Saturday, December 25, 2010

It's Christmas!!

Today I want to thank Jesus for being the reason we celebrate Christmas. So many more reasons to be thankful for but most of all, thank You for being real in my life, sticking with me through thick and thin, for being the reason I praise during times of prosperity and giving me strength through adversity.

A blessed Christmas from our home to you wherever you are!
Have you found your reason to celebrate the season?

Christmas isn't Christmas till it happens in your heart
Somewhere deep inside you is where Christmas really starts
So give your heart to Jesus
You'll discover when you do
That is Christmas really Christmas for you!

Jesus brings warmth like a winter fire
A light like a candle's glow
He's waiting now to come inside
as He did so long ago
Jesus brings gifts of truth and life
and makes them bloom and grow
So welcome Him with a song of joy
and when He comes you'll know

That Christmas isn't Christmas till it happens in your heart
Somewhere deep inside you is where Christmas really starts
So give your heart to Jesus
You'll discover when you do
That is Christmas really Christmas
Christmas really Christmas
Christmas really Christmas
for you!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Countdown to Christmas - 1 Day

It's Christmas Eve! The tension builds as we do our last minute shopping and prepare for the 'big' feast tomorrow night!

Thank God hubby arrived home safely (and brought prezzies!!) to celebrate Christmas and join in the fun together.

Countdown to Christmas - 2 Days

Wrapping presents together, sharing lots of spontaneous laughter till tears formed in Mom's eyes. Not enough moments like these in our family. Thankful to have been there.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Countdown to Christmas - 3 Days

It's the Dōngzhì (Winter Solstice) Festival today. Traditionally, Chinese families make tang yuan (glutinous rice balls) either plain of stuffed served in sweet soup. This is the first year we made our own tang yuan. It is so easy that we recruited Baby O along.

Basically, all you have to do to make the glutinous rice balls is to pour half a cup of cooled boiled water, little by little into a cup of glutinous rice flour. Mix together until they form a soft dough ball that peels easily from the hand. You can divide the dough and add some colouring but it is not necessary.

Pinch enough to make little glutinous rice balls or big ones up to your own liking. I prefer small ones so you are not eating lots of flour at one time. We also made cut tiny pieces of gula melaka (palm sugar), placed them on a flattened ball and sealed them shut.

Cover the tangyuan and the rest of the unmoulded dough with a piece of damp towel to prevent it from drying out.  If it gets to dry, you can always add a little water and work on it again.

Result of leftover dough
For the ginger syrup, we boiled about two liters of water with a piece of ginger the size of a small palm (smashed lightly with a cleaver), five pandan (screwpine) leaves and a block of gula melaka (palm sugar) for about 20 minutes.

Once the syrup is ready, we can cook the glutinous rice balls by placing them into a pot of boiling water. The balls are cooked when they start to float onto the surface of the boiling water. Scoop them with a slotted spoon and place them into the ginger syrup and serve immediately.

I am so glad that we get to celebrate and experience such diversify and rich culture in our country!

This Mama: Drank and ate up the bowls of tangyuan and completely forgot to take pictures of the end product!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Countdown to Christmas - 4 Days

Having a little break today. Mom and bro took Baby O out with them. It feels like there's more to do back here than at home in Penang. Glad and thankful to get a wee bit of rest for a change.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Countdown to Christmas - 5 Days

Just five more days to Christmas! We have started playing Christmas songs - ringing bells on the Christmas tree, saved tunes from the laptop and YouTube, and of course on the piano. I am very grateful that I was given the opportunity to appreciate music through lessons when I was young and able to use this talent for His glory.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Countdown to Christmas - 6 Days

Baby O is 20 months old today! She is such a chatty toddler now. She talks non-stop and tries to imitate all that we say in all the different languages.

Amazingly she knows everything in her 'colors ABC numbers' book! She can identify all the following objects as well as tell you what each letter is for (though she cheats by looking at the picture we're pointing at).

She is able to count from one to ten and knows numbers up to twenty :-
This Mama: eleven
Baby O: twelve
This Mama: thirteen
Baby O: (mumbles)teen
This Mama: fifteen
Baby O: (mumbles)teen
This Mama: seventeen
Baby O: (mumbles)teen
This Mama: nineteen
Baby O: TWENTY!!!

