Friday, February 6, 2015

Just Teddy

# 347


The bento was inspired by Just Teddy, a storybook written by Emily Lim.  It is about a lonely teddy bear trying very hard to fit in with the toys in a toy factory. He even goes to great lengths to blend in with the polar bears, pandas and penguins and almost lose his identity.  We had borrowed and read this storybook many times.  An excellent read that I even bought it as a present for his cousin, Elly.  I could resonate the story.  Being an only child, my boy long for playmates and always wants to blend in with his friends.  Monkey see monkey do!  A follower initially.  As he grow older, assertiveness sometimes come into play and occasionally, I could see him being a leader during a game.  I have reminded him repeatedly that he must have his own mind and not to follow blindly.  I hope he would find his soul mate just like the teddy in the book.
Teddy bear was made of onigiri with his features punched out from seaweed. I used a toothpick to represent teddy' holding a marker. Dab a grain of rice and wrapped around the pointed tip with nori before inserting into his paw.  Notice one of his eye was different from the other? Yeah, a mischief and a permanent mark that left behind as a result of attempting to blend in his animal friends. (Read the book and you will know what I mean.)   His rice was flavoured with wasabi furikake.  On the side, he has stir-fried chicken breast with soya sauce, celery with carrots plus some imitation crabstick red stars I pressed out from a mould.  Some green and black grapes to go along.

emily lim teddy

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Melting ice with magnifying glass

We did a little experiment during a homework-free-day.  To see how light is intensified through a magnifying glass and check if it is melted faster than the other ice cubes.  Materials need :-
  • direct sunlight
  • magnifying glass
  • ice cubes direct from freezer
It was pretty cloudy and not in our favour.  Sun was partially covered by clouds that day.  We got some direct sunlight and the next moment, it disappeared. It went on and on like this dramatically :-
"Yay, there's sunlight! Quick, beam on the ice!!"
"Ohhhhh, no more light.  It's gone...."


We had fun really!

It has been a month since he started to school.  The boy's most exciting period in his Primary school are Physical Education (PE) and recess time.  His annoying and boring subject is Chinese.  Overall, he managed well with his English spelling making a few careless mistakes here and there.  Apart from his academic, I was so concerned over whether he could buy food from the school canteen on his own.  Probably over concerned and I had forgotten to really listen to what he wish to tell me and wanted me to know. Until I realised much later when we had a few conversations that he gradually revealed the 'things' he bought from the canteen's bookshop which I disapproved.  For some reasons, during the recess time, kids loves to buy things from the canteen's bookshop and they sell all sorts ranging from stationery, stickers, musical instruments..etc.  Since he had amassed so many stationery,  I become very uptight when he asked permission to buy things like ruler, pencil, etc from the canteen's bookshop.  Of course, I gave an affirmative 'No'.  At that moment, my boy kept quiet.  The truth was that he had already bought a ruler and a pencil from the bookshop.  He was just merely sounding me out.  Clever!

He also generously gave 50cents from his pocket money to help his friend, Shawn, to buy a whistle with a lanyard.  Reason being, his friend did not have enough money, so he wanted to help. Since he did not understand the meaning of 'lend' or 'borrow', the idea of returning the money was alien to him too.  This was the second incident.  Another time, he bought a 30 cents ruler for the same boy.

The next item he wanted to buy was tennis ball.  To satisfying his desire to buy from the bookshop, I agreed to it for once mainly because firstly we could work on some science experiment with it and secondly, he sought my permission first.  Unfortunately, he told his father.  The latter, however, (like me in the first place) said 'NO' to my son.  He was too afraid to disobey his father.  So until today, he still has not buy the tennis ball from the bookshop without his father's permission.  But my son kept reminding Papa to buy for him since he could not buy with his pocket money.

Oh well, so much happenings in school....

Friday, January 16, 2015

California sushi

# 346
Since my boy dismissed at 1.30 pm and the school was within walking distance from our house, he normally ate his lunch I prepared at home. Above is one of his bento box with California sushi, tamagoyaki and some Japanese cucumber sticks. We have been playing with flags of different countries which I bought from Tokyu Hands from Orchard Central.  These flag picks are 2 sided; iconic picture on one side and the country flag on the other.  I used black and white soccer ball flag pick to blend in with the white box.  The country that present it was England on the other side of the flag.

We craved for cold drinks everyday after school.  It has been scorching hot and sunny during the afternoons.  I literally have free sauna standing outside the school gate while waiting for my boy.  Nothing beats a cool honey avocado milkshake!

