Friday, July 30
Thursday, July 29
Fried udon is always a fast and delicious meal! I have blogged about my fried udon bento a few times so I shall not repeat my recipe over here.
Wednesday, July 28
Cut away the crust and butter one side of the bread. I put them on a panini toaster till golden brown, then I turned over and toasted them slightly on the other side. Lightly butter the second side. Put in your ham and cheese, then sprinkle with garlic salt.
Voila! They tasted exactly like those from Toast Box!!
Clement's comment: I love this bento!! May I have this everyday?
Angie's reply: No, dear. You have to continue to be my lab mouse. I need to try new recipes.
Tuesday, July 27
Monday, July 26
A simpler one for my colleague. Not enough space for more fruits.
An ultra simple one for me, with no chicken. I am not on a diet. It's just that I am having loads and loads of problems with my teeth lately. All my upper molars are failing on me despite my effort to brush and floss every day. I'm not able to eat well and I am scheduled to visit an endodontic clinic this Thursday. Sigh. Life isn't fair. Just like the 3 bentos here.
Sunday, July 25
Flag off was at 7am for the 10km category. HappyPig and I met at 6.05am at Golden Mile Complex. By the time we walked over to Nicoll Highway, found out where to deposit our bags, made a trip to the toilet... it's about 6.40am. Just nice for some pictures before the start of the race!
We queued up for more than 30mins to get our goodie bag. Not much goodie inside, so dissappointing. And we felt that the Tshirt this year looked quite cheapo compared to the previous years'. See the orange tag attached to our shoes? It's our timing device. We'll be informed of our timing at a later date.
Besides the nice scenery along Kallang, what kept me amused during the race was the huge number of hubbies/ boyfriends who came to support their better half in the race! They were armed with cameras (from DSLR with those big big zoom lens you saw in World Cup to handphone cameras) and were everywhere along the route to capture pictures. 1 man who wore a thsirt that says "Finisher of 42.129km" even ran to offer his partner a Gatorade at the 7km mark! Didn't he know that there were at least 4 hydration points along the road? See, so much happening during the jog. It really kept me very amused and entertained.
Clement told me I should aim to beat this timing during our upcoming SAFRA run (aka Amry Half Marathon... I'm just doing 10km, lah). Wah~~ quite challenging leh. I felt that I had put in my best already. Let's train harder and see if I can break my own record.
Saturday, July 24
Jaimie is no stranger to a fire station. As far as I can remember, this might be her 4th visit to a fire station! Twice at Central Fire Station, once at Bishan and once at Jurong. She knew what to expect but she was as excited as a child who's having her first visit.
Her favourite gor-gor, Ayden, had brought along his camera too!
The highlight of the trip was always to go up on the Combined Platform Ladder, aka CPL. It can go up to 8 storey high and rotates 360 deg.
After spending about 2 hours in the firestation, we crossed over to Funan and had lunch at QiJi Popiah, one of our favourite eateries. Jaimie recently learned to twirl her noodles round the fork. Her fine motor skill has always been slower in development than her gross motor skills. We are quite happy that she can do this! Oh, for the record, Jaimie has learnt to put on her own tshirt recently too! And she'll insist on changing into her own pjyamas by herself every night. I am so proud of her~ :D
Friday, July 23
I prepared the ingredients and soaked the rice but only realised I wasn't well enough to go to work this morning. Nonetheless, since I couldn't get any sleep last night, I might as well make the bento.
Onigiri with tuna filling tastes good but I suspect it is the reason why my onirigi threatens to crack up! It doesn't stick on as well as the other onigiri I have made. Seriously, 3 onigiri is too much for a bento. 1 should be enough.
I shall share my post and the video here too then.
