Thursday, March 28, 2013


Bento No. 292
I have been busy planning my son's 5th animal theme birthday party in April.   And it's less than 2 weeks from today and I am trying to tie up the loose ends.  Honestly, I am not in the mood to make any pretty ones lately.  But he has been bugging me to do a leopard for him.  My boy has always loves animals but his favourites kept changing from lion to elephant to giraffe to tiger...etc  And now, it's leopard!  Since I have a mini mango steamed cake from Four Leaves bakery, I thought it would be nice if I could make an outline of the shape of leopard using seaweed.  So I began to search the internet for inspiration, then I sketched it in my notebook above.  I was perspiring in the kitchen while freehand cutting the seaweed.  Except the eyes, nose and spots were punched out from nori.  It was really difficult for me! The actual finished product looks so different from my drawing ;P

On the side was kiwi-berry, a new fruit that I found selling in the supermarket here.  My boy did not like it though.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

'Seashell' dumplings

Bento No. 291
We had fun making our own dumplings yesterday evening. And my boy recalled fondly the time he made the dumplings with Jacinta Laoshi at his old preschool. He used the mould I bought from Daiso and mommy freehand folded the pleats. He proudly held one of his dumplings and exclaimed "Mine looks like a seashell! Mommy's dumplings look like 屁股 " (ie bum in Chinese). What do you think? ;P We made a large batch and placed it in the freezer so that we could always had frozen dumplings anytime.

So today's snack before school, boiled 'seashell' dumplings and some strawberries! Since he is going to have chicken rice at his kindergarten (new menu and the teachers said it is a 'healthy' version), I did not want to load too much food especially he just had a cup of milk and a large corn mayo bun which Papa bought from Yamazaki bakery in the morning. He loves food and has really good appetite.

Morever, he did complained to me that he was super hungry after school because the portion given to him was too little. That is why I began to prepare some snack or lunch prior to school.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Baked salmon sushi

Bento No. 290
A simple sushi lunch and his all time favourite!  In the box, he has baked salmon sushi with Japanese cucumber, blanched broccoli, tamagoyaki and strawberries.  I arranged the food and my boy decorated it with animal foodpicks. 

How did you spend your school holidays in March?  My boy signed up as a Smålish citizen!  We rarely visited the place except when we had no plans or activities.  And only upon request from my son.  And it was also a good place for Mommy to escape from the scorching heat. He went to Småland once there after school just before the March school holiday started.  He was a bit sad as he could not find any friends at Småland to play with.  The kids seemed to exclude him on purpose during play.  But it did not stop him from going there.  The second time we were at Småland, he repeatedly told me he would definitely make some friends.  True enough, he did! He was happy and even managed to get to know their names :)  Being the only child, he yearned for companion to play with him.  He told me he wish to have a 'big' brother.  This is not the first time he asked for a brother or sister.  Over times, I somewhat detached the emotional feeling in me and reassured him that he has Daddy and Mommy and he was never alone.  However, my boy asked "what if you pass away?".  I did not expect such a question from him and neither would I expect him to think so far ahead.  Trying to be positive, I explained that if the time comes for me to go, he would have grown up as adult, independent and capable of  taking care of himself and would have his own family; wife and children.  He nodded in silence. I realised at that moment, my boy is not only mature for his appearance but his thoughts as well.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Bento No. 289
This was a very easy snack I prepared for my son today. Plain white mantou (or Chinese steamed bun/bread) converted to a zebra!  All details were freehand cut except the eyes were punched out from seaweed puncher.  The good thing using mantou is you do not need to worry about the seaweed falling off because the bun itself is sticky.  But he was missing a pair of ears - Oops! :P  No wonder my boy paused for a minute before he realised it was a zebra. 

Have you noticed any change of behaviour after they (kids) switched to a new school?  I have mine to tell.  In the beginning of the year, my son adjusted very well in his new kindergarten, new environment and new friends.  Of late, he has not been able to pay attention in class according to his teacher. Instead of sitting straight and attentive, he lay on the floor citing 'tired' as the reason. And I learnt that he was imitating another classmate who displayed the same behaviour.  When I asked him about it, he gave me a lot of excuses and I felt that he could not tell me exactly what was bothering him.  Then, he told me it was boring during the Chinese lesson and he missed his previous preschool because it was more interesting over there.  Hence, I decided to drop by his old preschool this afternoon.  He was really excited to see his ex-teachers again and began to compare his current kindergarten with the old preschool.  Along the way, he could even identify the directions and buildings as I drove passed.  It was like a meeting with 'old friends'.  Unfortunately, one of the Chinese teacher has left the school.  But he was happy to see other teachers who once held his tiny hands and played with him when he was a baby. 

