28 Jan 2013

Making Kueh Kapit

With Chinese New Year around the corner, we were invited over to a friend's house to join in the fun of making Kueh Kapit (Love Letters) together. According to my mum, years ago, it was tradition for cousins and aunts to come together to make cookies and kueh kapit  in anticipation of the joyful celebration of Chinese New Year. I guess, this is a dying tradition, and were were really fortunate to be able to experience this together with our friends yesterday.

Started making batter at 9am. Ingredients are family secret, so will not post here, but you can find some online. However, it mainly consists of rice flour, coconut milk, eggs and sugar.

Prepare mold by applying cooking oil

Heat up mold on BBQ pit before applying batter

Pour batter from top to bottom, just once will do, or it will be too thick. (Mold MUST be hot when applying batter.)

Once done, place molds on pit in sequential order, and turn from time to time, check. Doesn't take very long before cookie is done. They are ready when colour is brown. Just scrape sides, gently pull love letter out and fold immediately. (If not folded immediately, cookie will harden.)
Kiddos helping put batter and turning mold.

This s what happens when molds are not checked on time!!

Delicious Kueh Kapit. Yummmm.....

This was our first ever experience at making Kueh Kapit. I'd say, it takes TREMENDOUS patience to apply batter, look after all the molds, turn them, scrape the sides, pull out and fold. It was back breaking for me, although I only sat there for about 2 hours. My hats off to my friends who sat there from 9am  to 8pm!!!

To chill off after our morning kueh making, we went jungle trekking.

Can you spot the kids?
Chilling out at the river..

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2013


24 Jan 2013

Baked Eggplant and other random things.

Of late, words will not come to my mind. I wonder where have they gone. Perhaps I'm over tired, especially after teaching, and then helping my own children with subjects such as literature. So another short picture post today.

 The yarn art from previous post has been turned into a simple turtle. Next time we will try weaving the yard onto wires to try shaping it, perhaps into an umbrella or a better turtle.
Kids had some friends stay over. Jo had a wild time in the baby pool with the little guys. They were a RIOT! doing all sorts of stunt jumps into the pool,shooting at each other with water guns. Of course they had to walk into the house, leaving puddles of water everywhere.

Nel and her gf decided they were too old for this, and spent time playing Tinker Bell fairy games online, and practicing ballet. They also decorated Nel's doll. Nel stuck yarn on her doll's dress, and added her ballet skirt. Then they painted the rest of the shirt using crayon for fabric.

That night, little guy friend wanted to do some art (paper cutting.) I asked what picture he'd like, naturally he said "CARS." So my very first car kirigami. He coloured it all carefully and stuck them in his book. :)

Fund Raising.........
Some time back, I blogged about my children raising funds for the poor. Well, Jo actually made lemonade and cookies on her own to sell. Here, she's put all the money in an envelope and passed it on to her grandpa who will use this money to purchase food stuff. 
Baking Eggplant......
My children have a dislike for eggplant, which I typically stirfry with dried shrimps, or chilli and black salted beans or salted fish. I asked Nel, what would motivate her to try some. She suggested cheese. So  I tried this today,

- season eggplant with salt and bit of paprika, drizzle with olive oil. Top with pasta sauce and bake at about 210C till soft.
 -Remove pan, add a spoon of plain yogurt on each eggplant, top with light cheddar cheese, bake till melted.
 Well....Nel gobbled them up pretty quickly. :)  As for Jo, just 2, not bad for a start.

I had my eggplant with bread, and added shitake mushrooms, lightly sauteed with paprika, and bit of salt.  Together with salad, it made an absolutely delicious sandwich.

Here's to a good weekend everyone. Cheers.

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2013


18 Jan 2013

Random stuff and more yarn art

 Jo's hair often a tangled mess. Yesterday  as I tried my best to disentangle it just minutes before her ballet lessons, I grumbled and told her how sticky it was, and certainly fit for a spider, and probably teeming with all sorts of creatures. I've warned her that I would cut it if she still continued to ignore her hair. So to test me,  she's ignored her hair continually.
To prove to her I meant what I said,  I've cut it twice now, from long to medium and then to shoulder length, still she doesn't care, and continues running around with messy hair.