大约4-5分钟后，她的爸爸去化解。这是我们的管教孩子模式。我们一个人做坏人，另外一个在孩子接受处罚后就做好人，给孩子解释和安慰。媛媛似乎明白了她的错，一直跟她的爸爸道歉。媛媛也按照我们的惯例，过来跟我道歉。但是，我觉得我要告诉她撒谎的严重性，也不要让她以为每次做错事道歉就可以了事。我跟她说：“I am still very angry with you!”媛媛又哭着跑开了。虽然心疼，但是仍要硬起心肠。
Wednesday, July 21
If you notice, I didn't post any bento post for the past 2 days. That is because I was frantically trying to finish a loaf of bread for the past 2 days. Plus a slab of yam cake my brother bought for me. How come I am still eating bread today after having them for breakfast and lunch for the past 2 days? Because... I couldn't resist when the promoter of sunshine bread shoved a loaf of white bread and a pack of 4 hotdog buns into my hands and said "Buy one get one FREE!"
FREE!!! Must buy!!! Good bargain!! I was reading "Confessions of a Shopaholic" last week. I could TOTALLY empathise they way Rebecca Bloomwood justify her purchases.
Anyway, I chin-chai packed this bento. Clement is on a healthy diet (if you still recall our motto for this half of the year) so he gets more cherries instead of the panda chocolate my colleagues get. The bun will probably taste nicer if I had put butter or mayonnaise but I opted for a healthier choice by not to put any of those. Come to think of it, some Ritz biscuits crumbs as topping should be nice! Shall do that the next time.
Tip for fellow bento-making friends -- it is always good to stock up some cute biscuits or chocolates in your cabinate as they are the simpliest way to fill up the empty spaces in your bento.
Tuesday, July 20
Friday, July 16
Here's the ingredient: parmesan cheese
here's the method: put small heaps of cheese on the baking tray. Bake for about 7 mins at 180deg.
Trust me, it's idiot proof.
Thursday, July 15
I was in the library yesterday looking at the recipe books on the shelves. Then I saw a recipe on making mushroom cream sauce. I put back the book after I read the ingredients needed because no way I am going to buy a bottle of white wine and some other stuff just to cook the pasta sauce. Surely there must be an alternative for a lazy bum like me!
So, I fell back on my trusty campbell soup. I browned the garlic, pan fried the shiitake mushrooms and jalapeno threw in some sotong balls (I was lazy to buy chicken fillets), added a little oyster sauce and maggie chicken stock concentrate before I poured in the button mushroom, plus the mushroom and potato soup from Campbell. Then I poured a campbell soup can of water and let it simmer for a while while stirring constantly.
I used bento boxes which allow me to separate my improvised mushroom sauce and the macaroni so that they do not turn soggy even when eaten during lunch time.
Half a packet of macaroni, 6 sotong balls, 1 yellow jalapeno, 1 red jalapeno, 1 small can of button mushroom, 8-10 shiikate mushrooms feed 4 adults and 1 bird. Err.. yes, one of my colleagues, Jennifer, eats like a bird. All of them commented that the food was very tasty! Well, you can never go very wrong with campbell soup!
Wednesday, July 14
There is nothing like an inquisitive child to make you realize just how complicated the topic of money is. That’s what I ended up thinking after my 4-year-old daughter a few weeks ago stomped her feet, turned red and demanded to know why we did not own a summer house.
It might have been funny if it hadn’t totally knocked the wind out of me. My wife handled it better, noting that if we had spent money on a second home, our daughter wouldn’t have been able to go to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival this year or on a beach vacation. My wife also pointed out that it was generous of our friends to share their weekend home.
But it reminds me that while it may be possible to dodge the subject of money in polite adult company, there is no denying children and their often relentless follow-ups. Children ask tough questions — whether their families are rich, why they can’t have an iPod Touch like their friends do. So below you’ll find an introduction to five of the most difficult questions.
There are many more where these came from, and we’ll be discussing them one by one in a series of posts on our Bucks blog this weekend and for the rest of the month. Please join us there to improve upon anything you see below or to suggest new questions.
HOUSEHOLD INCOME How much money do you make? As with any financial question, your first response ought to be, “What made you think of that?”
Your children may not be looking for a number, especially if they’re young and have no context for five- or six-digit figures. They may just be worried about running out of money or wondering why you don’t live in a mansion.