At the end of the day, I am glad I had made this trip because my son said "I love both S kindergarten (current) and W preschool (old)".  :))  He is such a sentimental little man. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Bento No. 288
We had lunch at home and this was what I prepared for him - cold soba, a hen made from fishball, blanched cauliflower/carrots in the picture above. On top of which, he also has a red fermented drumettte, green grapes and soup.  Catch me here at Gingerbread mum on Tips for Bento Newbies! 

Today, my son's kindergarten oragnised a field trip to the neighbourdhood at Street 81. This would be his first outing with his new school and I was asked to come along to help out by his teacher. It was a hot and sunny afternoon. Children were complaining of the blazing hot sun and did not quite enjoy the neighbourdhood walk.  It was hard not to stay inside an air-conditioning shop to beat the heat till the teachers instructed them to move on.  With two teachers, 18 kids and myself, it took a lot of effort to keep the kids together without any wondering off from the group.  My boy was not listening, neither he was paying attention to teachers who tried to explain when we passed by each shop.  However, what caught their attention was the wiffy smell at the rubbish chute.  Everyone just stopped and watched the workers.  And they were happy to see the little ones there too  ;)

At the end of the trip, we were all drenched in sweat.  Children kept telling me they wanted to go home :/  

Oh, so cooling!  Air-con!!

Hold your breath!

Monday, March 11, 2013


Bento No. 287
Inspired by one of the mommies from EZ Bento Group, I am determined to make another improved version of SpongeBob.  My first attempt here actually scared my boy so much that he did not want any more SpongeBob lunchbox.  Come to think of it, it would be more suitable for Halloween theme ;P  I did not tell my son about it this time.  However, I am glad he was smiling and happy to see it!

SpongeBob was made of steamed egg with minced meat which I thought it was perfect and natural for his face - a sponge like texture.  Seaweed and rice onigiri which I flattened to make his eyeballs.  SpongeBob has blue eyes.  Unfortunately, I did not have any blue ingredient at hand.  Corn kernel for his nose.   Cheddar cheese for his cheeks.  Seaweed for his mouth.  Two grains of sticky rice for his bunny teeth!  White rice for his shirt and for the pants, I painted with soya sauce.  I cut out the details of his collar and belt from nori and carrot was used to make the tie.  On the sides, he has blanched broccoli, corn kernels, star carrot and strawberries.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Chinese New Year 2013 in Malaysia

Reunion dinner - a tradition for all Chinese household on the eve of Lunar New Year.  Here was a glimpse of typical steamboat dinner we had. There were a lots of green ever since Ah Ma becomes a vegetarian.  She has a special small claypot that was separated from our chicken broth in the middle.   We had two tables in order to accomodate all the adults and children. Ah Ma is like a magnet who keeps the family members together and she is 90 years old now.

Reunion dinner - steamboat
Vegetarian abalone, Wong Bok, Spring Onion, Chinese Lettues, Coriander, ,
Fishballs/meatballs, Prawn, Fish, Chicken, Pork
Dipping - soya sauce and green chilli

Ah Ma

On the first day of the new year's morning after pray, we had vegetarian food for brunch and lotus seeds and dates for dessert  (aka  "糖水" in cantonese).  Dinner was my favourite!  Especially the Lor Bak (Ngoh Hiang) and Jiu Hu Char (fried yambean with shredded cuttlefish) which were the staples of Penang Nyonya dishes. We ate it every year during the festive season. Second day, we had a simple lunch but a big feast in the evening by the best cook of the house, Lai 姑 (means the youngest aunt in cantonese).  In fact, all the 姑 姑 are great cooks, far much better than me.  The vegetarian menu consisted of lotus root soup, assam curry, Ulam ie Malaysia salad; mint, cucumber, cosmos caudatus) to be eaten with sambal, mix of deep-fried beancurd food/popiah, stir-fried assorted vegetables. 