She recognises the colours blue, pink, red, green and yellow correctly most of the time. She also knows what sound which animal makes:
Cow (moooo),
Owl (toot toot),
Frog (ribbit ribbit),
Dog (wow wow),
Cat (neeoww),
Lion (roar),
Pig (oink oink),
Monkey (hoo hoo hoo hoo),
Horse (neiighh),
Elephant (*tries to trumpet*),
Sheep (baa baa),
Duck (duck duck = quack quack),
Rooster (dududududu = cock-a-doodle-doo),
Fish (*opens and closes mouth to imitate fish*),
Snake (sssss),
Bee (bee-zzz),
Bird (cheep cheep cheep cheep)
Bear (roar)

She dances at every opportunity (yes, even to the clanking of pots and pans), sings ever so adorably and hums to tunes like Lullaby.

Physically, she is learning to jump and running a little but still walking a little wonky. Wondering if we should send her to a podiatrist as her feet seems to turn in a little. She now goes upstairs by herself but with us watching every step. She also tries to come down herself too but it is usually a lot faster if we just carry her down. New favourite activity would be to climb onto chairs or the piano bench. She does it at the speed of light! Scary.

All her teeth except the last four molars are out. Her body still seems warmer than usual after the bout of flu and I wonder if she is teething. Current favourite food: chicken, soup, and chicken soup. Still loves fish and fruits, milk and cheese. Basically no problems feeding her.

Baby O loves her grandparents and I notice she seems to have a soft spot for jung-jung (gong-gong aka my dad). She will 'help' him get to places by holding his hand. She will also unexpectedly go to him and give him hugs which doesn't happen with the other relatives.

It is however more difficult to get her to nap/ sleep even though she is extremely tired. She will find all sorts of excuses - read again, switch lights on etc just to delay sleep time. She has also been quite short fused lately again not sure if it is due to teething as before. We did notice though that it started after the bout of illness and usually only with me. What a bully!

Other than that, everything else seems fine. Praise God she is developing well!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Countdown to Christmas - 7 Days

Dearest super/superb/fantastic/amazing Mom,

Though this may just be another birthday, know that you are loved and cherished by all of us for being who you are - a great wife, mom and grandma!

Blessed Birthday!! Thank God for you!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Countdown to Christmas - 8 Days

My miniature white guy from 2008
This is the second consecutive year that we have left the UK and there are reports of heavy snow starting this time of the year! Why, oh why did it not snow like this when we were there?? I love the snow. I think it is one of the most beautiful thing that God has created! It just gives me an overall fudgy-smudgy feeling. I know, I know, it can be hazardous and disruptive to peoples' lives and all but when it snows... aaaahhh...

Though it didn't snow as much during the times when I was abroad, I am thankful that I have at least experienced it before!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Countdown to Christmas - 9 Days

Baby O is officially off all medications! Praise God that she is well and (almost) back to her normal self as my back is breaking from all the pao-pao (carrying)!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Countdown to Christmas - 10 Days

As I am still kinda housebound caring for a recovering toddler, it has been a blessing to be where I am. The house I have been brought up in is located just a stone's throw away from everything! Bakery, post office, clinic, dentist, pharmacy, mall, tau foo fah and coconut drink stall, etc etc etc... So so so thankful!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Countdown to Christmas - 11 Days

Just when we thought Baby O is on the recovery route, she caught a cold and a little cough. Another trip to the doc's may have traumatised her further and caused her to be extra clingy! I mean EXTRA! Thankfully Mom is around to help. Grateful that although our parents are not able to be there for us all the time due to circumstances, the little help given is a tremendous lot!

Get well soon, Baby O!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Countdown to Christmas - 12 Days

Was glad to be able to spend some time with dear friends today and squeeze in some shopping before leaving KL. Thankful for safe journey for both myself and for dear hubby who has arrived safely back in Penang.

Also thank God for the best behaved baby I can ever asked for who did not cry and look for Mama while I was away the whole time, even though she was a little under the weather!

12 Days to Christmas!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Countdown to Christmas - 13 Days

Another backdated post:-

We had earlier planned to go to KL to attend two weddings and meet up with some friends. Had to scrap off the idea when Baby O fell ill. We then decided for me to get to KL to at least attend my cousin's wedding and get back the next day. Thank God for safe journey and a great time with family at cousin's wedding and for a capable dear hubby looking after a recovering child with dear father-in-law all by themselves!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Countdown to Christmas - 14 Days

Yikes! A recovered Baby O = time to catch up with blogging! Here goes some backdated posts:-

It has been exactly six months since I started my compost bin. Time to unearth the treasures buried! All those dried leaves, fruit skins and vegetable peelings have turned into this beautiful, rich compost! There were also lots of darkened branches, roots and leaves which have not completed their composting process so these needs to be filtered before obtaining the compost proper. I have already added some to the soil of my crops. Am hoping when I return after Christmas, everything would be just blooming!

