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My family and I live in Singapore now, and we travel to Japan many times a year. It is ironic that the place that I called home, is the place that we visit the least now.
I am often asked if I miss anything back home in Malaysia. The answer is yes, of course. There are many many things that I miss. After all I have spent my entire life there. Seeing the @CNABringsMYHome campaign made home especially more nostalgic.
Like most people who are away from home, of course the thing that I miss most is my family. My mom lives in Seremban, the town that I grew up in, with Cheddie and Champon. Many people wonder where Champon is since we have moved to Singapore. He lives with my mom now. We had plans to bring him over to Singapore with us, but got postponed because of his health issue. We miss him dearly.
It would be nice if I have Doraemon’s Dokodemo Door. Really. Then I can go back to KL every alternate day to meet my friends and eat all the nice food I miss, and then to Seremban to have lunch with my mom, walk the dogs, and then come back to Singapore to prep dinner for the danna and kids haha.
But that only happens in an ideal world. And in Doraemon.
My friends always ask me which Malaysian food I miss the most, and usually I’d say Char Kuey Teow because honestly, I haven’t found any CKT in Singapore that can fix my craving just yet.
My favorite from a hawker center in Bangsar.
But strangely, recently I started to miss nasi lemak. Not just any nasi lemak, but the mobile nasi lemak truck in front of my previous apartment. One pack of nasi lemak with sambal sotong and fried egg wrapped in a brown wax paper cost $3. It was the danna’s favorite, and mine too. The seller is a hardworking young man who arrives at the apartment every day at 8am, and usually starts packing and leave at 10am. Once the danna and I tried to estimate how much this young man can earn in a month selling nasi lemak like this. We concluded that it really isn’t any more than if he just work in a regular company or even just driving a taxi. Plus imagine how early he has to wake up to do all the preparation work! But there he is, every day without fail, and ever so bright and happy-looking. So we thought maybe he really really loves selling nasi lemak haha. And we also realize that, what we miss is maybe not the nasi lemak itself, but we just wanted to see his smiley face again and to support his little truck business every time we go back.
Other than food, I also miss the times when I was close to all my relatives and when I played with my cousins. My late grandma had eleven children, so I had a big family.
My grandma was a super super super woman. Haha. Can you imagine bringing up THIS MANY kids now??
I remember my cousins and I stole freshly hatched chicks and got chased by the angry hen back in the Malay kampung when I was a small kid. We also played masak-masak with a candle between two bricks, a milo tin’s lid on top, and a few drops of oil stolen from the 神台油灯 lol (omg I really stole a lot of things back then!!!), and cook leaves and flowers we picked up from the yard. Once I got bored of cooking vegetarian dishes, I even dug out a cacing and grilled it… @.@ By the way I remembered digging for lots and lots and lots of cacing to feed the stolen chicks omg. If I see one now I’d totally scream lol. What happened to me?? Adulthood, that’s what.
I hardly keep in touch with any of my relatives and schoolmates now. My cousins and friends have all grown up and have their own family and live a different life. So have I.
Friends of 2 decades. We catch up almost only every CNY when I return back to home town. That’s us, from two rebellious teenagers to having four extra little monsters now.
As for relatives, it takes only weddings and funerals nowadays to get to see some of them again.
The last time I saw everyone together was during my own wedding dinner in Seremban back in 2012.
And the most recent family gathering happened last month. I rushed back to Seremban for a wake as there was a loss in the family. It was heartbreaking.
Separation is inevitable, no matter how hard you try to prevent it from happening. But every time I revisit home, my memories get refreshed again. Some are distant, some a little blurry. Some gives a spark of joy, while some too painful to recall. But I know they are all memories that will stay with me forever no matter where I go.
If you are also away from home like me, you can share your own story and include the #CNAsangatrindu hashtag so that we can all read one another’s stories.
This is a cooking diary for myself. It is looooong cuz it’s a couple of months’ worth of meals haha. If you like you can browse through it and hope some of them give you some ideas on some simple cooking for kids and busy mama like yourself. (If you love the food but are not a mom or don’t like cooking then ask your husband/boyfriend cook for you lol).
I used to do #lunchforjunya but since now that he eats his lunch in school, it has turned into #breakfastforjunya instead.
I thought that since Junya’s school serves both breakfast and lunch, I could save some time (and snooze my alarm a few more times) in the morning to prep him for school. But it turned out to be quite the opposite. I have been waking up extra early to fix breakfast since the second day of his school life, and it was because of this:
I was allowed to stay with him in class throughout the first day of school, and I got quite a shock at the breakfast provided.
His breakfast was a slice of pandan cake and half a cup of milk.
On some other day, it is half a hard boiled egg and half a cup of milo, or like one red bean pau with milk.
Of course I just kept the shock to myself back then because… well, every kid in his class was eating the exact same thing. Plus foreigners are not allowed to complain in Singapore right? lol. I guess if he kid is a big eater, he can always ask for more slices of pandan cake or refill of milk but… that’s not the point, right. I mean, really… how is that acceptable as a breakfast for a toddler?
But it must be just me because apparently this is what every preschool/childcare in Malaysia and Singapore serves in general (from toddler up to K2), and nobody seems to have a problem with it so yea, it’s probably just me.
Actually now that I think about it, I probably had the same kind of breakfast when I was a child (totally cannot remember), but somewhere along the way I have turned into this demanding, paranoid, kiasu mother who cannot accept pandan cake on the breakfast table.
So that is how I ended up waking a little (ok, A LOT) earlier so Junya can have breakfast before school. Then eat at school again if he wants. And to make myself feel a little better because at least I see him eat.
