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

Owl

#344

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

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tofu salad with soft yolk boiled egg (also Last day of his Kindergarten)


I love Japanese flavoured soft yolk boiled egg (or Ajitsuke Tamago) that was not too runny.  Especially those that paired with a hot, steamy ramen.  It was heavenly!  To make it into a bento box, the egg yolk should not be runny and yet soft enough with brilliant bright orange.  Therefore, I decided to experiment it at home without flavouring it.  After a few (failed) attempts with different sizes of eggs and cracked eggs, I finally succeeded cooking the way we like it.  Large egg (around 58g to 60g) took 3 minutes and small egg like the first born egg need only 2 minutes. 

Method:
  • Take an egg straight out from the refrigerator and put it into a small pot filled with water at room temperature (Note: This stage is critical because the eggs may crack.  But I have no solution to it.  Just have to try our luck.)
  • Start the stove with a small fire and simmer
  • Once the water starts to boil, switch it off
  • Cover the pot with a lid and leave it for 3 minutes
  • Take the egg out and plunge into cold ice water
We had a simple and healthy lunch with fried tofu, lettuces, tomatoes and of course, the egg! And paired with our favourite Japanese sesame sauce which I learned it from JustCookBook.

Time flies, today was the last day of his school.   The children has a farewell party in his kindergarten with a sporty and healthy theme.  The party snack contributed by the school as well as potluck from the parents.  Whilst his kindergarten provides pizza bread, the parents were requested to bring one type of food be it grapes, blueberries, vitagen drink or halal jelly.  My boy dressed up as a footballer which I conveniently suggested since he has a full set of the soccer jersey which he played at the Junior Arsenal Club.  To show my appreciation for the teachers,  I had earlier baked some mini cranberry scones for his K1 teachers; Ms Alice, Fu Laoshi, K2 teachers; Ms Josie, Huang Laoshi and the Principal, Mrs Aw.

I am glad I have made the right choice of kindergarten when we decided to switch from his then premium preschool to the current one nearer to our home.  His current kindergarten focus on play and not so academic driven which I believe, that's the reason why my son enjoyed the lessons and always looked forward to go to school.  Not forget to mention that the teachers there were helpful, approachable and caring towards the pre-schoolers.  I did lament that it did not provide enough outings for greater exposure (which his previous kindy has at least 3 outings per term! Again, we paid a premium for it).  Nevertheless, my son did well and another milestone achieved!  Next year, he will begin his formal education and hope he will love and enjoy learning in his new Primary school.




Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Chicken Burger

# 343

My son gets to choose his brunch (that last him till his snack time 1.30pm in his kindergarten) almost everyday. It saved me the trouble of cracking my head and also I have a more willing child to eat his food happily since he requested it.  He wanted the same chicken burger I prepared previously.  This time, not in a lunch box but just lay out on a plate.  Four Leaves bakery has really nice multi-grain bun that I personally love it.  And it was just nice and the right size to make burger!  Sliced into half and spread some butter on both sides of the bread.  With the butter side face down, I toasted it over my Happy call pan still slightly crisp.  Then layered with low fat cheese, a piece of chicken thigh, a slice of tomato, onion and lettuces.  Lastly,  squeezed some Japanese mayo and ketchup. Then I decorated with a flag food pick. On the sides, he has some Japanese cucumber, tomato and green grapes.  Does it look appetizing to you?
 
Although he has just lost one of his front milk teeth and complained every bites, it was a satisfying meal.  He finished all of it! :D  Then, he asked me to collect all his milk teeth that since been fallen off to make a necklace for him.  Guess, that's my next DIY project!