Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Of Lok Loks and Satay

Weddings are a lot of fun!

Especially when it requires a road trip (No jams!!) and an entire weekend of playing, resting and feasting. Win win win, can?

We hung out in the estate and swam the arvo away. The kids then had a run around in the playground before we went back for a house party.

The highlight?! A Lok Lok van! It was specially catered for the party by my dear friend's mom. It was honestly such an eye opener for the kids. Kayden loved the entire concept. He kept running back there for more sticks of goodness! (He's a foodie, can you tell?)



And there was a satay man too! 


Let's not forget the amazing decoration that R has put together for the event. She's painstakedly folded 400 over cranes for the party. And they were all so beautifully hung on a tree with ribbons. It's absolutely beautiful!

Now we kid that we will be back sooner than later for some hair treatment and to hang around the estate! =)




Monday, January 27, 2014

Festive Blooms



Ah it's really the count down to CNY!

I'm not a big fan of excessive CNY decor so I've decided to use flowers to kick off the festive spirit at home. It works for our little household.

Our apartment sadly has no balcony, we can't buy those pretty pots of hydrangeas and begonias. So to make up for that, I bought lots of pink, purple and red fleurs to decorate our little space.

I love the vintage pink roses that I've picked up and in the spirit of the new year, I've added an extra try of mandarins to usher in the year of the horse!

Now to get started on those goodies and pineapple tart searching!

Gong Xi Fa Cai!!








Friday, January 24, 2014

Lost

We love traveling with our kids.

We really like exposing them to different cultures, cuisines and just the love for exploring the world.

In a way, we really want to teach them to be travel savvy as well. Sometimes, there are unexpected scenarios that gets thrown in the mix as well and we adults learn just as much out of it as well.

This was our story.

In our last trip to Tokyo, we were walking back to the hotel when we popped into a convenience store to buy some bottles of water. D was walking a little behind with K, who suddenly had to stop to tie his laces. Next thing I knew, we were walking out of the store and towards the hotel when I noticed that K was not around. Immediately we hurried back to the hotel to look for him. And turns out, thankfully, the clever (but scared senseless) kid was there. 

Turns out, D thought he had signaled really clearly to his son that he's going into the store but K claims he didn't see that. So when he looked up and saw no one, he immediately thought he should hurry back to hotel. (With many tears and fear in his heart)

Words cannot describe how thankful we were to see him. And we were v v thankful he was able to remember what we said to him and the other two siblings about contingency plans should any one get lost.

Whenever we travel, we normally take public transport. In Japan, it was a lot of trains. So at the start of the trip, we would always tell the children various scenarios that could happen and what they are supposed to do, should they ever get separated by us.

For example.
  1. Remember the hotel name. 
  2. If you get left behind on the platform - Stay at the same spot and we will come back to get you.
  3. If you are in a train alone and the door closes - Alight at the next stop and we will take the train to you.
  4. If you are lost at the mall/outdoors - stay at the last spot where you are and we will come back to find you.
This has been our protocol and thus far, it seems to work. And we quiz them several times throughout the trip to double check.

Thankfully, the incidents are really rare but I find it's important for the kids to know what to do in the event they are alone. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Little Snow Discovery - Cafe If

It's kinda hard to believe that we are almost three weeks into the new year.

And already I feel like we've been thrown back into the deep ocean once again. A sudden drop from the vacation high. Ah!

I can already tell that the academic portion of the year is going to more intense than before and I've prepped myself mentally to be more consistent and to be around more for the boys this year than last. I can safely say the 'honeymoon' period for K is over! (Lucky Jake still has one more year to cruise.)

So to close off 2013, we whisked everyone off to Japan for a bit of shopping and skiing. It was quite a no brainer as we wanted the kids to carry on from where they left off in ski school. And I must say they did really well! Each of them can now ski down a beginner slope rather confidently. Even the little one. And my! these kids are total dare devils! They are definitely much faster than D and I! (Old fogies, we are now. *hangs head*)

But Japan was brilliant. It always is. We literally shopped till our hearts stop (and so did our bank balances too!) and we had an exceptional time eating our way through as well.

It is not easy to sum up the whole trip in one post.

So let's begin with my favourite discovery of this trip. Cafe If.

Located at the junction of upper and lower Hirafu, it is a tiny cottage that serves pasta and cakes. We chanced upon it when walking back from dinner at Rin. It was exactly like the homes described in Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen. Unfortunately, it was closed by that time so I made a mental note to head back the following day. (which was the day we were leaving Niseko)



So I walked back with Little K the following morning and it was snowing as we made the trek. We were totally in a rush because we had to have breakfast elsewhere with our friends and we had a private bus waiting for us.

Once I walked into the cottage,  I literally paused as it was one of those that was so well preserved and obviously have seen the seasons change. It's not luxurious but quaint and well kept. They didn't serve breakfast but the old lady, with her limited english, said she was famous for her strawberry shortcake and cheesecake. I asked if I could take away some and she said "No because it won't last."





