Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ending 2013 with a good note ! Welcome 2014 !!

One more day to welcome 2014 ! A new year,  a new beginning as I have decided to forgo that peanuts yet  not so little salary of mine and return as a Stay Stuck- At-Home-Mum. The beginning of no MCs, no leave, no holidays, no pay but will  be rewarded with Vera's toothless smiles and being able to witness all her very first milestones. As for Xav, I'm glad I'm back with him again, making nice food & bentos for him as per his request.

Generally, 2013 has been smooth sailing, minus of the part when I was so depressed with my helper, during the nine months when I was pregnant.

The most major happening of the year was welcoming our new addition - Vera, into our family ! The greatest joy we could ever have !



Bid goodbye to my former team in IMH in December with a compensation back to the company under unforeseen circumstances, as Vera decided to go  on bottle strike until since she was 2 months old until now that she is 5 months old !

Job Club Team

Gonna miss yakking with these wonderful ladies from MSW
But I knew my decision is worth it though yes, it's super, uber, tiring to me. (Deeply salute those who are looking after three or more kids), probably some of you out there can handle it better than  me !

Days without a helper and no additional help, looking after the two kids by myself in the day, basic house chores like keeping the house tidy at least, seems so impossible these  days ! I am trying hard to improve my efficiency. Count my blessings for having a supportive hubby. Yes, I'm not expressive and do not like to put these words on my mouth to tell him straight in the face. But am truly thankful to him for helping me out in the chores and kids whenever he can. In fact, he does the chores better than me.

Conclusion, we will try to make sure Xav takes on what his daddy is doing in helping mummy out (to be a good husband next time) and make sure Vera finds a husband who is like her daddy who takes care of her just like how I'm being taken care and loved for.

To hubby: Now you know why I took this photo if you are reading this post

For blogging "achievement", I have finally created my first linky party on "Chinese Fun" every first week of the month to share the resources I used to teach Xav. Thanks to a fellow mom blogger who guided me in creating my own logo.

As well as created a Fans Page for Xavvy-licious on Facebook as well as learning how to use Instagram ! How exciting !!

I regained a friendship which was lost 2 years ago due to a don't know what happened misunderstanding. I'm really happy to have find back the friendship. Thank you to the friend who had the courage to clear it up with me and of course during the course of sending Xav to holiday programmes, I met and made friends with some very nice mummies !

My new year resolutions :

- Better time management !Source for more time to source and prepare creative learning resource like before for both Xav and Vera. (Time to bring out my laminating machine and binder) , more PLAY time with both of them.


- Get my own blog domain.

- Scream LESS, keep COOL more often and be more PATIENT with Xav.

- To BLOG more, COOK more, CRAFT more, BAKE more, SEW more and if I can SLEEP more !

- To be more active on my own page on D'sail Creation for customization of wedding cards, ang pow holders, party banners as well as cupcake liners and toppers. Do support ya !

- To put my plans of running kids' workshops from home into action SOON.

- Everyone around me to be in their pink of health, surrounded by joy and happiness always !

This mark the last post for the year 2013 ! What are your New year resolutions ?  Jot them down and hope you can work towards them like how I am going to start working towards to mine.

The Chuas wish all a Happy 2014 !!






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Monday, December 30, 2013

Tomato Egg Drop Soup

One of the quickfix if you have ready stock. I had ready frozen stock using soya beans and ikan bilis.

Simply just quartered the tomatoes and cook in the pot of boiling stock, crack and drop and egg in it,  gently give a little stir. Garnish with some chopped spring onions and a little pepper and you are ready to serve !



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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Omelette Pork Floss Roll

Last week was pretty bad, hubby was busy with work for that entire week. One of the evenings, I was stuck at home with a baby and a pre-schooler, can't even call for Macdonald's delivery due to a thunderstorm.

Left with no choice but to search through what in my fridge and what dish I can whipped up within a short time frame. No time for defrosting as well !

Found some eggs and pork floss and here it is ! I made omelette with pork floss roll !

