Foodnotes, Friends

Have cake, will eat it

Back in September, I had the girls over for tea. We ditched the boys for the afternoon and just chilled and enjoyed one another’s company before a little being squeezed his way out into the world. Yes, David, I am talking about you. Yes, I realise that you cannot read now. Your point being?

Anyway, I was super productive that day. I whipped up a giant batch of chocolate chip cookies and a cake with lemon frosting. Am I Mrs Baker or what?

I know that those days of girly catch-ups and sitting in front of the telly doing absolutely nothing are over so that afternoon was extra precious to me. Of course, we did let the boys into the club after a while. They popped over to finish up what we couldn’t devour and then we promptly dragged our full and sagging bellies for a round (or two) of fried Hokkien mee, frog leg porridge and fried carrot cake.

This was the batch of famous sandwiches that Popartgirl made, which landed us the gig of providing food at David’s recent one-month baby shower.

Squirt made cinnamon rolls.

Hello, David!

Two of Us

Sweet dreams

I’m not really a DIY person but this, I am very proud of.

I’ve been wanting to put up something on our vast and empty bedroom wall for a while now but those wooden letters that I see on Etsy are just too expensive for my liking. I love vintage wood, it’s hand carved, blah blah blah, but US$60 for a pop? Really? Nah.

Clever pants here decided to MAKE. HER. OWN. I popped down to Spotlight thinking I would pick up some wooden alphabets and form my own words but what do I see but words crafted out of papier mache? Laugh. Live. Dream. Angel. Mmm. I like. And each costs less than $6.

A can of spray paint was on sale at $4 so that went into the basket too. Of course, me being not at all artsy meant that I didn’t know if the paint suited papier mache. But it was cheap! That stingy attitude would come back and bite me in the ass but I’ll leave that for later.

And the result…

Romantic eh?

I thought spray painting would be easy peasy but boy, WAS I WRONG. The paint wouldn’t stay on the papier mache and all I had to show for at the end of a fume-ing experience was an uneven dream.

Oh well. I am lazy and look, nobody is ever going to look at this up close and personal except me and husband and he does not give a shit. Hmm, in fact, I don’t even know if he notices this at all. Anyhow, I decided that it was rustic and authentic to have it just sort of painted and didn’t bother touching up the paint.

I had lots of fun with the sign before putting it up so expect more dreamy pictures to appear soon.

Happy dreams!
The organised chaos

Saturday night

Mr Thick went off to run the Sundown Marathon and I stayed home to chill.
I know, how boring is that, it’s Saturday and everyone’s gone to paint the town red.
But I love being at home because it’s our home.
I picked it out from 659 other units, selected every piece of furniture and decided on the colours.
It may have the same finishings as the other 659 units but we made it ours.

I sat on the floor and went through all the pictures in my camera, and read all the unread entries in my RSS feed.
I had a mug of chocolate milk and our iPad for sustenance.
And it was a lovely evening of “me” time.
We’ve been us for almost two years now and it’s nice to be simply me, for once.
Not somebody’s wife, daughter-in-law, daughter, employee, sister.
I don’t need to think about how others feel, I can play whatever music I want to play.
And I can recharge away from the hustle and bustle of life.

Lounging at the balcony
Two of Us

Kitchen

It’s been a fabulous weekend and I’m feeling a little bummed that it’s going to be Monday in a matter of minutes.

We hit the Pixar: 20 Years of Animation exhibition at the Singapore Science Centre yesterday and I’m so glad we did. We are both huge fans of Pixar and being able to see the hard work, blood, sweat and tears that went into creating films like The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Ratatouille and Up was an amazing experience. It’s a little like the Ghibli Museum, although not half as charming.

Pixar was, ironically, followed by Shrek Forever After. Which was funny, fun and very clever. Go watch!

Anyway, I just wanted to put up pictures of our kitchen at east end because we’ve changed it up a little. It’s probably one of the smallest kitchens you will ever see, which is why I am constantly finding ways and means to store our things. Thanks to husband and a handy power drill borrowed from my father-in-law, we’ve added rails from Ikea and made the kitchen walls a little more useful.

Up goes the new spice jars
And that's how tiny the kitchen is!

