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Beetroot harvest

I guess it’s about time for another garden update. Mum always asks about how the beetroot plants, tomatoes and other plants are doing almost every time she calls. So since pictures paint a thousand words…Here is hubby’s latest addition to the vege patch. Definitely a good idea now that the blazing hot summer heat is upon us.The grapes are growing steadily. Not quite ready yet but they look like they’re on the right track.The cherry tomatoes are looking exceedingly gorgeous. We’ll be harvesting them next.Because today’s focus was on the beetroot.Hubby wanted me to show this next picture to show just how much he’s had to endure with keeping the caterpillars and pests in check. Things could have looked a lot worse than this had it not been for his constant warfare against those pesky critters.Here they are peeking from underneath their leaves. Get ready to die!!!First victim. They’re not very big because we decided we’d better harvest them before caterpillars eat them all up before we do…

The countdown begins

So yesterday was my last day at the office and I am now officially on maternity leave.

8 days to EDD.


The number one FAQ I get at this stage is: so how do you feel?

Well, I'd sum it up in three main points...

#1. Surreal. Even at 38 weeks I still struggle to grasp the whole concept that I am going to be a mum to an actual little boy. I still have moments when I pause and think that maybe this is all just my imagination. And then I feel a little kick. That pretty much jolts me back to the 'realness' of what's happening now.

#2. Undecided. You'd think I'd have everything all settled and planned out nicely. But even at this second, I'm worrying about things like sleeping arrangements (separate nursery or co-sleeping?), birth plan (go with the full works or tough it out?), heck I was so undecided about whether to have a baby shower until I reached the stage where I was just too tired to plan one.

#3. Completely inadequately prepared. As I flick through various Faceb…

Christmas cooking begins

Now that we’re well into December, I think it’s safe to start taking about Christmas and sending out Christmas greetings and wishes.Our Christmas tree is up again…And over the weekend, as the picture below illustrates I’ve launched into baking-frenzy mode…Hubby found the assortment of little gingerbread men too cute for words... no words required anyway, he just popped one of these babies into his tummy.This is the recipe I usedThe gingerbread cookie dough is not difficult to make. The most time consuming part for me was cutting out the gingerbread men shapes. Although I had a cookie cutter, the warm weather made the cookie dough turn soft and oily very quickly, so I had to refrigerate the dough in between 'rolls' before I cut out another batch of cookies.The part I enjoyed most was decorating the little men. I said to hubby that I wish I could get all the little men pre-shaped and pre-baked so I could just focus solely on decorating an endless array of the little men.Hubby…

A never heard of before Hakka specialty

I have not posted an updated related to my cooking escapades for a while, so I thought to share one of the cooking projects I undertook over the weekend:Presenting… Hakka Thunder' Tea Rice or Lui Char FanGrowing up I’ve had the privilege to enjoy lots of yummy traditional Hakka dishes like pak cham kai, ngiong tew foo and kiu nyuk… but in all my years, I’ve never tasted or even heard of this thunder tea rice.I came across the dish and recipe on Table for 2 and found it so intriguing. The fact that it was a Hakka speciality peaked my interest even more. So I rolled up my sleeves and just dove into it. The recipe wasn’t actually difficult but was just a bit methodical as it required quite a bit prep time for each condimentThere is also a special ‘tea soup’ base to prepare, which was basically whizzing up an assortment of herbs and condiments.To serve, you just scoop in some rice into a big bow and arrange all the condiments around it, mix some hot water with the ‘tea soup’ base and …

Funny and endearing pregnancy comments

So as my due date looms closer and closer and my belly gets ever bigger and bigger, I've been receiving all sorts of comments and remarks from both people I know and from complete strangers.I either get smiles and knowing looks from people I pass by on the street or sometimes people might pipe up with a..."Looks like you're due any day now!""Wow... is it a boy or girl?""Congratulations!!!" (this came from two little girls who came up to me in a shopping centre and wished me well in unison - very cute)Then there are the weird remarks which just stop me completely in my tracks because I have no idea how to respond to them, such as..."Well if you're lucky, you might get an emergency c-section!""Make sure you have a GP on hand so you can get access to drugs easily" (Are you sure you don't mean an OB/GYN?) "Nope it's the GP you want""Shouldn't you be in the hospital by now?" (this same person aske…

Happy birthday to me!

