Monday, September 29, 2008


Does the first photograph look like a carnival to you?

Well, the atmosphere was carnival-like.
Ground sheets on the grass.
People sitting on the grass, chatting and eating.
Kids running about, playing at the swing.
Tables laid with food.
Banners and cardboard signs.

It's the school's open house!
And it was held in the evening, starting at 530pm.

The table with the food?
That's the international potluck table.
You bring a dish and share with others if you want.

Not interested in the potluck?
Then tour the school, chat with teachers, and parents.
Take a look at the chart in the classroom and find out which other country his friends are from.
A public school with an international school profile.

Back in Singapore, a school's open house is a grand affair.
Student leaders bringing you around.
Speeches by the principal, head of departments.
Slideshow of the school's acheivements.

Well, none of the above happened.
Darling son was our little tour guide.
He knew his way around the school well.
Down the stairs he ran, to the Music and Art room.
Up the stairs he hopped, to the Gymnasium, Lunchroom and Library.

Oh yes, we 'sponsored' a book at the Library.
Darling son chose a book, we paid a fee, and then darling son wrote his name on the book ... This book is donated by ...
He would be the first to read the book he sponsored at his next visit to the school library.

It was a good experience for us, the parents.
No structured tour, no boring speeches.
I liked it =)

Good for our darling 'tour guide', his confidence building up as he showed us around his school, barely three weeks since he joined the school. And of course, a good orientation for his little brother, who would join him in the school next Fall.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away!

It's the tme of the year for apple-picking!

An apple a day keeps the doctor away!
And we went home with 13 pounds of apples. 
Sweet yummy gala apples! 

The apples seemed to taste sweeter when you picked them from the tree yourself =)

The boys had never seen apple trees before. 

Neither had I. 

My little boy enjoyed picking the apples.

We had to carry him on our shoulder as he was too short to reach the apples on the tree.

The elder one had a great time pulling the cart of apples picked.

There were other fruits for picking too ... grapes, raspberries, tomatoes, and many others. 

It was a good experience for the kids, being close to nature. 

One of the bigger boys in our group caught a frog. 

A lovely green frog. 

But he threw it at his mother and me! 
Really gave me a scare. 
I'm sure the poor frog got a rude shock too.
Boys are boys ...... these are the things bigger boys enjoy doing ... sigh.

Our little boys were more interested in the many ladybugs that were resting on the leaves. 

It was a fun trip, and we would definitely visit the orchard again next year and try picking other fruits!

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Bento Family

Darling son and dear hubby have been using the "Lock & Lock" boxes as their lunchbox since the start of the new school term.

The boxes served them well, especially for darling son. It is easy for him to open. It saves him a lot of time, especially when lunch is only thirty minutes. You don't want to get him to waste half the time trying to get help to open his lunchbox.

But as the leaves on the maple and oak trees started to fall, I realised that these boxes no longer kept their lunch warm. Especially on rainy autumn days. The lunchbag didn't help in keeping the lunchbox warm either. Sigh. And I recalled not seeing any thermal lunchbox at the departmental stores that I had visited. Double sigh. And hence, a frantic online search began ..... and I finally found them!

Introducing to you ...
Mr Bento (for my dear), Ms Bento (for darling son), and a baby thermal food jar.

Ok, they didn't arrive as a family.
Mr Bento was so popular that he was out-of-stock when I ordered.
I had to wait.

Mr Bento is great for carrying dear hubby's lunch!
There's a container for hot soup.
The soup was still warm when he drank it.
There's a container for rice, and another two for the side dishes.
Good capacity.
The lunchbox comes with a over-the-shoulder-bag and a fork-like spoon. Excellent.

Ms Bento has a smaller capacity.
There's a container for rice, and another for sides.
It is easy for darling son to open and close the thermal jar.
The only tough part is opening the side dish container.
In the end, only the rice container is used, since it is big enough to hold his rice, meat and vegetables.
I love the fact that the opening of the rice container is big, making it easy for him to scoop his rice without making a mess.
I like the lunchbag that comes with the lunchbox.
There's a pair of chopsticks too.
And the lunchbag easily holds the lunchbox and a water bottle.

