Thursday, April 27, 2017

Peacock



#397
This was one of the prettiest peacock I ever made. It has become more difficult to prepare a karaben nowadays due to lesser or no bento made for the boy at all. However, I had the opportunity to do so for the month of April because my boy was selected to attend 5 lessons of Science Olympiad after school hours.  He requested me to bring lunch for him.  And I did for the past weeks.  But I realized my bento-ing skill has become rusty and was not able to create a presentable one. As usual, I asked him what would he like to eat for his lunch the night before.   Then I kept on suggesting some of his favourite food which came to my mind until my boy stopped me.  Unexpectedly, his reply was "Don't tell me, I like surprises!"  Feeling motivated and encouraged, I was in such a high spirit making his bento that my creation simply at its best.  The peacock is made of thinly sliced (Chinese) flat fish cake, patterned nori/corn kernels with a drop of ketchup (for its feather), carrot (for its beak)  and tiny broccoli floret (for its crown). 

In his lunchbox, he has :-

Fried mee hoon with cabbage, carrot and fishcake
Pan-fried gyoza (homemade)
Boiled broccoli


A happy belly, a happy boy!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Bayleef Pokemon Birthday Party

The boy turned 9 years two weeks ago. He is taller and bigger each year. And heavier too! (on the chubby side).  As a Primary 3 student, he has lots more homework to cope with.  Initially, he was stressed over Chinese spelling in Term 1 but has since overcome it.  Now, he is working hard to hone his composition writing skills, both in English and Chinese. His effort did pay off and I have seen improvement in his composition writing.  He hardly have time to play on weekdays due to the fact that he can take up hours to complete his daily homework (a slow writer, his grandma can attest to it) and additional badminton training.  As the saying goes, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.  I decided to declare one Friday 'free of homework' to celebrate his birthday with his schoolmates after school. 

Pokemon is his favourite cartoon character since the hype over Pokemon Go game which has taken the world by storm last year.  His interest remains strong till now.  And he has also been drawing the pokemon characters during his free time and sharing his masterpieces with his classmates.  Needless to say,  his mini birthday party, is all about Pokemon.  And he chose Bayleef - a grass pokemon species, for his special day.

I found a great site where I printed the Pokeball birthday banner and also the bayleef pokemon iwhich I made for the caketopper as well as for the decorations. Also, I splurged a bit more than last year on a few helium balloons.  Since last year, I have delegated the tasks of the planning of goodie bags and party games to the boy.  And it would continue as long as he liked it.   He used his savings and bought a capsule balls that contained a pokemon from a provision shop.  Packed in a brown bag together with some biscuits.  Wrote a thank you note and drew some of his favourite pokemons on colourful post-it paper which he pasted on the goodie bag.   Papa bought him a large Tri-strike nerf gun for his birthday present at his request.  Naturally, the party game, of course, none other than nerf gun shooting game.  The boys has a blast with Papa who made it in time home to celebrate their birthdays together.  (Father's birthday was one day later).


Pokeball birthday banner

Bayleef pokemon
cake topper

Some plastic cups to shoot!
Goodie bags on each side




We had an eggless mango cake which I purchased from Emicakes shop.  Why eggless?  He was told that one of his classmate, Mun Xun's little brother is allegic to eggs and walnuts.  Hence, he decided to forgo his standard chocolate cake and opt for an eggless one.  I was heartened that he has such a big heart at this tender age. 



I was also grateful to his best friend, Shawn's mummy, who baked these lovely chocolate cupcake for his birthday.  He was truly blessed!



A family photo

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Camping in New South Wales Australia, December 2016 (Part 1)

Australia has been destined as our camping trip for our family holiday for many years. This time, we travelled to New South Wales, Australia during the year end school holidays 2016. To accommodate our family of three comfortably, we upgraded to a bigger tent.

The route covered Blue Mountain, Hunter Valley, Port Stephens and Sydney. We did not pitch a tent on the last leg of the itinerary which was in Sydney city. Instead, we put up at the Market Street Hotel which was near to the train station for the convenience and ease of travelling downtown.
It was summer during December.  We planned our 14 days itinerary from 27 Nov 2016 to 10 December 2016 so that it would not coincide with Australian kids school holidays which commenced from mid December 2016 onwards. We spent 4 nights in Katoomba, 2 nights in Hunter Valley, 3 nights Port Stephens 4 nights in Sydney.  This trip was supposed to cover some nature trails and at the same time, satisfy Papa's desire to catch 'Kangaskhan' (Pokémon) there.

Katoomba (Blue Mountain) - Scenic World - Wentworth Falls
It was around 4.10pm when we touched down at Sydney International airport after a frustrating delays of our flight with Scoot, not once but twice!  It was our maiden flight with Scoot Dreamliner and the last flight probably:((  Although Papa got the business class seats for us which was super spacious, lots of leg room and able to recline comfortably, I have difficulty in getting a good sleep onboard.  Because of the delay, we were caught in a traffice jam on the highway heading to Katoomba. There was a light drizzle and mist as we approached Katoomba.  Katoomba is a town close to the stunning attractions of Blue Mountains and many more.  Our tent site was located at Katoomba Falls Tourist Park which was walking distance to the famous Three Sisters, Scenic World Skyway and Katoomba town.  It was cold, wet and misty as we pitched our tent at night.  Temper flared as our clumsy son attempted to help Papa.  I was irritated by Papa's body language and harch words used towards a child. My son was being elbowed, pushed away and demanded to get out of the way!  "Why did Papa push me?" he whispered softly.  Feeling hurt, my boy stepped aside and watched quietly till the father finished.  Stomach rumbled and the kid was famished.  We were lucky that Woolsworth supermarket opened till 10.00pm.  I was too tired to cook at the camp kitchen.  So, we ate instant noodles we bought from the supermarket.  For the first time, I fed my kid with instant noodle.  "So yummy!" he commented as he wolfed down the cup noodles. We quickly changed into clean clothes after a nice warm shower and snuggled into our tent, wrapped ourselves with down feathers sleeping bag.  Temperature fell to 14 degree celsius outside the tent.  The cold crisp air sent us to dreamland almost immediately. 

