Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Nicolays' Ice Cream Party!

For the 2nd September babies' party this year, I couldn't trust myself to do too much lest I go into early labour and stress myself out more than necessary.

I had initially planned a sweet shoppe themed party with all of Miranda's favourite desserts and sweets - cupcakes, lollipops, doughnuts, jellies etc. Since I still wanted to bake her birthday cake as I do every year, I decided baking extra cupcakes and going out to get the doughnuts on the day of the party would be too much trouble. Also, what if I went into labour that day and no one could execute the party plans and decor?

After much hemming and hawing and going back and forth, I decided an ice-cream party would be the easiest to operate even without the control freak (me) around. Yes, Dwayne and I decided that the party would go on with/without us around (in case I went into labour that day).

Invites were sent out pretty late, say 3 weeks before. Over the course of the next 3 weeks, we bought the party stuff (party hats, utensils, toppings and sauces etc.), ordered the balloons and I got my sister-in-law to help with designing a poster/signage for the decor. Really, so much more could have been done but I just did not have the time (finishing up at work for maternity leave) and energy (35 weeks pregnant is not exactly an easy time). But it all worked out... Party wise. 

Because to tell you the truth, Miranda was feeling ill and out of sorts since the day before the party and was a little cranky on the day. She did not even try a bit of any of the 3 ice-creams I made (salted caramel, green tea or her favorite mint choc chip) or the 4 other store bought flavors and she didn't even want to open her presents! She also didn't even have the chocolate mud cake or the citrus mud cake of the 2-tier cake I baked for them.

Afterwards though, she could not stop talking about what an awesome party it was with the kids dancing to the limbo rock and playing with the bubbles from the bubble machine and she even told me that she had approved of the decor. I could not help but feel a little "validated" that she took notice of the details that went into the party planning. :p

Alright, pictures!













Saturday, September 20, 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hell of the North

Dwayne and I met an old friend of mine for dinner last night and on my boss' recommendation, we checked out Hell of the North.

Good company, good food. 

Plus we probably won't be able to have a night out like this for a while so it was quite looked forward to. Except, that by 8pm, both Dwayne and I were getting a bit uncomfortable. We have no idea why it feels okay when it's just the two of us out alone but when we are out with friends, even with those whom we love dearly, we are always feeling guilty that we haven't seen Miranda all day and that with each passing minute, we are going to get less and less time with her when we get home. 

We must be the oddest people. Or just normal parents. Hah.


Mocktail for me - Dixie cooler


Pomme frites


Dwayne's Beef Bourguignon, Marrow Butter


My Milawa Duck Pot-au feu

Last day of work

It's Thursday! Last day of work -- for 7 months!!!

I have quite a bit to do though - finishing up work and for the birthday party!!!

Wish me luck :)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Bump Talk

36 weeks

Weight gain: 12kg.

No back pain. Yay! Baby is well and truly head down already. You know what that means. P-time.

So over it. Can't wait to pop but I need the little one to cook in there a little while longer. At least till Miranda and Dwayne have their birthday party this Saturday. Even better if it comes after their actual birthday on Tuesday. I really don't know what I'll do if I have 3 of them sharing the same birthday. 

*

I have been so nervous about childbirth. Even though it will be the second time, I think the known is scaring me a lot more than the unknown. There's not a single part that I look forward to besides finally meeting my new baby. The other day, we had a false alarm and I panicked at the thought of internal checks and stuff. Ahh.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Childhood with my Child

I have no idea what games they are playing in schools these days. I don't even know if they do play anything at all since people are always on some electronic device (myself included).

My generation had the Nintendo, X-box and Sega but I was never really into those. My friends/ neighbours and I caught millipedes (which I can't even stand to look at now!), played in the rain, ran and jumped, skipped and hopped and really were just outdoors any time our parents said we could. I know it could sound slightly idyllic now but what a time that was. I'm so, so glad technology was not in the way of my childhood.