The highlight, of course, was the fireworks and firecrackers that my boy enjoyed most. The fireworks would last till midnight at Papa's hometown. It was beautiful to watch and moreover, just right in front of our doorsteps. In the day, my son has a blast with the kids.  It was a great reunion and I treasure the time we spent with Ah Ma and the rest of the family members.

Firecrackers time
Auspicious red cloth across the front door
Kids' Power
Laughter everywhere

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Teriyaki chicken sushi roll

Bento No. 286
Bento/lunch boxes were so pretty to look at and very tempting to posses one of our own.  I try to resist from buying more and kept a few quality ones for my son's packed lunch.  But I have a few in mind like the diablock and red fire engine which I am still considering whether I should buy. This is a a lovely orange bento box given as part of birthday's goodie bag togther with some stationery stuff from his classmate.  I think it is such a great idea and so apt since my boy need to bring his own lunch to the kindergarten every Monday. 

He has teriyaki chicken sushi roll with Japanese cucumber, tamagoyaki, stir-fried nai bai with carrots, kiwis and blueberries.  It's yummy my son said :))

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

In love with recycled craft

He was all packed and ready to visit his Grandma and of course, celebrate Chinese New Year in Malaysia.  Papa planned a 20 days trip which 16 days would be spent in his hometown Kedah and the next 4 days at Parkroyal Penang Resort (which I would post later). Unexpected to be such a long holiday but a nice break for everybody :)  Prior to departure, I told him he could bring two of his favourite solid toys, stuffed toys and storybooks.  And these were what he carried in his backpack :-
1. Stuffed toys - a giraffe and a chameleon which he called them 'zoobie' and 'chamee'
2. Toys - dinosaurs; a parasurolophus and an utahraptor
3. Storybooks - English book titled "Where in the world are we?" and Chinese book titled "谁
On top of which, I packed a box of dinosuar fossil kit into our check-in luggage which actually kept him occupied for few days.  Reason being, there was no kids to play with at Grandma's house and certainly, no toys like he had back home.  Whilst his teacher has also given us some letter writing and activity worksheets to do as well as informed me of the topics/subjects they would be discussing and/or doing during his absence, these were completed fairly quickly in the morning without stress over a period of time. 
Boredom soon consumed my little one before Chinese New Year.  And I began to search for ideas in the internet on how to make toys out of toilet rolls, cardboard box and 'angbo' packet paper which were the only resources available for us. My son got really excited about it.  And together we designed and created these holiday's projects.  He enjoyed the fruit of his labour very much.  However, my boy did not like giving these cars a new coat of paint because I insisted two layers; first a white base and the second layer, solid colour.  He was impatient and gave up halfway through painting our second project - cardboard box car Lightning the McQueen. So the third and fourth projects; plane and fish, were absolutely no painting!  
Here are some of links that inspired me to start the creation.
Toilet roll race car
Crescent and Old Lace has gorgeous and colourful race cars that made with toilet rolls.  It's in hungarian but google can translate. Slight variation from the original. I used aluminium foil (those that found in the kitchen) and white paper for the rim of the wheels.  We cut out the small details like the numbers, orange stripes and mazda logo from a magazine and glued on the car.
1st project - toilet roll race car
Cardboard box car
I made reference to the Green Acres Hobby Farm for the look and make of Lightning the McQueen. My big boy definitely could not sit inside the cardboard given his height and weight :P  So I modified and used raffia string attached on the side of box to hang over my son's shoulder.  Check it out, it has light blue eyes just like McQueen! Honestly, only the body and four wheels were painted with poster colours. I became lazy and used colour papers to cut out the shapes for the rest of the details. Aluminium foil really come in handy here because it was perfect on the front and rear lights.  The downside was after racing with his new toy car for hours, his sweaty palms were stained with red colour ;P
2nd project - Cardboard box Lightning the McQueen

New Toy!

Toilet roll vintage plane
I love the detailed tutorial by Home-eco nanay for this vintage plane.  This was the only craft that did not involve my boy.  It was too difficult for my son to handle.  However, the only request from my boy was "no colours, nothing!".  But I had fun making it.

3rd project - Toilet roll Aeroplane
Red paper (packet) fish  
I first saw it in Mamamie's Thots by one of SMB blogger. It was a common decorative in Chinese household during the Lunar New Year festive season. We made a couples of gold and red fishes.  Really simple and easy craft!  But the challenging part for my boy was to staple the tail though.
4th project - Red/gold paper fish