Saturday, May 30, 2009

Elevator escapade

So, last night, Claire, Eva and I were getting into the elevator, on the way to pick Annie up from her school concert rehearsal. There was a man inside, wearing a funky striped blazer and carrying a rather feminine sling bag. He was very obviously wearing cologne.

Claire: Eww... what's that smell?
Eva: So smelly...

Mum- debating on whether to tell them it's air freshener so they'll shut up, yet not wanting to offend the man by insulting his taste in cologne...)

Too late..

It's perfume I think.
Eva: Or powder maybe?

So there I was trying to slink into a corner and blend in with the mirrors...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Essay competition

Annie was ecstatic that she got second place for her class' essay competition. She proudly showed me her masterpiece displayed on the school notice board yesterday.

Here's the essay:

My Unforgettable Day by Annie Ng

Last Easter, I went to my cousin's house to make Easter Eggs for the children in the church. On that day, we helped our mothers to boil the eggs. Even our younger brother and sisters also helped us. We had fun time together. We boiled 390 eggs altogether. Later, we painted the eggs.

The first step was using candles to draw the eggs. The second step was to put vinegar into the colouring. We gently put dipped the eggs in the food colouring. After a few minutes, the shell of the egg will turn into the colour where we dipped the eggs. We also wrapped some sweets for the children.

When we were at the church, we gave out our eggs and sweets to the children. When the children got them, they were so happy. I felt very proud of myself. That is why I never forget this day.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Another man's treasure...

This is a corner of our kitchen. Recently, I noticed there was something tucked away behind the refrigerator. I went to investigate and this is what I saw.

Apparently, Claire has been squirreling away her 'treasures' and hiding them in her new 'secret hiding place'. Our maid told me she had already been given stern instructions not to disturb her belongings.

Lately, Claire has been frequently complaining that she always had trouble finding her things and was very frustrated. It seems that she has found a solution to her problem, all by herself! Now I can remember her saying something about a secret hiding place, but as usual I wasn't paying close attention to her ramblings! :)

Her treasures include an RM1 note, Barbie Doll stickers, a bottle of Goofy hand sanitizer, a bracelet Grandma got from Greece, a watch and balloons! Her collection is growing everyday, with the most recent addition being a yo yo.

It's so amusing to see a child's simple treasures. Their innocence is a welcome breath of fresh air in this corrupted adult world of ours.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Annie's actual birthday

Annie's actual birthday was on Wednesday, 20th May. So I just bought her a simple cake to share with her squash mates at Sarawak Club since she was having training that evening.

Last night I was also busy making Allyson's birthday cake for tonight's party (the month of May is overflowing with birthdays). It was a last minute 'commission', so I didn't have time to use fondant and used cream instead. I tried a new chocolate mud cake recipe which turned out quite yummy, with chocolate truffle filling. I'm still in sore need of practice for my icing-piping techniques though, but the overall result was satisfactory methinks. I still prefer the look of fondant.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Announcing the newest arrival...

ANNOUNCEMENT: Grandchild no.15 arrived yesterday morning!

Benedict (Latin for blessed) was born in Singapore, to very happy and excited parents! He was born on 20th May 2009, weighing 2.93kg, with a good set of strong lungs! So this means he has the same birthday as his cousin Annie!

Many congratulations to Mummy and Daddy! Enjoy your sleepless nights ahead... hehehe...

Welcome to the World, Baby Bennie! It's going to be a blast! :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Yay! I passed...

Sunday we went for another dive. I was down with a sore throat and flu, but I was determined to get the scuba diving open water exam over with. It's hard to equalize the pressure in your ears when diving if you have a blocked nose. So, I armed myself with an arsenal of pharmaceutical weapons:

The first one on the left is Clarinase, for flu, running nose and blocked nose. Second one is bacampicillin 400mg (antibiotics) for my upper respiratory tract infection (flu/ cough/ sore throat). Next is Novomin (dimenhydrinate) for motion sickness; I did get a bit sea sick during the last trip. The small bottle is a nasal spray to open up my nasal passages and the last one is Danzen, an enzyme to reduce the inflammation. I really wanted to dive.

