Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bread & butter pudding recipe

Baked bread & butter pudding for breakfast this morning, using my new Tefal 30L oven for the first time, and it was a SUCCESS!
The kids polished every bit on their bowls.
It's really easy and fail-proof, I promise!

R E C I P E :
50gm soft butter
10 slices soft white bread, cut diagonally (I removed the skin on the edge)
50gm raisins
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
350ml fresh milk
50ml heavy cream
2 eggs
25gm white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1) Grease a 2-pint baking dish with a little butter
2) Cover the base of the dish with bread, with buttered side up.
3) Sprinkle raisins on top of bread layer.
4) Repeat this layering until dish is 3/4 filled.
5) Heat milk and cream together in saucepan over low heat. Do NOT boil.
6) In a large bowl, lightly whisk eggs, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla essence.
7) Pour in heated milk into bowl and continue whisking until light coloured.
8) Pour this mixture over the bread and press gently until all bread is soaked.
9) Leave it aside for 30min.
10) Bake in pre-heated oven, at 180deg and for 45 min.

26 Oct 2013: Adam's year-end concert at school.

I woke up at 6:30AM on Saturday as I was feeling excited - my big baby is performing for his first time at his school's concert!
When he attended childcare centre in the past, they did not have such activities so it's a first for all in the family.
I personally ironed his costume, got both kids ready, and helped Adam put on some light makeup. 
I was a ball of nerves.


My shy Adam heading to the concert hall.

K2 graduation.

My big baby on stage! His class is singing a Filipino song Tong, Tong, Pakitong-kitong (The Crab Song).

All the levels and classes of children danced and sang so well. Their coordination was splendid!
They have been practicing hard for 8 weeks prior to today and it was no easy feat for these kids to go on stage and perform so well in front of the whole audience.
Although Adam is naughty in the company of people he is familiar with, he is very shy and antisocial by nature.
He's not the type to talk to strangers and every CNY visit is a nightmare for us, therefore to see such vast improvement in his confidence is a proud moment for me.
Thank you Changi Bethany School-House for all the effort and patience in training our children.
Your hands-on approach and working closely with parents is a reflection of the firm belief that learning begins at home.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mid-week morning madness.

This morning was a little bit crazy.
Instead of getting ready for school, Adam decided to do some gardening and roped in the baby as well.
Com'on children!! We are getting late for school.

I was supposed to drive Adam to school but in the morning as soon as we left home and walked to the lift, Adam complained loudly that his bag was dripping wet.
Took a peep inside his bag and realised my helper did not screw his bottle tight and the half the contents were swimming in his back pack!

Ran back indoors, got him changed into a fresh set of uniform, cleaned up the bag and refilled the bottle, and left home.
Then there was the snail-paced traffic because once we missed a certain timing, Upper Changi Road would be filled with cement trucks and heavy vehicles heading toward Expo and the Changi Industrial park. Eeecck!!!
When we reached school, his classmates were already in class so it was a hasty drop-off without a proper Good-bye hug and kiss.. Pfft.
Miss you Baby boy. See you later when you're back from school :)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Meena's 39th birthday celebration.

My dear gal friend Meena is turning 39 (tomorrow!) and we went to her place to surprise her.
Charmaine did all the logistics, from ordering of cake to buying balloons and partyware.
Thank You so muchie!!
We pressed the door bell and hid beside the door and the Aunty came to open the door without wearing her bra and panties pleaseeeeeee....
Even Uncle Ramesh was surprised to see us gatecrash into their home on a Sunday night.

Vetrin is the happiest little boy I know.

Can you guess our theme already?? It's Strawberry Shortcake, Meena's fabourite cartoon character.
This jelly cake is damn nice!

No party is complete without matchy-matchy partware.

Happy family.

With my favourite girls. Love max. Always talk about our families, husbands, in-laws, children, dogs, and anything under the sun.
True friends are people who share the same twisted sense of humour and sarcasm, and can tell you anything honest in your face without you getting offended.

This cutie pie's peace sign is like ET! Why you so cute one!

Uncle saw us and immediately excused himself and disappeared for 10 min. Then he re-appeared with a Solvil et Titus box. So sweet even after so many years of marriage!

It's a bling bling watch. Pink somemore!
I remember when I was young (in my teenage years) I loved Solvil et Titus watches because Andy Lau was the ambassador. Heee...
Happy Birthday Meena!
Hope that our friendship will last like your Solvil et Titus watch, because Andy Lau said this watch was 天长地久 (to the end of time).
It was funny how we all got to know each other - believe it or not, we met through our dogs!
Thanks for your friendship my dear. Hope you enjoyed your Strawberry Shortcake themed surprise :)

Weekend engagement

The husband is out of town this weekend, he has gone on a fishing road trip to Malaysia.
You know what this means, don't you?
I get the bed to myself, and some peaceful rest. No snoring, no farting.
Best of all, one less "baby" for me to handle. *jumps for joy*

I brought the kids back to my Mum's for dinner.
My favourite aunt with her favourite grand-nephews.