Breakfast for Junya (and family)
1. So the first day he had a slice of pandan cake and milk for breakfast. I woke up 6am on the second day, so this was his breakfast (and ours). I kind of like it because it means the family get to have breakfast together on the same table, and that’s really important for us.
2.The third day I made Wagyu hamburg served with roll bread and blanched vegetables. Fruits and Yasai juice.
3.The third day I woke up late so we only had greek yogurt with whole most delicious cereal by Calbee, butter shortbread, apple, Yasai juice and leftover pizza.
4. And the next day we had oden and Chicken Tsukune cooked the night before, apple and Yasai juice.
5. Wagyu hamburg was very popular so here’s a repeat. Grilled on skillets, served with salad and cold-pressed mikan/mandarin juice. Also it was raining so the lighting was bad haha.
It was before CNY so I received lots and lots of mandarins. The glass on the left is made with Japanese mikan and the juice jar on the right random mandarins given by friends. Got a huge difference in taste and sweetness :P.
6. Sausage and vegetable frittatas on skillets, yogurt+cereal and Manuka honey lemon salt cooler because that day both me and danna had slight sore throat.
7. Sauteed spinach with bacon, leftover frittatas, and egg&ham bread basket, with cold-pressed green juice.
8. Mushroom&broccoli omelette, shirasu toast, ham&cheese toast and hardcore green smoothie. Apple, celery, cucumber, komatsuna, kale powder and chia seed. A bit too hardcore liao this one. XD
9. Rainy day so we had hakusai&sausage milky stew.
10. I was gonna make Aglio Olio Shirasu pasta but we ran out of spaghetti so I used thin udon instead. Omg it was super yummy! Aglio Olio never ever fails. Served with buttered sweet potato and strawberry banana smoothie. A bit unmatched hor hahaha.
11. Tuna melt shio pan with spinach cream soup, diced mango, cereal and Nyoya Kuih given by our kind property agent when he comes to fix the shower lol.
12. Disfigured Pooh ham toast, fried egg on skillet, ham salad yogurt+cereal and salt lemon cooler.
13. Tried using the oven to bake for the first time in my life XD. Strawberry scone made with hotcake mix. Not to bad haha.
14. Brie cheese platter, ham&egg toast, yogurt+cereal, green juice, and cold-pressed almond milk.
I found a super interesting way to make toast so here it is:
Coincidentally became Gudetama in his ham blanket lol.
Looks like this sideway. Yum.
15. Pooh peanut butter toast, yogurt+cereal, cheese, ham and leftover karaage platter. Cold-pressed apple&carrot juice.
16. I think around this time the danna announced that he will be on a diet and cut down n carbs so suddenly my breakfast is just for Junya. And me sometimes. It becomes soooo much easier haha. Usually just a toast with a glass of juice/milk.
I want to share this recipe because I am soooooo addicted to it!! This is brie cheese, nuts (walnuts the best) toast with maple syrup. Just slice the cheese and place it on bread (danish bread is yummiest), toast at 200C for 5 minutes until crispy, then drizzle maple syrup over. Sooooooooo good I swear.
17. Strawberry peanut butter toast with TsumTsum cookie Junya’s classmate gave him. And milk.
18. 3 different variation of Tantan Noodle. Regular Tantan Noodle for mama with extra La-yu, non-spicy for Junya and Konnyaku Noodle (0 calorie) for papa.
19. Sauteed shimeji mushroom and scramble egg udon topped with chicken tsukune, served with Kumamoto mikan.
20. Shogayaki for mama and Junya. Junya’s with less onion, mama’s with extra onion and shichimi powder.
21. Junya’s mostestestestest favorite breakfast : peanut butter banana toast. He can eat this everyday, 3 meals a day, forever (at least up to now lol). Whenever I ask him what he wants to eat, he will only say “peanut butter toast”. (with or without banana is fine). Served with boiled egg and spinach green juice.
22. Cereal yogurt with raspberry, and banana bread&pudding. the smaller bowl is for Sakura ^^.
23. Canabae lolol. 3 variation: Super Spread (nuts, sesame and chia), ham mayo and strawberry cream cheese.
Lunch for Sakura
For Sakura, she is able to eat more and more table food now, so it makes cooking for her soooo much easier. Usually she eats whatever I prepare for the family, in finer texture. She has 4 teeth now and she seems to love heavy-textured food so I don’t even bother grating anymore. She can even eat rice now!
24. Tonjiru (from the adult pot) porridge with strawberry.
25. Carrot and chicken porridge with potato minced meat (from the adult plate).
26. Hijiki and aosa porridge with banana.
27. Purple milk bread..? Haha. Just diced bread dipped in formula and purple yam powder.
28. Carrot, pumpkin lentil stew served with egg yolk. Everything was orange XD.
29. Aonori somen in baby dashi and minced pork. Apple & carrot smoothie.
30. Scallop & Hijiki porridge, served with komatsuna and shirasu ankake (corn starch dashi for easy-to-eat texture).
31. Shirasu, gobo & carrot porridge with nanohana, Aomori apple juice.
32. Scallop & dried oyster aosa porridge with chicken nugget.
33. Hakusai pork belly rice with soup. Green smoothie.
34. Creamy cabbage & salmon risotto. Strawberry and tomato puree jelly.
35. Keema curry rice for Junya, and meat stew soft rice (without the spices) for sakura.
Lunch for Mama
What does mama eat? Junya is in school, Sakura has her own lunch, so most for the time, lunch for mama is really, really shabby. XD
But I do have cravings once in a while so here are the less-shabby things I made for “Hitori Ranchi” (solo lunch). And sometimes if I cook extra I keep it for Junya’s snack/dinner.