So I celebrated my birthday with hubby with very little fanfare but still wonderful… enjoyed an Indian feast for two at Jewel of the Park restaurant. No I didn’t touch any wine… that was exclusively for hubby. I had to drive afterwards! ^_^Big present from hubby this year… a brand new Yamaha keyboard so I could brush up my rusty skills and play some fun kiddie tunes for baby to start developing an ear for music.Receiving lots of birthday greetings well wishes throughout the day (thanks everyone!). It's really nice to be remembered. I decided to round off today's post with this clip. My mum's birthday message said "may you be clothed with wisdom and strength"so I thought of posting this very wisdom-packed clip. if I succeed in achieving at least half of all the good advice in this clip, that would be something! That would be my birthday wish.

Is it possible to say no?

Yesterday, hubs and I had a vigorous ‘debate’ over the issue of “saying no to people”.What if you were faced with a situation of someone asking for a favour which is either very inconvenient for you or you simply do not want to do? Would you be able to say no?Hubs view was that there are certain people whom it is impossible to say no to. Especially if it involves family members.My view was that it is always possible to say no. Even if it involves family members.Later on while I was in the shower, I pondered the issue again. And then I remembered an occasion some years ago where I found myself in a very awkward and difficult situation being cornered to do a favour for someone…Imagine you were the youngest person in the room just minding your own business, and some older person asked you flippantly for this seemingly teeny tiny favour in front of a whole bunch of people in a room, using seemingly innocent phrases and word-twists “…since you’re going there/doing that anyway…”, “…since yo…

Lesser know pregnancy challenges

People seem to be clamouring for photos… wanting to know how ‘big’ I’m getting.So here I am at 32 weeksLatest ultrasound - the radiologist was able to capture a shot of bub's face and some of his features. He's getting quite chubby and putting on more fat... very different from the alien-like features from the last ultrasound.Here’s a glimpse of some of his features – the nose and mouth…And a bit more of his face…He's now measuring about 40-42cm and weighing about 1.9kg, which is within the normal range (*phew*) one of my fears is having to push a monster baby with a giant head during the birth.People have been commenting that my belly is very pointy... which has been making the clothes department especially challenging. I'm actually wearing one of hubby's shirts in the photo above.Some of the lesser known pregnancy 'challenges' I've been facing include:#1 Sudden leg cramps – especially in the middle of the night (hubs has been very good in his lightnin…

Garden report

Garden report for mum:Your tomatoes and beetroot seem to be doing well. The tomatoes have started to flower and some even have started to develop tiny fruits. Some of the beetroots were looking scraggly on top, but overall they seem to be holding up well. The chilli plant is starting to flower again – really can’t keep up with the amount of chilli this little plant is producing!We planted four fruit trees at the back: lemon, plum, persimmon and grapes. The choice of the fruits (except the lemon) mostly revolved around hubby’s dream of being able to enjoy his favourite fruits to his heart’s content some day.A close up of the tiny grapes that have started budding:I have no clue about what it takes to grow a successful fruit bearing tree so I really hope we we’re heading in the right direction.

Midweek creature feature

My kiut kuddly kreetur kamping on ze karpet...If you're wondering what he's trying to do, he's not trying to pounce or jump or play or anything. He's just lying there motionless like a snake. Attempts to coax him and tease him were only met with this blank stare.

Baby movements

Today is one of those gloomy, rainy days, with the wind howling outside and when the best feeling is being able to cozy up on the couch at home with a hot drink and a book. Except that I'm not reading a book right now.
Apart from TV, books, magazines, blogs and Facebook, one of my favourite forms of entertainment is sitting on a couch with my belly exposed, watching it move and wriggle. It's a surreal form of entertainment, and I'm hardly thinking about the fact that it's MY belly. I'm just completely absorbed in waiting and watching for the next twitch and jiggle.
Hubby finds it entertaining to watch me entertaining myself this way. But sometimes he's also sitting next to me, exclaiming excitedly along with me every time we see or feel another pop.
There are actually different variations of movements. I was curious to know what on earth the little man inside was up to each time he came up with something new. I came across this article which outlines the different…

Deciding where to set up the cot

More baby shopping this weekend.This weekend’s task centred around assembling this…Hubby’s comment as he assembled the cot: “It’s really dawning on me that we’re having a baby!”So for me it took sorting through baby clothes, and for hubs it took assembling baby furniture and equipment.We are kind of still debating whether to set the cot up in our room, or establish a separate nursery room. We’ve been hearing pros and cons of both options from various people:Those voting for having the cot in the same room insist on the benefits of easy access to baby and convenience, especially for night feeds. Those on the other side of the fence are adamant that it’s better to establish a separate nursery from the start to avoid the difficulties and drama of transitioning to a nursery later on.Both sides of the argument seem valid, but we’re still working out which option is for us.

