Archive for July 2007

 

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Winter Puddles

30 July 2007

Puddles

Our favourite pastime this winter : Put on gum boots, raincoats and go puddle splashing in the street!


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Cooking with Kids : Making Wontons

29 July 2007

Cooking with Kids

Making wontonsI had a sudden craving for beef wontons and decided that the kids could help me make them.

I didn’t really use a recipe – I just tossed together some healthy stuff in the fridge and garden. I also prefer baking my wontons, instead of deep frying them. Much healthier that way.

I ALSO decided that it was too much of a hassle for the boys to curl the wontons into a dumpling nugget shape – I’m a bit anal about folding pastry, and didn’t think I could handle munted wontons. So we left them as triangles. Ravioli, if you must.

My 4yo was excellent at putting them together. The 2yo had to be supervised, in case he ate the raw meat mixture. Here are our masterpieces.

wontons

Beef Wonton Recipe

400g lean beef mince
1 bunch of coriander leaves and stems
1 small bunch of chives
½ red onion
1 cup of chopped cabbage
Very tiny knob of ginger ( ½ cm )
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

200g packet square wonton wrappers
Vegetable oil

Throw filling ingredients into food processor, until all chopped!

Place a teaspoon of filling into the centre of a wonton wrapper. Brush the edges with a bit of water and fold in half to make a triangle. Press down to seal. Place on a lined tray. Brush a bit of oil. Bake in 200ºCoven until edge are crispy (about 10 minutes).

Filling mixture makes lots! (50+ if you’re keen)


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My Art / Design Background

28 July 2007

I attended a Special Art Programme when I was in high school.

I have worked with many art mediums : oil paints, watercolours, acrylic, inks, chalk, charcoal, textile manipulation, sewing and stitching, dyes, clay, glazing and firing, plaster, paper mache, metal work, wood work, etching, wood block printing, screen printing, graffiti, movie make up, jewellery design, stage design, technical drawing, photography.

I am in no way expert in all these areas, but I loved doing it ALL. I can’t find a favourite medium. Given the chance, I would explore every single medium again!

I studied a BA of Design in university, where I focused on advertising and graphic design.

Over the years, I have worked as a web designer, multimedia designer, art director, graphic designer, photographer and illustrator.

This will be my first art exhibiton!


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Oil Painting : Confessions and Commitments

27 July 2007

PaintingI have a little secret to share.

I’m going to be part of a group art exhibition of oil paintings in October. I’ve been working furiously at it since March, and it’s been pretty exciting.

How it all started : I discovered that a few of my girlfriends were organising an art exhibition, and they were looking for another person to join them. They asked me and I said YES! An exhibition with good friends? What a cool opportunity!

Holding an art exhibition, where I set about creating a “story” to share with the world – has always been in my Things To Do Before I Die list. Plus I’ve always loved using such a wide variety of mediums – from oil paint, inks, sculpture, textiles, photography and digital art. The possibilities were endless. And this was just the beginning.

However, I never imagined that I’d be able to hold an exhibition so SOON. Where am I going to find the time? Who’s going to look after the kids? What “story” am I going to share?

The exhibition has a theme of “Journeys”.

My allotted space requires me to produce 10-15 medium sized paintings. *Laughs crazily*

I’ll be posting up bits and pieces of my painting adventure. So stay tuned!


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When Fashion Hurts

25 July 2007

MirrorIn the last 5 years, I’ve been pretty careful with sun protection.

I wear sun cream and sunglasses everyday. When I’m in the sun for long periods, I try to wear a long sleeves and a hat.

My reasons are : Wrinkles. Skin care (skin ageing and spots). Skin cancer. To live a long life. Example to the kids.

Anyway. The other day I noticed that the whites of my eyes were not as bright as usual. There was a slight yellowing in the corners of my eyes. I freaked out a bit.

I got them checked out by an optometrist, who said that yup, it was UV damage and if I don’t change my sunglasses, I’ll have eye problems in the future (basically).