Apart from that, she's an affectionate child who sends me lotsa love notes. Like she recently sent me on a treasure hunt...and at the end of it all, this was the treasure...a HUG. :)
 This was the treasure  I found after several clues around the house, a HUG. :)

Nel, Nel has been feeding the stray cats in the back lane. There is a blind kitten, and she's named the blind kitten "Kinza," after a character she's read in Star of Light. It's almost impossible to believe, but her blind kitten sleeps on the poky fence in our back lane. When she first told me that, I told her "Go lay an egg Nel". But yeah, I saw it for myself. Here's prove for you, captured by Nel on her camera.

Kinza, the stray kitten fast asleep on the fence. (Promise she's not dead but very much alive.)

A random prayer while driving on the way to ballet:

Nel: Dear Lord, thank you for a great day, great parents and a great sister (a very rare prayer for her to say so.)
Jo: (opens her eyes) Wow, I'm a great sister!  *smiles, laughs, giggles.*
Nel: (hard stare at Jo!)


Jo: Mum, baby birds need to eat every 3 minutes. Some birds 900 times a day. (We learnt this during our study of birds.) Mum, if I ate as often as a bird, would I be able to fly?

More Stuff with Yarn. (Our Previous yarn art is still in progress.)

Dyl came over and did this. Nel helped add all the sequence and sparkles.

 Today's yarn art, done by Jo. She's adding stuff under now, and we're gonna turn this into a turtle's shell.

Jun teaching Nel learning how to make friendship bracelets.

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2013

15 Jan 2013


It's just been a little over a year since the girls started having ballet lessons, Nel reluctantly and Jo excitedly. A year has passed, and the tables have turned. While Nel looks forward to ballet lessons, Jo's always asking "When can I quit."  I don't want her to quit just yet, and coincidentally, the teacher's just measured them both with the promise of new skirts, and for that reason, Jo has decided she'd like to stick on a little longer.

As I sat there watching the children at work,  I pondered and wondered why my children weren't like their attentive, wonderful classmates who are so excellent at ballet. Instead, I have Nel, who is so super self conscious she doesn't like people looking at her. When given instructions, she looks away, and it takes her a lot of effort to muster enough courage to dance in front of her classmates.

Teacher: Does your child Nel really want to be in ballet, she's always looking elsewhere when I talk to her.
Me: She's actually a shy child, and I was hoping ballet will help her be more comfortable with herself and at self expression.
Teacher: Oh, now  I understand thanks. Next time we'll close the curtains then so audience won't be a distraction to her.

Then  I have Jo. Jo who doesn't care even when the teacher is staring at her in anger. Jo who's often lying down flat on her tummy, wiggling around while the others are hard at work. Jo who's right in front of the mirror, mouth wide opened, starring at a new found cavity.

Teacher: Does your child Jo really want to be in ballet? She's too mischievous.
Me: Sorry teacher, I'll talk to her.
(Lots of warning before ballet classes for Jo.)
Teacher: This is last chance for Jo, or I'm going to ask her to quit.
Teacher on the following month: Jo, your last chance or I'll downgrade you to the baby class.

Well...TODAY, the teacher came out and I thought, shoot, another complain. But what I heard was "Well, Nel has improved a lot. She's gaining confidence and beginning to dance well. Jo's also shown some improvement."

I smile and say thank you, heart happy for once. *happy sigh.* It's true, Nel's come a long way. She herself told me, she doesn't feel so nervous now performing in front of her friends. And where she usually requests to dance with a partner (never alone), she managed to dance ALL ALONE last class. Am so proud of her accomplishment. As for Jo, she's paying more attention. She still wiggles on the floor and does silly things, but at least not as often as before.  Let's hope this continues.
P.s we're also very fortunate to have an amazing ballet teacher who's great in every way. Which is why I want both  to stick on.

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2013


12 Jan 2013

Some books and yarn art.

The girls, especially Nel, have been doing lots of reading. Nel reads a new book every two to three days. She has this habit now where she has to read before sleep. Some books she read this past holiday that were favourites include   The Hobbit , Five Children and It ,The Phoenix and the CarpetStar of Light by John, Patricia St,  Folks of the Faraway Tree and  Throwaway Daughter .

Just some very brief random thoughts on books..

