Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Bento No. 267

This is what I did when I am not feeling creative.  Get a doggie cookie cutter to press out the shape and decorate it with punched-out seaweed.  Then, place on a grass baran.  Mission completed! :P  His lunch consisted of macaroni, blanched mixed vegetables/cauliflower with tomato and meat sauce for his pasta.  On the sides, he got black grapes, green kiwi, blueberries and pumpkin soup which I packed it separately in another tupperware.

Time flies, my boy has grown up so much. 

4 years old
4 months at Ah Ma's house

Monday, October 29, 2012

Heart shape tamagoyaki

Bento No. 266
Tamagoyaki is a must-have for my son's sushi bento.  He loves his egg done in any style.  Even though I have made tamagoyaki countless times, there are still occasions where mine does not turned out perfectly well.  This is where I tried to create something different out of these imperfection. And today, I made a heart shape with it and the whites are still visible ;)  His lunch - tuna mayo/egg/cucumber sushi, a heart shape tamagoyaki, edamame, black grapes, green kiwi and a few blueberries with a couple of animals foodpicks.
The craze for fast car are still firing up back home although the Singapore Formula 1 has ended earlier.  I bought the exclusive lego model - The Ferrari 150° Italia after a pump at the Shell station.  He was so excited and worked on it immediately when we reached home.  He managed to put together the car all by himself for the first time which took about 30 minutes.  Except that there are three small parts he did not fix and an exhaust pipe sticker that probably looked alien to him.  Papa came home in the evening and explained the missing parts on the car.  At 4.5 years old,  I am amazed and proud that he could follow the instructions on the manual which is meant for age 6 years and above.   Is he a genius?  Nay, he is not.  My boy is under the influence of our dear daddy who is a big fan of legos and an avid collector.   Initially, he assembled bigger duplo lego blocks with the help of Papa.  Gradually, he was given smaller blocks and parts and learned to read the instructions manual with guidance.     The power of parental influence!  Do you agree?


Almost done with the wheels
Yeah! I did it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Apple Echidna ("E-kid-na") and Lion

Bento No. 263
Spiny Echidna

Whenever I made an animal face, my boy would ask me "where are the body and legs?".  Ooops!! The thing is that the lion face took me half an hour to complete it just by cutting and putting in place carefully the nori whiskers (especially), muzzle, nose, eyes and ears :P  Hence, there was insufficient time to continue other body parts.  I used a tigger cookie cutter for the shape of the face and for the mane, I pressed it out from a egg sheet using a flower cookie cutter.  This is also the first time, I attempted to do an apple echidna (pronounced as E-kid-na).  The idea striked me when I saw an impecfect cut of an apple wedge laying in a plate.  My son first learned about this short-beaked echidna during a trip to Adelaide, Australia when he was two years old.  In other countries, it may refer as hedgehog or porcupines.  I am quite proud with the end-product and so is my son who wanted to touch and feel the spines!  He has fried rice with silver fish, blanched broccoli, strawberries, blueberries and apple echidna, of course.  

Over the last two days,  I did a clover leaf shape from tamagoyaki.  Along with baked salmon sushi, edamame, strawberries and oranges.   At the bottom was cold soba with meat wantons (aka dumplings) together with blanched broccoli, carrot flowers, apple bunny, strawberries and blueberries with a pandan foodpick in the limelight.

Bento No. 264
Bento No. 265

Besides bicycle, roller blade, skateboard, to name a few, he also wanted to have a scooter like any other boys.  Because he does not own one, he will look for children at the playground hoping they will share their scooters.  However, it seems like all of them could not bear to part with their scooters.  Lately, his cousin, Dexter, got a new scooter and my boy has a blast scootering around at my mum's place.  Back home, he could not stop talking about the Dexter's new scooter.  Papa agreed him to buy it after he has mastered cycling with two wheels.  His wish came true last Sunday.  As promised, our Daddy went to Queensway shopping center and got him a brand new razor scooter.   Very happy indeed! Papa and Mommy gamely tried on his scooter.  It is not easy to balance and scooter but he is a natural. 