There’s a nice little story to share about the spice jars. Every time husband and I hit the nearby Ikea, I’ve always picked up the jars, sold in sets of four, and think about buying them. I’m anal about organisation – thanks to reading blogs like Apartment Therapy – and wanted to have identical jars for that neat, Stepford Wives look. But I never did buy them because I wasn’t sure it was absolutely necessary.

One day, when I was over at Squirt’s place, she plonked me in front of a few paper bags and told me to pick out whatever I wanted from the bags. Apparently, a friend of hers was shifting to a new place and was getting rid of some stuff, which were either new or near new. And in those bags were three sets of the very same jars that I had always wanted to buy.

Score!

And that’s the end of the post.

Friends

Out in the field

The weather was perfect today.

It was sunny AND windy at the same time, just right for a picnic. And it was a great way to end the week for me, especially after the second of my six-day work week. It’s tiring having only Sunday to rest – by the end of Saturday, I felt so zonked that all I wanted to do after dinner was to go home and sleep. Two down, six to go.

Anyway, we had the Squirts and Popartgirls (ie. the girls and their partners) over for a little potluck picnic and it was wonderful. Although the kite flying was EPIC FAIL – where was Trevor when you needed him? – the rest of it was fabulous. Great conversation, catching up, delicious food, jokes…I guess I am an introvert by nature, I’d rather spend time with a small group of friends than to hang out at parties. Not that I am hip enough to be actually invited for parties.

Four soups and a lemonade

Cooking is becoming therapeutic for me. I happily spent two hours in the kitchen in the afternoon whipping up a lemonade, white wine sabayon, roasted tomato soup and sauteed mushrooms. My bad leg was aching by the end of it but boy was I on a roll. Recipes to follow shortly!

Eagle not quite soaring in the sky

That’s our kite on the right. If it doesn’t look too high to you, well, it’s cos it DIDN’T stay up in the sky for more than 30 seconds.

The carnage

On top of what I made, we also had Ikea fried chicken wings (DA BEST!!), beer bread, tuna, Daim cake and fruits. We were STUFFED after that.

Dotz stuffing her face

Ikea chicken wings are GOOD STUFF.

Dotz and Melvyn
Dawn and Xuhao

It’s hard to believe that we have been friends for more than 10 years. We shared secrets and giggles as school girls, got married and became a group of six, and in the future, our kids will be friends and play together. And then we will trade stories of teenage angst and go line dancing together. Can’t wait!

Happy birthday to husband!

They thoughtfully celebrated husband’s birthday in advance – and I promptly took a bite of his Daim cake before he did. Of course, he didn’t mind.

The sky turned dark

It was a perfect Sunday.

Two of Us

Red

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I know, this comes one day late but I have been feeling poorly and New Year’s Eve was not quite eventful for me. We caught the countdown on the telly (good god, the singing was DREADFUL) and then waved some sparklers on the balcony, thereby sending our kittens into a frightened, frenzied dash away from us. It was a very quiet affair.

Not sure why but I didn’t feel like writing a year in review post this time round. There have been many changes in my life this year and I am grateful for the challenges and opportunities that have come my way.

But the real reason for this post is nothing nostalgic or pensive. In fact, it’s downright exciting!

I woke up this morning to find this beauty on our dining table – our KitchenAid mixer had arrived! The fiery red is so perfect for our east end and it’s a present from husband to me. The sweet man traded in his credit card points to accumulate a thick wad of Robinsons vouchers and off we went to splurge on this gorgeous mixer after Christmas. I was tempted to get the matt grey set but decided that red is infinitely more me. I was hesitant about getting it initially, thinking that my handheld mixer would do the job just as well but after hearing rave reviews from food lovers around me, I decided to take the plunge.

As for the garnet ring, it was a surprise from husband. Two days before Christmas, he came home with his Robinsons vouchers and proclaimed that the KitchenAid would be my Christmas present. Basically, he led me into thinking that the mixer was IT. When the clock struck midnight, he pulled this out of his pocket and said, Merry Christmas! Wow.

