Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Some women are lucky. They gave birth to babies. I gave birth to teenagers."
- Erma Bombeck (American newspaper column humorist and author)
Gustav Klimt's Mother and Child

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Are You Ready For Toddlerhood?

Read this article in a baby magazine some time back before Baby O was even one! Managed to find this piece and thought I would share it with you. Baby O is now 17 months old and I see some signs of what's to come!

Shopping with toddlers
Go to your local supermarket with a goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goat out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys.

Getting used to messes
Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains. Hide a fish finger behind the stereo and leave it there all summer. Stick your fingers in the flower beds, then rub them on the clean walls. Cover up the stains with crayons.

Getting used to messes in cars
Buy a chocolate ice cream bar and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there. Get a coin. Stick it in the CD player. Take a family-size bag of chocolate biscuits. Mash them down the back seats.

Getting ready to go out
Wait outside the toilet for half an hour. Go out the front door. Come in again. Go out. Com back in. Go out again. Walk down the front path. Walk back up it again. Walk down it again. Walk very slowly down the road for five minutes. Stop to inspect minutely every cigarette butt, piece of used chewing gum, dirty tissue and dead insect along the way.  Retrace your steps. Scream that you've had as much as you can stand until all of the neighbours come out and stare at you. Give up and go back in the house. You are now just about ready to try taking a small child for a walk.

Getting ready for arts and crafts
Take an egg box. Using a pair of scissors and a can of paint, turn it into an alligator. Now take a toilet paper tube. Using only sellotape and a piece of toil, turn it into a Christmas tree. Lastly, take a milk container, a ping-pong ball and an empty box of cereal and make an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower.

Taken directly from the Pampers Village Magazine UK (Month 8)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

This Mama ♥ Mila's Daydreams!

Stumbled upon this site one of those days. Adele Enersen is a genius! She comes out with these daydream scenarios while her baby naps and captures these precious little moments in such an original and creative way! Some might think of her work as bizarre but I think they are so sweet! If I am baby Mila, I would love a little daydream book featuring myself too! View more pictures here.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

And we're on!

Rachel Allen’s Lemon Cupcakes

Found out that it was a friend’s birthday yesterday. That meant opportunity to bake! What was next on the list? Rachel Allen’s Lemon Cupcakes of course! Inspired after watching her programme on AFC. Since the Madeira Marbled Cake was a success, the Lemon Cupcake should be good too!

The recipe I found online says this yields a dozen cupcakes. To my dismay, there was just enough batter for eight cupcakes! Even then, I had to scrape every single last bit out for that eight! So, instead of giving nine to our friend, I had to cut it down to just six and the balance two for ourselves.

The cupcakes were for a guy. I didn’t wanted to just present the cupcakes with just lemon buttercream spread on top as it may seem too feminine. So I incorporated a simple, fondant design and this was the result!
Wished the chocolate was of a darker shade but it was getting late...

Oh, and the Lemon Cupcakes tasted light and lemony but I would go for the Madeira Marbled Cake anytime! 

p.s. I also read a tip earlier - make a hole in the middle of the batter in the case to prevent cakes from cracking at the centre like mine here.

Chocolat Chaud

Dear hubby wanted to pay a visit to the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Gurney Hotel, Penang branch along Gurney Drive after dinner last night. Since it was late and I didn’t want to lay in bed with eyes wide open, I ordered a cup of Hot Double Chocolate (with marshmallows) instead. It has been ages since I last had a cuppa yummy hot chocolate (with marshmallows!). Ahh... divine.....

I think I realised last night that I actually love chocolate. Not just any chocolates, but good, dark, rich chocolate. That’s why I also went for the chocolate cake at the cake counter. Yikes! And earlier, I was looking at all these chocolate cake recipes online!! Hmm...

Anyway, I bought a 454g tin of CBTL’s Special Dutch Chocolate Powder since it is now on offer at RM36 instead of RM45. I can make quite a lot of cups with this tin vs having them in the shop!
And the best part of it:

Hmm... time for another cup??

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Rachel Allen’s Marbled Madeira Cake

I was watching a bit of tv yesterday and have fallen in love with Rachel Allen! She makes baking seem like a breeze and explains everything so simply that even if you are a first timer, you are bound to get it right!

The Marbled Madeira Cake she made yesterday looks divine and so easy to make that I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. I jumped out of bed this morning and started baking. The result: an absolutely gratifying soft and aromatic cake that goes very well with a cup of hot tea! Even dear hubby who is not a dessert fan ate what seemed like a quarter of the cake at one go! The only thing I probably have to improve on is probably the marbling effect. Would love to see more swirls on the cake. Well, good enough reason for me to bake this cake again!

