Sunday, January 31, 2016

Miscellaneous Picture #49: January favourites

January has been a busy yet exciting month. Glad that it is coming to an end, because I am so looking forward to a shorter but festive February. Woohoo!!

This month, we started some works and spring cleaning to the house. Everyone was working together to make the house cleaner and tidier. Hard work mixed with fun for the kids.

Cleaning up the doodles on wall

CNY is just a week away. Time really flies very fast. I don't know where it goes but because we are busy with schools and other commitment, we do not really prepare much for this year's CNY. Partly blame on the bad economy too. ^^

Red Greeting Card from Sharon

By the way, a special thanks to Sharon from Singapore for this lovely card.  You are very sweet, my dear friend.

Butterfly sticker

Don't think it was flew by this cute butterfly but it took over 2 weeks to reach me. Nevertheless, it arrived safely. Thank you once again, Sharon.

Rain or shine?

Weather has been crazy this January. Don't know whether it is going to rain or sunny. Some day, it would be those gloomy cloudy sky greeting us the whole day. Not a great time for laundry. And luckily I do not need to fry any crackers (keropok) this year so no need to dry any under the sun.

Japanese roses

On the other hand, my flowers and plants in the garden do not complain much about the weather. They are growing well although one or 2 pots were dying off.

Jay in class

Back to school for the kids. Jay is adapting well and has few friends now. Now he is seated just in front of the teacher's desk. Either he is naughty or he is in need of attention. Lol.

One of his favourite things-to-do in school is going, buying food and eating in the canteen. On 1st week, he has gone to the school canteen during recess and buy his own food eventhough I packed his snack box. Sigh! I think RM5 per week would not be enough for him. He even spend on his friend and shared crackers (keropok) with the friend!

Choco muffins

I did managed to bake this month. Only once. Better than none. Not so perfect but these chocolate muffins were edible.

That's my wrap for January!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Cutting it short

The thing I fear the most! Being sick!!

Have been sniffled since Thursday. Took some flu pill yesterday and as to this morning, I am still recovering from it. It was just out of nowhere; caught the flu bug on Thursday. Maybe got it from kids. Everyone is either cough or sneeze. Oh well. Better sick now than on CNY.

On a good note, I got a hair cut the day before.

Finally, I dragged my legs into a salon and have the most deserved hair cut!!

This lady has been busy with kids that she did not have any time to pamper herself. Oh well, CNY is just around the corner and that is the biggest excuse to get one. 

My poor tresses need a good trim. I had it trimmed last August and there was some curls and colour so this round, I got them all chopped off. All straight and black now!! (Of course, you don't count those few white hair desperately growing on my head!)

A little adventurous by getting short side bangs this time. A little odd at first. Not used to having side-swept bangs, maybe.

That is it. My new hairdo for the new year.  

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Shop and clean

Last Saturday, we spent our morning shopping for CNY. A little late for food shopping this year but we did our shopping for the children's new clothes and canned drinks earlier this month.

We went to our favourite hypermarket around 9am and it was not that crowded. We spent nearly 2 hours going through the aisles and get some groceries as well as CNY food at the same time. 2 shopping carts to fulfil our shopping list!

We got a box of the mandarin oranges.

And a kuih bakul (nian gao or sweet sticky rice cake) and 2 packs of dried pearl mushrooms. 

And our stocks of snacks ready for the visitors!!!

And I also got myself this pack of goodness! My favourite nut!! Could not stop munching on them in front of the tv while drinking my favourite alcoholic drink, Shandy! Too bad it is so expensive for a small pack.

In the afternoon, we did some cleaning around the house. I cleaned up one of the bathrooms, hubby cleaned the backyard while kids were busy cleaning the walls that stained with doodles. Everyone was "gotong-royong"; that is the spirit. ^^

Just when we thought it was time to relax and catch some movies, we experienced an-hour blackout in the evening! We were in the dark!!

So we basically had our candlelit dinner that night but luckily the blackout did not last too long as the boys started to get fussy and hot.

More cleaning to do before the CNY. No maids or cleaners for me, so I would have to do a bit of cleaning day by day. Don't want to get myself exhausted.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Food for him

My man has been on low carb diet for past 5 months. He did lost some weights along the way but with those year-end dinners, he gained some back. It took a lot of determination on him part to go on diet as it is not easy.

In the morning he takes some oats before going off to work. Other day he would have sandwiches, and on weekends, he would have breakfast outside with us but usually nothing heavy or high calories.

