All photos and opinions are true to my own unless otherwise stated.

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Saturday, 5 August 2017

{Media Invite} Singapore's First Ski and Snow Open @ Snow City

Looking for some place to "hide" from the sunny Singapore this weekend?  Why not head to Singapore's First Ski and Snow Open at Snow City?!

Just for 5 and 6 August 2017, Singapore's first ski and snow open and Singapore's first snow travel expo will be at Snow City.  For registered visitors, there will be ample activities for both children and adults.  If you did not register and just thought of giving it a visit, there are talks every other hour too, such as "Injury Prevention for Skiing", not forgetting the available deals for the next ski holidays.

But, I would strongly advise registration because of the free skiing and snowboarding try outs.

Throughout the event, at certain timings on a first come first serve basis for registered visitors, the G.Os from Club Med will conduct their own Snowsports Try Outs to give parents a chance to preview the lessons the children can experience while at Club Med's all-inclusive ski holidays.

Ski equipment is provided and these G.Os are really lovely and good with children.

I believe many have not heard about Follow Me Japan.  But looking at the packages they have, it looks like they have tours to places that aren't that common.  The good of it?  Plenty of new places to explore.  Plus, they specialise in customised Japan holiday tours!  This Expo, be sure to check them out if you are planning for your next winter holiday.

We never know if we can be skiing like Coach David Murrie (photo below) until we try.  And SportQuest Snowsports Academy is here to help.  

A market leader in the local snowsports and snow travel industry, SportQuest's focus is to provide an effect, safe and fun snowsports learning curriculum for people like us in a country where it is always summer.  So if you are interested in taking skiing and snowboarding lessons, you can now do so.  Available for kids too, yea.  :)

Last but not least, if you ask E if skiing is fun?  You bet!

Disclosure: We were invited to the event by SportsQuest Pte Ltd.  No monetary compensation was received.  All photos and opinions are true to my own unless otherwise stated.

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Thursday, 3 August 2017

Simple Meals - We Can All Do It!

A homecooked meal is a labour of love.  Who agrees with me?

No matter how simple a meal is, I believe that if it is cooked with love, it is just as good, if not better than "outside" food.  And I believe too that if a meal is cooked when angry and frustrated, the food will just not be nice.  So, I rather not cook when I'm feeling angry.  Because being able to cook for the family should be a happy thing!  :)


I get angry only after the meal, when washing the dishes.  Haha!

Cooking simply on weekdays is what I have been trying to perfect.  Within 45 minutes.  It is not impossible with proper planning.  I realise that when I have a meal plan set up before the start of each week, it is achievable.  I use lots of kitchen "gadgets" too - rice cooker, thermal pot, pressure cooker, oven.  Truth be told, I love steaming most because that means lesser washing and mopping.

While trying to retrieve my photos from my hard disk drive that died, I did not blog much.  I was mostly on Instagram and Facebook.  Interestingly, a lot of recipes I added in there are so easy that it needs no blog posts.

So, here's the link for those very simple recipes, or find the Simple Meals at the sidebar to find those others that I do blog about.  Like my Facebook page to get up to date or access to those simple recipes that I do not blog about.

With the aim of cooking for our loved ones, regardless how simple a meal is, I am sure it is a delightful one.

Let's all work towards that!  :)

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Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Influenza - An Adult's Version

Influenza is not unknown to most of us.  We know them by H1N1, H5N1 etc.  Lately, there seems to be new mutations going around.

Influenza is not the common cold or runny nose.  Also known as the flu, which many often mix it with common cold, it is a illness definitely more severe.  Why I say so?  Because I have been through it.

It all happened when E was down with fever.  Initially diagnosed as the start of a common cold by the GP, it got worse and he was hospitalised.  I remembered when we were at the hospital, the paediatrician commented that I sounded bad too and might have caught the same bacteria / virus as E.    But, the mummy in me had to set right my priorities which was caring for the little boy.  What I did was simply buying off the shelf Danzen from the pharmacy to help with the anti-inflammation and anti-swelling of the painful-but-still-bearable throat.  