Also, asking the nature of the inquiry gives you time to compose yourself if you’re rendered speechless or haven’t prepared for this query.
Brent Kessel, a financial planner in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and the author of “It’s Not About the Money,” says he believes that most questions about salary spring from the schoolyard. “There is so much comparison going on there,” he said. “Who is best looking? Who is most popular? And money just plugs right into that system. Who has the richest parents?”
He has not yet answered his oldest child’s question directly. Why not? “The honest answer is my own fear about my son sharing it with his friends and it creating pain for them or emotional shame for their parents,” he said. “Why is Brent telling my kid that he makes that much? Does Brent’s ego really need to rub it in?”
Indeed, the problem with disclosure in this context is that many younger children will immediately tell someone (or everyone). And the automatic social reflex is often a flash of shame among people who hear the number and make less, Mr. Kessel noted, or arrogance among those who make more. Who truly wants to put others in either situation?
If older children persist with their questioning, try instead to use this as a lesson in budgeting. Gary Shor, a financial planner with the American Economic Planning Group in Watchung, N.J., breaks down household expenses like mortgage payments, electricity and food costs. He and his wife help their children add other discretionary items to the list.
“They then get a sense of how much income someone needs to support this lifestyle,” he said. “We then discuss occupations that bring in that kind of income and the path to that career.”
A RICH LIFE Questions about income are often about something larger: Are we rich? But younger children are often merely trying to figure out a definition of the term. So you could start by suggesting one, reminding your children that they are rich if their family loves them and that they are better off in many ways than much of the world’s population.
This may not work as well for teenagers, who care mostly about whether they have as much stuff as their friends. Susan Beacham, who lives in Lake Forest, Ill., and runs the educational company for children Money Savvy Generation, invited her 16-year-old daughter to sit in on a financial planning meeting with her and her husband.
And her daughter’s observation at the end of that first meeting? “She said she learned that if you want to live it up later, you can’t really live it up now,” she said. In other words, if you want to be rich one day, you may have to sacrifice now.
THE MOST TOYS Younger children, however, may not grasp the idea of delayed gratification when asking why the family doesn’t have a second car or take nicer vacations.
Jonathan Katz, a father of five in Clayton, Mo., answers simply: the family is saving money so the children won’t have to borrow to pay for college. “They seem to accept this, perhaps because it tells them they are the beneficiaries,” he said.
Given a particular request to return to a beloved but expensive vacation spot, David Blackburn of Montclair, N.J., stole a lesson from kindergarten class, where his son had been learning about bar charts.
The two sat down and sketched out some things the boy was familiar with, including one week’s allowance ($1.25), a Lego set ($20) and sushi for the family ($60). But a night for four at the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, N.Y., was so expensive that it required a few extra pieces of paper to graph it in proportion. “His eyes got big,” Mr. Blackburn said. “And he asked a lot less about going to Mohonk.”
CUTTING BACK When families must make do with less, children may not be able to grasp the bigger picture, or they may be frightened by it.
So how best to handle it when they ask why they can’t do things or go to places that they could just a few months ago? “Money is very abstract to kids, and you have to make it concrete,” said Ms. Beacham. “Yes, mom lost her job, but it doesn’t mean we won’t have groceries. It may mean we won’t eat out.”
With older children, you might involve them, letting them choose where to scale back or asking for help planning a vacation that costs half of last year’s. “A lot of parents just try to take care of it for them,” Ms. Beacham said, simply making arrangements without consulting the children or explaining the decisions.
THAT SUMMER HOME While my wife and I managed to placate our daughter, those of you who own second homes may be faced with far more complicated questions from older children.
Doug Garr, who lives in Manhattan, said that once his son was old enough to understand that the family had two homes, his son suggested giving one to a homeless person. “His logic was sound,” Mr. Garr recalled. “Why should we live in two homes when so many live in none? I had no answer for that one.”
Or your child may wonder why you have twice the home you need. Kevin Salwen and his wife were so taken by their daughter’s conviction in this particular matter that their family of four decided to sell their 6,500-square-foot home. They bought a new one less than half the size and are giving away about $850,000, more than the price difference between the homes.