Drove all the way up north from the east, and then back again.
With 2 monsters at the backseat whining/ singing/ babbling/ chattering, and nursery songs blasting from the stereo.

When we got home, I crawled into my bed and died Adam made me help him with his ice-cream Playdoh, and read some Dr Seuss books to them before bed.
My head might explode.

On Sunday, they woke up bright and early, at 7:30AM, and wanted to feed the kois and do some gardening. I had just barely fell asleep I swear.

Watering plants at 7:30AM on a Sunday morning??!!!
Actually he watered the fish, but don't tell Daddy.

Psst. Ashton started toddling last week. He's been taking penguin steps and crashing into whoever has out-stretched arms. Damn cute but we all know there's trouble once these buggers start walking.

Adam harvested some eggplant and capsicums from our home garden though. We were discussing what to cook them with, in the end we decided to bring them to the zhi-char stall tonight and cook them with our favourite Asam fish head.

We then spent the rest of the day mostly indoors, making some more ice-cream with Playdoh (the kids) and fixing some broken toys and replacing batteries for old toys (me).
And cleaning up the mess of Playdoh crumbs on every visible inch of the floor (me again).

Hope you had a great weekend like we  the kids did! 
Oooh, I can't wait for Monday - getting dressed up for work, looking decent in some makeup, and engaging in adult conversations.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Maid updates.

Hi all, Adam has thrown up all over his bed ... again... this is the second time in as many weeks.
Here I am wide awake on a Monday night (luckily tomorrow's a PH yay!) with nothing better to do than to soak and wash bedsheets and do a little bit of blogging.

Remember I posted a coupla months ago about my maid resigning and wanting to go home?
Well since then we have employed another maid and wisen up.

First of all, if your maid has not finished her 2-year contract with you, even though she is a transfer maid/ her passport is expiring/ her WP is expiring (due to being a transfer maid), you are not obliged to pay for her one-way air ticket home.
As a matter of fact, when she expresses that she has no more intention of working for you, you should quickly book her a next available flight out, let her know on the same day that this will be her last day and ask her to pack her luggage in front of you, and check that she did not steal anything from your household.
Pay her her pro-rated salary minus the air ticket, send her to the airport and make sure you see her go into the custom checkpoint at Departure.

For the past year that my first maid has been with me, we made many "first-timer" mistakes.
On hindsight, upon analysing her behaviour and on comparison with my current maid (second maid), I found out that my first maid was not as good as my current one.
Here are some instances.

- We let her have her own room (the kids' Play room) and her own wardrobe all to herself and tried to make her feel "at home".
- I know in many Singaporean families, the kids sleep with the maid but in our household, she has never had to sleep with the kids at all and did not have to wake up in the middle of the night to tend to my children.

- We gave her angpaos on Hair Raya Puasa and Haji, my MIL even brought her to buy clothes, and we gave her PH on top of her day-off that month even though she only worked for us a couple of months. On CNY our families and relatives also gave her angpaos where I know from my colleagues it is not necessary for relatives to give your maid angpaos.

- I always accommodated her requests for days-off and arranged for my MIL to come over to help me instead of negotiating with her.

- We treated her reasonably well and did not abuse her, but noticed that she liked to talk back and give excuses even though we don't scold her. Towards the end of her 1-year with us, I had had enough of her attitude and started reprimanding her whenever she made mistakes and answered back.
For eg. Once, during my confinement after delivering Ashton, Adam dropped something behind his toy rack in the Play room (which is also her bedroom), so when I shifted the toy shelf out to retrieve his toy, I saw a lot of dust and told her to clean as it was dusty. She then answered me that it was not dust. I asked her what she thought it was, and she mumbled "dust is not like that Mam" and walked off.

- Every Tuesday evening, the Yakult aunty will come to my MIL's place to deliver Yakult. Out of courtesy and making conversation, the aunty casually asked my first maid "What's your name?", my maid replied the Yakult aunty "Why do you need to know?" much to my horror and astonishment.

- She gradually became more and more daring. There was once she walked around at night after showering, in a tank top and not wearing any bra. I thought it was because she was going to bed and I also sleep without bra, so I didn't pursue the matter. But the next morning, she was still wearing the tank top and doing her chores bra-less. As I'm the only female in the family, I found it inappropriate and told her to go and change and never go around sleeve-less and bra-less again.

