Making Baby 3, Part 7: Attack of the Pink Hormones


Women are hormonal creatures. More so when pregnant. And maybe even more so when TRYING TO FALL PREGNANT.

Thus I’ve been experiencing some very strange hormonal symptoms lately.

Firstly, I have a hormonal condition called Foggy Labour Memory – where I’ve had two babies, yet I can’t exactly remember all the details for each one. I can’t seem to recall how painful the pain was for each birth. Did I give birth without drugs? I can’t remember? Did that doctor really take 2 hours to stitch me up – while I was awake?

There must be a hormonal plug that stops a woman from remembering her labour pain, or there would definitely be less babies on this earth!

Then there’s the Baby Clothes Hormone. Which goes off every time I walk past the baby clothes section. LOOK AT THESE CUTE BOOTIES! OMG! WHAT GORGEOUS EMBROIDED FLOWERS! THEY’RE SO TEENSY TINY! AWWWWWW.

As I dig through my son’s old Size-OOOO clothes, I am completely blown away. I remember how huge that OOOO jumpsuit once looked! And how my baby would look like a frog in a pillowcase! The sleeves and legs of the jumpsuit would dangle and flop, and I wondered when-o-when would my baby ever grow big enough to fill them!

Then the Pink Hormone. OOOOH! WHAT A CUTE PINK TOP! WITH A MATCHING PINK SKIRT! AND PINK SHOES! AND PINK SOCKS! Did I mention I’m trying natural methods to conceive a girl?

Then there’s a Nesting Hormone. Where the long-term-planner in my brain switches on and I start doing things like buying maternity bras because they are on sale, and cleaning out the spare bedroom to make way for a cot.

Also there’s a The Clock Is Ticking Hormone. My two sons are growing up so quickly – they are riding bikes and lecturing me about wildlife conservation. My friends are approaching their 30s and 40s. We’re getting old! Time is catching up!

And lastly, the ever-potent Holding Someone Else’s Baby Hormone. I’m sure this needs no explanation.

I’ve read somewhere that there is a condition called pseudocyesis (false pregnancy) where a woman can have all the symptoms of pregnancy – morning sickness, sore breasts, expanding belly, even foetal movement – but NOT have a foetus inside her. Apparently the cause is attributed to the struggle of emotions and desires.

The human body is surely a weird and wonderful creation!

Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.

Original image from Ninemsn

How To Get Your Kids To Eat Vegetables


Another very frequent question people ask me is, “How do you get your kids to eat vegetables?”

Firstly, my kids are normal kids – they will usually choose junk food, pizza, hamburgers, meat and chocolate biscuits OVER ANY KIND OF VEGETABLE.

But the fact that they will happily eat raw carrot sticks, raw snow peas, munch on lettuce, dip celery sticks into hummus, eat broccoli florets, raw sprouts, avocados and capsicums – well, it kinda freaks people out a bit.

So I’ve written up a few tips on how to get your kids to eat vegetables :

1) Start them young
Offer them a wide variety of vegetables at a young age, and offer them at EVERY MEAL TIME, including snack time. Some of my kid’s favourites were carrot sticks, peas, corn off the cob, broccoli, cooked chick peas.

2) Limit the salty / sugary foods
This is pretty obvious. If they eat lots of salty / sugary foods regularly, of course they’re going to balk at the taste of a bland carrot stick.

3) Get them involved with cooking and preparing meals
Kids can watch you cut up vegetables and sort them by colour or size. They can wash potatoes. They can help grow tomatoes and herbs. Throw some beans into a glass with a bit of cotton wool and water at the bottom. They can make vegetable faces for a snack. Make a meal plan, then a shopping list, get them to help you buy the food, prepare the food and eat the food!

4) Eat vegetables YOURSELF!
If the kids see YOU snacking on raw vegetables, then they are more likely give it a go too.

5) Change your attitudes towards vegetables and the kids will too
Most people don’t realise it, but they have different attitudes towards different foods.

As I grew up in a Chinese household, we were brought up with notions like:
“The meat dish is the main meal, everything else is a side dish.”
“A dinner is not complete without a meat dish.”
“Meat must be served to guests, or we will look incompetent and poor.”
“Meat is tasty. Vegetables are not.”
“A proper Chinese banquette must have AT LEAST beef, pork, chicken, duck, fish and prawns.”

It took me many years to shake off those ideas!

For example.

Years ago, I never ate raw snow peas. I thought it was a bit strange. I preferred them cooked Chinese style – quickly tossed in a hot pan, dark green, warm and still crunchy.

My husband ate them raw. On the weekends, he’d take the kids to the fruit and vegetable market, and buy a bag full of snow peas. Then he’d come home and sit on the couch and MUNCH ON THEM LIKE CHIPS. Weirdo. It was like eating raw bok choy – so wrong.

But then after some weeks, I noticed the kids joining in and eating them too. They were helping themselves, and grabbing huge handfuls. They were even fighting over who had the biggest snow pea. They would clean out the whole bag in minutes – with each kid eating something like 20 raw snow peas for afternoon tea.

I couldn’t believe it.

So I started to join in. And now we have a snow pea party after visiting the green grocer. And I LOVE raw snow peas now, can’t get enough of them! I even grow them in my garden so I can eat them fresh!

I guess the point is, if you eat raw vegetables as if they are the most normal thing in the world, your kids will grow up thinking the same.

I keep imagining what would happen if my husband bought home a bag of potato chips instead!

I also wrote : What Should Kids Eat Each Day?

In Transit – Fashion and Jewellery Show

Curtin Fashion Show

On the weekend, my husband and I went to the Fashion and Jewellery Show by Curtin University Graduates. It was such a fantastic event! It was really well done.

