Up-cycling >>> DIY Toys/Learning Tools

            Diary of a SAHM – Day 509

Secret Recipe box (from Joshayne’s last birthday) + coloured paper + tools [cutter, double-sided tape, super glue, etc.] = DIY Edu-box
*learn to count 1 to 5 + shapes (square, rectangle, oval)

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Empty milk cartons + tools [cutter, blu-tack] = tumbling track
* just for FUN (i.e. to keep the li’l one entertained for 5-10 mins)
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Ribbon + Buttons + Pieces of cloth (with a slit in the middle) = Button Snake
*learn how to button and unbutton, improve his fine motor skills

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Storage bottles + green beans/rice + cellophane tape (to seal the bottles) = rattles
*learn to shake the bottles in rhythm or to make “music”

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Homemade Tom Yum Paste > Tom Yum Soup and Tom Yum Spaghetti = Yum Yum~

Diary of a SAHM – Day 505

I’d thought of cooking tom yum from scratch for months, but since Kiate wasn’t a big fan of hot and sour food, I lacked the motivation to get to it.  Anyway, after letting it sit on the back burner for so long, I FINALLY took up the challenge and cooked my first pot of tom yam soup (with BIG prawns!) and topped it off with tom yam spaghetti. Yum yum~

And Kiate’s verdict? Well, he enjoyed it (i.e. my milder version) and he actually gave the green light for me to add this to my menu. Yes! Yes! Yes! I doubt that I’d cook this dish often though (prawns are expensive here, especially BIG ones!). Anyway, it feels great to know that I can cook tom yum – another personal milestone for me.

For the tom yam paste, I referred to this recipe from Amcarmen’s Kitchen.

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Ingredients for tom yam paste (for future reference):

  • chili paste
  • shrimp paste
  • tamarind pulp water
  • garlic
  • kaffir lime leaves
  • ginger
  • galangal
  • lemongrass
  • red onion
  • brown sugar
  • vegetable oil
  • fish sauce
  • ground coriander

Mild Javanese Chicken Bathed in Coconut Milk

Diary of a SAHM – Day 503

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I borrowed this recipe book from the library last week as I wanted to get ideas for new dishes to attempt. I left the book on the dining table and one day when Kiate was having lunch, he browsed through and pointed out this dish – Mild Javanese Chicken Bathed in Coconut Milk. So I decided to give it a try and Kiate loved it. I added potatoes especially for him.

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A for Apple, B for Bus, C for Car

Diary of a SAHM – Day 497

At 2 years and 2 months old, Joshayne can recognise all the letters of the alphabet and say their letter names; he can say some of their sounds but not all. For each letter, he is able to give at least one word that begins with the letter. Here are some of his favourite responses…

A for…? apple, aeroplane
B for…? bus, baby, bubble, bear
C for…? cat, car, cow
D for…? daddy, dog
E for…? elephant, egg
F for…? fish, fan
G for…? goat, go
H for…? horse, helpter (helicopter)
I for…? ice-cream, igloo
J for…? Joshayne, jungle, jam
K for…? kiss, keys
L for…? lion
M for…? mah-nee (mummy), monkey
N for…? nose, no-no
O for…? orange, octopus
P for…? penguin, potty
Q for…? quiet, queen
R for…? robot, rero
S for…? snake, star
T for…? tongue, train
U for…? UTC, umbrella, uncle
V for…? vacuum
W for…? water, watch
X for…? x-ray
Y for…? yoyo, yoghurt
Z for…? zebra

Moo… Woof… Meow… Oink… Baa… Tweet…

Diary of a SAHM – Day 490

In my previous post, I shared about Joshayne’s fascination with all things on wheels and how we seized the opportunity to teach him about various types of vehicles and their parts. Apart from that, we have also been trying to get him acquainted with various animals (and insects); and what better way to introduce him to the world of animals than to let him see for himself? Thus began our visits to “animal places,” i.e. zoos, farms, parks etc.

i. Lost World of Tambun, Ipoh Perak

We went to the Lost World of Tambun together with my parents in November last year. We only paid RM30 per pax as we managed to get discounted tickets; the normal rates were RM50.00 for adults and  RM43.00 for children under 12. We went during a weekend so there were many visitors but it wasn’t too overcrowded since it wasn’t a public holiday and the school holidays had not started yet. We thoroughly enjoyed our leisurely stroll through the petting zoo and the entertaining tiger feeding show.

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At the petting zoo, we were welcomed by Ruby, the super adorable raccoon. Then we walked through a transparent tunnel to look at different species of snakes in the serpentarium. Can you spot the cold-blooded reptiles in the following pictures?

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*I absolutely love this candid shot!

The Bird Paradise, which boasted 500 birds from 18 species, was quite impressive. In the aviary, the birds roamed freely in a natural setting.

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There were many other animals at the Rock Canopy, Rabbit Wonderland, Marmoset Tree House, Tortoise Kingdom and Rainforest Trail, etc.

Here are some of the pictures that Kiate managed to capture.