It turns out that while my sunglasses have SOME UV protection, they are still considered as “fashion sunglasses”. Which means, they don’t have ENOUGH UV protection. Ergh, I’m so damn grumpy. I’ve been wearing them for YEARS!

So this is me sporting my new sunglasses. Not the most fashionable, nor expensive pair, but I’ll live.


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Milestone for Callum

23 July 2007

TissuesThe other day, my 4.3 year old was strolling around the house, kinda bored. I heard him walk into this room and shuffle with this and that.

I heard a swish and a thump, and I knew he was playing with his tissue box.

I was about to mention loudly that tissue boxes are not toys, when I suddenly heard him talking to himself.

“DUH… OH… CUH… D–O–C. DOC? DOC! HEY MUM! THIS SAYS DOC!” He ran out of his room waving his tissue box, and a silly grin on his face.

Whoa! He read his first word! Unprompted!

I was beside myself! I was floating with pride – it was such an awesome parental moment.


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Our Hermit Crabs

22 July 2007

Hermit Crab

Since we had to get rid of our cats, Biff and Silky, we’ve pretty much accepted that we were going to be a no pet family. That was two years ago.

Recently, we decided the boys could do with a bit of pet loving goodness.

So meet Anthony the hermit crab.

Callum first wanted to call him Crunchy Munchy – which I said was an AWESOME name for a hermit crab, but at the last moment he decided to go with Anthony. I tried to convince him to change it back to Crunchy Munchy, to no avail.

I even tried to explain WHY it was so funny – our eating habits are ethnically Chinese, and Chinese people like seafood – but the nuances of cultural sarcasm offended my 4 year old.

It was like when he tried to name his bike.

We also have Billy Balow, named by Sean (and who knows WHERE he got that name from). But Billy the hermit crab has a personality disorder, thinks he’s a rock, and he hates kids.

We’ve set up a little funky aquarium in our living room. We’ve finally got a home for our collection of shells, driftwood, rocks and treasure from the beach. The crabs are so easy to look after. The kids love them and play with them every day. It’s all gold.


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Running On Girl Power

20 July 2007

Spiderman car On his 4th birthday, Callum was given a Spiderman remote control car. After a week of zooming it around and smashing it into furniture, it broke. The motor revved, but the wheels didn’t turn.

I handed it to my husband to fix, who immediately put it in a queue of Things For The Husband To Fix.

Now I’m not complaining about my husband – the poor guy is at the mercy of my princess inclinations. Can you build some shade over the sandpit? What about some extra shelves for the pantry? Can you put up some hooks for the hats? Can you knock up a rack for the shoes? Hey winter is here, have you cleaned the gutters yet? I think the car engine oil needs replacing!

So 3 months later, nagged by my son about the lack of a Spiderman car, I decided to fix the thing myself. How hard can it be anyway? I’m a smart girl right?

Car guts

I took the thing apart, memorising how it fit back together. I took a moment to admire how cute the electrical board looked, and how all the tiny, colourful connections and wires looked like a miniature city!

I worked out that a bit of plastic broke off the axle holder thing, and when the motor turned, the cog came loose. A bit of superglue will do the trick!

Unfortunately – in this house – superglue is categorised as “male stuff” and lives in the shed. So driven by pride, laziness and ingenuity, I jammed a matchstick into the thing and TA DA! ALL FIXED! I ROCK!

All fixed

(Note : The matchstick head was left on for photographic purposes. I cut it off before I put the car back together – in case it caught on fire!)


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Sean – 28 Months

18 July 2007

SeanSince my last update on Sean at 26 months, there’s been an excellent linear progression on all aspects of his development – emotional, physical, his language, playing, sleeping, and eating.

However there has been a something quite new.

Sean has been rather difficult. He really has pushed me to my parental limits and then some more. His defiance is mind boggling.