I used three eggs, beat the yolks and whites  together, add some seasoning like pepper and soy sauce.

Pour the batter over the pan and cooked till slightly golden brown.

Sprinkle a layer of pork floss

Roll it up and secure with food picks
Slice them into portion and ready to serve

Having not been hands on in the kitchen for these past two years, suddenly seems to be a little forgetful ! I should have faced the end of the omelette downwards for a better presentation !

Oh well, anyway, this was very well received by Xav. You think he would be bothered which side is facing which ? He just loved the pork floss and the pandas =p


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Friday, December 27, 2013

Ice Vault 18

If you are craving for nice Taiwanese Dessert and have tried Blackball, you should give Ice Vault 18 a try ! Personally I find the taste and texture better than Blackball !

Nested in the neighbourhood in the eastern part of Singapore, you can find Ice Vault 18 located on the ground floor, opposite All Saints Home along Blk 476 Tammpines St 44 #01-175A S(520476)


Initially, I got to taste Ice Vault 18's signature when my sis packed it back for me. I love the chewy texture of the black sugar q, yam and sweet potato balls!

IceVault 18's signature dessert !
The lady boss further added on that their grass jelly are imported from Taiwan and the rest are handmade and cooked with their special formula which includes their beancurd and syrup.

Add a cup of creamer
Check out their menu which includes :


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{ 3rd Party Review + Giveaway} Emily Lim's Toy Tales Award Winning Series !

I guess I'm one of the very last to review this set of award-winning series picture books by our local author, Emily Lim  !

My little bookworm was elated when he received this set of books to add on to his library collection. If you are looking for books to relate what friendship and love is all about to your little buddies, this series is strongly recommended.



We fell in love with the beautiful illustration and love it when the characters come alive with their narrations. Simply because the new edition is made compatible with Pen Pal Whizz. Click here for my review.


On the bottom right of the book, as you read and flip, you will see two logos. The one with the game controller icon is actually a simple quiz which can be played with Pen Pal Whizz to see if the child comprehend the contents.


Let me bring you through a brief summary of the four picture books.

Prince Bear & Pauper Bear :

A story about love, friendship and a kind hearted boy with a generous heart ! A few days before Christmas, Prince Bear who was well stitched, wore a cloak and a crown and had thought highly of himself, was picked and brought back to her big house by a little girl.

On the other hand, the poorly stitched Pauper Bear was forgotten and unloved, longing to be picked by a child who would love and play with him, was given free to a little boy who came into the toyshop, wanting to buy a teddy bear but have not much money on him.

Read on how the lives of these two bear changed as they followed their new owner back home !

Prince Bear & Pauper Bear

Bunny Finds The Right Stuff :

A heart warming story about Friendship which we can easily relate to the little ones. It is a story about an unhappy bunny who was flat footed  and floppy due to the insufficient stuffing in him and did not like the way he looked. He searched for ways and means to fill himself up but ended up  in a big mess each time. His friends learnt about it and went about helping by giving a little bit of themselves to lift up his mood.

Bunny Finds The Right Stuff

The Tale of Rusty Horse :

Rusty horse used to be a favourite of the children, is now saddened, for he was being forgotten by everyone as he is now old and rusty.  How he longed to be a real horse, taking children for rides and one day, his wish came true when he met a fairy who granted his wish. Read on for Rusty's adventure when he became a real horse ! 

The Tale of Rusty Horse

Just Teddy :

I love the way how this story relates to children that each individual person is special in their own way. We do not need to change the way we look just to get accepted into a group.
 
Just Teddy

This story tells us about Teddy who eventually lost his own sense of identity after trying hard to get himself blend in into different groups until he met a little girl who loved him just the way he was.


Emily Lim's paperback titles are now available in Singapore through:

- Leading bookstores in Singapore
- JLB Educational Technology (exclusive distributor for Pen Pal whizz)
- The Learning Connection‘s Prince Bear & Pauper Bear mobile theatre shows to preschools
- Marketasia Distributors

GIVEAWAY
Emily Lim will be giving away 4 of her books to 2 of Xavvy-licious' blog readers (2 books for each reader).