On top of that, my crops are growing well and bearing fruits! We have over ten different types of herbs, fruits and vegetables in our little garden now. Can't wait to taste the first harvest!

Such a satisfied feeling when you see your plants thriving and ultimately lead to the end result of producing fresh, pesticide-free goodies!

Thankful to have garden space and fertile soil as well as lots of garden squirmy 'friends' helping in the process!

2nd batch of garlic

Hong Kong kailan



Friday, December 10, 2010

Countdown to Christmas - 15 Days

Lately, I have been having things like dizzy spells and car sickness which I have not had before. I also feel thirsty easily. With family medical history like mine, we decided that I should have a general medical check-up which includes full blood tests and an x-ray. Got my results back today and everything is still within range. Thank God for good health (despite the nagging back aches!). Must be the (very) late nights (spent blogging!!). Gotta really cut them down. In order to take care of my love ones, I must first of all take care of myself!

Praying that Baby O gets well soon though...

Countdown to Christmas - 16 Days

Baby O is down with fever. She had a few mosquito (where did they all come from!?!?) bites since yesterday and the incidences of dengue and chikungunya in Penang worries us. This time round, Baby O is not as co-operative as before and refused to have her fever-reducing medication. She kept spitting them out. She was also extremely clingy and kept wanting to be 'pao-pao'ed (carried). Her temperature raised to above 90degrees at around 2am and we decided to bring her to the hospital to get a suppository since she won't have any of the paracetamol syrup.

I have my reservations when it came to Medical Officers, General Practitioners or locums in our country due to many past experiences with them. It is rare to find one that I can truly place my full trust in. Doesn't help when I am a healthcare professional myself. This experience to the hospital only increased my skepticism.

The Medical Officer in charged was a locum. He held a torch and had a look at Baby O's mosquito bites, asked if she had any cough or cold, and started prescribing paracetamol and an antibiotic. I asked if he thinks it was a bacterial infection and he nodded. As I was not too comfortable with the antibiotic, I requested if we could just have a suppository and review Baby O's condition in the morning with her paediatrician. He looked blankly at me as if I had just spoken in a foreign language. Thankfully, a regular nurse had been observing nearby and took over the situation. She helped administer the suppository confidently and gave relevant advice. Thank You, Lord for placing Your guardian angels everywhere!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Countdown to Christmas - 17 Days

Cooked this for dinner today. I don't really know what it is called in English - Butter cereal prawns?? All I know is, it is one of my favourite dishes!! Yum!

Thankful to be able to have family meals together with my dear ones (and a generous father-in-law who bought the mega huge prawns for us!)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Countdown to Christmas - 18 Days

Started writing some of these home designed cards...

Designed while Baby O is sleeping, using a lot of the free scrapbooking kits available for downloading at this cool site, Shabby Princess. Hope they arrive before Christmas!!

As we write, we were cherishing all those moments spent together. Thank God for good friends (some turned great!) He sent us wherever we went! The company and support given will be etched in our memories!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Countdown to Christmas - 19 Days

There. Final touches added. Since we are on a budget, it'll be a rustic Christmas tree this year. Basically bought some this and that and put a few things together. Nothing fancy.

First was the corrugated paper hearts inspired by one of the stalls I visited recently at the Malaysian-German Society Christmas Bazaar.

Next, cinnamon stick ornaments inspired by the decorations on a Christmas tree at one of the popular restaurants we were invited to for a wedding lunch just last weekend. Oh, the aroma!

Finally, simple but bright bows to add a punch of colour to our tree.

I thank God for blessing me with this little talent of being able to put a few cinnamon sticks together. Although it is just tying two strands of ribbon on some sticks, this task may seem easier for some than others. So I am thankful that though not as fantastic as some of my other family members and friends,  I am able to put my hands to work and give our home a sweet, cinnamon-smelling, pleasant looking Christmas tree without burning a hole in our pockets!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Countdown to Christmas - 20 Days

Since we will be away the next two weeks, I managed to give the house a good scrub today in preparation for a potential post-Christmas get-together. Spent a good few hours on it too! Although it is a rented house, we are so blessed by it as it is spacious and comes fully furnished as though we have been staying here. This means it includes things like a slow cooker,  CD players, Scrabble, novels and chopsticks! Well, this house actually belongs to a friend who is currently in another country. The timing couldn't be any better when the house was about to be left vacant. Basically, it is a win-win situation. We needed to put a roof over our heads and the owner needed someone trustworthy to look after their property. So everything worked out perfectly. Can't help feeling thankful for this blessing.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Countdown to Christmas - 21 Days

Lights! We need lights! Got our lights!! 200 sparkly ones that dance according to music! Now, to decorate! By the way, I find it easier to put the lights up first before decorating the tree so that the wires don't get tangled up with the baubles and such. Next is actually trimmings like ribbons or strings of beads of whatever you fancy on your tree. I will place the ornaments on last as it will then be easily removed and placed elsewhere if desired.