We headed out to sea a bit late this time, because the boat was back late from another fishing trip. This time the visibility was great! It was much better than the week before. Even from the boat, you could see all the way down to the sea bed, which was around 9m deep! To me this is already amazing, since I haven't seen the other marvelous sites like Sipadan.

Anyway, my nose was pretty congested with greenish-yellow, gluey, gunk so I didn't make it on my first attempt. No matter how I blowed or swallowed, I couldn't unblock my right ear and had to go back up. So, I took more medication and sprayed more nasal spray, desperately, like a druggie...

By the afternoon, after lunch, my right ear was clearing up a bit. I told the instructor I wanted to try again and fortunately, I was able to equalize and go all the way down. This time, he told me to try removing my mask again and we did some sight-seeing. Before surfacing, I did the, "aaaah" trick. We have to surface while shouting, "aaaah", which is what you have to do if you run out of oxygen. This is necessary to remove excess air from the lungs so that you won't injure your lungs due to trapped air in your lungs expanding because of pressure difference. That make sense? Nevermind.

The important thing is; I passed!! Mua hahaha... Now I can get my PADI licence and go diving with hubby at Manado, Indonesia next month!! Hoorray!! I'm just a bit worried about leaving the kids for so long (7 nights)!

Anyway, we had a great trip on Sunday. We had fresh lobster sashimi on board and later had fresh steamed fish for dinner. Bro-in-law no.2 and 3 have also passed.

Sis no.2 and 3... to be continued...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Annie's 8th birthday party

We celebrated Annie's 8th birthday, Friday evening at our condominium poolside. She invited all her classmates and of course the cousins, aunties, uncles and grandparents. *There were also some uninvited children who, when they thought no one was looking, took a sausage or two each time they walked pass the buffet table. (hahaha.. yes!- *Sis no.2 just added that in)

I initially had in mind a few games for the kids to play. I had it all planned out: Simon Says, Balloon Blowing, Treasure Hunt, The Haha game, e.t.c... with prizes lined up for the respective winners. However, after the chaos of the first game, the Treasure Hunt, I decided to preserve my sanity and just let them loose at the pool instead! (which suited them just fine anyway)

We had pre-ordered some food from the cafe, and also barbecued some sausages, fish balls, chicken wings and lamb chops. Hubby was in charge of the grill; he has an affinity towards lighters, fire propellant and most flammables! :) I however, had the intricate job of managing the 20-30 odd frenzied kids and ensuring everyone stayed in one piece!

After the kids had expended some of their superfluous energy messing around in the pool, it was time to sing the Birthday Song and cut the cake. I made the cake myself, so I forgot to buy birthday candles, as they usually come along free with the cakes that you purchase. Sis no.2 saved the day and bought some cool sparkly candles which I stuck in along with the normal ones which dad brought. If we had used 8 of those sparkly ones, I think the cake might have melted into a puddle, if not bursting into flames first!

The party wound down and parents came to claim their offspring. Annie and cousins went upstairs to play and open her many presents! So the adults could finally relax a bit, have their dinner and chit chat in peace and glorious quiet.

I'm glad Annie and all the kids had a blast, and I'm 'even more gladder' that birthdays only come once a year!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Grey's Anatomy

This week, we saw our share of medical drama! On Thursday night, Sis no.2 called and frantically asked me to go over to her house. It was an emergency, her hubby had found their Indonesian maid unconscious on the floor of their outdoor wet kitchen! They could not get her to wake up and the ambulance was on the way! I was to go over to help look after the kids so she and hubby could go to the hospital.

So hubby, the kids and I (we were all at the supermarket shopping for bbq stuff for the next day's party), 'Formula 1'ed to Sis no.2's house.

When we got there, the ambulance had already left. The maid had regained consciousness before leaving for the hospital. Sis no.2 then said that actually her hubby could go to the hospital and she could stay at home with the kids, so there was really no need for us to be there! In her state of panic she wasn't thinking straight! :)

So anyway, we speculated that she might've slipped and fell and knocked her head then fainted, or, she could've fainted then fell, and knocked her head.

In the end, the doctors found no concussion, which means she never hit her head at all! Apparently, she was not feeling well and was running a fever. She was also having her menstrual period so most probably had postural hypotension and blacked out when she stood up too fast.