So little K and I were ushered in and we ordered quickly. "A hot chocolate and a strawberry shortcake, please." And then we waited. The food didn't come immediately. In fact, we sat and waited for quite a while.

It was such a treat sitting in that cottage that morning, with the snow falling outside. The interiors were filled with pots of green plants. It really felt like we were having tea in someone's living room.

Both K and I started observing the older gentleman slowly adding the milk as he mixed the cocoa. If you know Angelina's famous Parisian hot chocolate, this can definitely rival it. It's thick and luscious. A drink that requires slow sips and appreciation.





Next, came the strawberry shortcake. When she brought it out, I finally understood why it wouldn't survive being a takeout. It was a two layer soft sponge cake with a generous serving of strawberry jam in between. And a glorious layer of freshly whipped cream covered it with carefully placed sliced strawberries all over it. It was crazy madly good. In that moment, it felt like time has stopped. Even Kate knew it was something amazing as she sighed through each bite.

And because all good things have to come to an end, we quickly devoured the cake and wiped out mouths as we thanked the elderly couple for their kind hospitality before paying and rushing back.

It was one memorable experience and I'm hoping that they would still be there when I return.






Thursday, January 09, 2014

THAT Christmas Dinner

Just before we left for Japan, we celebrated an early Christmas with the guys at our place.

Looking back, it was a pretty crazy week. I had just returned from Hong Kong, been discharged from hospital and then it was just a couple of days before I cooked the entire dinner for our peeps. On the day itself, I had to chaperone Kate for a birthday party, as well.

Fortunately, everything went really well. I was very clear in my head what needed to be done and thank God, I managed to execute it. (I didn't exactly tell the husband what's on the menu because I knew he would cull it into half and tell me I'm insane to attempt it myself as he was too busy to help.)

The dinner was spectacular, if I may say so myself! We had turkey, roast pork, ham, roast potatoes, sweet potato and marshmallow pie. It was literally the works! I even surprised the husband! He can't quite believe I did all that!

At this stage of our lives, we are just so blessed to have the people we love around the table and celebrating the year, just before everyone left for their vacations. We laughed, played heads up (serious boys!! work on it! =p) and the kids got to open pressies after and they were so stoked to receive so many toys that they had on their wish lists. It was really Christmas for these little rugrats!!

So blessed to have family and friends whom we love for life. It's really a good life! And I am already missing December!!

It was quite funny that a week later, when we were in Niseko, Kate asked her korkor Jake, "Kor kor, it's Christmas! How come Santa didn't send our presents here?" To which, her korkor replied, "Meimei, we live in Singapore so our address is there. Of course, he sends it there!"

Anyway, here's the pictures from the night!

















Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Hello 2014!!

It's quite surreal that it's 2014!!!

I haven't been really diligent with updating this space because December was just busy busy to the max. 

I joined the husband on the tailend of his business trip to Hong Kong, and due to an infected pore, had an operation when I returned. But I had a good surgeon so I was up and running within 2 days and prepped up a Christmas dinner for my family and good pals before jetting off to the land of the rising sun with the kids and friends. Yup that was December!

And last night, on the final hours of 2013, we were at the hotel having a really nice dinner when I sat back and look around me and felt incredibly blessed. I have my kids who are all healthy and growing remarkably, my darling husband, my good friends around the table ( albeit short of one who's having a blast in Europe! Hi R!!!). It's always the company that matters. And we are in good hands, for sure.

In 2013, my boys are both in primary school. We were very busy with their academic curriculum and extra activities. Or rather I was. ;p Thankfully they've always loved school and so we never have any issues with them school wise. They are both active kids who still like to swim and play rugby. Both of them are inseparable and I spent much of the day telling them not to fool around so they can get work done!! 

The littlest had a change of school and she's made the most amazing friends there where we had so many play dates. In fact, their mummies are all such lovely peeps that we've become pals. She's her daddy's little gal who has him twirled around her pinkie. Slowly and surely she's moving away from being a little babe to one who's cheeky and opinionated. She's still very much in her princess phase but she is also a tomboy at heart especially when she plays with her korkors.

I feel we are in a different stage of parenthood now with the kids, especially the boys. As they grow edge closer towards teenagehood, we are slowly showing them how to manage the expectations the world has for them. Sometimes they get so carried away with the idea of growing up, we gotta remind them that they are still little and have so much more of the world to explore. 

I managed to find pockets of time to travel with my gals and D. We did travel to a lot of places in the last few months and I'd say, it's easy traveling with people who know you inside out. We have such a nice rhythm going. 

The husband has been the busiest amongst us. I loved that he had time to bring the boys for camp in November! Because he has been working so much in the last few months, the kids hardly saw him much. But when he's around, they certainly crowd around him with stories of their day. 

2013 was a pretty decent year for us! 

I've always been a glass half full kinda person so I count my blessings every day for the life I have and the people I share it with! All that I need in my life I already have so anything else is really a bonus! 

Too many new things are happening in 2014 so I'm glad we have time to regroup and relax before we kick off the new year fresh. 

Happy New Year, everyone! 
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