kitchen counter dusty with icing sugar
perfect recipe of vanilla buttercream swirled in the mixer
gobs of tissue paper, piled up toothpicks of Wilton deep red and royal blue
kids bent over with laughter and giggles
sugar highs from too much cake
late night papercraft ventures and conversations with your lifelong best friend
of how you will never attempt such a crazy thing again
yet knowing full well that you’ll go ahead and do it anyway and crazier the next time round
three hugs a day for long life
three cheers each meal for birthday celebrations
He squares his shoulders
Walking tall to school in his new shirt of blue
So much like his father
So much his own little man too
The children sit in a row
Reciting their lesson with their teacher on tiled floor
And I catch his face light up aglow
As we sneak him a wink round the frame of the door
It’s a wonderful day for a birthday
All together now, smile for a picture
“How old are you now, God bless you today”
It’s a great month to turn a grand four!
Copyright – iwonderbee.wordpress.com
For impromptu lunch plans
And a prayer partner teaching how to make pizza dough from scratch
For chatting and sharing
And husbands babysitting
For cheeky preschoolers sneaking diced capsicum into their mouths
And delightfully eager hearts volunteering to roll out dough
For crumbly mozzarella
And deep yellow cheddar
For fresh soap-scrubbed little hands
And precarious wiggly giggly mound of tomatoes and shredded chicken
For sizzling hot pizza stone
And trays of yummy pullworthy cheesy goodness
We give Thee thanks, O Lord.
The other day I tried to present lunch in a different and fun way….in a “boat”.
Making the content was simple. Home made minced chicken patties, blanched veggies and grilled fish. And assembling it took less than a minute.
The stuff which took an inordinate amount of time for what should have been the simplest task…rattling around in drawers for skewers to use as the masts, and looking for clean sheets of paper to make the sails. (Okay, I’m inordinately particular about clean.sheets.of.paper)
In the end, the kids thought that everything about the bread boat was cool, except the sail!
“Mummy, can you take away the sail? I cannot bite the bread properly…”
“Mummy, the sail is poking my face.”
Haha. So much for variation.
Ah well. On the bright side, it’s kinda nice to know they value the practical over the aesthetic. 🙂
- Allow yourself to snooze through three rounds of the clock’s alarm.
- While brushing teeth, randomly decide today is the day you would like to attempt making omelette for the first time. Instead of sensibly serving dry cereals.
- Disregarding the fact that you need to leave home at 8:30am.
- Start tweaking the recipe midway because you don’t have two of the original ingredients.
- Be so pleased with the outcome that you decide to make a second omelette!
Did we leave at 8:30am? Umm…no, heheh, we got out closer to 8:37am.
Leaving behind all the dishes in the sink and two rather messy bedrooms. But we had a really yummy breakfast! 😀
My tweaked Omelette recipe:-
- 2 eggs
- Dash of mixed herbs of your choice
- Handful of cheddar or any sharp cheese, grated
- Salt, pepper to taste (optional)
- Heat up an 8-inch non-stick pan. Add a knob of butter and swirl around to ensure pan is evenly greased.
- Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk. Add salt and pepper if you like.
- Pour whisked egg into heated pan. As the egg mixture starts to firm, gently push one edge of the egg with your spatula, into the centre of the pan. Tilt the pan to allow the still-liquid egg to flow in and fill the space. Repeat these steps until there’s no liquid left.
- Loosen the omelette at the edges with the spatula. It should be able to slide easily around on the non stick surface.
- Sprinkle the herbs and grated cheese (or whatever other filling takes your fancy).
- Lift one edge of the egg, fold it across and over. Slide onto a plate.
On the weekend, we received an invite from a friend to join a school field trip to learn how to make ice cream at Scoop of Art, a gelato café located in the Marine Parade Community Centre.
Ice cream? Ooh, I don’t have to be asked twice. 😀
Have you ever tried making ice cream in a bag? I haven’t. Hadn’t. But now that I have, I’m so inspired that I’m plotting the shortest distance route to the nearest NTUC supermarket to stock up on Ziploc bags, wahahaha!
Here’s what you’ll need for raw materials to make basic vanilla ice-cream (recipe from Scoop of Art):-
1 cup milk
5 ml vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons salt
One sandwich size Ziploc bag, and one large Ziploc bag.
1. Measure out milk in a measuring cup, add sugar and vanilla extract, stir well.
2. Pour the mixture into the small Ziploc bag and seal tightly.
3. Fill the large Ziploc bag half full of ice and add 6 tablespoons of salt.
4. Place the small bag inside the big bag and seal the big bag tightly.
5. Shake for 15 minutes until the mixture solidifies. (You might need mittens or a tea towel as the bag will be VERY VERY cold!)
6. Open the bags and enjoy your own home made shaken and stirred ice cream.
Home made! At almost zero cost! And only ever fifteen minutes away from it… ICE CREAM!
In the process, there were plenty of opportunities to:-
- Practise measuring liquids and dry ingredients with measuring cups and spoons.
- Count the number of ice cubes required to reach the halfway mark on the Ziploc.
- Identify start and stop points with the hands on a clock for the 15 minutes required to solidify the ice cream.
You can also explore the scientific angle, and discuss freezing and melting points, e.g.
- What is the purpose of adding salt to the ice?
- In the process of ice cream making, the milk mixture changes from ___ state to ___ state?
- How does the action of shaking the bag influence the result of liquid to solid state in the mixture?
- What then happens to the ice cream when it is left out in the open? It then changes from ___ state to ___ state? Why?