It’s not just simple stubbornness. It’s UTTER DISOBEDIENCE, ON STEROIDS. It’s a senseless, irrational, single-minded, unwavering, testosterone-fuelled, kamikaze disobedience.

No amounts of reasoning, negotiation, positive or negative coercion will make this child turn from his one path.

The smallest and simplest task, “Please say sorry to your brother!” can build and BUILD into a HUGE, DESTRUCTIVE, EARTH-SHATTERING SITUATION that sometimes lasts up to 2 hours of screaming, crying, door banging, toy throwing, in and out of time outs. And STILL he will not bend.

I’m a complete train wreck at the end of it. My day – everybody’s day – is completely ruined. I don’t even know if I’ve won. Or whether he knows who has won. Or if anything was learnt at all! I am absolutely clueless as to what to do, or what it all means.

SeanAs I type this, I’m still trying to juggle all my mixed thoughts and feelings, and work out the bigger picture of all this.

Only two things come to mind.

Firstly. A couple of years ago, I was talking to a friend about children’s characters, and she told me about her 15 and 13 year old daughters.

She said since birth, the 15 year old was the mild, easy-going, big-hearted type. Now in her teens she’s finding it hard to stand up to people, and is easily swayed by peer pressure, fads and advertising images.

Her 13 year old was the stubborn, determined and strong-spirited one, the one who knew exactly what she wanted. Now, she’s the kind who never has a problem with saying no to her friends, saying no to drugs, having an opinion and sticking with it, standing up for what she believes is right etc.

Aside from it’s obvious simplicity, I thought that was a nice way to think about my situation. He’s got a strong spirit – how can I work with that?

Secondly. The age old parenting philosophy : Kids will do what you DO, not what you SAY!


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Callum : Kindy Update

16 July 2007

CallumOn the last day of his kindergarten semester, my 4.3 year old came home with his portfolio – a scrapbook filled with samples of his kindy work. They weren’t assessments, but it was all laid out with teacher’s notes and explanations to give parents a good indication of the stuff their child can do.

I wasn’t emotionally prepared for The First Report Card Moment. I stood in the school car park, while the kids climbed into their seats, and I absently flicked through the pages of the scrapbook.

My heart stopped and I had to choke back tears. My little boy can place the correct number of match sticks into numbered boxes! He can cut along a wavy line! He can make a bunny rabbit! And a gingerbread man! He can follow construction instructions!

His teacher said : Callum is a capable little student who listens carefully and is quick to understand. During mat sessions, he regularly answers questions and contributes to discussion. He completes set tasks without difficulty and is always purposely occupied in his class free-play time. Outside, he enjoys a range of activities and can be relied upon to play nicely. Good boy Callum, I am proud of you.

Gosh – it was all too much.

I was glowing with pride, yet crushed with love. Enchanted with happiness, yet heartbroken that my little boy has to grow up.


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White Tea – Silver Needles

15 July 2007

White Tea Silver Needles

After Sheep Poo Tea and Blossom Tea, behold, my latest adventure into the delights of green tea drinking.

Let me introduce you to my new favourite thing in the world – white tea. I’m completely in love with it.

A quick search on the web indicates there are countless health benefits of white tea – it is super rich in antioxidants, excellent for cancer protection, heart disease, stroke, reduces cholesterol and blood pressure, etc etc.

Apparently it is the rarest, prized and most superior of all the teas, because it’s the least processed kind of tea. The young buds are hand-picked at a certain time of the year, then steamed and dried.

I get the impression that it also has the lowest amount of caffeine. But there seems to be conflicting reports on different websites about this particular point.

Anyway, I drink it because it tastes delicious.

It’s light, fragrant and sweet, with a nutty and almost creamy kind of taste. It’s divine! I’d drink it all day, just because it’s so yummy and healthy. But everything in moderation!

(Plus it’s really expensive.)

If you’re looking for places to buy white tea online, I recommend Organic Silver Needles, Silver Jasmine Tea, 100 Monkeys Tea, White Peony Tea.