Of course, I have to thank Serene for bringing some of the Young Living essential oils as I used quite a bit of Copaiba for my throat.  I think that helped me with keeping whatever I caught at bay temporarily.

E had blood tests and an x-ray done and the diagnosis was influenza and mycoplasma which caused the roller-coaster fever and croup.  Double whammy.  He managed to ride out the influenza without antiviral medication but had antibiotics for the mycoplasma.

When he was discharged after 4 days, we were all so happy.  Little do we know that it was the start of me falling sick.

I was so tired the next day, we thought it could be just fatigue.  But we knew it was not when a high fever was spotted.  For one week, I was literally "floating", drifting in and out of sleep.  The medicine made me even sicker as in I felt a weird film of stuff covering my mouth and lost all appetite.  The amount of medicine to take for easing the symptoms made me nauseous.  Can you imagine I actually bought gummy bears and ate them after each medicine?!

In any case, I declared contracting influenza worse than natural child birth.  I was down and out for almost a week.

Antiviral medicine would help in easing the symptoms and promoting recovery if they are taken within the first two days.  I did not take any as I was pass that crucial two days and had to ride it out. 

Well, I survived.  But not without lots of sleep, warm water, medicine.  The boys were out and about doing their own things and the hubs did almost everything he could without bothering me.

Influenza is on the rise according to the news lately and is characterised by the sudden onset of the following symptoms:

- Fever
- Headache
- Chills
- Cough
- Sore throat
- Muscle aches
- General fatigue

More details can be found at the Ministry of Health website.

For people who are at a higher risk of developing complications of influenza, please consult your doctor if you suspect if you are having influenza.  There are tests that can be done quite quickly, such as the nose swab test, for diagnosis.

All in all, it takes definitely more than 2 days for recovery.  So, work is out and so is looking after the children.  Have standby help is what I will advise.

Though we all wish we will never fall ill, we really never know.  I guess, just be prepared to deal with it, come what may.

Oh, the good and the bad of it is that I took a pretty long time to regain my appetite.  Mentally yearning for a lot of food but when those were placed in front of me, I could only stomach a few mouths.

Disclosure: I am not a doctor or a medical professional.  What is stated is my personal experiences.

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Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Two Hospital Admissions - 'Horrible Mum' or 'You Did All You Could!'

Warning: words only, no graphics.

As I sit in a room in one of the most expensive district in Singapore, I wonder.  I wonder what I have done or have not done that made it the second stay in 6 months.  No, I am not having that nice, cocktail-in-hand kind of staycation.  I am in Mount Elizabeth Hospital.

I wish it was just a dream but it wasn't.  The hard sofa bed, disruptive sleep is all real.  E was admitted for a second time for fever and cough (layman terms).  Everyone has their fair share of fever and cough every year so what does it warrant an admission?  Not when his fever was for 6 days and a cough that sounded chesty or barking.  And I do not demand the admission.  It was at the doctor's advice.

Don't judge as to why and how I allowed just a simple fever and cough to develop into something more serious.  It wasn't within my control.  If I could, I would probably make sure they are never sick, but sometimes life loves giving us lemons (pun intended).

Okay.  Back to that simple fever and cough.  Both episodes that caused admission were similar.  Fever that didn't seem to go away for a few days.  The first day or two when we went to a GP, it was diagnosed as a start of a common cold.  Paracetamol and some cough medicine and that's it.  Then we have well intended friends who suggested that it might be viral fever, that will break in a few days.  Granted, it could really be.  The only 'wah lau eh' moment for viral fever for a FTWM like me means - cannot go school; I cannot go work because who knows when viral fevers break.