Anyway, at least it was nothing too serious! We were already imagining internal haemorrhages and the likes!

This reminds me of the time when our maid Mossy was in the garden, under the durian tree and a durian fell on her head! Talk about luck (or rather the lack of it?)! It sounds quite funny, like a comic strip scenario; 'durian dropping on head'! But it's actually really painful!! (you don't say...) She was dazed but fortunately conscious. There were thorns embedded in her scalp and Grandpa had to pick them out with a pair of tweezers!

After seeing the doctor, we observed her for 24 hours and luckily there was no vomitting, fever, severe pain or drowsiness. This means there was no internal bleeding. I guess the force of the dropping durian was distributed by the thorns, so it wasn't concentrated on one spot. That means the thorns were actually a blessing in disguise!

Anyway, the next day, i.e; yesterday morning. Another medical drama unfolded. At around 8:45am, my staff from the shop called to tell me that Nopian, my supervisor who has worked with me the longest, just had her water break! She was super pregnant, with her due date on 19th May.

So I told them to tell her to go to the hospital lah. It turned out that her husband was on a work-related field trip and could only get back at 11am and she had no other transport! So hubby and I, after sending kids to school, 'Formula 1'ed again to the shop to get her to the Sarawak General Hospital.

This morning, at 8am, she delivered a healthy baby boy. So, congratulations to her and her hubby! Hope she gets lots of well-deserved rest.

Boo hoo... I have no supervisor for 2 months! *sigh*

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


So, yesterday morning I went to The Spring shopping mall to get this:

and came back with these...

Eheh... allow me to explain.

At the supermarket, I avoided the cookies section... for obvious reasons, and made the wrong decision to walk down the baking aisle! The Betty Crocker cake and muffin mixes were going for RM7.50 which was very reasonable. I thought of all the time I could save using a mix instead of starting from scratch. I'll be making some muffins for Teacher's Day for the kids to bring to school, so I could now save money and save time! Wonderful! So I got 2 boxes each of choc chip muffins and banana walnut muffins and a box of carrot cake mix just because I like carrot cake.

See the boxes of pizza base mix? They were going for 99 sen! (expiring 12.05.09, but hey, worst is get diarrhoea... hahaha! Should be ok for a while kept in the fridge.) All you have to do is add water and it even comes with a packet of pizza sauce!! Enough said. (got 4 boxes for Sis no.2 as well!)

Alright, the clothes.

I was a bit early at the mall, and Ta Kiong, the supermarket was not yet open. So, I walked around and found (unfortunately for my credit card) that F.O.S. was...

I thought, you know, since I was there, I might as well look out for a new blouse for Annie to wear for her birthday party this Friday. Then I saw this pretty flowery number. It was only RM25. And guess what... Buy 1 Free 1!! So, of course I had to pick out another one... free ma! I picked the ribbony one for Claire.

So now, what about Eva? It wouldn't be fair to buy one for nos.1 and 2 and leave no.3 out. Right on the next rack was this gorgeous Mary Kate & Ashley blouse, just the right size for Eva, staring at me. Rm15. Buy lah... What to do?

Get this; RM10 for a pair of shorts and Buy 1 Free 1 also! Which means, RM5 each!! I get a high from good bargains! Moreover, I needed shorts for my diving trips. Who in the right mind wouldn't buy these?

Now we come to the 'splurge'. I have a 'Little Miss' t-shirt collection, so I just had to buy Little Miss Lucky simply because I don't have it!!! It wasn't on sale, RM33, so I only bought Little Miss Lucky, even though I saw a pink Little Miss Giggles, which I also do not have. That way I wouldn't feel so guilty for spending so much money. Hey, I sacrificed Little Miss Giggles okay? (but I have this sneaky feeling I'll be back for her sometime this week...)

This is part of my collection...

So, as you will no doubt agree with me now; I had totally no other choice whatsoever but to buy all these things!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother's day

Sunday was Mother's Day. I had a good lie in and woke up way past 10am. I was so knackered from diving the day before. I made an easy lunch (mee sua with chicken soup) and packed Annie off for her ballet class. After class, hubby and I brought kids 1, 2 and 3 to Hock Lee Centre to play the bumper cars and feed money into those impossible 'pick-a-toy' machines!