I’d love to know if you decide to try it out and what results you got. 🙂
Oh, and if that Mars Bar and Sea Salt flavour looked tempting enough for you to pay a visit to Scoop of Art, you can find them at 278 Marine Parade Road #01-03 Marine Parade Community Club. Tel: 63456563.
And now, for those Ziploc bags. And some cocoa powder for chocolate ice-cream, mmm. Maybe some berries! And…
Last night, we all put on our parkas and braved the cold to admire the multitude of twinkling stars in the deep dark night sky. The night sky in Australia seems to have more stars than that in Singapore.
I’m pretty sure there is a scientific explanation for that, but searching google has turned up a million articles, none of which articulate an answer to my satisfaction. Sheesh.
Anyway, this morning while DH’s parents head out to the township; mum, the kids and us head to The Berry Farm, on a friend’s recommendation. They have some interesting jams – boysenberry and port jam, anyone? 🙂
The kids are none too interested in jams and dips, so DH brings them to the playground (yet another playground!) while mum and I taste the samples.
We also try their strawberry liqueur, but the alcohol content in liqueur is much too strong for me.
Leaving with some shared purchases, our next stop is Voyager Estate. But before that, a mini adventure – a tree had fallen across Rosa Glen Road in the space of the hour we were at Berry Farm.
There was another car in front of us but after surveying the situation together, both DH and the other driver concluded the tree was too big to move, plus we didn’t have the right tools, so after ringing at the door of the nearby property with no answer, she rang for assistance on her mobile phone, and after that we took an alternative, but longer route back out to the main road.
It strikes me that we take for granted the accessibility we have in Singapore. In our compact city, many alternatives prevail, and response to a call for roadside assistance is almost instantaneous. And we’ve grown to expect that kind of instantaneous service response.
Failing which anyway, one can always find many other people around to help or commiserate about the situation. As opposed to out here, where it’s rural and deserted, and where no one was home at the nearest property, and the other properties are way way way down the road.
When we finally arrive at Voyager, DH’s parents have already been there half an hour, and had explored the Rose Gardens.
Some pics from our Voyager Estate lunch – yummy!
We’d kept all our accommodation bookings to as budget as we could, and our flight tickets as well, because we knew this lunch bill was going to set us back a fair bit. But in the end, DH’s dad insisted on paying it all… Thanks, Dad!
After lunch, we drive south to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, as the grandparents want to see again, the meeting of the Southern Ocean and Indian Ocean.
Here’s an interesting pic DH took of a compass showing the distances of different places from the lighthouse.
While we’re there, we spot some black flecks or shadows, glinting in the sunlight against the distant waves.
Whales? According to the books, Augusta is the right place at this time of year to be whale-watching, so hm, who knows? 😉
When we checked out of Mariner’s at 9:40am this morning, the plan was to drive non-stop to Margaret River and lunch there, but around 11.10am, DH’s dad signals for our convoy to stop for coffee and to stretch our legs.
We stop at a roadside café just before Bunbury, which is connected to a petrol kiosk and has a playground out back. The kids must think Australia is playground paradise – it seems as if we find a new playground every day.
After sipping our lattes, we vote to just settle lunch here.
It’s 12:40pm when we get back into our cars for the next leg of our journey. All fed and happy, the kids doze off.
Around Carbunup River, DH and I decide that an after –lunch impromptu chocolate stop might be nice.
Oooooooooooh chocolaaaaate… 😛
So with happy thoughts spurring us on, we zoom happily down Bussell Highway and the turn off to Harmans Mill Road.
I should state, at this juncture, that all the maps are with us. The grandparents had entrusted us solely with the navigation and itinerary planning, so they had no idea whatsoever where we were heading, up until we turned into the parking lot of The Margaret River Chocolate Company.
Oooooooooooh chocolaaaaate… 😛
Having satisfied our flavonoid dietary
cravings requirements for the month week day, we drive over to Margaret River Providore, which is under the same ownership as MR Choc Co. Aside from a whole range of jams, spreads, dips, olive oils and the like,
Providore also has a pretty vegetable garden, which we spent a good forty minutes wandering in. It was a good opportunity to show the kids that their veggies come from a patch, and not off a supermarket shelf.
Just look at that beautiful eggplant…
And this is an asparagus fern.
The asparagus spears that we eat are actually the immature fronds of the asparagus fern. This is because once the buds start to open, the shoots quickly turn woody.
The fern dies off completely in winter. It starts growing again in spring, and you can pick the spears right through to summer.
The fruit is a small red berry, about 6 to 10mm in diameter and is poisonous to humans.
I learnt something new today. 🙂
After that yummy detour, we check in at Sunflowers Farm at 4pm. We’ll be here for four nights.
The kids head straight out to grab two buckets with bread, lettuce, and grains to feed the farm animals.
The grandmothers set to dishing up a four course home cooked dinner, with persimmons, watermelon and custard apples for dessert afterward.
And that, is all of our plans for the rest of the evening. It’s all grand.
When: 7:30pm, Sunday evening
How to create your own ToTT experience for the kids at home (caveat: you’ve to do your own dishes and kitchen clean up 😉 ):
Make up a batch of cookie dough. Click here for the original recipe. I added a tsp of vanilla essence to mine.
Toss in raisins and crushed cornflakes. Knead into dough.
Portion out drop sized cookies onto baking tray. Press down flat if you like your cookies crunchy, not so flat if you like ‘em chewy.
Into the oven for 12 minutes at 190 deg C. Cool for 8-10 minutes.
Go to sleep with a smile, dreaming of crunchy cornflake raisin cookies with cold milk for the next day’s breakfast!