On another note, Baby O has been waking up every night at about four to five in the morning and crawled into our bed. When she does that, it usually means the end of a peaceful night's sleep. This is because Baby O needs to find THE ultimate sleep position. To do that, she'll bulldoze my sides with her head or turn around 90 degrees often landing her foot on my face. Besides being a light sleeper, I will also be too cautious of her presence in between us so much so that I will wake up naturally every half hour or so just to make sure that she has not disappeared under the blanket or being squashed by one of us. Last night, I was thankful that dear hubby suggested for me to sleep in the next room so that I can get a night's rest without interruption, something that I needed. This morning, I woke up earlier than usual but all ready to go! Highly recommend all mommies (or even daddies) with babies who disrupts sleep to have a go at it too!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Countdown to Christmas - 22 Days

Second day tree hunting in a different mall. Almost came home empty handed again but thankfully, a check in another affiliated store got me our 5' Christmas tree!

Baby Cawanmushi (Steamed Egg)

Baby O usually has a 2 to 3 hour nap in the afternoon after lunch. Today was an exception as she was knocked out before noon! Instead of doing house chores like I really should, I did what I did best, I had ME time. Before I knew it, 90 minutes have whizzed by. Baby O is about to wake up anytime now without any lunch! Panic. Good thing I had an idea of what I wanted to prepare today. Another easy and quick but nothing lacking in the nutrition department meal. Best part is, it can be prepared with staples found in my fridge.

So here is what I did:

1. Defrost a small fish. Because our fish doesn’t come as a fillet, I steamed the fish for about 3 - 5 minutes and let it cool before removing the bones.
[Alternative to fish - minced chicken or pork or even tofu!]

2. Grate or finely chop a small carrot and cut the florets off about four branches of broccoli.

3. Remove skin and crush a piece of ginger the size of a small thumb. This can be easily removed later before consumption. Alternatively, pound the ginger under the mortar and pestle and just use the juice.

4. Crack three large eggs. Add about two to three eggshells of clear soup (from last night’s dinner).
[Can be substituted with just water or even milk.]
5. Add a crack of black pepper to enhance flavour.
[You now have two options: steam everything in a flat bowl together or separate it into two bowls. I did the latter as I can then add more ingredients like garlic which Baby O doesn’t fancy at the moment. I also added some crab filaments into my bowl.]
6. Put about two to three tablespoons of steamed rice leftover from last night’s dinner into a ceramic bowl (or any bowl which can withstand heat).
[Again, the amount is subjective as you can have as much or as little rice you want. You can even substitute rice with torn up pieces of bread, noodles, etc!]

7. Add in carrots, broccoli, fish and any other ingredients you wish like shitake mushrooms etc before topping up with the egg mixture.

8. Steam in slow fire for 15 minutes.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Countdown to Christmas - 23 Days

I suppose when it comes to the festive seasons, I like it the traditional way. Gathering loved ones together for a good meal. Before that, I like to build up the festive mood. Thus, one of the must dos for me is to adorn our humble abode with the appropriate decor.

As this is our first Christmas back in Malaysia in a place of our own, the first task is to get a Christmas tree.

Saw one in one of the brochures they shove through our mailboxes. So I made my way to the mall after dinner.

Unfortunately the promoter is no where in sight and I couldn't locate the 5' tree that I wanted. Not gonna spend a fortune on a fake tree but didn't want to get one too that is too small either and regret later. So I went home, empty handed.

Mission unaccomplished but the countdown has begun! I am however thankful for dear hubby took over to care for Baby O so I can go tree hunting on my own!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Can you believe that it's December already? Which also means that 2010 is coming to an end real soon!

I LUURRVEE  Christmas. I love the little fairy lights dotting a Christmas tree or lighting up the streets, Christmas decorations adorning places, Christmas songs filling the air, spending the special day with family and friends, choosing Christmas presents, receiving Christmas presents, the whole festive mood that just lighten up people's steps.

What is most magical of all is the reason for the season, the gift of little Jesus in a manger long time ago in Bethlehem. The One who gave His life for me, and you, the best gift of all. For that, I am more than thankful. And that makes it an even better reason to love Christmas even more!

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