Friday, October 19, 2012

Quinoa ("Keen-Wah") and Oatmeal

Bento No. 262
This is something interesting and it is the first time I cooked quinoa and oatmeal porridge.  Why quinoa?  I first bought it to make crackers that I found the receipe here but the ingredients somehow did not bind together and hence, there were no crackers but a bowl of mush sadly.  But I will try again with smaller portion.  'Never give up', a phrase we used to encourage our boy.  That is how my storage ended up with a packet of unused quinoa.   Personally, I prefer rice over quinoa.  However, since my boy does not like rice porridge and he has requested for oatmeal instead.  So I added some quinoa into the oatmeal for a complete protein and nutritious porridge.  For taste and sweetness, I stirred in some sweet potato boiled in black sugar water - my own concoction!  On the side, he has steamed egg with minced meat, blanched cauliflower, bunny apple, grapes and pomelo.  To my surprise, he likes it :)) 

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Bento No. 261
Finally, I figure out how to make the shape of bicycle to mark another milestone that my son achieved i.e. riding with two wheels!  At 4.5 years old, we decided that it is time for him to ditch his four wheels. We talked to our big boy about it and he was willing to try.   Having read so many articles and friend in overseas raved about balance bike, Papa thought why not improvised it by removing the four wheels (the extra two small wheels) as well as the foot paddle!?  Well, our dear handyman proceed with the modification. My son was more than happy to try on his 'new toy'.  I left it very much to him to straddle on the bicyclle with two feets on the ground mostly along the corridor at first.  He cautiously maneuvered the bike without a single bad fall.  That encouraged him to move faster with his feets.  I did not schedule a time table for training but rather, allow him to develop his confidence at his own pace.  Without any pressure, I asked him one fine day if he was ready to venture out of his comfort zone.  And I got an affirmative 'yes' from him!  So I brought my doggie, Nitro together with my son on his 'balance bike' to the nearest playground.  By then, he was pretty confident riding on his 'balance bike' and whisked passed all the parents and children (guess, they were unaware he was straddling on his two feets).  He became more daring.  On a gentle slope, he even attempted to balance by lifting up both of his legs without me.  And the other kids also loved to give him a helping hand by pushing up the slope.  They played on the slope again and again.  I was seated at one corner watching over them.  Instantly, I knew he was ready!  Papa put the foot paddle back on his bike and brought him down to the playground again for a real ride on two wheels.  It was a quiet Saturday and children were nowhere to be seen.  The next thing, we saw him cycling smoothly with occasional, stucked, stopped scenarios.

The whole experience was quite effortless on my part.  The balancing was done intermittently over a period of time with lots of encouragement and no pressure. Within a week, he ventured out with his balance bike and successfully riding on two wheels. Thanks to our daddy who came up with his idea and the children at the playground who gave him a push up the slope.

The next target would be cycling to Pasir Ris Park using the park connector from Tampines.  Crossing the roads, watching out for cars, looking out for green/red traffic lights, and uneven cycling path would be another challenge he have to learn. We had a scary experience previously when he veered off the path towards the traffic when he was cycling on four wheels.  Thank goodness, Papa grabbed him and stopped in time. Another recent heart-pumping incident was my boy cycled digonally to another road junction when he was supposed to go straight.  I screamed my lungs out to direct him back on the right course. As evidenced, he still has a lot more to learn before he is proficient with his cycling.....

His lunchbox consisted of homemade roast char siu, brown rice, blanched kailan/carrots, green kiwis, grapes and checker apple.  For the bicycle, I used a leaf foodpick for the frame, carrots/nori/cheese for the wheels.  Sprinkled some black and white sesame seeds to form the gravel road.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chicken teriyaki sushi

Bento No. 260
This is a simple sushi set lunch my boy has every week.  Rolled in with teriyaki chicken with cucumbers and he also got surimi, edamame, green kiwi, grapes and a bunny apple. In Australia,  I vividly remembered that sushi there was larger and sold as handroll (not sliced) with the exception if you were dining in a restaurant.  We were astounded, however, the ingredients were refreshing and best of all - value for money!    Pardon me, I was just remicising the good old times. 

Other than my son, I have another older boy too...i.e. Nitro. a shih tzu breed, pet dog ;)  We celebrated his 5th birthday last Sunday with a can of Cesar's prime beef and vegetables and some lamb jerky sticks.  My son wanted to be involved and have a part to play too.  He offered to insert five lamb jerky sticks on the meat.  Nitro sure has a fabulous day licking clean off his bowl. 

Counting the jerky sticks

Friday, October 12, 2012

Elephant 大象

Bento No. 259
Recently, Yum-Yum bento shared a tutorial on how to make elephant using very basic tools i.e. a round cookie cutter and straw, with cheese and carrot in FB.  Isn't it super cute?  I really appreciate her work. Now, what am I going to do with my other elephant shape cookie cutter? Stash away? Nay, I shall make a conscious effort to make the 'real' cookies with my collection of animals cookie cutter which I have amassed over times.  On the sides, his lunchbox consisted of apple chicken balls, blanched broccoli/carrots, mashed potato (underneath the elephant), apples and green grapes.  I was in the mood of carving yesterday and I did a Chinese character 大象 (means elephant) on the wedges.  I also threw in a cheese bun just in case my preschooler still craving for more food.  He is growing up and eating a lot more lately.  Time to hunt for bigger lunchbox....