36. Ebi wantan soup noodle with Satsumaage, which ended up perfectly just like chinese sliced fishcake.
37. Weekend cook-off with Carolyn lol. She is from Penang so we made Penang-style char kuey teow using my brand new kick-ass River Light Kiwame Chinese wok for alllllll the wok-hei. Bought it from TokyuHands here in SG.
38. Another day I made Char-So-Ba instead of Char Kuey Teow because I couldn’t find kuey teow lolol.
39. The danna doesn’t eat carbs so I end up pigging out on noodles because usually he won’t eat noodles, so I’ll have it all at lunch 😛
40. Goya champuru (bitter gourd with spam, egg and tofu), Tonjiru soup with rice.
41. Mentaiko ochazuke with tuna piman. This is one of the most cheat meals when I really have no time to cook. No stove needed! Made with instant ochazuke pack, topped with fresh mentaiko. Piman and tuna is cooked in microwave with sesame oil, sesame seeds, tsuyu and binito flakes.
42. Yakisoba with lots of negi. There was extra so kept it for Junya’s dinner.
43. Minced meat potato, broccoli and ham curry mayo salad.
44. Karaage rice bowl, eggplant miso soup and salad.
45. This is economical and surprisingly good! Sauteed tofu, minced meat, bean sprout and chives, with lots of la-yu!
46. Bought unagi from Kochi Fair from Meidiya so here’s unagi rice bowl for me! And chawan mushi.
47. Prawn paella made in rice cooker (super easy!!) .
Dinner for Papa
Papa is on a no-carb diet so I am learning a new cooking style! It’s a little challenging but can be done. By the way there are a lot of hidden carbs in food even though they look low-carb, for example dishes cooked with sugar, mirin, sweet miso, and lots of sauces, as well as proccessed food like sausages, meat patty, meat balls, fish cake etc, which often are mixed with starchy ingredients. Certain vegetables are carb-laden too so gotta identify.
48. Ebi ajillo and tako broccoli & tomati ajillo with roasted siew-yok. Cheese & ham platter with Ika shiokara. Mini pooh toast and mango is for mama and Junya. ^^
49. Goya champuru again, Airfried chicken with shiokoji, nanohana with mustard. Fried chicken is made without corn-starch/flour.
50. Grilled cod fish with aji tamago, tuna piman and tofu miso soup.
51. Tuna steak with aji tamago, crabstick cucumber salad, wakame miso soup. I forgot crabsticks are full of carb so I ate them all haha.
52. Shogayaki pork, salted egg-yolk bitter gourd and butter sauteed enoki with seaweed soup. Onion is quite heavy on carbs so I serve it onion-less for the danna.
53. Crazy fish day lol. Assorted sashimi, grilled salmon and feta green salad.
54. Airfried chicken, garlic sauteed eringi mushroom, hakusai pickles, chicken negi soup.
55. Tsukune tofu hakusai soup pot slow-cooked with 12 chicken wings. Don’t waste the wings cuz you can panfry them crispy for an extra dish!!
56. Snack plate for danna haha. Just hiyayako tofu with negi and shirasu.
That’s all!! If there’s any dishes that interest you and you want to know the recipe let me know! ^^
Photo album for our trip to Gold Coast, Australia last month.
After one whole month of working without a single off day during CNY rush, the danna decided that he want to just chill the heck out at the beach for two whole weeks, so we traveled to his favorite surf spot – Gold Coast.
Junya has started liking the beach very much. Last month he told the danna, “papa, I want to go beach.” And immediately the danna’s eye lit up, and he went online to book last minute flight, that was how we all ended up in Bali suddenly.
Yes you will be an awesome surfer, my sweetheart.
Sakura seems to just enjoy whatever comes her way. As long as she is stuck to me then everything will be fine.
We traveled to Noosa, Sunshine Coast and stayed for about a week, and then moved back to Coolangatta and rented this amazing beach front apartment.
It was so perfect that he started looking at property brochures lol. But alas Gold Coast is a city too expensive to retire in for now haha.
Resort mood for everyone. I cannot remember the last time I wore sun hats and dug out my swimwear. I think it was Hawaii!
Oshare cafe in Noosa. Love this quaint little town.
Our brunch feast.
All white for mama and baby today.
Ahhhh the cheeks! She’s napping in the bedroom now. Looking at this picture gives me an urge to sneak into the room to smell and bite her now lol.
Going to the pool^^
Pool is soooooo warm!
Sakua, we go swim?
This Junya wants to go to the deep side of the pool but freaking out at the same time -_-
Sakura was so chilled at the pool I think she probably would be a more awesome surfer than her oniichan.
Steak at Hurricane’s Grill, Surfer’s Paradise for dinner!
Most of the time we cook in our apartment. Most of the time it was pasta and Garlic shrimp. I was super addicted to garlic shrimp for a period of time.
I knew I would be super craving for rice so we bought instant rice in our luggage XD. Hamburg with sauteed spinach. With our favorite Queensland yogurt.
$7 whole roast chicken, salad and cherries.
Went to seafood market to buy shrimps for garlic shrimp again!! Added squid this time too.
Bought too much greens so a bit overdosed on salad every single day…
Ippeichan Instant Yakisoba (lemon mayo flavor) with… garlic shrimp again lol.
Salad and meat sauce pasta.
The time has come when we craved for ramen so this time we tried Muso Ramen which was ranked the top in Gold Coast. The previous time we had Hakataya ramen so we thought of trying something different. It was… hmmmm…? haha.
Papa made pasta again!!
The best thing i’ve eaten this trip was Betty’s Burger!!! It was cheap and super duper good. The danna ordered pork belly burger with added fried chicken and bacon inside hahaha. It was so huge!
Junya finished his junior burger in no time.
I like to stuff every single thing in my pocket. Including rocks i pick up from the roadside.