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Life is full of sweet moments

14 July 2007

Rainbow


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That Million Dollar View

13 July 2007

Tandem

It was a spectacular winter’s day. I brought the boys and the tandem bike to the South Perth Foreshore – with its amazing, sweeping, postcard-perfect views of the city and river.

We rode and rode on that endless path. The city buildings always in sight. Floating along side, following us, like we could reach out and touch them at any moment.

It was indeed priceless.


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Cafe Miracles DO Happen

11 July 2007

SmartiesToday I did something I have NEVER DONE.

I took the kids to a cafe – BY MYSELF.

It was truly a moment of madness. I drove past my most favourite cafe in Perth – featuring a secret garden-styled outdoor setting, with cafe tables dotted amongst water fountains, vines, bushy trees, flower beds, and birds tweeting in the canopy high above. It’s absolutely gorgeous. I couldn’t resist.

I explained to them that we were going to sit and have a nice, quiet cafe experience. The back of my eyes twitched as the words left my mouth.

I ordered a cup of tea for me, and some snacks for them.

I have always craved the day when I could take the kids to a cafe by myself. I dream that the kids would quietly colour in their scrapbooks and play a card game, while I’d sip a cup of tea and read the newspaper, and HOURS would fly by.

HA!

I know kids need to be taught the appropriate behaviour for different places. But it has NEVER worked out that way when it comes to cafes.

My boys are all over the place. Shaking the table, rocking the chair, dipping their fingers into the sugar, climbing on the table, licking stuff off the floor, running around in circles, bumping into other patrons, whinging and complaining, fighting and punching, shouting and crying.

Sitting in a cafe is always stressful and traumatic for us, and the boys! And double that, when I’m the only adult to manage them.

But today, my boys surprised me. They ate their Smartie Cookie. I sipped my tea. We chatted about the trees and birds. We talked about the week ahead. We took some photos. And the moment the cookie was DONE, we left.

It was all over in 15 minutes. But oh, what a glorious 15 minutes it was!

Caption for the photo : Sean gobbles up his cookie, Cookie Monster style. Callum carefully eats the biscuit around each Smartie, extracting them one by one, licking them clean, places them under a napkin (to hide them from Sean), and saves them for last – he’s just like me.


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Less Is More

9 July 2007

Less is MoreOn Saturday night, I was invited to attend a photography exhibition launch and cocktail party. Funny thing was, I have never met the photographer in person before!

I met Pamie through this website. We exchanged a few emails and got chatting. It was really refreshing and inspiring to get to know someone who has a passion for something, and has enough guts to make something of it.

Her exhibition was excellent – with heaps of stunning, striking and elegant images details of the urban environment we often forget to look at. I really enjoyed it! Plus I chatted to a bunch of new and interesting people. Exhibitions are inspiring!

Pamie’s now working as a freelance photographer, and I wish her all the best!


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Fremantle Prison Tunnel Tour

8 July 2007

All dressed!Every year I like to do something a little different for my birthday. So this weekend we organised to do the Underground Tunnel Tour of Fremantle Prison – with 10 friends who were equally sporting and adventurous.

The Fremantle Prison was built in the 1850s. It features a labyrinth of underground tunnels, built by the prisoners, as a freshwater catchment to service Fremantle and other parts of Perth.

The tour included a historic overview and a safety briefing. We put on coveralls, a climbing harness, hardhats, and boots.

We climbed down a sophisticated, 18m lock-ladder system into a murky darkness – which was very cool. We trudged through dark, muddy tunnels and submerged passageways. We got into little boats and paddled through inky, cold water.

Fremantle Prison Tunnel

At one point the tour guide made us stop. He switched off all the lights and we all squatted in the cramped tunnel – in complete darkness. He said our eyes would not be able to adjust to the dark. I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face, any speck of light, or any shades in the BLACK, it was very weird and spooky.