After that we went to Sis no.2's house and all the girls had fun hosing down the patio and taking an alfresco bath!

This is my Mother's Day bounty...

Annie bought me the paper rose from some kid in school for RM3. She was very excited that the girl had given her another one for 'free'. Then she added that the girl had instructed her to pay another RM3 on Monday! I had to explain to her that that meant it wasn't free, and she had most probably been conned into buying 2! :) She was rather disappointed, so I told her it was okay and she needed one to give to Grandma anyway.

So, since it was Mother's Day and we were entitled to not cook, Sis no.3 and I arranged for dinner at the condo's poolside cafe with dad. We had the deliciously fresh fishes that hubby 'caught' from the dive the day before.

This is the cake I made on Saturday night for the kids to bring to Grandma's house, for Mother's Day. It's my very first fondant cake. I had to wait till all the kids went to sleep before I could start working on it. Otherwise, they would all want to 'help' me (see below), and I wouldn't be able to get anything done. I only finished at around 1:30am. I think that was why I was so tired the next day, after the dive.

I made a chocolate brownie cake and iced and filled it with chocolate ganache. I made the fondant and tinted some of it yellow. Then I covered the cake with yellow fondant and made white daisies to stick on. There were some tears and holes, but you can't see them from this angle! Heheh.. clever me...

I'm a sucker for flowers as well and bought some carnations and lillies for mum-in-law and also for the altar at dad's house. Mum loved flowers too and always made sure there were flowers at the altar.

So, that was Mother's Day. Hope you all had a good one too!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Open sea dive

On Saturday, we went for our first open sea dive. Sis no.3, her hubby and me were going to be tested on our skills. Hubby came along too to do other 'stuff'. Sis no.2 chickened out and will join her hubby for the next round! :)

We left early for breakfast and started off for Lundu. It took 1 hour plus to reach the jetty. From there, we took a boat to an island off the coast. This took around another hour.

First we anchored near a small rock island which was basically just an underwater hill with it's tip jutting out. The first batch of students went down while the 3 of us snorkeled near the boat. The water wasn't very clear, so it was a bit creepy, swimming about in water too deep to see the bottom. As usual, my imagination went into overdrive... if I actually saw a fish then, I think I would have screamed!

Sis no.3 was already sea-sick from the boat ride and preferred to stay in the water as opposed to sitting in the rocking boat! I was too lazy to kick about in murky water with nothing to see. The reef bit with all the interesting stuff was quite far from the boat, so I just lazed on deck, waiting for our turn and wondering what we had gotten ourselves into!

By the time the first group was done, it was time for lunch. Yay! More excuses to stall time...

After lunch, we moved to another site, nearer the bigger island. By then, the visibility underwater had improved a bit. It still wasn't at it's best though. Now it was our turn! *eeek* So we just pretended to act cool and did as we were told.

BCD on, check air, flippers on, all clear?... back roll and "splash"... let's do it! So we were now in the water with all our all gear on. We now had to swim to the front of the boat and hang on for dear life, to the anchor line until the instructor came. Sis no.3 was already sick and now couldn't catch her breath. Then the instructor came and told us to go down slowly, using the anchor line as a guide. We had to equalize the pressure in our ears frequently. I was quite scared of this part, as I have a bit of a sinus problem and once experienced extreme pain when I went too deep in the pool. This time I took Clarinase before the dive and hoped it would help.

So, this was the creepiest part. Going down to who-knows-what down there. I was worried Sis no.3 would panic, so I didn't dare look back, lest I lose control as well! We went slowly down the line. Breathe with mouth, don't use nose, mouth, mouth, in, out, in out, equalize, equalize... I felt a surge of relief when we reached the sandy bottom. No, there were no sharks or creepy crawly creatures waiting for us with mouths agape down at the sea bed. No, I didn't choke and flood my lungs with salty sea water. This might not be so bad after all.