Reading corner at the Camp kitchen




Scenic World
We were grateful for Papa to have the tent pitched despite his obnoxious mannerism.  We woke up fresh and energetic after a restful night.  And we ventured out to the famous Scenic World Skyway after a simple breakfast; bread spread with peanut butter and chia seeds.  Originally, it was a coal mine railway that carried tourists on weekends and holidays.  Till the Hammon family bought over and developed into the Scenic Skyway.  Getting around was easy.  First, we took the the famous giant skyway with a see through glass floor panel.   It was a breathtaking sight in the blue mountains surrounded by lush greenery.  The stunning Three Sisters was just magnificent where we could see it closer from the giant skyway.  Next, we rode the cableway as well as the steepest railway; a remnant of the the area's coal mining days.  The young boy loved the 'cliffhanger' thrill of the railway ride so much that we went back a few times. Then, we did the Giant Stairway trail from the Echo point.  Lots of steep stairs to climb but we were rewarded with fantastic view.  It was absolutely worth it!  We made it to the honeymoon bridge leading to the first Sister and did not go beyond because our legs began to wobble.











*********** Honeymoon Bridge ****************

Descending

Cross over
On the bridge

First Sister


Friday, March 31, 2017

Blossom

#356


How nice if I can fly to Taiwan or Japan to view the cherry blossom! It will be a wishful thing at the moment now.  Being a full time mum means I only get  my holidays the same time as my schooling kid which will only start at the end of May. By that time, the season is over.

This bento just resonates my sentiments.

Ingredients:
Baked salmon flakes on top of the rice
Boiled carrot flower
Tamagoyaki
Japanese cucumber
Edamame
Green grapes

My boy has requested for a packed lunch as two of his favourite food stalls in his school has closed.  That day, mommy waited patiently at the same school gate hoping to pass the lunch box to him.  But he did not turn up because silly boy has forgotten about it after school despite being reminded in the morning.   Well, it still ended up in his tummy as dinner later ;)


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Mandarin oranges

#355

Ingredients:
Salmon rice (onigiri)
Broccoli
Carrot
Steamed Gyoza
Tamagoyaki (with spring onion)
Steamed Pumpkin (placed bottom of Gyoza)

It was a luxury nowadays if I ever made a bento for him.  And he still loves it. The salmon onigiri was supposed to shape like a pair of mandarin oranges but looked odd.   I should have used tomato sauce instead for a deeper colour.  It was mandatory in our Chinese culture to bring a couple of mandarin oranges for house to house visit. 



My boy drew a family portrait using Chinese New Year as the theme.    His inspiration came from his experience with the sight and sound of firecrackers and fireworks in Malaysia. Amazingly, he even concluded that Mummy has a round face and Papa got an inverted triangle face.  As for himself, how about making a guess?  Other details he sketched like Papa was holding ancient Chinese gold nuggets, Mummy with the mandarin oranges and the boy has a handful of red packets.  Absolutely adore this picture !

We wish everyone 恭喜发财 Gong Xi Fa Cai and a prosperous year!



Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Saturday, February 4, 2017

A Roo-nar New Year 2017

We flew back to Malaysia last Friday for reunion and Chinese New Year celebrations over the weekends from 27th to 30th January 2017.  Although it was short trip, we were excited especially my boy because we would be staying at his 3rd Uncle's house and he was expecting fireworks and fire crackers to play in Papa's hometown.  He missed it last year 2017 because we put up in Eastin hotel, Penang and my boy was quite disappointed.   Like a eager beaver, he was looking forward to Malaysia trip.  Nothing beats the feeling of being back at 'home'.

For the first time, my P3 boy would skip the celebration in his school because the eve of Chinese New Year happened to be on a Friday which means children supposed to go to school.  And he was more than happier not to attend school.  Yeah, he began to feel the pressure from loads of homework given daily and has not been able to enjoy schooling since.  On top of which, he has to go for extra badminton training twice a week because he was selected for the school team.  By the time, he finished his training, reached home and cleaned up, he was dog-tired and would head straight for an hour of nap.  There was a day, he only managed to complete his Chinese composition close to 11pm.  It was way way past his normal bedtime which I set at 9.30pm. I am not sure if he could persevere.  In spite of the tiredness, he is pretty firm on his decision to be part of the school team. I hope he could cope better in the later part of the school term.

Since he started his primary school, it was a tradition to bring lanterns that made from Angbo paper (red packets) to decorate his classroom during the festive season.  We made two ancient coin lantern. It looked like a numeric 8 which symbolised wealth and lucky number in our Chinese culture.  We upcycle last year's lantern and decked it out in our living room.  Since it was the year of Rooster according to Chinese Zodiac, it became a yearly affair that we bought a pair of fowls (picture) to welcome the new year!
 




I baked some pineapple tarts this year using receipe from the Noobcook together with my son.  It was my first attempt.  The tarts were crumbly and buttery, almost biscuit like instead of the melt-in-your-mouth type. Also, I did not prepare the pineapple paste.  Instead I bought the premium from Bake King which it did not taste so sweet but lacked the 'oomph'.  The overall taste was not bad but pale in comparision with those really good home baked pineapple tarts which they cooked their own pineapple paste from scratch.   My boy, the Mr Nice Guy, however, thought that mine was nice and even commented "I prefer Mummy's pineapple tarts.".  It warmed my heart but I knew he was not telling the truth.