There were 24 designers, each showcasing about 4-5 pieces. For many pieces, my jaw dropped. I was amazed and inspired by the style, beauty, innovation, freshness, plus there seemed to be no difference to the garments shown on international catwalks. It was so exciting!

Curtin Fashion Show

Added to all this. I managed to get a media pass, which let me backstage.

Before the show, I crept into the dimly lit backstage area. The room was filled with frantic and busy people. You could just feel the excitement and nerves in the air.

Models were pacing around in their garments. Designers were rushing about. Dressers were sorting through racks. Stylists were teasing hair. Organisers were giving directions. Tables and corners were exploding with artworks, garments, accessories, boxes and bags full of STUFF!

Soon the models were rounded up. The moment arrived.

The music blasted on, and one by one the models disappeared onto the stage. Everyone who was backstage – including me – froze. All eyes were fixed on the TV screen, watching the first group of models walk along the catwalk. No one seemed to breathe. My stomach started to shrink with nerves too, OMG it was just too much.

When the last of the models waltzed backstage, the room roared with cheering and clapping, ah… it was such a rush to be part of it all! You check out the official website for the different jewelry pieces used in the show.

Here’s hoping the designers make it big in the fashion world!

Blog Loving – The Food Pornographer

The Food Pornographer

As part of my usual Monday posts on Blogging, Photography and Design, I’m also reviewing some blogs that I love reading, and greatly admire.

Although I don’t blog exclusively about food, I am most certainly a foodie at heart. I LOVE MY FOOD, and I just LOVE food blogs. So, I’d like you to meet The Food Pornographer.

If you’re looking for super-stylised, magazine-perfect, unblemished photography – you won’t find it here. This site is about REAL FOOD. Real food sitting on a plate, steaming and glistening, dripping with oil and sauces. Real food that you can actually buy, or cook.

As I scroll through her photographs, every olfactory gland in my body erupts with a craving desire. My eyes swell as large as my stomach. I can SMELL that plate of hot fried noodles. I can TASTE that steak burger.

Things I love about this blog

I love the name of the blog. It’s hilarious. And as you look through her photos, there’s that extra dimension that adds originality, humour and a tongue-in-cheek wit that you don’t find in most food blogs.

I love her spontaneous photography – all pictures are taken with a completely ordinary camera. No special lenses or fancy lights.

I love her quirky everyday stories – with everything pretty much centred on FOOD!

I love her honesty. She tells it like it is. If the meal was awful, she’ll say so and explain why. Likewise, if it’s great, she’ll rave about it, and your mouth will water.

So here are a few questions that I’ve been dying to ask her!


Karen: You obviously take a lot of pictures of your food while you are eating out. Does anyone ever ask you what you are doing? Do they think you are a government health inspector? Or a spy from another restaurant? What do you usually tell them?

TFP: Funnily enough, no one’s ever asked me! I do get strange looks from customers at adjacent tables. Occasionally I get laughed at by people who notice what I’m doing. But as long as they’re not getting in the way of my shots, I can put up with it.

I do my thing, then put the camera away and eat my food. I try not to take photos when I know staff are watching though, just in case they get paranoid for whatever reason and tell me to stop.

As long as no one prevents me from taking photos, I don’t really care what they think. If anyone were to ask me what I was doing though, I would tell them I have a food blog (as I do when people at parties ask).

Karen: What is the most disgusting thing you have ever eaten?

TFP: I bought a Filet O Fish from a McDonalds recently – the fish was all shrivelled up and BROWN – it smelled absolutely revolting.

Karen: The beautiful way you write about your food reveals you are a woman of deep passions. Do you make noises – when you eat?

TFP: I think I eat very quietly. But I do tend to eat too quickly and burn my tongue on hot food.

Karen: Do you get to eat for free because you do reviews?

TFP: I was given a freebie meal once by a restaurant, but then I felt like I couldn’t write freely about what I thought of the meal. I didn’t like that feeling of being ethically compromised – feeling obliged to only write good things.

I’d love to be paid to write my reviews, but so far that hasn’t happened. I just write for my own pleasure and the pleasure of my readers – for free!

Karen: At your funeral, what meal will be served to the guests?

TFP: Hmmm. Hard to decide if it would be Western or Asian food. It would be cool to have guests eat some of my favourite dishes from childhood – lotus root soup, pongteh, minchee, Malaysian-style chicken curry and rice pork chok with all the trimmings.

But then a barbecue would be great too. A very meaty barbie, with sausages, lamp chops, pork chops, marinated chicken thighs, barbecued onions and garlic field mushrooms. Mmmmm.

Vote for The Food Pornographer!

The Food Pornographer has been nominated for “Best Food Blog” and “Best Photography Blog” in the 2008 round of the Bloggers Choice Awards (where I’ve also been nominated in four categories).

If you’d like to vote for The Food Pornographer, or me, or just surf some amazing blogs in a wide range of categories, then:

1) Go to
NOTE: If you have already voted for me you won’t need to create a new user account – just skip to step 3.

2) Create an account – you do have to fill in everything, except the “choose a picture”, and you do have to give a real e-mail address. A message will appear telling you to check your e-mail for a confirmation message. Mine arrived in less than thirty seconds, and you click on the link in the message.

3) On the right hand side of the screen is a “search” box. Type in the word “FoodPornographer” or “KarenCheng” (all one word).

4) Click on the drop down menu called “Choose a Category to View this Blog” and you will see a list of all the different categories we’ve have been nominated for. Choose any one of the four nominations.

5) It will load up a little profile of the website, and there will be a yellow “vote” button. Hit the vote button! It will turn to a set of question marks, and then you can just quickly click on the other categories as well.

Next week – more blog loving!