I like to look like I’m holding serious conversations with imaginary friends.
When I grow up I want to be a doctor. With stethoscope made of the latest technology that plugs me into the TV.
I wonder if you can measure temperature this way? Ear canal or nostril, same hole right?
I love to make things go so crazy they don’t even know what to think anymore. And probably decide to just implode. For example this power bank, and my mom.
One day I caught the danna flirting with a cute girl in bikini.
Belly dance for him summore.
Couldn’t dip in pool that day. Too windy to stay warm
Mama & bb
Gold Coast was waaay too hot this year.
Maxi dresses for us ♥
Currumbin Sanctuary to see animals! Junya loves his kangawoo.
Hugging koala while the danna hugs my koala.
Everyday weight training.
That’s Surfer’s Paradise over the other side!
The most mesmerizing thing about Gold Coast is its sunsets. I’ve never seen any sunset less gorgeous than this the entire time!
He wants to chase all of them.
We visited our friend in Gold Coast and her family stays in an eco village where Kangaroos wander about in your back yard.
Look mama i found Kangawoo!!!!!!
Best improvised hair salon, ever. Kangaroos watching too.
Junya turns 2 years 9 months today, and Sakura is 1o months old now.
Here’s the regular monthly update!
Also read Junya’s 1st month , 2nd month , 3rd month , 4th month , 5th month , 6th month , 7th month, 8th month, 9th month , 10th month , 11th month , 12th month , 13th month , 14th month , 15th month , 16th month , 17th month , 18th months , 19th month , 20th month ,21st month , 22nd month , 23rd month , 24th month , 25th month , 26th month , 27th month , 28th month , 29th month , 30th month , 31st month and 32nd month here.
Last month the both of us were dealing with a lot of emotional struggles, but this month it got much, much better. Mostly because I got used to it. And also because he knows I don’t buy it anymore.
I have learnt how not to take some things seriously. Saying “I dowan papa papa go away and go to work bye bye papa. I cry alone.” now is 家常便饭. He says it so often that it doesn’t even mean anything anymore. It’s just like him singing “wheels on the bus.” We adults also hardly respond to that. And then life goes on as usual. Haha.
At Qiu’s house he even went all chummy with Qiu, (the person he rejected the most throughout his life lolol) just to make a point that he is now a big, independent boy who doesn’t really need papa and mama anymore (on the surface) lol. Qiu had a big shock hahaha.
There are though, many things that he said that made me go… is he really the same baby I used to have just a short while ago?! @.@
My babymon has evolved into a more advanced pokemon.
1. Junya was making an imaginary cake out of Lego. He gave a piece to me and I dramatically ate it and exclaimed how good it was. Then I asked if he can share one (imaginary) piece to Sakura. He then gave her two pieces. And then he went back to bake more (imaginary) ichigo cakes and passed to me again. I asked if he can share one with Sakura again?
Junya: No. Sakura already eat two.
HAHAHAA imaginary cake also must kiam.
2. Junya alone with mama.
Junya: Juh now papa cold (scold) Junya and Junya cry alone.
3. Junya playing make-believe doctor with the thermometer.
Junya: Mama have fever?
Mama: Why don’t you help me measure my temperature?
Junya: Ok I mehjer. *beep*
Mama: What’s the reading?
Junya: Seventy six point five.
4. Junya was bored with nothing to do. Just rolling on the floor.
Junya: I want to drink ink.
5. Junya was eating mama-cooked lunch.
Junya: Mama ask Jun Jun nice?
Mama: Ok ok. Is it nice?
6. Mama asked Junya to brush his teeth.
Junya: I don’t want to brah tee. I want bacteria come. I want.
Yeap. That’s his new pattern.
I used to tell him “please be more gentle if not Sakura will cry because it is painful“…or like “please be kind to your toy, if not your toy will be very sad. You don’t want your toys to be sad, right?” and then he would look genuinely worried and nod.
This trick simply does not work anymore.
When I told him to be careful not to break the Totoro chopstick rest because if it is broken Totoro will be very sad. And guess what?
Junya: “I want Totoro sad.”
Junya: “Mama, I want. I want totoro sad.” *nods with a serious frown*
I was speechless for real.
PokeMOM needs to evolve.
7. In a Japanese restaurant in Bali.
Junya: Mama, this one what for?
Mama: It is a coaster. You put your drinks on it and it protects the table.
Junya: Oh. What is the coaster name?
8. At random times.
Junya: Mama, what is the glass name?
Junya: Mama, what is the chair name?
9. Inside an airplane on the way to Bali.
Junya: Mama, see!! Mook! Mook!!
Mama: Smoke? No those are clouds!
Junya: *big smile* Oh. Can we go inside cloud or not?
10. Junya watching Shimajiro on TV. Mama was singing to the theme song.
Junya: No don’t sing!! I’m watching. Don’t disturb Junya.
11. Junya tossing mama’s iPhone on the bed.
Mama: Junya, please don’t throw my phone.
Junya: No I am flipping the pancake.
12. He now loves to 自导自演. Other than all the imaginary weird fruit burgers and cakes he makes, he also likes to instruct me what to say and how I react.
Junya: Mama sit here. And then mama eat (imaginary burger) with Junya.”
Junya: *dramatically* AH~~~ tsumannai na~~~ (AH~~~ I’m bored)
Junya: No. Mama say “desho”. (Mama say “I know right?”)
Junya: No. I dowan mama. Mama say “desho”.
Mama: Oh ok. Desho?
Junya: No. One more time. AH~~~ Tsumannai na.
Sakura turns 10 months old today!!