He joined a MLM last August and took their supplements and meal replacements. For first 2 months, he had to eat steamed breast meats, carrots, broccoli and hard-boiled eggs. He managed to do so for dinner for 2 months.

Then the menu got better. He can have grilled chickens or fishes but he could not take breast meats anymore. You know breast could be tough and tasteless even you grill them.

So I give him chicken thighs. Of course he will peel off the skin and take the meat.

When he is bored with grilled chicken, I will make soup for him. Like this nutritious black chicken soup.

For vegetable, I alternate between carrots, broccoli, cucumbers and salad. Last month, when we went back to Kapit, my MIL gave us a big container of her hand-made anchovies sambal. 

We love the sambal; fragrant, tasty and mild spicy. It tasted good with cucumber. ^^

Sometimes hubby ate sambal with his egg. He never take egg yolk so I have to discard the yolk for him. 

Now, there it goes. The menu for my big man.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Weekend Menu #76:Tail of soup

Why oxtail soup is called such when in fact that it is beef tail that is used in this super rich and delicious soup?? Maybe oxtail was indeed used but not easy to find ox over here so beef tail would do.

Anyway and anyhow, I got myself some beef tails from the local supermarket on one Sunday morning and here is my very own version of home-cooked oxtail soup or we fondly called "sup ekor" in Malaysia.

350g beef tail
1 onion, peeled and sliced
2 Australian potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 stalks of celery sticks, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
250ml beef stock
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. McCormick mixed herbs
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Season the beef tail with salt and pepper. 
2. In a pot, heat up oil and brown the beef tail on all sides.  Remove and set aside.
3. In the same pot, fry the onion and garlic till soft.
4. Add potatoes and celery and fry them for a minute.
5. Add beef stock, mixed herbs and beef tails into the pot.  Let it simmer before turn the heat low.
6. Close the lid and let it cook for an hour or till the tails have soften.  Season with salt and pepper.
7. Serve warm with white rice.

A very heart-warming soup on a cold night, don't you think??

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Soulful Saturday

We read and heard about the scenic and sacred Mount Singai and its Catholic Memorial Pilgrimage Centre, such as from this site and over here too. We have wanted to visit it one day. Glad that we made it last Saturday.

Both blog links that I gave were very informative about this place so do check them out to learn more about this enticing place.

From our house, we used Batu Kawa road and drove about 30 minutes to reach the small Bidayuh settlement. 

Our car was parked right in front of the public toilets and we walked further in, passing through the small Bidayuh settlement. At the end of the small road, you would spot the signboard and wooden bridge, indicating it is time to walk and climb! Time to exercise those legs and test your determination and will-power!
The bridge - starting point

One has to  pass 14 stations of the cross to reach the pilgrimage centre. We were basically stopping at every stations to catch our breath, quench our thirst and rest our tired legs.

It took us almost an hour to reach the pilgrimage centre. Everyone especially the kids were excited counting and passing by the crosses along the track. Thankfully the weather that morning was superb and we were surrounded by trees so it was shady around us. Nevertheless it was a tough and tiring climb because of the slippery wooden planks. Along the way, hubby and I took turn to carry Jamie up when he reluctant to climb further.

However it worth all the sweat and tiredness to reach the pilgrimage centre. Its wooden structures and beautiful surrounding were astonishing.

Me and kids slowly walking on the slippery wooden planks

Here are some photos that I took while we were there.

Good wooden planks make the walk and climbing easier

Dos and Dons

One of toughest staircases to climb

Up, up and up

Sturdy staircases

The symbol of Jesus

Virgin Mary

Entrance to prayer hall

Souvenirs to buy home

Some history of early preachers

Logo of the CMPC

I believe this is the hostel for caretakers and staff

Glad to see the banner saying we have reach the pilgrimage centre

Entrance to hostel

Exhibition room

To the canteen

Statue of Jesus

Donation box in front and the walkway to the open amphitheatre

The trail leading to amphitheatre

Open amphitheatre

One of the chalets

The settlement on the mountain

First time seeing a very tall and old cempedak (bread fruit) tree

Tall shady greens around us

Beautiful mesmerising view

On our way down we bumped into a group of over hundreds Catholic youths that came to offer prayers and experienced the pilgrimage.

We enjoyed the walk and hike amidst the humidity and tiredness of climbing up the long staircases. Maybe when the kids are bigger, we will come back and continue with the tougher hike up to the peak. Fingers cross!

We find it difficult to bid goodbye to this scenic place. It was beautiful with astounding flora and peaceful landscape. This place is worth a visit if you are in search of inner peace and soul-searching.