GroupOverall, the tour wasn’t a mind-numbing, adrenalin-pumping, outrageous thrill, like say, going bungee jumping or sky diving.

But it was an extraordinary and unique experience – especially since I’ve lived in Perth for most of my life, and driven past the Prison (thus over the tunnels) every month or so.

After the tour, we had a yummy pub lunch in Fremantle, with lots of drinks, noise and laughter. And then moved onto a quiet cafe. It was a fantastic morning out with our friends!


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How to create your own fun at a French film.

6 July 2007

MirrorThis evening we went to a Cabaret, Cocktails and Champagne event for a premier screening of La Vie En Rose.

We expected it to be a sexy, stylish, sophisticated evening – French costumes, French champagne, hors d’oeuvres and pastries, with soft French music played in the background, followed by a lush, French film.

But we found ourselves seriously over-dressed, squished between 600 grumpy people and cringing at the shabby event coordination. I didn’t even get to try any food that was being passed along! Yeah I missed out on the food! The Chinese in me was devastated!

The movie was about the life story of Edith Piaf – famous French singer. The performances were outstanding. Her life was remarkable. But it was an intensely tragic and depressing story and the narrative jumped around a bit.

Ok. Not that I expect all French films to be racy, but so far, our evening was anything BUT.

I wouldn’t say I got bored, but this is me in the restrooms, looking a bit seedy from the champagne and trying to take a good picture of my vintage fishnet stockings – sort of.


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The Big THREE OH : Turning 30

5 July 2007

Clouds

So I’ve turned 29 this year. It’s an anti-climactic event really. Yes, I’m one year older. But everyone knows the big celebrations, the big milestones and the big reflections on life are saved for the big 3-0.

I like to think that I’m a very strong, optimistic person with a positive outlook on life. Yet I’m getting pretty edgy about turning 30 next year. I’m not sure why. The feeling is so incompatible with the rest of my life.

My friends kindly point out that I already have a husband, 2 kids, a house, gone through various difficulties in life, travelled, worked overseas – WHAT MORE DO I WANT?

I answer, “I DON’T KNOW! MORE maybe?”

“What MORE IS THERE??”

Perhaps this MORE is a spiritual one – who am I, and what am I actually here on earth for? – Rather than the pursuit of a bigger house, bigger entertainment system and more expensive holidays.

I guess I genuinely feel like I haven’t accomplished anything yet. Accomplished what? I don’t know. I feel like I haven’t quite reached my potential – that I’ve been dabbling around the edges of something significant for most of my life.

I feel like I haven’t yet been able to fully spread my wings and SOAR over the world like I was supposed to. And something in me is burning and bursting to break out.

Ah, it sounds ridiculous.

On the other hand, I still feel like I’m 24. I still feel like a silly teenager, happy, girly, irresponsible and selfish. Deep down I don’t feel like a “grown up”. Will I ever feel like a grown up? Will I always feel 24?

And on the other OTHER hand, I know that there’s still SO MUCH in life to try, learn and experience! So much to do! I want it all! Life! Needs to be lived!

Many people of different ages and backgrounds have responded with their personal stories, thoughts and reflections on “Turning 30”. You can read them here.


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My Birthday!

4 July 2007

Cake

Hey look! I’m 29!

This year we’ve arranged a whole festival of events for my birthday!

Last night we had a family dinner. My husband cooked for 12 people. The boys helped me make a Devil’s Food Chocolate cake. It was lovely family fun!

This evening we went out to dinner with some of my close friends. We ate at one of my favourite eating places : Kimchee House in Chinatown, Northbridge.

My husband – despite my disapproval – utterly spoilt me with presents and impractical romantic surprises and gestures (which ok, was kinda cool).

We have a Cabaret, Cocktails and Champagne event for La Vie En Rose premier screening.

A cocktail party for a friend’s photography exhibition “Less is More“.

A Fremantle Prison Tunnel Tour plus pub lunch.

Stay tuned for updates!