Last night, after dinner, Miranda was being all "best-friendly" with me as usual and I was holding both her hands when I got reminded of a childhood game. I decided to take a shot and play it with her. It's a hand-action game sung in Mandarin so she has no clue what it's all about. Actually all my Chinese friends I sent the video to said her intonation is pretty good and she could pronounce most words but she was busy trying to make me laugh with her silliness. She was also busy giggling on her own at what I think is how funny the words sounded to her. 


Monday, August 18, 2014

Burch & Purchese "Afternoon Tea" At The Langham

I am such a sucker for high tea. Scones and tea - what's not to love? But more than anything, I love ribbon sandwiches - thickly sliced bread with generous, yummy filling mmmm.

The sad part is, there's never enough of it here. I've been to a few teas and there's always far too much sweet stuff and not enough savory to balance it out. 

The same went for the B&P afternoon tea we went for recently. I do miss the high teas in Singapore where the selection is just insane! The wait staff at the Langham were exceptional though and the service was fantastic - that is something that will be lacking in my home country haha!


My girlfriend here, Mel, joined us for the tea.


Miranda's face totally lit up when she saw the treats.


My cutie pie.



Twas a beautiful day in Melbourne - almost looked like spring!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bump Talk

Week 35

Favourite food: -

Weight gain: 12kg

Annoying symptoms: Can't seem to sit in the car for extended periods.

I feel very, very heavy and just so tired all the time. It definitely did not feel this bad with Miranda. Must be age! Argh.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

2 September Babies


I was so late with making the birthday invites this year. Mostly because all our weekends have been so busy but also because I was tossing up between two themes till the very last minute. The easier theme won in the end - one that doesn't require me to spend too much time in the kitchen *in case anything happens* so the show can still go on.

Still, being the super stubborn person that I am, I refused to cave in to time pressure and send an e-card or a digitally made card. I love the process of making cards by hand. Also, I will never grow out of having pretty paper to work with. So with everything against me last weekend - no one would print my cards for me if I didn't buy paper from them - I spent two (very) late week nights doing these up by myself. I refused to get Dwayne involved in the process since it's his day too. 

So there you have it. They are simple but happy looking invites with different patterns for each card and a choice of ice-cream sticks or ice-cream cones. I rather like how they have turned out. :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bump Talk

Week 34

Favourite food: -

Weight gain: 10kg

Annoying symptoms: Oh.. all the usual.

There's just so much to do. Miranda's/ Dwayne's birthday party, the arrival of this little baby and finishing up at work. I wish it was a case of tick-tick-tick for everything on the list but trust me, one thing leads to another and there is just no end to this madness. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Birthday Toy/ Book Wish List

Toy Wish List

To be honest, I would love if I didn't have to get Miranda yet another toy. Especially another bulky one. But which kid would be happy with just clothes for their birthday?

She loves her kitchen more than anything and spends hours in her room, cooking up stuff for all her "friends" (her soft toys). I love what the kitchen has done for her imagination. All her Lego cupcakes in the oven, her salad bowl in the fridge and all the wonderfully odd concoctions she comes up with - I just love watching her at work. 

She's also into selling her wares these days - her necklaces and bracelets, her ice-cream and lollies... etc. They go for cheap at $1/ piece too. Unless she doesn't like you, then you have to fork out $100. Haha. 

My little baby is turning 3!!!



Monday, August 4, 2014

In the City


Lunch at Tutto Bene, Southbank.

She was so happy because she thought she was going to have her favourite fettucine. Turns out they didn't have it but I think the linguini made her happy enough. :)


Cheeky bum with Hamshala.


I'm always laughing around this girl.

I can still remember the time we laughed so hard in Home Ec class, we had to go out cos we were tearing so hard and had to pretend we were coughing.


Diamonds are a girl's best friend?


Typical Melbourne weather - from absolutely lovely to a huge downpour and hail!


We were so blessed to have so many friends visiting from Singapore last week. It takes only a little while for Miranda to warm up and then she's her usual chatty self. She completely adored Hamshala, my secondary school friend of 19 years! :)

Miranda's S/S Wish List... Ok, mine.