 Hobbit- We loved the book and looked forward to the movie. Well we enjoyed the movie too, although we were a little confused at some parts as there were new characters such as the Orc and the 5th wizard. The kids thought the humour with the trolls and a lot of conversation was better in the book.  However, we're looking forward to part 2 of the movie.

Star of Light (Christian Literature)- This book was touching and sometimes moved us to tears. It's basically the story of how Hamid takes a long journey alone with his blind little sister Kinza to bring her to an English nurse who loves and cares for street children. He has to do this in order to protect his sister from their father who plans to sell Kinza to a beggar. Well...I highly recommend this book if you're looking for good Christian literature.

Throwaway Daughter-  is a book about Dong- Mei who is fortunate to be adopted by Canadian parents from an orphanage where her mother left her. She eventually makes a trip to China to look for her birth mother and discover the reason why she was abandoned. For Nel, I guess, it was eye opening reading about China's one child policy, why sons were preferred over daughters and such.

The other books she loved because of the "magical" elements and suspense.
As for Jo, need I mention? Reading more books about mermaids of course. Well...she's added Roald Dahl to the list, mysterious stuff like the Snow Queen, and her latest love, Paddington Bear.  Other than that, we're reading the Secret Garden. Most of the time though, she is drawing, making paper games and puzzles and playing imaginary games.
She made this carriage with wheels and turned her cousins into horses.

We've been also looking at Huichol Yarn Art and symbolism and decided to try making our own yarn art with symbols that are meaningful to us. It will take several weeks to finish a piece of art as we add yarn by yarn to our work (when we get time.) Here's the beginning of our work.

 The above is Nel's. She's been working on it and putting her heart and soul into it. She plans to finish it. It is hard work!

 The above is Jo's. She doesn't plan on finishing it, too tiring it seems. Obviously she did the mice because she loves her mice, Pipsqueak and Lucy. Her mice have been doing very well, but recently Lucy has been sick. Jo's been hand feeding her water daily, giving her extra love. I've warned them that mice don't live long, and I'm already sure she'll cry buckets if Lucy passes on.

 This is my yarn art. It is tiring if you plan on adding lots of details, yet therapeutic doing this. I anticipate finishing it in several weeks.

Yup...lots going on. School work's progressing and I'm back to teaching. Don't know what the rest of the year will be like, but we will trust God in all things.

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2012


1 Jan 2013

Last days of 2012

We had a short getaway before the new year. As usual, we headed to our favourite resting place, the hills. Just a few photos below.

We were having a walk, when suddenly a heavy mist descended upon us. The girls were so excited and it grew kinda dark for a while. We felt like we were walking in clouds. So exciting indeed.
We did some art on socks. One side by me, and the other by Nel.

Watched this bird take a delicous drink of nectar

Jo's Photography

Looked for twigs and built this structure

Nel's Photography. Rest are in her own compact. She took lots of photos of caterpillars and birds.

Jo took this shot coz she says, the trees in different distances create different heights.

Kids wanted to learn about Swifts so we took a good look at these nests. Phew...what a smell (stink!!!)

A walk after the rain led us to this beautiful web covered with drops of rain.

Another web covered with drops of rain

Latest interest...rocks and stones. I suppose I will have to get some books on geology.

Beautiful flower on wild banana plant
We also stopped to watch this spider build its web.

Then while walking we chanced on this very peculiar thing...liquid on weed. But when touched, the liquid doesn't fall off. Wish I knew what it was. Excuse the early morning voice.

Finally, on New Year's eve, I spent the most of the day at the hospital checking up my nose, which has not functioned well since my transsphenoidal surgery to remove tumor from my pituitary gland. It gives me occasional headaches. This is the third ENT I've seen, and I think he's solved the problem. What he says is that during my previous surgery, the surgeon created a path in my nose. This path is causing my mucus to flow inwards and recycle itself instead of flowing out. Only way to correct it is by another surgery. We're waiting and not rushing into it yet. Giving it a month to see if it will improve itself first. Praying, Hoping.

Couldn't resist adding one more picture. As I was uploading these pictures, there was the sound of blender whirring downstairs. Twas Jo at work. She just came up and served me this delicious dessert she made. Basically blend vanilla icecream with fresh strawberries, icing sugar and whipped cream. Chill, serve with blueberries and cherry. Yummm....Great job Jo!

In mean time, looking forward to 2013. Praying for a good Year. :) Happy New YEar all.

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