Doings and eats

Last week I went a bit hiatus because I had some special guests: my dear mummy and daddy who came to spot check the progress of my pregnancy.I was pampered by plenty of home cooked food and goodies such as…Home-made ‘ham ching piang’ and ‘tau sar piang’And fried Chinese radish cake (chai tau kueh)In turn they also had the privilege to enjoy yummy outside eats like:Brunch at the Fig Tree CafeAll you can eat Korean BBQ And chocolate fondue at the Chocolate Factory in Swan ValleyOur poor neglected garden also saw some action during that very productive week. I don’t have any photos of the hardworking gardeners so have to wait until my dad posts them up.(Mum, don’t worry about the beetroot… MH has been faithfully watering them and so far they look promising. Will put up the photo evidence soon!)Baby must have been super happy enjoying this wide variety of different tastes and food all throughout the week. Plus mum left our fridge well stocked with plenty of mooncake, ginger, ikan billis a…

Embracing the new normal

These days the latest news is all about engagements, weddings and babies. Talk of exams, universities and graduations belongs to a different set now. We are growing up! I was sorting out baby clothes given by a friend over the weekend, and as I was folding up the teeny tiny shirts, pants and onesies... it started to really hit me hard "I am having a boy... my goodness a BOY!!!". The thought of being a mummy to a little boy is still something I'm learning to comprehend. Sometimes in my illogical moments, I wonder to myself "Can I really be pregnant? Maybe it's all in my head and I'm just going through a fat phase". Of course with my burgeoning belly, this sort of illogical thinking is becoming increasingly easier for my mind to discard. An old childhood friend of mine recently became a father to a baby girl. Heaps of congratulatory messages were flying all over Facebook following the official photo release. I paused over an especially artistic photo of h…

Recent reads

After polishing the last book off my reading plate, I was ready to dive in for more of Han Suyin.I hunted this book up at the library… and can I just say how great the library system is here? when I requested the book on the online book search, it said they did not have it but offered the option to place a suggestion on their purchase list. A few weeks later, I received a notification that the book was now available!This story was so different from the other one I read by the same author. I was really keen to read this one after learning about the author’s history of how she had to leave Hong Kong and relocate to Singapore. This story revolved around the British colonial period and Malayan Emergency of the 1940s and 1950s.At the same time with the circus and drama going on in the Malaysian political scene, with old grievances being dragged from the grave and finger pointing games… the historical setting in the book really added some context and background to everything that was happen…

Of french toast and pillow talk

One of the times I look forward to the most every week is Saturday mornings. Not just because I don’t have to go to work, but it’s generally the time hubby and I have our ‘just us’ time.On Saturday mornings, instead of being jarred awake at the sound of the alarm before groggily reaching over to the bedside table to switch it off, my body clock nudges me awake gently and I let my eyes peek open to the glorious feeling of being able to snuggle under the covers as long as I want to. Then hubby and I exchange good mornings before we share some pillow talk… simply lying back in bed and just talking.Sometimes we talk about ‘important’ stuff like about the changes that will happen when little boy blue arrives or things we need to get done around the house or career plans; sometimes it’s very deep and chim stuff like our thoughts on a sermon we heard, a book ‘we’ (read: I) read; or casual stuff like something we chatted about to someone we bumped into or a funny joke we heard, a movie we wat…

23 weeks

About time for a pregnancy update. I’m about 23 weeks along. Bump is definitely getting more pronounced and really feeling the stretch.At 23 weeks baby is about 30cm long (head to toe) and weighs about 500g. Here’s a recent scan from a couple weeks back. Proof of baby’s blue status indicated by the arrow (courtesy of the ultrasound technician).

Hubs cooks!