We stopped at a spot a bit further and knelt down in a circle. It was then that I noticed Sis no.3 was missing! :) Anyway, we did the skills which included removing our regulators, filling and half-filling our goggles with water, then blowing out the water with our noses. After that, we swam about, looking at the marine life and coral. Even though the water wasn't very clear, the fishes and coral were an amazing sight. It was really beautiful and made all the suffering in preparation for this ordeal totally worth it! And this was just in Kuching! I can't wait to go to even better diving spots, like Sipadan Island in Sabah, which is ranked world no.2!

Once we got to the bottom, and could see what was down there, it wasn't so scary anymore. I guess it's the fear of the unknown that creeps me out the most. When you are submerged, it's hard to tell what depth you are at, so even though it was 12m deep, it was pretty much the same as the pool, which was only 3m deep!

We climbed back onto the boat and had a rest while the other group went for their 2nd dive. Sis no.3 started puking out lunch... followed by breakfast. The rest of the girls guessed correctly that she had 'kueh chap' that morning! Luckily the vomit floated in the right direction, out towards the sea. Interestingly, the toilet on board was also basically just a hole, leading to the water! You won't catch me diving under the boat anytime soon.

There's obviously no 5-star bathroom either so here's how we 'bathe' after diving.

I was getting pretty sea sick myself and took a Novomin tablet. A bit too late I guess, but worth a try. When it was our turn to dive, I was still nauseated and pretty bushed. I was considering passing, but what the heck, get it over with, I thought. Just don't puke into regulator.

During the 2nd dive, the current was a bit stronger, so we had to hang onto the anchor line like laundry flapping about. We did the "hey Buddy, I got no oxygen" skill and the "take-off-mask-and-sting-your-eyes-with-saltwater" trick. Then we went for more sight-seeing while fine tuning our buoyancy. I wished I had an underwater camera to take some pics of the cute clown fish hiding among the anemone, to show the kids.

So we survived the dive, not bad. I was so tired, I could barely keep my eyes open on the trip back home, some cellotape on the eyelids would've come in handy. We stopped for dinner and had one of the fish hubby 'caught'. Then we picked up the kids from grandpa's place and I made hubby drive home faster before I passed out from exhaustion!

Now that I've conquered my fear, I am rather looking forward to the next dive this coming Sunday! Hopefully the water will be clearer then. After I get my PADI licence, it's off to Menado in mid-June!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Here's something dedicated to all you Supermums out there! It's our day! Have a great Mother's Day this Sunday!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Toddler talk 2

I remembered another one. This was quite a while ago, more than a year, Claire must've been only 2 yrs old. We were leaving a shopping mall parking lot when she spied a female security guard:

Claire: Why got girl policeman?
Mum: That's a security guard.
Claire: Girls cannot be policeman.
Mum (thinking this was a good opportunity to promote gender equality): Why not? Girls can be policewomen, security guards, soldiers, anything they want. Girls can do anything boys do.
(Thoughtful pause...)
Claire: Can girls shee shee standing up?
Mum: *silence*

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Toddler talk

I like eaves-dropping on my kids' conversations. They give you a peek into their minds, to see how they view the world. It can be hilarious sometimes. Especially Claire and Eva, at their age (2+ and 3+), there are a lot of things they have yet to comprehend and at times they fill in the gaps with their own 'theories'! Other times, it's just plain funny nonsense.

This morning, in the car on the way to school:
Claire (reciting a rhyme learnt from school): 1, 2, 3, My mummy is making a dress for me, 1, 2, 3, Sew, sew, sew...
Eva: Where leh?!
Claire: Pretend only la.
Eva: Oh...
(yes, mummy can only sew buttons...)

I realise I must be over-doing the preaching of the virtues of fruits and vegetables:
Eva: Can we go swimming?
Dad: No, it's too hot.
Eva: Never mind, I eat a lot of carrots!
(must've made them think carrots are the magic food that makes you immune to anything under the sun, including the sun!)

Claire and I were on the topic of death again:
Claire: When they die, their eyes close, but they can still see?
Mum: Yes, when we die, we go to heaven and everyone can see in heaven.
Claire: Because they eat a lot of carrots?
Mum: Erm... yeah....
(Tip: "Yeah" works better than "I don't know" when you're running out of ideas... they just refuse to accept "I don't know" and will "why?" you until you surrender!)
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