- No matter how nice we treat her, bringing her out to eat with us on weekends, she was not contented and not happy. My guess is that on her days-off, she would go out with her friends and start comparing salaries/ number of days off/ bosses etc. Why do I say that?
Because she would often tell my MIL that her friend very lucky, just came to Singapore as a maid and got 4 days-off a month. Or she would tell my MIL her friend's salary very high.
Once, we were going on a family cruise and decide to let her stay at home, and she commented to me that her cousin, also working as a maid in Singapore, has a very good employer who brought her on their family holiday to HK. I then asked her how long her cousin has been working for that family? She replied me 10 years. Then I told her "Because your cousin work for them so long that's why. Maybe she's very good otherwise after 2 years will send her back wont renew her until 10 years".
There are many other things she liked to compare which I can't remember off-hand.

- She became increasingly vain during her span of employment. She would wear pretty dresses and bought different shoes for different outfits whenever she goes out on her days-off. I know because I would sit in the living room feeding the kids breakfast or watching cartoons with them and she had to walk past us when she left the house.
I sometimes wonder does she try on my designer shoes or clothes when nobody is home. Or worse, use my makeup! That's why she became more and more vain?? But since she was wearing those clothes on her day off, I had no intention of questioning her and just let her be.

- She became more and more lazy and "sian". When washing rice or vegetables, she would swirl the rice with one hand, and put her other hand on her waist. Same as when we eat outside, she shares the same table as us and I often see her poking around her food with her spoon on one hand and her other hand rest on her chin. I told her off that some people don't have money to eat and there she was acting like eating is such a difficult chore for her.

- When my first maid was working with us, we had to buy toilet-bowl cleaner (Duck), dishwashing liquid and other detergents almost every week. Mind you, we are seldom home cos we leave home at 8am every morning and after Adam boards the school bus, Andy will send my maid and Ashton to my MIL's house all the way till evening when we go to my MIL's for dinner then go home. How she manages to finish detergents so fast really beats me.
Later on when she left and I was maid-less for about 2 months, I had to do the housework myself and then realised that my first maid was very wasteful! She probably poured the detergents out by the bottle just to make us waste money.

-  On the weekend before she told me she wanted to resign, it was her day-off and my MIL had came over to help me with Ashton as I had to send Adam for his Sunday swim classes.
My MIL then took the opportunity to spot-check her wardrobe and found that the cabinets have been cleared except for a few items of home-clothes, and 90% of her belongings were already packed neatly into her suitcase (she had a small suitcase in her room).
This is evidence that she already does not have the heart to work.

- When she said she wanted to resign, we kept her another 2 weeks because of logistics arrangement and we were sourcing for another maid. During that 2 weeks after her resignation, she requested for a day off on a weekday because she wanted to go to the bank to close the account. My MIL told her DBS any branch can close account, and there is a branch in Tampines, but she insisted on going to Dhoby Ghaut branch, as she told my MIL that she opened the account there.
We relented and let her go.
Several days later, my MIL and my maid were at Tampines 201 market and she went to POSB ATM to withdraw cash. My MIL asked her "I thought you closed your account few days ago??" my maid lied to my MIL that DBS did not allow her to close the account as she still had money inside.
The worst thing is, my MIL was naïve enough to believe her, and she didn't tell me this incident till after she left.

- After she left, I searched my drawer for her folder (the agent gave us a folder with her WP details, her biodata, my income tax details and all important documents) as I wanted to check MOM online whether her WP cancellation was successful. I could not find my folder anywhere no matter how sure I am where I kept it (we don't leave important documents lying around for her to see, especially not her own information!). I believe she has stolen it.

Overall, I would say that her performance was average. My rationale was that as long as she got the chores done, we would close one eye, also because the new MOM legislations for maid salary increase and compulsory weekly day-off made it an uphill task for working Mums to change maids (spend so much money and have to take leave to retrain another helper) so we'd rather put up with our first helper's nonsense.

 From this incident, I have learned to be wiser and not be too lenient to my future maids.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Another family dinner at W.

Not too long ago, on my department retreat, this little piggy went for a hike. From Hort Park to Henderson Waves, to Telok Blangah SAFRA back to Hort Park again (!!!!)
For someone who hasn't exercised since Secondary school, I nearly passed out and complained to Hubby that my body was falling apart.
Le Husband was so kind and promptly signed us up for W Membership that very afternoon.
So today, we decided to make use of the privileges to have a family meal at W.

Upon signing up for your W membership, you get to enjoy 50% off room rates, spa, and dining vouchers, all valid for a year.

The pork rib steamed rice was yummeh.

Black Pasta with seafood

My emo Adam refused to take proper photos. Hfft.

But it's Ok, because I still have my Ashton.

"Carry me Mummy!"

My baby looks like a girl.....

The Boston lobster claws so HUGE

Quite obsessed with Chanel craze these days, especially tweeds and pearls. 

Outfit for the evening
Tweed jacket: Love Bonito
Graphic tee: GAP
Orange pants: G2000 Women
Pearl earrings and necklace: Chanel
Bag: Hermes Lindy 34
Shoes: Christian Louboutin pigalle 85
"Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world" - Marilyn Monroe.