To be honest I feel a little guilty because with Sakura growing more and more interactive and smiley, and with Junya being intentionally challenging, it is really a bit of a a case of angel VS devil. But I really cannot tahan because Sakura is really cute maximum now. And I truly learnt how to appreciate these precious moments because soon enough she will turn into a devil herself.
On the first day she turned 9 months, she called “paapa” for the first time. Her first word. Fine. Let the father have it. Since Junya’s first word was mama lol.
And then a week later, she called “maama“. Now she will look at me and call “maama“, and that’s really the cutestestestest thing ever omg I cannot. I get soooooo happy every time she does that, and exclaimed excitedly “really baby??? You called me??” until Junya will rub his face into mine and say, “MAAMA. See! Junya also can say! MAAMA.”
HAHAHA. Cute la the jealousy.
Whenever I give Sakura snacks the oniichan confirm will come and kepoh. Then he will pretend generous and say, “mama, I want to share with Sakua.” Ya ya ya, when it is somebody else’s then only you want to share. XD
She has grown so, so cheeky, literally. Her favorite stunt now is to puff her cheek and then blow raspberries. Particularly with her mouth full when I feed her lunch. And then my whole face will be covered with mashed pumpkin. Thank you, baby.
Sometimes her oniichan thinks it is very funny so he will mimic her and rub his face into mine and blow raspberries too. Now my face is covered with mashed pumpkin AND two different kinds of saliva. Thanks, kids.
Sakura also likes to play “inai inai” (peekaboo) with me. She will cover my face with a cloth and then uncover and then laugh. And also feed me all sort of things including plastic spiders.
Pull to stand
She can now pull to stand with ease, and usually she prefers to be standing. ^^
The last I weighed, she was 6.7KG at almost 10 months. Most babies I know are this heavy by 3 months old.
I thought for the second time around, I may have a chance to have a super chubby michelin baby. Sob. It probably runs in the genes. I am having the exact same worries as the first time round, with Junya weighing 7.5 for a whole half year.
She is eating well recently, though. At 7-8 months she was horrible at eating, basically rejecting all kinds of mashed food but is still too young for table food. But then I found out the problem. She hates the spoon (and mashed food in general). She doesn’t like it when I feed her with a spoon, but she would stare at me and demand some of our adult food. So I now feed her with my hand or with chopsticks. Problem solved. Even better since I don’t have to mash food for her anymore, and she is adapting to textured table food very well.
Hopefully by one year old she will hit triple her birth weight.
Better with Papa
I just checked back Junya’s milestone at 10 months and found out that her development is really similar!! Junya also started to warm up to papa (and other people) at 10 months. Now she is able to play shortly with papa while I cook so I can steal a breather or two.
She is very cheerful nowadays, responsive to us talking to her and will paapa and maama the whole time until the both of us heart flower furiously bloom (心花怒放）lolol. Ahhhhhh babies are so cute!!!
No no no no no
This one she is way more advanced than her oniichan! Junya only learnt how to shake his head at 14 months and even then he did it very awkwardly (like Bollywood dance lol). Sakura not only can shake her head for fun, she even uses it in proper context!! I found out when I was feeding her, she shook her head when she was full. I thought she was just playing with me but it happens a few times after too!! When she has enough food, she shakes her head and told me, “mama, enough, ok. How many times must I shake my head only you will understand ah?” haha.
Despite her first word being Paapa and second being Maama, her favorite person is actually oniichan (unless she is tired or sleepy or hungry or in a bad mood, then her only favorite person is me. Yawn.).
It is true. We realized this since she was 3 months old or so. She loved staring at her brother intently and somehow was very mesmerized by him. Nowadays she laughs when Junya does a funny face to her. But when I try to do it she just stares at me blankly. Hiam I not funny enough isit -_-.
Sometimes even when Junya is rough or mean to her (put random things on her head/rub her face… etc), and I thought she would cry, she actually burst out laughing at everything he does to her.
Sometimes I do wonder if I’m missing out a lot in life.
I look at other happening people I follow on Instagram who have time for dressy parties and mommies who travel like they are single. I have clients who told me they considered other influencers instead of me for their projects because they thought I must be too busy with the kids.
Sometimes I feel sad because I cannot do the work I love.
Sometimes I feel left out because friends know that even if they invite me for events I am likely not gonna make it.
Sometimes I feel like I am not connected to the exciting world anymore because all I do is preparing the next meal and packing school bag…
Sometimes routine makes me feel like a boring person.
Some days feel really, really short, and it feels like I have achieved nothing at the end of the day.
Yet I won’t want to change this lifestyle.
Because I know I would regret the time I did not spend with Junya and Sakura. Because I know that they will grow up so fast, that before I know it they will go to school and have their own friends and discover new hobbies and then they will be like, “bye mom! You don’t need to send me every time!“. And that soon enough they will stop holding my hand, and to hug me less, and not allow me to kiss them all over… soon.
It is now that I don’t want to miss.
And because I know that they need me the most right now. And I want to be here and around, always.
2014 July: One Day As a Mom
2016 April: One Day As a Mom of 1.5
2016 June: One Day As a Mom of Two
Fast forward 9 months later, I have evolved lol.
Here’s an updated post on how things have changed, after having the second child for 9 months now.
I am now a full time, sort-of-still-keeping-a-blog mother, who rather (with no choice) spends her time picking up crushed egg bolo on the floor than to edit a nice picture for Instagram likes.
It also made me sort of crazy. One day I was just so exhausted with two screaming children while not feeling very well and with a million things to do, suddenly I saw glooms all over my head. And I thought, what a shitty job being a mother is. You don’t get paid a single cent, you don’t ever get holidays, sick also have to work, and nobody ever thanks you for wiping off a stained toilet…
It really was the worst job ever.