It was the end of second week of his Primary school days.  There was no pressure and he managed the lessons like a breeze.  He brought back his first spelling lists for English words.  A balance of some easy and difficult words which I thought was very encouraging to the children for a start.  I have started practicing spelling with him and would do the last round this Sunday before he would be tested on Monday the next day. 

The school also introduced a 15 minutes snack time on Mondays only starting at 11.00am on top of his early recess time at 8.30 am.  I have mistaken it was an everyday affairs.  Hence, I gave him a packet of oats biscuits on a Tuesday which he told me he "secretly ate under the table" in the classroom.  I bet the form teacher knew it since the latter reminded the class that snack was only allowed on Mondays ONLY although he said nobody saw him eating.

I hope I did not bore you with some snippets of this Primary school days and yeah, I would be writing more about it on my blog for a while.  Have a nice weekend ahead!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Fish and the day he starts his Primary School

# 345
This is my first bento for year 2015! And also my son's first lunchbox after school!! A 'fishy' business (onigiri) with a Japanese flag foodpick which I bought it from it Tokyu Hands at Orchard Central.  It contains some boiled broccoli, potato, carrot, hard boiled egg, Japanese cucumber, cherry tomatoes and char siew that Granny brought over yesterday. 

A brand new year means also the start of my boy's primary school education. A few days before the school opens, we talked about his new school and how did he feel about going to Primary school.  I was expecting he would say "excited".  Instead, he told us that he felt "nervous" about it.  Probably, we have over emphasized that he need to behave in school, pay attention in class, listen to instructions, adhere to the school's rules....etc.  We also explained it was entirely different from the carefree kindergarten environment.  One aspect of which, we did highlight was bringing homework back home. Whilst I was penning down my thoughts, I began to realise it really does not sound very fun in Primary school the way we put it across to him though.  Nevertheless,  he settled well on his first day of school last Friday, 2 January 2015.  Parents were allowed to stay behind and observe the kids during the recess time only for the first day.  Hubby and myself saw him munching his healthy lunch box quickly provided by the school (only on the first day) and could even showed his classmate where to wash hands after meal.  Afterwhich, both of us attended a 3 hours parenting workshop organised by the Parent Volunteer group.  When the school dismissed at 1.30pm, we saw him walking out together with his classmates led by his form teacher, smiling and happy!

It was interesting to note that given freedom to my son, he would come out something unexpected or rather something not approved by us.  The liberty to buy any kinds of food from the school canteen instead of packed bento from Mommy.  Yeah, speaking from a boy longing for independent - this was what he was looking forward.  We agreed but on the following days:-

Monday to Tuesday - buy lunch at school
Wednesday to Friday - Packed bento to school

On the second day of school, Papa gave him a $10 note pocket money for the whole week.  And it was a Monday which he could buy food on his own.  Shockingly, he bought a piece of fried seaweed chicken nuggets for 50cents and a packet of seaweed tibits for 30 cents!  Where's the healthy lunch box we saw him eating on the first day?  Next was even unbelievable! The canteen was too crowded that he and his Primary 4 buddy could not find seats to eat.  My son knew his choice of food was unacceptable and has asked us to give him another chance. Well, on the third day (today), he actually bought the healthy lunch box from the Chicken rice stall but still standing to eat his lunch.  At least, they found a table. Basically, a healthy lunch box has meat, vegetables and fruit.

Academic wise, he began his Hanyu Pinyin and English lessons.  He was amused during the Hanyu Pinyin lesson and discovered fun learning it.  I was pleased he enjoyed his lessons.

Walking to school

Recess time

In the classroom

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Gingerbread man cookies

Since I started to make gingerbread man cookies last year, it has become a tradition (I guess) to make it again this year.  In fact, I was in love with these cookies perfumed with aromatic spices.  Using the same receipe but I half the amount ground ginger to suit my son's palate.  Both of us enjoyed icing on the cookies.  My boy also even attempted some snowflakes which I recalled he did not dare to to do it last year.  As I was counting, he actually did 12 out of 25 cookies !! Can you spot his creations?  I thought that was a remarkable improvement for a boy! We gifted some to his playmates; a pair of twin girls, Pei En, Pei Xing, their grandma and his Malay friends/neighbours.  He chose to give away mine and kept his cookies for his beloved jie jie (s), Christine and Evelyn and 'Yi gu' whom would be flying to Singapore from Penang for holiday on Christmas Day.

