Archive for the 'Family & Friends' Category
As I pen the final entry for 2013 on New Year’s Eve, the not-so-little one naps by my side. Her chest rises and falls with every breath, her silky, fine hair tangled in a sweaty mess at the nape of her neck, and her long limbs stretched in peaceful slumber. How she has grown.
How I have grown.
This time last year, I was an excited, frazzled and tired new mother. Today, I am tired, still, as a mother to an active toddler but I am happier, more calm, collected and composed than I have ever been in my life.
2013 was a year of change.
Sure, there were losses. Freedom, friends who are allergic to kids, couple time, me-time. I have lamented over these more than I should over the past year and have come to realise that it is normal to weather these changes once one becomes a parent. The little one needs me; yet, we try to balance ourselves on that high beam, whilst juggling a dizzying myriad of multi-coloured balls, and at times, we dodge Bludgers whilst doing so. It’s not easy, but the beauty of this is how I have been challenged to sieve out what’s important, and hold that dear to my heart.
Like old friends who stay by my side even though we can’t hang out as often as before. Like new friends who bring good tidings and wish nothing but the best for me, who invite me into their lives and share their stories with me, even though I am a stranger. Like my family, who has loved me unconditionally and given selflessly, as always. Like my husband, who loves me and believes in me so very much, and whom I love more everyday, even through the fights and doubts that are such commonplace in newfound parenthood. Like my daughter, whom I do everything and nothing with, who kicks my sorry ass with tantrums and 4am wakings, who surprises me everyday with a new word, and lately, with new songs that she bursts into whenever she feels like it, who strokes me gently when I am down, and kisses and hugs me just because.
I cannot ask for more. And I wouldn’t change the world for what I have been given, good and bad. It has been a stunning year full of joy and tears.
As I watch my daughter stir from her sleep, knowing what is to come in a matter of minutes when she wakes, that she would tug at my hands for us to play…I wish for one thing. That we may sing and dance together forever more.
I wish this for you, and you, too.
Blessed 2014, my friends.
I often ask my husband if he thinks that Faith loves me.
It may seem like a strange question to ask, and rather peculiar that I should doubt my daughter’s affection for me, but I reckon that parents understand where I am coming from when I say that caring for a young child is, at times, akin to walking down a one-way street. I could smother Faith with kisses, and scoop her up in big bear hugs, but she doesn’t always reciprocate. Even though she spends most of her time with me, it is not uncommon for her to show more affection towards other people around her, people whom she sees less often. Say…when Faith sees someone whom she hasn’t met in a while, she would raise her eyebrows, widen her eyes and squeal with joy. But when she sees me, coming out of the loo for the ten thousandth time in her life, she would barely look up and if I am lucky, she would throw me a blank stare that says, ‘Oh. It’s you again’, then pick her favourite teddy up and go, ‘BEAR!!!!!’ like it is the most incredible thing she has ever laid eyes on. It appears that I am such a constant in her life, that…she may well be taking my presence for granted. Well, at least I thought so.
I had a hard time last week. I don’t want to go into details but something happened which made me very upset. My husband and Faith were right beside me, listening to me as I poured my heart out. And boy, DID I CRY LIKE A BABY.
The most wonderful thing happened. Faith, at all of 15 months old, picked up M’s hand and made sure that he rested it on my leg. Then, she rubbed my back for the longest time, just like how I comfort her when she feels upset or distressed, and gestured for her Papa to do the same.
Right there and then, I knew that I thought wrong.
Right there and then, I knew that my daughter loves me.
How much? I might ask.
Well…more than I will ever know. That, I am certain.
If you have been sticking around here long enough, you would have read that my husband is an avid cook, and you would have learnt that he inspires me to be more competent in the kitchen (which is partly how and why this blog was started in the first place). If you have had the good fortune of coming round to our place for a home-cooked meal (and I’m not being boastful, merely telling the truth, YO), then you would KNOW that my husband IS brilliant. I put on weight when we were living in London because he made sure I ate well, and to do that, he made sure he cooked well. After all, even though I am a much better baker than a cook, I have very, very discerning taste buds.
For the past year though, M has been insanely busy at work and this means that he hasn’t been able to cook often, and man, do I miss the grub he makes! I was so delighted when his annual leave came around recently, and the doting husband cooked to MY heart’s content. I even put on a few kilos…testament to his cooking skills, no? But as it turns out, I wasn’t the only one enjoying his presence at home (and in the kitchen). Faith took on a very discerning palette a few months earlier, and she loves exciting flavours (exciting for a baby, that is). We abstain from giving her foods with sugar and salt when eating at home and try to make healthier choices when we are eating out (because she eats off our plates), and M has done a wonderful job in feeding her well. Take this lasagne for example, it is bursting with flavour, even though he hasn’t seasoned it at all. I was so impressed, that I stole more than a few bites whenever we heated this up for Faith’s lunches.
The girl lapped it all up with glee, of course. What’s not to like? Good food PLUS an awesome cook for a father. She is the luckiest girl in the world. And so am I.
I didn’t know what to gift Faith with on her first birthday. She is a very blessed child who has plenty to eat, wear and play with, thanks to family and friends who love her so. It didn’t make sense for me to get her more toys, clothes and what-not, and so I decided to create some memories for her instead, starting with the below.
We hosted a lunch to thank family and friends who have been so generous, kind, helpful and loving to us. We couldn’t have survived the first year without them (you know who you are!) and we are deeply thankful to have them in our lives.