And then… I decided to self-declare MC. I texted the danna and said, “today I’m on MC. No clean, no cook, no take care of Junya and Sakura”. And then he just replied “ok, you take a rest”. So that day I ordered delivery, and the house was a complete mess. At night when the danna came back he asked me where’s the laundry. And I replied “I dunno? I’m on MC.” HAHAHA.
So yea. Mothers need MCs. Lots of it.
Anyway, a few things has changed since my last post on June 2016. Firstly, Junya started going to full day child-care. Which means that I have a lot more free time to do other things. Which sort of make me back to a mother of 1.5. Or 1.5+. Sort of.
Secondly, I finally resorted to having domestic help and got myself a new helper. What can I say? I only have two hands.
Her name is Mary and she fainted the second day at work in our house and caused a big panic.
But I love her because other than that one time incident, she is pretty reliable. She cleans thoroughly, super on time, work hard, doesn’t complain or talk much unless she is stuck. When she is tired she goes back to rest and cleans again when she is recharged. The best quality of her is that she has zero sneaky pattern, won’t 偷工减料, won’t steal things unless you purposely leave it on the floor lolol. Basically whatever you throw at her, she just sucks it all up. She’s a tough one.
Haha. After a year of no domestic help, I have realized that it is impossible for me to have one again. Especially looking at the layout of most apartments in Singapore. Our apartment is pretty compact so if we were to hire one, the default place for her to sleep and spend most of her time is… guess where? The “utility room”, which is, guess what? A bomb shelter. Bomb shelter!!! It fits exactly one single bed and maybe one stool, with no window whatsoever. And when the door is closed, it is pitch-dark. I cannot ever imagine how a person can live happily inside a bomb shelter and that is where many, many domestic maids’ rooms here are like. Maybe wait until one day when I am royalty rich and live in a palace, then I’ll consider having one again.
And I have never appreciated a robot so much. Really. My life is so much better after having her. Sometimes I bend down and pat her head and say “otsukaresama desu” (辛苦你了). Junya will tell her good bye when he leaves for school and say hi when he comes home. My relationship with a robot helper is so, so so so much better than when I had a human helper. I beg someone to now invent toilet bowl cleaning robots, bedsheet changing robots and put-all-the-stuff-my-toddler-throws-back-to-where-they-belong-robots.
Other than this new help, I have also embraced the life of cooking, tidying and cleaning. I realized how to choosing not to do housework/cook does not make anyone a bad mother. It simply mean the person enjoys doing it less than other things, for example catching Gen2 pokemons. (Which I secretly do. Don’t tell the danna.) I used to hate tidying and cleaning because I thought it was a waste of time. But I have learnt the joy of tidying up through Marie Kondo, and I have learnt to enjoy cleaning the house through Niitsu Haruko. It’s weird, but it is an essential part of my life now. I don’t even need part-time cleaners now because, their services are very pricey to use regularly and, to be honest, I think I can do a better job than them now (with the help of Mary) XD.
Anyway, here’s the diary of a pokeMOM’s life in one day.
0700-0730: Wake up, make breakfast
The kind of breakfast really depends on how many snoozes it takes when I finally drag myself out of bed. It can be this if I wake right up at first alarm:
Or this, if I had to slam my phone after ignoring it for half an hour.
And then turbo-charge self and quick run the laundry, take out trash, etc.
0745: Forces everyone out of bed
ROAR! The crazy villain at work. Change @cheesiepetits’ diapers and pajamas, spend 5 minutes each to coax both into having mood for the morning. Serve breakfast.
0800: Eat breakfast, watch TV
We eat our breakfast while catching world-important news like how many missiles North Korea just shot at everyone’s face.
0830: Junya goes to school
Papa sends Junya to school and goes to work, mama dashes around to clear the dining table and picks things up the floor. Then go to bedroom to make the bed.
0900: Mary gets to work, while mama shower Sakura
Mary starts work everyday at 9 sharp. In order for Mary to work efficiently I first have to have an obstacle-free floor. And then I have to close the bathroom door because Mary fainted after accidentally drinking spilled bath water from the shower.
Put on fresh diaper and new coordinate.
0930: relax time!!
Forget about the dishes for now. Let it pile, let it pile!!! Dishes never bother me anyway… (lie. They do. T_T)
It’s mama’s TV time!! I usually watch the recorded program I missed the day before on a different Japanese channel + play with Sakura + update/check Instagram.
And then nurse Sakura until she falls asleep. Honestly, I never bothered to sleep-train the second child anymore because… well when they want to sleep, they sleep. Schedule is stressful lol. If need be, I will wear her, bounce around and walk around the house until she dozes off. Good exercise for me.
1030: Sakura naps, mama make lunch.
Typically. This section varies hugely, depending on how carefully I unstrap the baby carrier and how skillful I am to transfer her from my body to the bed. It can mean either heaven or earth lol.
Lunch-making is going to take a looooong time because if Sakura wakes then I’ll have to jump right back to bed and help her go back to sleep again. If she wakes for real then I’ll have to abort cooking.
That’s the reason why I always prefer to wake up a little earlier to make better breakfast (good carb good protein and vitamins), because I can always swap the simpler meal for my own lunch. If I have eaten good breakfast together with Junya, then my lunch can just be a bowl of cereal and milk. And that works perfectly with crazy afternoons like this. Wait is it not afternoon yet?! I genuinely thought we are past noon now. Oh. It’s just ten thirty.
1100: Robots at work
Meanwhile Mary finishes work, and it’s Braava’s turn to mop the floor. I love my robots.
1130: Lunch is ready
Finish preparing Mama’s lunch, which sometimes is also Junya’s dinner. Prepare Sakura’s lunch. Clean the kitchen and wash dishes piled up from morning.
