Thursday, July 2, 2015

Flower Bento, Goodies from our Japan trip

School reopened on Monday after one month of June holiday.   His first bento for a start was simply teriyaki chicken, boiled broccoli, cherry tomatoes, flower carrots and rice with cod roe/seaweek furikake.  This was my second purchase of furikake and perhaps the last as the latter was too salty to my taste.

We had a fabulous June holiday away from Singapore.  We visited Japan; Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara and Osaka for 12 days from 5 to 16 June 2015.  We were all so excited about it.  Prior to the trip, I did a little home learning about the country with my son such as the prefectures, regions, culture, temples and shrines....etc.  It was an eye opener for us to be able to experience Japanese rich cultures, their hospitality, their incredibly efficient super complicated transportation system, cleanliness of the country amidst the old buildings, their high technologies like human robots/androids and its amazing electronic bidet toilet seat!!

In the cities, shops be it low or high rise building lined up the streets in every nook and cranny. There's always something interesting to see and buy.  And, our boy also addicted to Gacha Po, the capsule toys that he played several times till he amassed almost 20 capsules.  As for Papa, he grew up with Akira manga (comic books), guess he just could not resist when we were at a book store.  So much of our shopping spree which I have not done in my entire life.  In our family vacation abroad, we usually brought home only memories, pictures and goodies from the country.  The trip to Japan was exceptional!  Even the Papa and son also did a lot of shopping too without complaint.  Mummy, of course, took the opportunity to make a trip to Bento & Co in Kyoto, the infamous store among bento lovers.  Needless to say, I bought more bento boxes from them too.

People - they were everywhere !  At the most busiest  Shibuya crossing in Tokyo, train stations, subways, shopping malls..etc.  We could literally feel how densely populous in the cities. 

I hope to visit Japan again to explore other prefectures and places.

Bento boxes from Bento & Co
Space foodpick and sushi mat from Tokyu Hands

Goodies from Kyoto and Kansai International Airport

Pokémon Gacha Po (Capsule Toys)

Kaikukan (Osaka Aquarium)  Gacha Po

Friday, May 15, 2015


After battling the running/congested nose for 40 days, my boy has finally healed.  No more running nose and blocked at night.  It was the longest recuperating period he ever had for sinusitis.  As we would be travelling to Japan during the June school holidays, we wanted him to enjoy the vacation and the flight. So, we re-visited the doctor on the 2 May 2015 seeking for speedy recovery.  He was prescribed with Nasonex nasal spray and Zyrtec for his allergies.   He took 4 sprays of nasonex each morning and stopped thereafter because he said he felt that his nose was not as congested as before. Had we not planned the trip to Japan, I would be reluctant to give the steroid spray and opted for the continuation of gluten free diet, a more natural healing path.  I did see gradual mucus reducing daily which was not as fast relief as the nasonex spray and Zyrtec.  In the interim, I also added more than usual the amount of ginger, onion and garlic in his meal planning as well as changed cow milk to goat milk. However, cutting off egg noodles, biscuits, bread, cakes and ice cream totally has a slimming effect.  He lost 1 kg within one month!  Since he was more chubby and therefore, no harm losing a bit of fat.  In fact, he was pleased that he has a flatter tummy because he got upset when his classmates told him that he was fat. 

As a Mommy, what a relief!  For the next few weeks before flying to Japan, he would eat normally.  Slowly, I would introduce bread, biscuits, cakes and ice cream back into his diet in small portion. 
I have fun making this Sumo wrestler onigiri which I fried plenty of garlic with leftover cooked short grain rice.  Then, flaked the baked salmon (with Sicilian style seasoning), mixed it together and shaped into triangle.  Cut seaweed for the rest. But the cut seaweed 'fundoshi'  (Japanese undergarment) did not look quite right here ;P  It should be a 'T' shape instead of 'I' shape.  Arghh!!!