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*Roar* The Siberian tigers @ Tiger Valley

ii. Penang Butterfly Farm, Penang

Butterfly Farm is a very famous tourist attraction in Penang. We visited the Butterfly Farm in January this year when Ain and her friend, Miriam, came to visit. Admission fees for foreign visitors were RM27 for adults and RM15 for children under 12. Domestic visitors (upon presentation of MyKad/MyKid) were entitled to a 33.3% discount. Even with the discount, I still found it overpriced (RM18); it took us less than 45 minutes to finish touring the whole site. To its credit, though, the place was very well-maintained and potentially educational IF you read the signs and paid attention to the guided tour. I didn’t get to do either as I was busy entertaining a little tot who just discovered the joy of stamping – undoubtedly the main attraction for him here.

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We saw many beautiful butterflies, and even pupae (chrysalis) and caterpillars. In addition, there were also giant millipedes, lizards, ducks, frogs, scorpions, stick and leaf insects, spiders, etc. Joshayne was only interested in the ducks!

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*Penang Butterfly Farm is currently closed to public as upgrading works are in progress. It will re-open in December 2015.

iii. Tunku Abdul Rahman Aquarium of the Fisheries Research Institute, Penang (Bayan Lepas)

This was one of our unplanned weekend trip (April’15) that turned out to be very enjoyable. The aquarium was well-maintained and there were many species of fish and other marine life here to keep the little one entertained for half-an-hour or so. The admission fees were only RM5 for adults and RM2 for children under 12. Joshayne was thrilled to see the fishes on display and kept pointing excitedly at them while saying “fish, fish”, “eye” and “tail.”

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iv. Taiping Zoo, Perak

We went to Taiping Zoo on a Saturday, which was also a public holiday (Agong’s birthday) and the last weekend of a two-week school break; and as expected, the zoo was packed! Entry tickets (inclusive of GST) were reasonably priced at RM17 for adults and RM8.50 for children.

Daddy and Mummy were excited as this was our first trip to the zoo with Joshayne, but the li’l one was unimpressed – as evident in his “cool” expression (or rather, the lack of expressions) in the pictures below. I’m really glad that Kiate managed to capture pictures of the animals though; Joshayne responded positively when I showed him the pictures a few days later and he was able to identify some of the animals. In hindsight, his indifference during the visit could be due to the crowd and also the hot and humid weather (he was sweating profusely).

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At Taiping Zoo, we saw orang utans, chimpanzees, monkeys, bears, wild boars, elephants, zebras, camels, giraffes, deer, crocodiles, different species of birds, lions, otters, etc. I’m sure there were more, but I can’t recall all. Ops. Here are some of the pictures….

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v. Countryside Stable, Penang (Sg. Burung, Balik Pulau)

This was another unplanned visit (June’15). We went to Balik Pulau with Angelia and while eating durian at one of the stalls, we saw the Countryside Stable sign by the roadside. Since it was nearby, we decided to check it out. The stable was very well-kept and the admission fees were only RM5 for adults and RM3 for children under 12. We bought a tray of imported hay (RM5) to feed the horses. There were perhaps around 30 horses and ponies of various breeds, a few donkeys and two deer.  Joshayne was wary of the big animals and kept a safe distance.

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On our way home, we saw this aviary by the river bank. We parked the car and came out to admire the beautiful birds (for FREE). They were amazingly colourful. It was the highlight of the day for Joshayne.

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vi. Saanen Dairy Goat Farm, Penang (Balik Pulau)

I first came to know about this goat farm through a blog. It was highly recommended for families with young children and received many favourable reviews on TripAdvisor. After waiting for months, we finally had the opportunity to visit Saanen Dairy Goat Farm last weekend. And indeed, it lived up to our expectations. Visitors are welcomed to tour the farm and feed the goats for FREE. How awesome is that!

Joshayne took a while to warm up to the goats; but with a bit of coaxing, he finally mustered up the courage to feed them. He fell in love with the guinea pig (pictured below) though – he reached out to stroke it without any prompting from me. Besides the goats and guinea pig, we also saw chickens, rabbits, dogs, sheep, and also cows (on our way home).

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*Joshayne enjoyed the fresh goat’s milk; he finished the whole bottle within minutes (probably because it was chilled). RM7 per bottle (250ml).

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Rendang Tok (Perak)

Diary of a SAHM – Day 478

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Rendang Tok (Perak) – Have you tried this before? I first tasted this dish at Faisal’s kenduri some time in Dec last year. Both Kiate and I fell in love with it! It had made such a great impression upon Kiate that he requested for this dish.

Faisal kindly shared the recipe with me and I also did some research online – browsing recipe blogs and watching YouTube videos etc. After 6 months, I finally mustered the courage to attempt cooking this Malay delicacy. For the record, this was the first time I cooked beef – a milestone in my cooking journey.

It took me over 3 hours in the kitchen but it was well worth the effort. The hubby gave two thumbs up!