But when a worsening cough develops after a couple of days of fever, I know deep down it's not that simple.  Mummy's instinct probably.  I struggled within myself  as to whether to send him to the A&E (on a weekend) or our regular PD because on one hand, I was afraid to be judged by people or doctors who think that well, it's nothing serious, why am I fussing over it.  On the other, I fear for a decreased oxygen level as he was coughing every other minute.  #Parentingwoes

But I guess I made the right decision because on both ocassions, he was hospitalised for at least 3D2N. Now then came another guilt.  What have I done to cause this?  Was it something I ate during pregnancy?  Was it what I have been feeding over the years?  As much as I try to juggle between work and family (and I thought I was doing okay), such 'events' simply dropped me to the lowest point from wherever I was.  Back to ground zero.  And it does not help when people comment on what you should have done or what you should not have done, even though there are no scientific or medical basis to them.  Who can totally relate?

I only know from both stays that fever has to be controlled before they allow discharge.  Drinking water is one of the most important thing one can do.  Always listen - there are various types of coughs: chesty, croup, barking - whatever you call it.  But if it sounds weird, or uncommon to the usual cough, always wise to check it out.  Because coughs can be due to various reasons - it can be viral or bacterial and most times, only a blood test can determine.  And if it's a bacteria and it is not treated, the body system will continue to fight the bacteria, thus the fever.  Once the right diagnosis is given and correct medication is administered, the fever will go down.

Totally random post because I guess we all know that we would have wanted nothing but the best for our children.  For now, it's back to picking up the pieces and climbing up that 'Best Mum' ladder again.  But then again, I know my sons never doubted me being their best Mum.  That's what matters most. 

Disclosure: I am not a doctor or a medical professional.  What is stated are my personal experiences.

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Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Nordic Adventures with Sanrio Characters at Changi Airport

B.C.D.E like hanging out at Changi Airport.  Lots of walking space, lots of aeroplanes to see and lots of eateries.  Sometimes, we even do our supermarketing there.

During the school holidays, we love going there.  Even if we are not travelling, we love the events that Changi Airport puts up quarter after quarter, year after year.

For the June school holidays, the theme at Changi Airport is Nordic Adventures with you know who?!  Sanrio characters!  Cute to the max.

Though Hello Kitty is the first character that most people think of when speaking of Sanrio, there are much more characters then just her.  And it is not just a girl thing (as what most people or most boys have the misconception).  Sanrio has characters like Pompompurin and Gutedama that appeals to the boys too.

While I love the many photo opportunities with all-time favourite My Melody and friends, the boys have something else on their minds.

The boys love the Snow Fun House!  If you are like us, with no plans to travel this June holidays, this will be a treat for the children.

Some of the things to note for the Snow Fun House:

- A minimum spend of S$60 (S$80 for supermarket purchases) in a maximum of 2 same-day receipts is required to redeem one activity pass that entitles you to one session of Snow Fun House for twenty minutes for two persons.
- Redemption for entry starts from 11.30am (for first session at 12pm) and ends at 9pm (for last session at 9.30pm) or when all the sessions are full; whichever is earlier.

- Participants must be appropriately attired in winter jackets and boots.  Shorts and traditional costumes are not allowed.
- Admission passes include complimentary use of winter jackets, boots and gloves.  Participants are allowed to bring their own winter wear.  
- Wearing of long pants is compulsory as the temperature in the Snow Fun House is subzero.  For hygiene purposes, wearing of socks is required when using the provided boots.  Optional winter wear is available for rental or purchase.

So, please remember to wear long pants and socks!!!

Take the chance to also walk through the Nordic exhibition and explore the various attractions.  Read about the history and heritage of the give Nordic countries, or dance on the ABBA Interactive carpet. Kids can also let their creativity flow at the Lego play corner.

The nearest I could get to the Northern Lights!

Last but not least, the Meet and Greet sessions with Sanrio Characters!  Who are you planning to take photos with?

Disclosure: We were invited to the event at Changi Airport.  No monetary compensation was received.  All photos and opinions are true to my own unless otherwise stated.

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