It was also a timely reminder to teach my son that Christmas is not only about receiving presents but giving as well.  To make it meaningful for the little mind, we bought a brand new softtoy earlier from Ikea which we dropped off at its designated box to be donated to unprivileged children. 

Merry Christmas to everyone! 

Full concentration!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Tying shoe laces

To teach a kiddo to tie his shoelace may be daunting to some probably.  The need of fine motor skills, concentration and a lot of patience for the little fingers to get to work.  My 6 years old son balked every time I said to tie shoe lace.  He normally took the easy way out; slipped in and out of his sport shoe without untying. 

Since school is out and we spent considerate amount of time at home, I talked about the subject and telling him what to expect.  Then, I let my son decide a day for him to practice tying shoe laces.  One Thursday afternoon was scheduled.   I started with him by tracing outline of his shoes on a cereal box.  Cut out the shape.  Then I punched 12 holes; 6 holes on each sides.   Afterwhich, I showed him how to insert the the shoe lace in each hole and explained using the rabbit ears method.  It was difficult at first and he almost have given up due to his impatience nature.  However, he persisted.  And after a couple of trials and errors, he could manage to properly tie it himself without my help.  Happily and full of confidence, he did it over and over again proving to me that it was easy for him now.  It was an achievement that he was so proud of.  And I was too proud of him!

An afternoon well spent indeed!  But we have a lots more afternoons during the whole of December holidays.  How he cope with boredom at home when he has nobody to play with? One day, I found him trying to pretend to be a train driver with his animal soft toys as passengers seated on the dining chairs nicely line up ......... 

Thursday, December 11, 2014



I made this owl from bread and cheese back in Perth when we visited and stayed with our niece around mid-November school holiday. The owl was made especially for Elly, our niece's daughter.  I did it before we drove to Bunbury, 90 minutes, South of Perth.  Seeing how she love to eat the piggy bread I prepared for her earlier, I just could not resist to make another one for her.  Without my bento tools, I got to be creative with spoons/cups and, even measuring spoons for the eyes! Basically, I just lay my hands on anything in the kitchen that could be used for bento making.   I drew the details with Nutella (chocolate and hazelnut spread) which was also Elly's favourite and dab a little strawberry jam for its beak. Add-ons were leftover fruits; strawberry and grapes from an outdoor BBQ. All were placed inside an bright orange bowl.  Covered with clingwrap and left it in the refrigerator.

My boy has a blast with his two little cousins. He enjoyed our second camping trip down south which I would be blogging later.

December was filled with warmth, love and surprises.  It was my birthday and a week later, my mum.  For Mommy, Papa brought us to a Halia restaurant at the Botonic gardens for dinner.  It was long time ago since my last fine dining.  All dolled up and dressed up for the occasion for our family of three! I enjoyed the ambience and the food.  We had truffle fries and various kinds of mocktail with the most unusual concoctions, jazzed up with ginger in the drinks.   For the mains, Papa chose the steak but was not able to appreciate it because it was cold according too him.  I ate halibut in a bag done in some sort of Japanese style, not truly authentic Japanese food but rather East meet West palate.  I like the clean and mild taste and not heavy on my stomach.  My son has mushroom fettuccine with a 62 degree egg which Daddy commented it was good!  Well, he could not finish the adult size meal and Daddy cleaned off the plate.  I was caught off guard when the restaurant staff sang a birthday song for me when they served the dessert we ordered.  A nice surprise! But I felt a little embarrassed though ;) 

Flower of fire
On actual day, we had banana chocolate cake from Awfully Chocolate.  A bit sweet from the layers of mashed banana. We were chocolate lovers and their cakes has thus far is the best in town.

Banana chocolate cake from Awfully chocolate

Birthday was completed with an awesome and yummy cake.  This year, it was even sweetened with a lovely handmade 3-D card from our niece, Christine from Malaysia.  I love the pastel colour and the patchwork design.


For Grandma's 71st birthday, it was a homely affair. We went for a hearty and simple Japanese meal in our neighbourhood restaurant, Sushi Tei.  Granny had her favourite premium unagi meal and sushi. A mini mango mousse from Yamazaki that literally pulled off pretty well as birthday cake since my mom is not a fan of any cake.  Despite it was not as 'glam' as mine, we all enjoyed the moment of being together.

Granny & Grandson enjoyed the mango mousse