Another simple bento with pan fried tofu chicken patties in teriyaki sauce, tamagoyaki, a cherry tomato and edamame.  Sprinkled some wasabi furikake on the rice.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Sisters' Islands - the Marine Life Park

Early this year, I received an email from National Park (NP) that our application for the guided walk at Sisters' Islands on 21 January 2015, Wednesday (4.30pm to 7.30pm) was successful. We were so excited and almost felt like striking lottery.  Previously, I have tried booking the guided tour for Chek Jawa Wetland and Sisters' Islands.  Unfortunately, I failed to book several times despite stayed up late after midnight hoping for a slightest chance to secure the places.  It was always fully booked especially the time slots allocated during the weekends and school holidays. We wanted so much to experience the intertidal walk.  At last, we got it!  We were really lucky this time.
It was a pity that Papa was unable to join us for that guided tour due to work commitment.  Nevertheless, my boy was equally elated as me and could not wait to check out the Sister's Island.  I hurriedly fetched my son back home after school and, swiftly gave him instructions to get washed, dressed and ate his lunch. Quickly, I grabbed my backpack that were packed with diving boots, raincoat, water bottle and plastic bags and we were out of the house.  We took a taxi to the Pasir Panjang Ferry Terminal where we were supposed to meet at the 'Buzz' convenient store.  Along the way, my boy was worried that we might miss the ferry and kept asking me if we were late. We were not, of course!  When we reached the ferry terminal, we were greeted warmly by two marine biologists and eventually, became our guides for the day.  The group was mainly adults and a few children.  While waiting for the rest of the participants, my always hungry son got an ice cream cone treat from me I bought from the convenient store.  The ferry ride took us about 20 minutes to reach Big Sister's Islands.  
The Legend
Sister's Islands are Singapore first designated Marine Life Park.  There are, as a matter of fact, two islands namely Big Sister's Island, also known as Pulau Subar Laut, and Little Sister's Island, as Pulau Subar Darat.  There is a legend about two sisters called Minah and Linah.  A pirate came to ask for Linah's hand in marriage but rejected.  Linah was kidnapped by the pirate.  Minah then, jumped into the seawater to save her sister. Large wave engulfed them.  Both were gone after the storm.  Two islands later emerged at the spot they had perished which collectively known as Sisters' Islands now.

Pasir Panjang Ferry Terminal
Ferry ride
Big Sister's Island

We explored the small and the big lagoon which the latter apparently was a reclaimed land.  With our guides leading us, we walked in a single file in order not to step onto any marine creatures accidentally.  We were also not supposed to touch them on our own without permission for safety reason. Children, however, were so tempted to touch especially the sea stars and forget everything about it.  Interestingly, it was sea stars mating season and we sighted numerous having a 'party' as my boy put it across.  He did not say it once but a few times which left the adults humoured ;)

Mushroom anemone

Bucket used to contain the Sea Stars

Lets flip over

Mating - One on top of another
Footprint around it

What amazed us was the Giant clam!  It actually spit water when we waved our hands above like a motion sensor thing.  We had heaps of fun and thanks to the guides who imparted lots of valuable knowledge. On a separate note, it could be mind boggling for my boy (and even myself) over the scientific names of the marine life creatures.
This post was long overdue and I have also possibly forgotten some of the details/things that we have sighted.  

Giant Clam

Shy Land Hermit Crab
Octopus under the rock

Carpet anemone




Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Laptop lunches


I'm delighted that Daily Kits gives me the opportunity to review their laptop lunches.  I have stopped making charaben (Character Bento) for him because this little man decides that he has grown up at aged 7 years old and does not want any cute stuff on his bento boxes. Therefore, his lunches are simply assembling of food in the lunch boxes or he eats from his plate most of the time without elaborated style.  But once in a while, I will surprised him with a charaben.  I'm glad the Mr Nice Guy in him does not mind at all and can be quite a critic over my creations.  The laptop lunches comes in many colours and the right time!   I was allocated the 'Jubilee' range.  It is a pretty purple box and I'm pleased to add it to my collections that are unsightly stashed in my kitchen drawers.