One of the frequent comments made to hubby following a Q&A session on how I’m doing is something along the lines of…“Are you looking after Serene?”“Make sure you pamper her lots and lots!”“Remember, lots of back rubs, foot rubs, any kind of rub”So here is evidence of hubby’s efforts to looking after me. Yes folks, my hubby can cook!Fried noodles… and it was yummy!Muaks, hon!

The answer is…

In response to the question at the end of this post

First flutterings

I’m just about at the halfway mark. 20 weeks down, about 20 more weeks to go.Incidentally, I never used to get this whole tracking in terms of weeks thing. Every time I used to ask a preggy friend how far along she was, and she would say such and such number of weeks, I’d automatically convert it in my head and likely respond with “oh, so that would be about such and such number of months?”.Sometimes I used to wonder “why not just say it in months?”. But now here I am doing the exact same thing. Apparently it’s some kind of pregnancy lingo thing, probably picked up along the way from all the doctor/midwife speak, reading pregnancy articles and talking to other friends who’ve been pregnant before. On top of that, after the first month or so, you realise what a snail’s pace you’d be moving at if you have to wait a whole month before you can tick off another milestone. I get it now.I felt my first jiggle about a week ago. It was hard to tell at first as it was so faint that I thought may…

Bumpy or dumpy?

So here is the long overdue pic of ‘The Bump’… or maybe I should say ‘The Carrier of The Bump’.I was in two minds of posting this up, because the first thought that came to my mind was “haiyooo… how fat am I???” But then the other voice in my head remarked how fatness was such a silly cliché thing for a pregnant woman to think/say... furthermore hubby has been unfailing in his counter-fat assurances that I feel safe enough to reveal myself in all my bumpy (and slightly dumpy) glory.

Pregnancy FAQs

So after going public, I’ve been receiving a few more congratulatory messages, both online and offline.As usual there’s the gush of congratulations/hugs/pats/smiles… a quick admiring glance at my belly, followed by the usual mini Q&A session… which I really don’t mind, it’s all part of the whole sharing and caring.So since this is a space to journal and communicate, I present to you my pregnancy FAQs:How far along are you?
As of today, I am 17 weeks and 4 days along.When are you due?
December 26th (yes I know, I know… it will be my big Christmas present this year)Any morning sickness?
Yes sort of, mainly in the first 3 months, but it was more like evening sickness and sometimes all-day-long sickness. But I’m feeling better now.Any food cravings?
Not really. I pretty much eat anything. I do miss my variety of soft cheeses and cold cuts, though.Any food/smell aversions?
I did feel a bit queasy in the early stages, but not specifically related to a particular food. I am currently more sen…

The verdict is out

So the verdict is out… here is the little culprit that has been behind my inconsistent blog posts for the past can’t remember how long.(ultrasound at 13 weeks)We’ve told quite a few people verbally already, so no harm throwing it out open here as well I guess.I started out with trying to journal my thoughts on what’s been happening, but then everything sort of faded away when I started to have to deal with real issues like morning sickness (in my case it was evening sickness and sometimes all-day-long sickness), tiredness and juggling with an enormous workload at the office during that time.So until I gather my thoughts on what is happening now, here is the backlog from my journal to fill in the gap for now.18th April: Feeling a discomfort in my breasts which has been persisting for a few days. I have been having suspicions and flickers of hope but held off as long as possible in case I am disappointed yet again. But I can’t help complaining of the discomfort. Hubby casually remarks a…

Idiot proof tau foo fah

I haven’t posted anything on my cooking escapades lately.So here’s another one of those yummy and supposedly difficult to prepare traditional Malaysian/Singaporean delicacies, using the idiot-proof method to make.Presenting….home made tau foo fah (the cheat version)Start with a carton of plain soy milk. You can also use the sweet soy milk from the Asian groceries if you like the added sweetness, but authentic tau foo fah is supposed to be plain with the sweetness coming from the syrup.Pour your desired amount into a saucepan and heat it up gently.Now for the secret ingredient… agar-agar powder! I added about a teaspoon to about 500ml of soy milk. I’m not sure if it is the same for all types of agar-agar powder. But the idea is to make the soy milk set to a slightly wobbly consistency… not too firm and jelly-like.Ensure the agar-agar powder is completely dissolved then turn off the heat and set aside to let it set.When serving it, just scoop off thin layers, just like the way real tau …

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