To enter, simply follow the steps in Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This Giveaway is open to all readers residing in Singapore only and will end on 31st December 2013. Winner will be notified by email.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Personalized cakesters for this Christmas !

Frosty the snowman !! Something personalize for your party ? If you have the time, try making personalized cakester to make it more special ! I did this for one of my Christmas Favours orders years back.


All you need is :
Oreo Cookies
Fondant
Edible markers
Tools to imprint the name on the fondant
Dragees

1. I wrapped the oreo cookie with the blue fondant.
2. Wrapped half the oreo cookie with white fondant.
3. Cut out two small circles using white fondant for the head and body.
4. Use the edible marker to add on the features and buttons on the snowman.
5. Use dragees to decorate as snow.
6. Form the name and imprint it onto the fondant and you are done !


MERRRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL !!

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thinkertoyland - Speeding Kart {Review + Giveaway }

Christmas came early for Xav ! With courtesy from Inventive Kids Asia ! We had spotted the stall carrying Thinkertoyland™ construction sets at The Public Garden @ TripleOne Somerset and the latest roadshow at Compass Point Shopping Mall.

I am still thinking about what is the difference between Thinkertoyland™ construction sets and the Junior Engineer Set which Xav had from Growing Fun. Until Inventive Kids Asia kindly gave us a box for review.

Beaming away to get started with the Speeding Kart Set

I am always into getting construction toys for Xav, be it wooden blocks, Citiblocs, Duplos and Legos, I have it all in the house, putting in places within his reach. I have always believe in letting his creativity and imagination run as he constructs them.

Thinkertoyland - Speeding Kart Set, consists of a total of 96 pieces components in different shapes and sizes (Made of ABS materials ), which allows the child to be able to construct karts of three different designs.

96 pieces of brightly coloured interchangeable components

It comes with a coloured illustration, step by step guide on the construction of the speeding kart.


Wasting no time, Xav immediately set focus and started constructing the first kart the moment I opened up the set.

He could read the step by step guide by himself and self corrected by looking through the guide again should he fixed something not right.


This was how he studied, observed, picked out the correct pieces and problem solved from the guide. He did everything with minimal help except for at times, he required some assistance in pushing in the stiff parts and the oversized foam. I assisted him to  trim to the size to fit. I'm not sure if it only happened to this set or is it to  all the Speeding Kart Sets. This will be feedback accordingly as part of the review.

 

This is what I meant by letting his imagination runs, half way constructing, he told me the part he was holding can be a pistol !


Look at his proud grin after he accomplished it ! Spot his add-ons of his little Lego figurines !


We had a great yet rare mummy and Xav bonding time, constructing together when the baby was sleeping.



Another design constructed by us
 

Here's a short clip on after he accomplished his kart.

After having to play with the set, what made Thinkertoyland™ construction sets stand out are :
- it allows a child to create a movable prototype
- it is environmentally-friendly, the ABS material exceeds all current US and European toy safety standards. Thinkertoyland™ construction sets’ new and improved patented designs have 11 patents with 7 more pending.
- Thinkertoyland™ creations are movable together with gears, strings, wheels ! Imagine creating a spinning merry-go-round, a working forklift or a windmill that works. Using the connectors and different components, there is no limit to what the children can create !
- With 16 different themes to choose from and most importantly it's affordable with the price ranging from $10 - $189.
- Suitable for children age 3 and above.

What I personally like as a consumer, Inventive Kids Asia actually maintains a blog that documents down on how to further utilise the sets based on their encounters with different parents met during their sales / roadshows etc. You have a site that you can check back for more ideas and sharing.

If you are keen in the workshops, Inventive Kids Asia does run workshops in the community centres too ! You can check out their future workshops HERE. 