We are given a bento lunch box (Jubilee), bento sleeve (black) and an ice gel (colourful stripes).   My boy squealed with excitement when the delivery came.  With such a bright and appealing colour, I decide to keep it simple, no bento accessories for the lunch box.  As you can see from the lunches I prepared below, the colour contrast between the food and the containers does make it stand out.  On top of which :-
  • They are dishwasher safe.
  • They are BPA free, non-toxic and do not contain phthalates or lead. 
  • The containers with lids are great for liquid food and sauces/dippers for salads. 
  • The individual containers are microwaveable except for the lids.
  • It is easy for my Primary schooling boy to open and close effortlessly.
  • Spill proof is another plus point.

Close up
Top: Boiled carrots/green pepper, purple sweet potato/cherry tomato
Bottom: Baked salmon/lemon, orange

Top: Stir-fried carrots/sugar bean, black plum/cherry tomato/Japanese cucumbers
Bottom: Rice topped with wasabi furikake, fried threadfin coated with egg mixture
Top: Blanched broccoli/carrot, yogurt
Bottom: Sushi roll/tamagoyaki, apple/orange

At first, the little fingers are struggling how to open the rectangle box.  We read but did not follow the instructions per se.  After a few practices, we conclude that we are more comfortable opening the box by using our forefingers to push the latch up from the bottom.  The size of laptop lunch is much bigger than the Japanese bento boxes which means it occupies half the space of his school bag.  So he hand carried it all the way to the school.  No fuss and he happily walked to school. 


The insulated bento sleeve and ice gel keeps the food fresh.  Even the ice gel is also much bigger and will add on to the overall weight which is something I do not like.  Considering the humid and warmer weather in Singapore, the ice gel, of course, will definitely come in handy to keep the food longer in school despite its sheer size and weight.  I can foresee him using more often when he needs to stay in the school for extra activities at upper Primary school.   
My boy loves it nevertheless, and gives it a thumbs up for the laptop lunches.   
For more information and products range, please visit :-

Thursday, April 30, 2015

7th Birthday - Transformer Roll Out

He was having a running and congested nose on his 7th Birthday. As such, we abandoned the plan to visit Night Safari which he requested earlier.  We celebrated at home with father and son since their birthdays were so close to each to other.  It also made the celebration more meaningful, especially the bond between father and son.  Since our Grandma has just passed away last year, I was not supposed to make any birthday cake  I bought the cake from Bengawan Solo which my son chose the theme and Papa selected the design (I thought my boy was trying to please his father by agreeing on the design, both unanimously).  So it was a homely affair this year.  Also, he got to enjoy and eat the chocolate cake before the dietary change to go gluten free (not 100% though).

I like the fresh cream on the cake but found the chocolate rice ball and cream inside the layers were tad too sweet.

The most important men in my entire life.  Cake cutting was short and sweet.  The younger one was too eager to eat his cake. The older one swiftly finished his slice of cake and sat on the sofa to watch television.  Mommy later went back to the kitchen and cleared all the dishes and continued the washing. 

It's over just like that  .........  but they were happy and me too :))

Chicken tofu patties

# 350

I have not done any bento(s) lately.  I was pre-occupied with my son's sickness and dietary change.  He is feeling a lot better now.  Therefore, I made a simple and no-frill bento.  Inside the box, he has chicken tofu patties, boiled carrot flowers/broccoli, cherry tomatoes, romaine leave as a divider, short grain rice topped with wasabi furikake.  The chicken tofu was really yummy which can be found at Just One Cookbook.

In one of our lazy weekends, my boy discovered this old typewriter at Toast Box (coffee chain).  We passed by many times and yet we did not even notice it.   He was so fascinated with the typewriter and played on it for a long time.  It was so funny watching him fiddling with the typewriter and his intense curiosity on how the machine works. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Chidhood sickness - running/congested nose, sinus for the longest period

It has been a month my son was down with running/congested nose.  Excessive mucus that cause blockage all day and worsen at night.  But now he was clearing up and less congested.  He is able to sleep and breathe better throughout the night too.  Phew.