Faith wouldn’t remember any of how we went through the first year and we wanted her to grow up, looking at the photos and listening to our first-hand accounts of how our family and friends helped us. That is why M and I splurged on a photographer, J (the talent behind Freeze The Moments); we hoped for someone to capture precious moments and relationships that would otherwise be lost on the unobservant eye. I don’t think I can do J’s work justice with words alone; I reckon I should leave it to you to have a look at the photos and all I can say is, we are absolutely pleased with what he has done for us and we highly recommend him.
I was dying to dive back into some creative work as well, and was delighted to be able to put a dessert table together for Faith. It was wonderful to finally sketch my ideas and breathe life into them. I’d dare say this was a pretty good attempt, seeing as to how it is my second dessert table *annoyinglysmugface*. It was tough though, to DIY and take care of Faith full-time; I took quite a while to design and craft the different elements, often working into the wee hours after Faith had gone to sleep. I don’t know how stylists do this for a living and I have nothing but respect for them! I had help of course, from the vendors who supplied the two-tier lemon buttercake with vanilla buttercream, chocolate pecan cookies, strawberry tarts, cheesecake, cream puffs, iced gems, and rose and mint macarons. I did entertain the crazy idea of making the desserts and pastries on my own like I did with my first dessert table, but I knew I would crumble under all that pressure. I always wanted to make Faith her first cake though, and settled on baking her a 4-inch smash cake (a refined-sugar-free buttercake with cream cheese frosting topped with her favourite blueberries) instead. Faith was also very blessed to have received two tissue pom-poms (one cream and one pastel pink, both attached to the chalkboard easel in some of the photos below) that I have chosen from Most Wonderfully Made, an online store that stocks the prettiest party supplies! The sponsored pom-poms were so well-made, as compared to the ones I DIY-ed (those on the backdrop of dessert table), that I wished I had gotten all of them (which are very affordable, by the way) from the store; I would have spared myself from all the agony of tidying the pleats up! I’m putting in a mental note to stock up on party supplies for the next party I plan!
Alright, I think I have yakked enough about the party. I leave you…with our memories.
P/S: Photos of our guests are not posted here as I would like to protect their privacy.
All rights reserved.
I know, I know. I have been awful with posting recipes over here. We haven’t been cooking very many exciting dishes, and so I have been rather uninspired in writing down our recipes. Besides, M is the whizz in the kitchen and he NEVER works with recipes (which is annoying because YOUR WIFE RUNS A FOOD BLOG YO!), if he even has the time to whip something up. He likes to say that he cooks with his heart and judging by what I have been fed with, I’d say that he is dammmnnnn right because the man I love is still cooking his way to MY heart!
But this week, being the less talented half, I redeem myself in the kitchen with a family-friendly and downright delicious meal. Corn & Bacon Fritters with Guacamole, anyone? It’s too easy to prepare and versatile enough to experiment with for your tasting pleasures. I was really delighted to have contributed this recipe as a guest writer over at A Dollop Of Me, a beautiful family blog run by one of the most inspiring mothers I know, Corsage. I love to read her musings on parenting and life, which often have me nodding at every word she says, and for the foodies in you, she writes a series, Kitchen Exploits, which is such a joy to follow! Grab your cookies, brew a nice cuppa and hop on over now for a satisfying read!
Forty years of marriage, three kids and two grandchildren. Ladies and gentlemen, there IS a Happily Ever After.
What better way to celebrate than with some homemade cake?
Strawberry & Lychee Shortcake with a cake topper that I made (both of which need to be worked on for better results)
Thank you, Papa and Mama, for teaching us how to love. Happy Ruby Wedding Anniversary to you two lovebirds!
So…I returned to the kitchen for a very short stint, just in time for Father’s Day. I didn’t manage to bake a cake for Mother’s Day as my eyeballs were practically falling off from the severe lack of sleep, and I really wanted to make it up with a homemade something for my family. Besides, M loves it when I bake, and I thought this would be the perfect gift to celebrate his first Father’s Day.
I am fiercely defensive about my chiffon cakes. After so many years, I think I’ve come up with the right recipe to yield the perfect texture. I can almost make it with my eyes closed, having attempted it so many times to unlock the secrets to a cotton-soft, fluffy chiffon, and there is absolutely no need for frosting. Chiffon is so very stripped down to the bare minimum that I figured this was the go-to cake for a time-strapped mother of a very active baby! It helps that a chiffon goes down well after a presumably heavy Father’s Day lunch, with an inviting cup of tea.
The cake was a winner. Subtly laced with zesty yuzu and very lightly sweetened, it was absolutely delightful to enjoy it after a fat-laden meal. I have no complaints and if I really wanted to be picky, I suppose the cake could do with a stronger yuzu flavour, but not too strong such that the lightness of the cake is overpowered. Nothing a trip back to the drawing board couldn’t do to perfect the recipe.
Oh! And yes, I could have worked a tad harder at the bunting on the chiffon cake. Chiffons are a little plain to look at, and I thought it would be lovely to decorate it with something that looks remotely festive. The silly thing was I didn’t think about making the bunting until TEN minutes before we were due to leave the house for the celebration. So I hastily put one together, with trembling hands because M was going ‘HURRY UP, WOMAN! WE ARE RUNNING LATE’. Ugly, but I guess it does the job.
P/S: Sorry, probably not uploading the recipe as I may be selling this alongside my lychee chiffon. Teehee.