This' the season to be jolly !  Inventive Kids Asia has generously sponsored a set of Thinkertoyland Set (Worth $49.90) of your choice, to one lucky reader of Xavvy-licious . Simply follow the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This Giveaway is open to all readers residing in Singapore only and will end on 24th December 2013. Winner will be notified by email.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Honey Baked Wings

Yet it's another dish which is on my to-cook list but was kept being put off because each time I want to cook this, am always short of honey !

Finally, I managed to cook it for dinner - Honey Baked Wings !


I marinated the pack of 800g mid joints (The whole family loves chicken wings) with the following :

- 1 Teaspoon of light soy sauce
- 2 Teaspoons of sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon of oyster sauce
- 4 Tablespoons of honey

Method :
1. Rinsed the mid joints, I cut a slit or two on the underside of the joints so that the marinade can get into the meat.
2. Marinate the mid joints for at least half an hour.
3. Lay a piece of aluminium foil on the baking tray, arranged the mid joints (underside facing up first) and bake them at 200 degree Celsius (392F)for 30mins or until the wings turned golden brown. (At 15 mins, I turned them over and bast with the remaining marinade and continue to bake)


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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Our 1st terrarium with a step by step guide - Activity for "SCHOOL OUT" Day 17

Our long awaited to-do list ! Finally, we sat down and build our first Terrarium. Thanks to a friend who passed us his remaining materials from a Terrarium making Workshop.

What is a terrarium ?
It is a collection of small plants growing in a transparent, sealed container.  The enclosed environment can actually be used to illustrate how an ecosystem works.

What you could observed on the inside the terrarium’s walls could be some natural processes like; photosynthesis, respiration, and the water cycle. The water in the terrarium is recycled, passing from liquid form to gas and back again. As the moisture in the air condenses on the glass walls, it returns to the soil and is absorbed by the plants.

Back to the materials used, we went to Japan Home to get the air tight container and another friend helped to get us the potted plants. Big thanks to these friends around who are always ready to lend a helping hand ! We are definitely blessed !

I got Xav to choose what he wanted to decorate his terrarium with and there came his trashies !


Ready to embark on building the terrarium with us ? Here goes after cleaning the container inside out, start with laying a layer of charcoal.


Follow by a thing layer of pebbles/ granite.

 
Helicopter view


A closer look of the moss.


Pour the  compost and sand together and start mixing. Depending on what plant you are going to put in,  cactus needs more sand to compost ratio. But for normal green plants, ratio would be 1 : 1 .


Start filling the container about 1/3 of the height of the container and flatten the soil.


What I did here was I took a piece of A4 size paper and rolled into a cylinder, with the intention of making a hollow space for the plant to sit in.



Next gently pulled up the plant from the pot and placed it into the hollow space.

 

After covering the roots with soil, cover the soil with beautiful pebbles and put in the toy that you like.


After placing it, use a water spray (those use for ironing would do  as well) and spray about 20 -  30 times before closing it airtight.

Here we present our completed Terrarium !


Materials needed :
- Air tight container (You can recycle the containers from those Chinese New Year Ccookies)
- Charcoal
- Soil
- Coloured pebbles
- Moss
- Potted Plant
- A favourite toy

How to care for your terrarium :
-  Place the terrarium in a bright area with indirect sunlight. The plants may burnt if  the terrarium  gets too hot as it is a closed system.

-  A properly maintained terrarium can last for weeks or even 6 months without needing water.

-  If too much condensation is taking place and the sides of the terrarium area is constantly wet (You can visually see your plant clearly). Open up the top of the container temporarily to allow it to dry.

- Pruning may be required to keep the plant small enough to be fitted in the container. Use a scissors to tidy it up.

- For terrariums, normally rapid growth of the plant is not encouraged. Hence, do not add any fertiliser.

You can also refer to the 6 simple steps guide here for building your own terrarium.

Where can you buy Terrarium kits ?
The Garden Shop at the Visitor Centre of the Singapore Botanic Gardens (Tel: 6471 7501) for $29.90.

- Far East Flora has these kits available at $29.90 too. I found them at the Citysquare Mall outlet.

Have fun building your own Terrarium !


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