S/S Wish List



Spring/ Summer is on the way and I cannot help but look for Miranda's outfits already. I love the tutti frutti trend that's going on in the children's departments. Since Miranda has become extremely fussy about what she wears these days, it helps that she loves fruit and will love to wear anything with them on her clothing. Also, pockets. Anything with pockets are her favourites. :)

Ahh, summer and beach days come soon!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fri-Date

It's been a while since I went out on a Friday with Miranda and I really missed our dates. The weather has just been so gloomy and windy that it would make it hard to enjoy our time out anyway. 

Last Friday I had no choice but to leave the confines of our home. I had bought tickets to the Gruffalo play very early on in the year. At that time, I knew I would be heavily pregnant and it would be winter. I was hoping so hard that it would be a nice day so it would make the day so much easier for me.

It turned out that I couldn't change the weather, no matter how much I wished and hoped. :/

But the good part was that Dwayne managed to send us to the city. We sneaked in breakfast with the lovely Daffy, who was visiting from Singapore and then caught a tram to St Kilda for the show. We just made the 10am show, arriving at 9.57am. Hah!

Since Kelly and Paul were also watching the play with little Eliana, they brought an extra car seat for Miranda so we all went to the city for yum cha. Miranda and I continued exploring the city after - brought her to Daiso for some art supplies and Japanese goodies and then went to the kids' section at the Emporium where she just went crazy. It's really well done, that place. 

Dwayne then picked us up from the city and Miranda fell asleep a minute after she got into the car but not before briefly summarising what we had done that day.


Melbourne girl.

Sometimes I  think about how different our childhoods are and how different our lives will be. 
Bittersweet.


Daffy!


The Gruffalo play. It was such a good production.


Cousins


Yum Cha - Miranda and I love our prawn dumplings ;)
My cutie patootie pie. Can't get enough of her.


Shopping @ Zara. She liked those sandals but I didn't... hah!





Girlfriend!

Last week, one of my favourite girls from Singapore came to visit with her husband and newborn (Yes! All of 8 weeks old, newborn!). How happy I was for some catch up time and smelling that newborn head. Ah, can't wait to smell my own heh heh heh.






This last picture cracked me up. I returned from the bathroom and saw these two in the Barbie section chatting. The most normal thing to do on a Saturday afternoon, eh? How our lives have changed!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Bump Talk

Week 33

Favourite food: Had yum cha on Friday afternoon and boyyy, I really wish I could have prawn dumplings and custard buns everyday!

Weight gain: 10kg

Annoying symptoms: Pain on the left side of my mid-back (bra strap area).

I had the same type of pain when carrying Miranda so this is all too familiar. I thought it wouldn't be quite as bad since I'm not carrying as much overall weight (with Miranda, I had already gained 14kg around this time). 

Tough luck. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Blue-Belly

"I don't have a baby in my belly. My belly has LOTS and LOTS of blueberries!!!" - Miranda, aged 2 years and 10 months.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bump Talk

Week 32

Favourite food: Egg sandwiches!!!

Weight gain: 9 kg 

Annoying symptoms: NOmg. 

The leg cramps. The backaches starting from 1-2pm everyday. The constant peeing. 

And I really miss my raw sushi.

In other news, this little one seems to be really uncomfortable in there. There must be very little space to move since I can feel it from end to end. Poor little baby. Just grow in there for at least 6 more weeks and it will be win-win for both of us. ;)

Monday, July 21, 2014

What a July.

The bad news all started trickling in bit by bit. The situation in the middle east and the shooting down of MH17.

Closer to home, a dear family member had a stroke over the weekend and is now paralysed on the left side. 

Yesterday, my colleague's dog died rather unexpectedly after just a weekend of being sick.

And last night, my mum told me that my friend's dad had committed suicide.

What a July.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bump Talk

Week 31

Favourite food: -

Weight gain: 9 kg 

Annoying symptoms: Not a symptom but fear.