She usually wakes already and I’ll just try my luck to keep her entertained with various improvised “toys” within reach like empty bottles, food containers, snack wrappers, etc.
1200: Sakura and mama eat lunch
Haih got more dishes to wash again. And then the nicely mopped floor has crushed bolo stuck onto it again.
1300: Relax time again!
Feed Sakura (oppai) and play with phone or watch TV, until the baby rubs her eyes again. Go to bed and nua sai with baby. Try not to fall asleep together because I cannot afford to. lol.
1400: FREE TIME!!!!
FINALLY! This is the most precious “me time” of the day. Sakura naps generally for an hour, so it’s time to go on laptop!!!!
But.. but but… I really cannot stand the mess. Excuse me my house is featured on Zaobao ok it cannot afford to look like this HAHAH. Ok. Blog later. I tidy up all the nonsense first.
1445: Sakura wakes and cries
Spend 15 minutes trying to lull her back to nap unsuccessfully. Give up and carry her out to play.
1500: Fold laundry
In our house, we do laundry every single day. Sometimes multiple times a day. I get a shock when friends tell me they only do laundry once a week. If I do that in our home, we would run out of towels, bibs, baby clothes, toddler clothes, wash cloths, and our house on laundry day will look like a flea market.
You know why I pick this time for foldings? Because it’s something I can do sitting down, while playing with Sakura lol. Folding laundry is my favorite housework because I can watch TV/play while doing it. It is the most productive housework, ever.
1550: Make up time.
Yes the baby stays on the floor. Nobody can get in the way of mama’s important self-esteem.
1553: Leave house to buy grocery
Yes. Make up takes only 3 minutes.
I am so glad that the market and Junya’s school are all within walking distance (15 mins). So I get to buy fresh food everyday since I have to go out anyway!
1645: Pick Junya
After getting my daily food supply I walk to Junya’s school and pick him. Then we walk home together. The time spent depends on how many distractions caught his attention. Gatcha gatcha machines/dessert shops/bakery/auto vending machine… It also largely relies on my convincing skill level to talk him out of spending $2 for a toy he’d lose interest after 30 seconds.
1700: Go back home.
You know, I underestimated myself in multitasking. And the weather of Singapore. 3 out of 5 weekdays are raining, and that is when I feel a bit awkward.
People stare at me like they want to offer help but dunno how to help. Because I am strapped with a tired and cranky baby, a very hungry toddler, a million grocery bags, pushing a stroller with one hand, holding a broken umbrella with another hand, and WALKING UPHILL.
(Insta Story to document this significant moment lol)
These are the times when I really think, 我的命好苦.为什么这么苦。。。
But then once I reach home I was like, how dare I say I 命苦。My apartment is kickass gorgeous and I just bought Japanese dessert. My life is perfect. 😀
17:15 Reach home
Put groceries into fridge, give Junya a snack and switch on the TV.
The living room already looks like this T_T.
1720: Cook dinner
This is the most havoc time of all time.
Junya pooped. Sakura calls out for me because she is bored with the toys I gave her. Junya wants a cup of milk after finishing his snack. Sakura now cries because I have been ignoring her. Junya spills his milk.
I cannot remember how many times I washed my hand to handle between soiled diaper/sliced pork/spilled milk/kitchen knife… before I could take this picture. You all owe me.
1800-1830: Eat dinner together
Feed Sakura dinner and watch TV. Thank god Junya now can eat all meals all by himself.
How many times have I watched the TV already? Noooooo… Japanese TV is awesome. I can be glued to it the whole day if I didn’t have all these other things to do!! Japanese TV is more awesome than FB, Instagram, whatever whatever and Nutella all combined.
1850: Clean up dining table
And under the table. Seriously like, how many times do I have to do this? Sometimes the danna already 吩咐 Mary to clean the floor, and I made sure she cleans the floor spotless. Then now it is all sticky with food crumbs again!! Excuse me but it looks very bad on me leh, people will think we never do our job leh, Mary. How??
Let it pile, let it pile… I don’t care, what they going to say! (You can’t, when your toddler keep tugging at your pants.)
1900: Shower Junya.
When possible I’ll wait for the danna to be back before I shower Junya so that Sakura is watched over, but the toddler doesn’t seem to pick his poop time very wisely -_-.
So I place Sakura on the bathroom floor and give her random objects to inspect while turbo-speed shower oniichan. Sakura can pull to stand now, so sometimes she is standing against the door and our door can only be pushed outwards. So meaning if we try to open the door she will fall over. -_____-. When that happens, a naked toddler and a half-drenched mad woman are both stuck in the cubicle for… as long as the baby remains happily standing at the door. -_-
1930: Papa’s dinner
The danna comes back around this time so I serve dinner. Then he has father and son time while mama washes the dishes.
If I’m lucky, Sakura will be happily playing or watching TV with papa. But usually around this time she gets really clingy and tired and sleepy and cranky so she has to be stuck to me.
So sometimes I clean while carrying her.
2000: Brush time for everyone
2030: Sakura’s bed time
2045: Junya’s special time
难得 meimei is asleep now, Junya gets lovey dovey time with mama lol.
2055: Sakura cries. Put Sakura to bed again and trying hard to get Junya to sleep.
2130: Junya sleep
2135: Watch favorite TV show
Yeap. Our TV cabinet are two bar stools lolol. Actually the TV is mounted on the wall but the installation was not ver stable so we had to support it with something. Just in case.
2145: Sakura cries. Pause TV show and put Sakura to bed again
2155: Continue TV show.
2300: Tidy up the house one last time, prepare Junya’s school bag. Prepare tomorrow’s breakfast.