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I referred to the recipe by “Baby Sumo” but halved the amount of each ingredient. I list the ingredients here for my future reference. If you need the full recipe (measurement and step-by-step guide), you can refer to Baby Sumo’s blog here or watch this YouTube video.

Rendang Tok Perak

Ingredients:

beef, cut into 3cm chunks

Beef marinade
coriander seeds (ketumbar)
cumin seeds (jintan putih)
fennel seeds (jintan manis)
black peppercorns (lada hitam)
salt (garam)

Spice paste (blended)
shallots (bawang kecil)
garlic (bawang putih)
lemongrass (batang serai)
galangal or “blue ginger” (lengkuas)
ginger (halia)
turmeric ( kunyit hidup)

Other ingredients

red chili powder or paste
kaffir lime leaves (daun limau purut)
turmeric leaves
palm sugar (gula Melaka)
cardamom (buah pelaga)
cloves ( bunga cengkih)
cinnamon stick (kulit kayu manis)

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coconut milk
toasted coconut (kerisik)

Blessed Father’s Day

Diary of a SAHM – Day 476

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For the past 2 years, I was the one who nursed Joshayne to sleep every night; but on 16th June 2015, when JD was 2 years, 1 month and 24 days old, Kiate rose to the challenge and single-handedly tucked him in to sleep. He brushed his teeth, played and read books with him, carried him around the room, sang and patted him to sleep. The whole process took 1-2 hours and it was with great LOVE, patience and perseverance that he accomplished the task. And he has been at it since, night after night, without fail. Bravos!

So what have I been up to with the bonus 2-3 hours of “me-time”? I spent some time to blog, and I also completed two online courses that I had enrolled in earlier. And to reward Kiate for being such an awesome husband and father, I planned a special Father’s Day celebration for him. I baked him a red velvet cake, wrote him a poem and crafted him a special gift, albeit with recycled materials.  *wink*

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P/S …minus the rose, which was actually made by Kiate.

 

Blessed Father’s Day, dear.
Love you oh~

Especially for Daddy…

Diary of a SAHM – Day 475

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When I was little,
you carried me in your arms.
You held my hands and cheered me on
when I began to toddle around.
Now I can walk on my own,
and even run and jump;
but sometimes, I still stumble
and fall to the ground.
You tell me to pick myself up;
there’s no need to cry.
Then you hug me tight,
and I know I will be all right.

Happy Father’s Day. Amen. Love Daddy.

Red Velvet Cake

Diary of a SAHM – Day 475

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Quite some time ago, a friend of mine posted a picture of her red velvet cake on FB. I was fascinated as I’d never seen or tried one before. So the other day, when hubby requested for a cake for his breakfast/tea break/supper, I decided to try my hand at baking this gorgeous-looking cake. I searched online and came across this wonderful recipe with 5-star reviews on www.chow.com. As usual, I’d only list the ingredients here for future reference. If you need the full recipe and step-by-step guide, please click here.

Ingredients

For the cake:
  • 2 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sifted cake flour or 2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for coating the pans
  • 2 teaspoons fine salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons (1 [1-ounce] bottle) red food coloring
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for coating the pans
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest (from 1 to 2 oranges; optional)
  • 1 cup whole or low-fat buttermilk
For the icing:
  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 pound (4 cups) sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk, if needed

Note to self:
– I only used 1 tsp of fine salt.
– I used 2 tablespoons of red food colouring (powder). Too much! Remember to reduce.
– The cake was rather sweet. Reduce the amount of sugar.
– I only had 250g of cream cheese. So I adjusted the amount of each ingredient for the icing accordingly. It was sufficient to cover the whole cake.
– Invest in proper cake pans. 
– Baked at around 175-180C for around 35 minutes.

DIY Foot Prints (II)

Diary of a SAHM – Day 475

In my previous post (in May ‘14), I shared about my experience making DIY hand and foot prints with Joshayne when he was around 1 year old. It was a memorable project; unfortunately, though, I had to throw them away after a few months because I noticed mold growing on them. Yucks! It was a pity indeed.

I tried again recently. This time I used the recommended ratio of 2:1:1, i.e. 2 parts flour to 1 part salt and 1 part water. I also added a few drops of yellow food colouring, a pinch of cinnamon powder and some mixed herb to add artistic texture to the final product. I was really happy with the outcome. Ta-daa….

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This time around, I made sure that I dried the ‘dough’ properly in order to prevent mold infestation. I ‘baked’ it in the oven for over 3 hours at 100 degree Celsius and then dry them under the sun for a few afternoons. And instead of leaving it lying around, exposed, I kept the foot print in a gift box with silica gel nicely ‘hidden’ underneath it.

And finally,… *drumroll*

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… this was our special Father’s Day gift for Kiate. A memorable baby keepsake!

All in all, I spent less than RM3 on this project (just two pieces of wrapping paper, some flour and salt). The box and cotton were from newborn gift sets I received two years back. The socks, shoes and sandals, which were worn and outgrown by Joshayne, were also gifts from friends. *wink*

P/S Hubby, I hope you like this “priceless” gift. Hehe.