As for the baby thermal jar ... I used it to hold the hot rice for the old man while I was waiting for Mr Bento to arrive. It is not so user friendly for kids, as it is hard to open, and the opening is small, making it difficult for kids to scoop their rice. Although it sits in the cupboard most of the time now, I am sure I will find a use for it eventually, especially in Winter!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Butterfly, where are you going?

It does look like a butterfly, doesn't it?

This is my favorite packed lunch.
My boy's favorite too.
He loves sushi.

Simple ingredients.
Easy to prepare.

You need ham, carrots, rice and a sheet of nori.

Set the rice cooker to "delay" function.
Rice is ready by morning.

Lay a sheet of nori on the bamboo roll.

Next comes the rice, ham and carrots.

Don't like carrots?
Fried mushroom omelette?
How about blanched spinach, with a pinch of salt?

Your choice of vegetables =)
Roll it up when you have assembled all the ingredients.
Cut it up into smaller pieces. Done!
Into the lunchboxes they go!

Bye Butterfly .. See you at lunchtime!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The little boy says ... Hi Mr. RiceMan!

Hi Mr. RiceMan!

You looked so fierce!

Mama said to me ...
"Eat them quickly, and there will be no more Mr RiceMan".

And I did!

But hey, there's something inside Mr RiceMan!
It's ham! Yum, yum!
I love ham!

In minutes, Mr RiceMan vanished.

Mama was very pleased with me for getting rid of fierce Mr RiceMan.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back to school!

The alarm went off promptly at 6.10am.

I jumped off my bed and dashed
to the toilet.

Then to the kitchen.

The pots clattered.
The kettle whistled.
The microwave beeped.

I am excited ... it is the first day of school for darling son.

Oh, first day of school for my old man too.

I am nervous.
Worried for darling son? No.
Darling son is an independent boy.

I am nervous because I have to prepare lunch.
Yes, packed lunch!
Just the day before, I was frantically hunting for 'Lock & Lock' boxes.
Darling son has only thirty minutes for lunch.

I have always admired those beautiful photographs of bento lunches.
And I have always wonder how much time is spent on putting the food together nicely.
The end product looks like a piece of art.

Given the time I have in the morning, it is impossible to turn the lunch box into a piece of art.

It would be good if I can put together some food which the men would enjoy eating.

My first bento lunch ... Rice with teriyaki chicken and carrots!

I am not against using leftover food from dinner for the next day's lunch box. It saves time, and allows you to sleep for another fifteen minutes or so.

But I like my food fresh.
Hence, the cooking early in the morning.

To be deprived of fifteen minutes of beauty sleep in the morning is not a big issue to me, as long my little man and old man enjoy their packed lunch!

My next mission?
To purchase those thermal food jars so that the men can have their lunch served warm. Especially in winter.

Here's the recipe for the teriyaki chicken:

270g Chicken Thighs
3 tbsp Sake (I don't have this so I omit this)
2 tbsp Mirin
3 tbsp Raw Cane Sugar or Honey (I used Honey)
3 tbsp Soy Sauce

  • Cut chicken thighs into bite size pieces.
  • Marinade the chicken pieces in the above ingredients.
  • Leave for a minimum of 10 minutes or overnight.
  • Heat up a non-stick fry pan.
  • If frying without the skin : 2 tbsp oil. I used 1 tbsp of butter.
  • If frying with the skin : No need oil in pan.
  • Drain chicken pieces out of marinade. Put in pan, skin side down.
  • Once splutter, cove pan and reduce heat to medium.
  • Leave 4 minutes.
  • Take lid off, spoon a little of leftover marinade over chicken.
  • Turn chicken pieces over. There is no need to put lid back.
  • Cook another 2-3 minutes.
  • Chicken should be nicely caramelized on outside once done.
  • Let cool before packing or freezing.


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