2315: Papa goes to bed. I really really really want to flip open the laptop and blog but my brain is telling me it is going to shut down.
Yeap. So that concludes a day of my life as a pokeMOM.
Wait. Something is missing. Where is mama’s shower time?
Right. I forgot.
But then the sound of the door/tap/switch/ant’s singing wakes the baby up. She cries. I go to bed and pat her back to sleep.
2350: Shower for real.
Then kepoh a bit on the phone, evolve new Pokemons, watch Instagram cooking videos…
Yeap. That concludes a day of my life as a pokeMOM. How about yours?
My 25th prefecture in Japan. 22 more to go.
We wanted a snowy holiday that’s not too far from Tokyo, so we decided to visit Niigata prefecture, also nicked “Snow Country”. Niigata is most famous for two things – skii resorts with soft, powdery snow and Koshihikari rice. And we were gonna enjoy both to the fullest 😛
Junya’s entertainment for the 2-hour shinkansen ride. And the toy was a… shinkansen lol. And the name of the Shinkansen is… Sakura lol.
We got it from Tomica Shop in Tokyo Station.
Sakura wanted to play with Sakura but Junya didn’t want to share his Sakura.
We arrived at Echigo Yuzawa Station. Surrounded by snow the moment we stepped out of the station!!
one of Niigata’s Mascots – Mr Reruhi.
Charming Snow Country ♥
Lots of dreamy white color ♥
Our hotel is right across the train station. The danna picked the most convenient place so we don’t have to move around too much with two young children with us.
View from our room.
Junya took a long long nap.
When he woke, we took a stroll around this quiet little town.
Haha still sleepy face XD. By the way Sakura is wearing the down overall we bought for Junya’s first winter trip and it fits perfectly! Great choice to have kids who are exactly 2 years apart. XD
Papa planted Junya into the snow XD
He was so excited!!
We then returned to the souvenir shop in Echigo Yuzawa station for shopping. Right here you can buy the freshest, most famous rice in Japan – Uonuma Koshihikari rice.
Did you know? Even if it is the same brand from the same place, rice could taste very very different, depending on how fresh it is. Shinmai, (new-harvest rice), is one of the most treasured ingredient in Japan. We bought 5KG of fresh raw rice and had it polished at the store.
There are mini packs of Uonuma Koshihikari you can buy as souvenirs for your friends and family back home too.
I think this is a Sake-tasting shop. Don’t get as drunk as this dude.
There was even a Sake-buro (Japanese sake onsen bath)!!!! I have used a few sake-infused beauty products and I really loved them. I was dying to try this since it’s gonna make me beautiful head to toe lol but we didn’t have enough time for this.
Dinner time was at a Donburi restaurant inside the station called Uonuma No Hatake, I ordered Mochi Buta don and the danna had curry rice. The pork was so, so good!
And then the danna ordered TKG (Tamago Kake Gohan). It’s basically just steaming hot rice served with raw egg, miso soup and salted konbu.
Uonuma Koshihikari rice.
Raw egg with soy sauce
And just mix it into white rice.
We returned to our hotel, watched some TV and then went for family onsen (a private hot spring bath in the hotel for a fee).
Looks like this!
Sakura’s first sexy shot HAHA.
This is our breakfast menu. So elaborated omg.
It’s very traditional Japanese-style breakfast, and I am very impressed that most of the dishes are homemade, including the natto, tofu, yogurt, etc.
And super super healthy. After the breakfast I felt like I have eaten like 200 kinds of different vegetables and soy protein lol.
Next is skii time!!
At Yuzawa Skii Resort.
Actually it was still in early winter so there was only one open skii course, but not like I could go, so I babysit @cheesiepetit X2 while the danna went snowboarding.
Got a mini sled for Junya but he wasn’t very excited about it haha.
Papa was trying to train up a snowboard buddy for himself but
This was the one time he was on the sled then he dowan liao lol.
And then did an Snow Devil (opposite of snow angel LOLOL) because he was tired and sleepy.
coaxed him back to the stroller to nap XD.
Lunch that day was in another restaurant inside Yuzawa station! It was a sushi shop.
Our favorite of all time – Aburi engawa.
And also un-aburi engawa lol. (Basically untorched)
Overflowing 3 types of sushi
Kanimiso (crab roe) and shredded Kani. I love crab roe but most of them from other random sushi shop taste a little… stale?!. But this was super creamy and fresh!
Also, since we are at the hometown of Koshihikari, the best way to enjoy this beautiful rice is to eat it in the most unadorned manner – plain as it is or as an onigiri (with a dash of salt, wrapped with seaweed).
In this kitchen at the souvenir shop, they are selling Bakudan Onigiri (Onigiri Bomb). How is it a bomb?
Look at the size of it.
Apparrently 4 cups of rice is used to make this onigiri. @.@
Sake jelly, this is sold at the cafe adjacent to our hotel. Wonder how it tastes like!
We ordered the Onsen pudding (they delivered to our room as room service!), super yummy!
The day after…
Super healthy breakfast again. Eating 300 types of vegetables again.
Grilled fish served with 3 small appetizers.
The love of my life (for now).
The short trip was coming to an end.
Sakura trying to eat oniichan’s sock.
Before leaving home we had our last Niigata meal, at the train station again, in a ramen restaurant. Their signature is Miso Chashu Ramen. I’m not a big fan of miso ramen (I love Tonkotsu and Shio), but I finished the whole bowl!
Ready to get back to Tokyo.
Yeap. So that was Sakura’s first winter trip. She didn’t see or miss much of it haha. The whole time she was being a comfy sleepy koala stuck to me. ^^
Yeah? Where were we the past few days again?
Oh she found a pacifier on her sweater XD.
And… the end. See you next time, Niigata!