On raining days or when I am busy cooking dinner, he would play his lego blocks quietly at a corner all by himself.  Zoo is his favourite theme and sometimes, he told me he built a bigger house for Mommy and Papa together with other imaginery family members he can think of.  Here are some of his creations.

A Zoo
A box for the snakes
Bento No. 260
Besides having a wholesome meal and soup he had for his lunches daily, I will also treat him with a flavoured drink such as chocolate milk, vitagen/yakult (fermented milk drink containing strengthened probiotic L. casei strain Shirota) or yogurt to go along with his bread/sandwich once a week.  Today, he has ciabatta, Italian white bread with tuna mayo, salads (cucumbers, romaine hearts, tomatoes) in thousand island sauce, bunny apple and grapes. He has chosen his favourite chocolate milk.  I wonder if he likes the chewy, crusty Italian bread from Swiss bakery.  I must admit that it was really a good workout for the jaws :P

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Bento No. 258
Last Wednesday, the school has an outing to a frog farm at Lim Chu Kang.  The children sighted large and fat American bull frogs and even sample the frog leg.  After seeing these froggies jumping alive, the kids were undaunted the fact that the meat was later fried and served it to them.  My son came back and told me it was So yummy!  He would like to taste the frog meat again.  In fact, all the kids who have gone to the farm loves the taste - it was like chicken meat!  Psychologically, I could not bring myself to eat them.  And luckily, I was not there at the farm with them.  Otherwise, I would appear not sporting!!

Very well, I made two froggies out of boiled green carrots using a teddy bear shape cookie cutter.  At the bottom, I jokingly told my boy that there were frog legs.  There were actually baked little drumlettes that I marinated overnight with honey, soya sauce and orange juice.   On the sides, he has blanched broccoli, flower carrots, brown rice, grapes and oranges. 

Stick bug

Bento No. 257

I was thinking of butterfly when I made this bento.  Obviously, it doesn't.  It looked more like a stickbug according to son :P  Its body was made of semi-circle tamagoyaki and legs were thin strips of cucumbers.   He has california sushi, tamagoyaki, edamame, oranges and grapes. 
We released the last butterfly which has wiggled out from the chrysalis at the same place - butterfly garden.  He even showed it to his friends at school yesterday.  And he asked "Can we have more caterpillars again?".   Beats me! Where on earth I am going to find caterpillars?  In the garden, perhaps.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Tawny coster butterfly

Earlier, I have blogged about a pair of caterpillars we brought home from a party.

Early in the morning my son excitedly ran into our bedroom telling us that one of the pupa has turned brown.  As we were still in our sweet dream and thus, casually acknowledged his remark.  After breakfast, I thought I should take a look and to my surprise, an orange butterfly emerged.  I quickly gathered my son around the plastic container for the special moment.  Next thing, he was calling Papa to see it.  We decided to release it at the Tampines Changkat butterfly garden  (our second visit).  Later in the afternoon, I found out from the internet here that the butterfly is known as Tawny Coster (Acraea violae) originated from India and Sri Lanka.  And it has become a common species in Singapore since.  My boy was grinning from ear to ear and talking non-stop about the butterfly seeing its 'friends', its new 'home', taking the first 'nectar' ...etc  all the way from stepping out of our house to the butterfly garden.

We have one more excitment...awaiting.....

Day 7 - Changed to butterfly
On the way to Tampines Changkat Butterfly garden

Beautiful Tawny Coster (Acraea violae)

Friday, October 5, 2012

六 (Chinese character for number 6) and pita bread

Bento No. 255

Bento No. 256
First bento, I arranged the sugar bean to form 六 (Chinese character for number 6) over a bed of soba noodles.  Along with stir-fried cauliflower, carrots with fishcake and meaty dumplings.  Lately, I find the interest in carving Chinese characters on apple as well as in my food preparation.  By doing so, I killed two birds with one stone.  An alternative and unique way for my boy to learn his Chinese and also, I can improve my creativity and carving skill!  I have singled out number 6 first because he could not recognise the Chinese character when we playd domino blocks (a game I bought it few months ago).   But he has no problem reciting from number 1 to 10 in Mandarin.  At 4 years old and 6 months, I have noticed he began to speak and respond better in Mandarin with Granny (my mum).   Vocabulary has expanded as he grows older too.