All the crazy thoughts have come back to spook me. I can be extreme ends of a pessimist and optimist. Even while I was carrying Miranda, I had all sorts of fears. That's why I have always maintained that I prefer to be cradling the baby in my arms than carrying it in my belly.

Lately, I have been counting kicks and I get really paranoid about whether I have felt enough during the day. The ice-crunching, obviously helps. She writhes around there like nobody's business but while it is uncomfortable, it is also reassuring.

Just please, God. Let me have this baby, let it get out healthy and happy.  

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Cooking for the family

Lately, I have been a bit more organised in terms of home-related stuff. It hasn't been this way since Miranda arrived, mostly because I'm so time-poor and more than that, I'm always so exhausted!

Before Miranda came along, I used to cook 5 meals for the whole week during one day of the weekend so all Dwayne and I had to do during those exhausting work week days was to heat it up and watch TV or do our own thing. Now that I think about it, we could have done so much more. It never fails to impress on me how little I used to do before I had a kid. Or how much more sleep I used to have.

Now, every fortnight we go to the wet market and I plan a lot of meals in advance. I will scour the net for recipes during the week and when I get home from the market, I will slice up, clean, peel, marinate and then put them in Ziploc bags for cooking during the week. I also roast the chicken carcasses/ boil pork bones so we have homemade stock as much as possible. Last week, I decided I also wanted to try making homemade barley water and red bean soup. Pretty sure this is all winter's doing (when summer comes, there'll be more time to play!!!). I should really only have fresh food now anyway and regardless of my pregnancy, I also want Miranda to have it as much as possible. I usually cook especially for her in the mornings. She's into pasta and noodles mostly so it's simple, really. 

Since Dwayne loves Chinese cuisine and Singaporean hawker fare the most (well, so do I for the most part), I have been reading up on recipes and techniques. When my sister-in-law asked what I wanted for my birthday, I quickly said I wanted a claypot. And I've already used it twice! I just want to learn as much as I can before "confinement" days so my mother-in-law doesn't have to stay at our place for too long. I should be good after 2 weeks, seeing as how I pretty much cooked all the way when I gave birth to Miranda. My mum got tired of her own food after a while - she has a limited repertoire because she hates cooking with a passion!

Here are some things I have made recently. Note that I'm not proclaiming to be a great cook but with enough experience, you can give recipes a twist of your own sometimes. ;)


Tau Yu Bak in claypot - braised pork belly with hardboiled eggs, tofu and mushrooms.


Cheese kransky with sauerkraut. Love sauerkraut!


Seafood & vegetables in claypot.
 Bak chor mee 
Oxtail stew in another new kitchen addition - the amazing slow cooker! I have also tried pulled pork in apple cider vinegar and osso bucco. with the slow cooker. Amazing!


Shredded chicken mushroom noodles. Easy peasy ;)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Disney on Ice

I nearly gave this one a miss because when you think Disney, you think princesses and all that. Luckily, I watched the trailer and saw that Miranda's favourite Mickey and Minnie were going to be there. She adores them and I cannot tell you how much she has learned by watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Talia, her cousin, was going as well but more for the princesses. I cannot believe how many girls dressed up as princesses on the day. As much as I'm thankful we are not in that stage yet, I still don't have the all clear till maybe she turns 6? You think it will be safe then?

Miranda generally enjoyed the show but got a little bored during the princess segments and Alice in Wonderland was weird for her too. It's really our fault - we haven't exposed her to these movies. So far, the only really "princessy" movie she has watched (in parts) is The Little Mermaid and only because that was my one and only favourite Disney princess. I mean, can you blame me? That fiery, red hair all lush in the sea??! Haha. 

But it was a good thing cos' she recognised Under the Sea. Talia and Miranda were the only ones to get out of their seats to dance. Such a cute sight and everyone was looking at them doing their thing and giggling while at it.




Definitely going to be less slack and get better seats next year!