If you would like to try this marble cake yourself, here is what you have to do:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 20cm springform pan.
2. Beat 225g soft butter till creamy.
3. Add 225g caster sugar and beat till soft and light.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together 4 eggs and 2 tsp vanila extract.
5. Add the mixture gradually into butter and sugar and mix well.
6. Sift and fold in gently 225g plain flour and 2 tsp baking powder. 
7. Add 50ml milk and stir the mixture gently
8. Take half the batter out.
9. Sift and fold in 50g cocoa powder into one half of the batter.
10. Put a spoonful of vanilla and a spoonful chocolate batter alternately into the greased pan.
11. Using a skewer, swirl cake in any order for marble ripple. Don’t over swirl or you will lose the effect.
12. Pop into the oven for 45 mins or until skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
13. Remove from pan and indulge when cool!

Now next on the list, Rachel Allen’s Lemon Cupcakes!

Discovering Penang - The Pearl of the Orient

Since moving to up north in May, we have not discovered enough of Penang as we have almost always been out of town over the weekends. This month, we decided to stay put and get ourselves around a bit. There is so much to see!

We went the Little Penang Street Market held every last Sunday of the month on Upper Penang Road. This bazaar aims to promote talents in the form of handicrafts or acts. Other than the customary handmade costume jewellery and accessories such as handbags, there were some really interesting eye openers. I found this lady sewing all these cute little baby booties by hand! And an ex-headmaster folding and selling these:(!)

patriotic paper planes!
We made a trip to Balik Pulau for a new friend’s open house. It is located, like what its name suggests really on the other side of the island. I discovered I have car sickness sitting behind with an empty stomach, keeping an active toddler entertained while being driven on a looooong windy road. Balik Pulau is famous for its ang he (red lobster) durian and asam laksa. It has to be a really rewarding kill five birds with one stone trip to get me back there again!

The second house warming the following week was at Botanica SP Setia. It does look like to own a piece of landed property in Penang, you will have to move to the edge of it, far, far away from the city centre. Honestly, most of these new townships are self-sufficient but the idea of staying far away from the city where everything is hasn’t appealed to us yet.

On Merdeka Day, we wanted to go to Queensbay Mall for some shopping since the sale is on but it seemed like the whole of Penang had the same thought! So we took a detour and drove to the Batu Maung area instead. We saw a newly built and nice housing area Southbay. Not surprisingly, these three-storey terrace houses in a gated community are in the millions. There is also a place called the Aquarium in Batu Maung. We were a little skeptical visiting the Aquarium as the signboards directing us there looks dilapidated and uninviting. We will have to bring Baby O back there again some day now that a friend have given us the assurance that it is quite a visitable place.

There is currently a fun fair set up at Queensbay. We went to relive some childhood memories one of those nights and brought Baby O on her first ferris wheel ride. Her expression was nonchalant though she enjoyed watching all the blinking lights off the wheel!

We also managed to see parts of Air Itam while paying a friend a visit in his new showroom status apartment. There is a new development by the Belleview Group coming up but I have to say Air Itam is full of... erm... cemeteries! So if you intend to get an apartment there, just keep in mind what sort of view you want to come home to.

The day before yesterday, we just had to get to one of the Ramadhan Bazaars on the last day of puasa before they are closed for another year. This one is near the Sunshine Market. There weren’t many stalls left, presumably most have gone back to prepare for the big Raya celebration. There weren’t many choices of food left too but we managed to get what we were looking for, lemang, and lots of it! We had to buy a whole bamboo for RM12 as it was the last day. The problem is, we don’t have enough rendang to go with it! Hmm... time to google up some nice rendang recipe.

Then there's swimming in Batu Ferringhi, checking out a pottery class, and trying lotsa new restaurants with yummy food!!! We have to start compiling a food guide soon!

Fun! Fun!! Fun!!!

Tick Tock Tick Tock

Dali's Persistence of Time
I don’t understand why time waits for no man. Why can’t it ‘give me five minutes’ or ‘hang on a minute’?? I will be able to do just that little bit more with that - reply just one more mail, post just one more entry on my blog, sleep one more wink....

Anyway, the past month has been a blast! Done lots, but still loads to do!

Firstly, we managed to discover so much of Penang that dear hubby and I are thinking of starting a blog! (The problem is we will need more than five more minutes to maintain it!)

Then, I had a deadline to meet. Yes, SAHMs have project deadlines too! This time it is for a free photobook offer from Shutterfly. I have already missed a few free photobook offers and not about to lose another one. This was for a 8 x 8 inch hard cover 20-page photobook. The mean thing is these good offers are usually only up for about a week or so for you to grab. So it was a week of burning the midnight oil rushing to screen through the gazzillions of Baby O photos to pick that top 100 pictures for the photobook. Initially, I was going for Baby O’s first year memories. But there’s just too much to do in a week so I went for Baby O’s favourites instead - favourite people, favourite songs, favourite mum-mum and so on... I can’t wait for it to arrive in the post! I also have a few other photobook projects in mind but insufficient tick tock tick tock at the moment.

At the same time, there are tonnes of emails to reply and yummy new recipes to try out, compost and vegetable patch to tend to, a toddler to nurture, a few blog posts to read, clothes to wash and fold... when will the list end???

p.s. Shutterfly offers 50 free 4 x 6 prints upon signing up with them. Postage not included.
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