Second bento - a wholemeal pita bread sandwiched with ham, egg, cheddar cheese and mini romaine hearts. The brown crust was the result of pan-frying.  On the sides, he has salad, raisin drizzled in thousand island sauce and dragonfruits.  Yeah, I have not given up the hope that he would eat his leafy salad one day.   On Wednesday, I brought up the topic of eating salads again when we were shopping at Cold Storage supermarket.  The only request for him to eat the salad was it must be from the Aeroponics farm.   It was one of the school outing last term where children were allowed to sample fresh lettuces. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Caterpillar sushi

Bento No. 254
I made a caterpillar sushi for one of his lunch this week. The fillings were baked salmon and Japanese cucumber. Edamame for the legs and cheese for its head.  Two musical foodpicks for the tentacles.  On the side was some dragonfruits.  I got the inspiration from a birthday party.
Last Saturday, we went to my boy's classmate, Arin, 4th birthday party.  Since Papa was limping after he had his swollen skin growth surgically cut and removed from his right leg, Mommy become the chauffeur.  This blur chauffeur googled the maps before setting off.  But we did not reach there in time because I had got the address wrong and was driving aimlessly not knowing where were the directions.  Just before I was about to give up and decided to turn back, I saw the road name.  Bingo!  However, we were late for an hour. :(  I was so embarrassed and apologised profusely to the mother on arrival.  Luckily, we did not miss the cake cutting and the children were still having fun at the mini zoo theme party.   The birds were tamed and clever that one scarlet macaw actually played dead!  My boy, who is an animal and bird lover, was ecstatic to see it and the best part was to be able to touch and get upclose.  First, he has a yellow/orange lovebird perched on his fingers.  Slowly, this little fellow made his way up on his shouder and settled on the 'spot' comfortably for quite some  times.  Besides birds, there were also some small animals such as rabbits and guinea pig too.  He chose to pat the guinea pig, gently 'sayang' (means love in Malay language) it on his lap. .  
Play 'dead'!
Lovebird found a comfy spot

Patting guinea pig
What I like about the party was that each children received a container of a pair of caterpillars and leaves with instructions on how to nurse these babies and care for the leaves.  Great idea to substitute with the usual goodie bag.  Absolutely love it! :D  On the third day, all have shed off the skins and became pupas.  So fast!?  Guess, these caterpillars must have been munching for many days elsewhere.  Everyday, my son would check the plastic container and see if they have changed to butterflies.  He just could not wait until the day of transformation.  So, I decided to bring him to the library to learn about the life cycle of butterfly to have a more visibly clearer picture.  As I read it to my son that caterpillar has 8 pairs or 16 legs, I realised that I only know it has many legs. And, I did not really bother to count the edamame I threw inside his bento box to form the legs as shown above.  By luck, I got the number of legs correct!
Till then, we are still waiting for the magical transformation...........

Instructions on how to nurse these caterpillars

Day 1 - We brought home

Day 3 - Skin shed and become pupas

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Monday, October 1, 2012


Bento No. 253
The lunchbox was prepared on last friday.  My boy has brown rice porridge with minced meat/water chestnut, stir-fried cabbage/carrot with silver fish, egg tofu and checker apple.  Cat was made of cheddar cheese and the rest of facial expression are punched out from nori except whiskers.

We were out for two nights for the Lantern Festival, also called the Mooncake or Mid-autumn Festival which was celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth Chinese lunar month when the moon was at its fullest.   It was my son's first night out with his dragon lantern (only after he agreed to take a nap in the afternoon that I would have allowed for a night out).  We bought three tickets at $4 each to the Lantern Festival organised by the Resident Committee (RC) which was held at Tampines Central Park on Saturday.  It promised fun amusement ride, a goodie bag, pomelo and some fringe activities.  We arrived late after attending a birthday party.  Crowds and queues had already formed at various stalls.  The most popular were the cotton candy and twisted balloon which Mommy managed to get it towards the end of the events.  Whilst my hubby brought my son to watch the magic show and of course, parading with his dragon lantern.  We could have done more activities if we had reached earlier.  Perhaps, next year ;)

On Sunday, the actual day, we took a stroll around our neighbourdhood after dinner with his lantern. And we could see many children were out in and around the playgrounds despite it might haved passed their bedtime.  The festive mood were everywhere.  Here, we could sit back, relax and watch different shapes and sizes of pretty lanterns.  Older kids were seen busy lighting up candles on the ground and some, I would not approve anyway, played with paper and fire.  His lantern remained in good condition at the end of the day without catching fire!  We could still reuse it next year.

Fascinated with the shadow of lantern

Shot taken in the morning