A month ago, we flew back to Malaysia for Qing Ming festival (清明节) over the weekends 27-29 March 2015.  We brought vegetarian food, Malaya kuehs, tea and fruits to offer to our late Grandma and others at the Siamese temple early in the morning.  Jostling with the crowds holding joss sticks as usual.  Incense fume triggered tearing sensation that made it difficult to keep our eyes open.  We were hot and sweaty every bits.  It is a Chinese tradition during Qing Ming festival (清明节) to burn incense, paper money, paper clothes, paper shoes/slippers, .. etc for the spiritual, be it at the cemetery or temple.  In the past, it was a family gathering around the graveyard at the hillside where Grandfather (爷爷) was buried.  The offerings were more elaborate.  Since our grandmother passed away and cremated last year, the family had all decided to have grandfather's grave exhumed and cremated the remains so that both their ashes (Grandmother and Grandfather) could be housed at the same Siamese temple in the individual urns. On the last night before departure,  we were at the funeral wake of Tai Ku Cheong.  Papa and son were, last minute, pulled in to join the funeral rites for the burning of large paper house, car .. etc.  With due respect, I suspected if inhaling the incense smoke and burning could be a trigger point for my son's sinusitis.

The flight back home was painful and unpleasant for him because he could not equalise the pressure. My boy was fine when the plane landed.  However, his ear pain relapsed and became unbearable after dinner. Rashes appeared on his back.  Since it was a Sunday night, our family doctor was closed, we went to other clinics. We were surprised to see long queues at 24 hours Tampines clinic and chose to go further to Lifelink at Pasir Ris.  He was prescribed with antihistamines.  The next day, he was having running nose dripping like a tap water that cannot be switched off.  Occasionally with bouts of headaches.  Constantly congested nose throughout the days and nights.  A few days later, the skin on his fingers tips, hands and feet began drying and peeling off.  I was shocked to see he was 'shedding' skin like a snake.  Luckily, the skin healed gradually with plenty of QV lotion I applied on the affected areas.

We finished the antihistamines as instructed but he did not recover.  Then we visited my regular Chinese physician at Bedok and even persuaded my child to try acupuncture.  He did go ahead and that was also his first and last session of acupuncture.  He was calm and brave with 3 needles poked around his face.  He was tearing eventually.  I was heart broken.  Acupuncture works for me which literally relieved from congested nose but it did not work for my boy.

His condition however did not improve.  Papa suggested chiropractic for his posture as well as congested nose.  Without a hesitation, we visited Papa's chiropractor at CSG (Chiropractic Solutions Group).  Dr Alan Ng recommended a gluten free diet for 3 weeks and  weekly of chiropractic session.  We did go ahead with the dietary change but not 100% gluten free.  My boy was determined to get well soon and had cut off bread, cakes and biscuits totally.  I was proud of his perseverance. This was his second week of gluten free diet.  His mucus has reduced greatly but still very blocked at night.  Even I rubbed the vicks vapour on his chest and feets at night, his breathing was interrupted most of the time and he was gasping for air with his mouth.

Desperate to help him sleep better through the night, I chanced upon  R.C. essential oil from Young Living at Essentialoilsg while browsing for gluten free food over the internet.  I bought it online last Friday and was delivered quickly on the second day (Sunday) by courier service.  I applied NEAT on his chest and amazingly, it cleared out his congested nose almost immediately and my boy could breathe smoothly and normally.  Subsequent days, I applied NEAT on his feet as well.  It was therapeutic, I must say.  Because, he slept like a baby.  It was an undeniable fact that R.C. oil was effective in alleviating respiratory problems.  So powerful!!  A word of caution on the usage of such potent oil.  I have double checked with the seller that older child (mine is 7 years old) and adult can apply NEAT (directly on the skin) but for younger kid, it is advisable to dilute with a carrier oil. 

This was his second major illness that last for more than a month.  His first serious one was coughing for more than 3 months till the specialist diagnosed him with mild asthma in 2012. It was 3 years ago! Came home with a hole in our pocket and plenty of medicines (flixotide, ventolin, singular, etc).   He has since fully recovered from the asthma episode.

I hope for his speedy recovery from sinusitis.