And what if your child gets an idea like that? If you’re not ready to uproot, encourage them to think of other things they can give. “We never encourage anybody to sell their house,” said Mr. Salwen, who wrote a book with his daughter called “The Power of Half” about the family’s experience. “That was just the thing that we had more than enough of. For others it may be time, or lattes or iTunes downloads or clothes in their closet. But everyone has more than enough of something.”
Tuesday, July 13
Here they are!
Spanish flag, soccer ball, soccer field and Paul the Octopus!!
Monday, July 12
I was woken by my alarm clock, all excited and ready to watch my FIRST 2010 World Cup match, which was also the FINAL match between Spain and Holland.
When the clock started to tick for both teams, I went to the kitchen to cook maggie mee and added 4 sotong balls each for myself and Clement. After a satisfying supper and watching almost every player on the field getting a yellow card, I decided that I should use the time to do my laundry.
From the look of the game, I thought most likely it would be a penalty shootout. I went into the kitchen again to prepare my bentos. It takes quite some time to mould the rice and put on the facial features. Occasionally, I would pop my head to watch for 1min or 2. Final minutes. Still no goal. Good. I shall continue with the bento making, wait for the penalty shootout before I go back to the TV again.
"GGGGOOOAAAALLLL!!!!!!!" Clement shouted.
"DAMN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" I shouted.
I just missed the ONLY goal in the ONLY match I watched in 2010 World Cup!!!
Ole, ole ole ole, ole, ole..... I am the champion!!!!!!!~~~T.T
Lesson learnt: (1) When watching soccer, pretend that I am a male and do not multitask (thank you, Wolfgirl, for this very important lesson) (2)My name is not Paul.
I must have been punished for eating Paul's cousins for supper.
The consolation is, I think the bentos are nice.
Saturday, July 10
If it is just dressing up it won't be meaningful. So I thought we can have a "Chinese drama session". I planned to have it in 2 parts. Part 1 will be me reading them a random story. Part 2 will be acting out a script I wrote.
I had it all planned out. Wolfgirl will be the Big Bad Wolf who finds the prince and princesses too noisy so she threatens to throw away their favourite toys. The children will beg her to give them back their toys and she agrees, on the condition that they have to learn some Chinese words from the beautiful fairy (yours truly). Then, they have to return to the wolf to answer her questions and pick the right words in order to save their toys. The other mommies and daddies will be the supporting actors and actresses.
Wonderful script and idea, ya?
See, I even made the necessary props. And we had a quick rehearsal with the adults before the session began.
The children were very happy to dress up. Here are the Royal Princesses.
The Royal Prince and his family.
Part one went on quite smoothly. The children participated actively and responded well.
However, my brilliant script for part 2 totally backfired. I told them the story before getting them to act out and everybody was agreeable. When the acting began, Rain was the first to burst into tears because her mommy turned into a Big Bad Wolf. I changed my cast immediately and assigned Chai San to be the bad wolf. Then, it was Cherrlyn's turn to cry. She was close to crying when she saw Chai San showing his teeth and clutching his fingers but she bravely held her tears back for a moment. When the Big Bad Wolf took away their favourite toy (they were asked to bring along their favourite toy to the party), Cherrlyn and Jaimie couldn't take it anymore. They all cried pitifully and Prince Ezra was affected too. Oh gosh! I thought my script was rated G but it seems like even with PG, it was too bloody for them! I must have written a M18 story without knowing it!!! This was DRAMA!!! I threw away the script and improvised the entire activity on the spot. Luckily I have 14 years of teaching experience to back me up to deal with such situations. In the end, everybody was satisfied, happy and learnt something (I hope!).
See the picture below. Uneasiness was written all over Jaimie's face when I was telling the story of the Big Bad Wolf taking away their favourite toys.
Dinner time!! We catered from Yum Cha Express again and we had a good time chatting, solving the disputes among the Royal Princesses and playing Wii.