So thank you, my wonderful husband! What a ride it has been for the past 10 years. As enjoyable and lovely as marriage has been, it’s also been an eye-opener and an educational process. I may not be the perfect wife, I don’t wake up early enough to make breakfast for you, and I certainly am taking up more than my fair share of the wardrobe space. But you’ve made me a better person and you’ve taught me many things about life that I would never have known.

Happy anniversary and here’s to many more 10 years of togetherness.

Just one more photo, I promise...aren't they lovely together?

Two of Us

5 tips for a great home

Disclaimer: If the following tips don’t work, don’t blame me!

1. Acquire a geeky man
This is the perfect scenario because it means that your home will be extremely connected without you lifting a finger. Now, I can surf the net in the balcony or in my bed, and even stream music from my Ingrid to the Yamaha sound bar in the living room as I cook. All the techie stuff works – the cable, the TV, the phone, the gadgets – and even if they don’t, all I need to do is holler and the Geek will have it fixed. And when the Internet is crawling, I can definitely count on the Geek to ring up StarHub and complain.

2. Don’t be shy to delegate
Men and Women definitely come from different planets. We see things differently from Men, if they even see anything at all, to be perfectly honest.

Take, for instance, a glance into the living room.

What I see: hmm, we need to vacuum the floor, put the sofa through the lint remover, polish the dining table, pack up the clutter, fold the laundry and sun the rug. Oh, and it’s about time I wipe down the handles of the house with disinfectant.

What he sees: nobody is watching the TV! Yay! Xbox! Halo! FIFA 2010!

The good news is, all is not lost. The keyword here is delegate. As you mop the floor, have the Man clean the toilets or wash the balcony or empty the litter box. AND MAKE SURE HE DOES EVERYTHING. FAST. Otherwise, you will end up like me where I am nursing a cold and still I managed to clean two toilets, vacuum two rooms, clean out my wardrobe, chuck the bedlinen into the washer, put one load of laundry away from the dryer and put another load into the it, wipe down the surfaces with anti-bacterial wipes AND feed the cats. Meanwhile, all he is doing is going through his junk in the study.

Don’t be afraid to yell at inefficient Men, that’s all I’m sayin’.

3. Always evolve
Some people, like my cousin, don’t see the need to keep working on the house. To her, her house is going to be sold eventually so there really is no point in putting too much effort anyway.

But for me, I like to see the house growing together with us, which is why I am constantly thinking of ways to make it more homey, more us. I still visit wonderful sites such as Desire to Inspire, Ikea Hacker and Apartment Therapy and get new and interesting ideas on how to improve this home, especially since we did not rely on the expertise of an interior designer to put together this place.

4. Cheap tricks work too
I love the plushness of hotel toilets but unfortunately, my bathrooms are tiny affairs that came with the house. I’m not complaining, they were done up really nicely, but they are just a bit too plain. I try to jazz them up just a little to make myself feel happier, so imagine my delight when I picked up a vintage-esque print from – of all places – Carrefour. It was extremely affordable and fitted exactly over the throne in the guest bathroom.

Add a small, cute bottle of Sephora hand wash in red, a glass jar filled with tea bags (to absorb odour and provide a whiff of musky scent) and a festive ribbon-wrapped Muji bottle containing hand cream and voila! A nicer toilet. And when we have guests, I like to put in some tea lights to give it a warm glow.

5. Be OCD, be PROUD
I never knew I could be veering so close to OCD but I have found out that I am. But it’s good because it means that the kitchen stove will be clean, the store room is neat and the wardrobe is nicely full and not exploding. Without my OCD fits, I am pretty sure that we will end up being a home with junk lining the walls and clutter all over the surfaces.

If you are just as OCD as I am, do not be ashamed but instead, celebrate it! Be proud of the brutality that comes with it and feel free to delegate hard labour (see point #2) to the hapless Man!

The fruits of delegation

The organised chaos

Back to the grind

I can’t believe it’s Sunday night, or rather, Monday morning!
Where did the weekend go?
As Tim Gunn would say, EGADS!

It’s just less than four weeks to Christmas, to the company shut down, to a nice break of festivity. All I have to do is to grit my teeth and get down to it.

Once Christmas is over, the New Year arrives and oh my God, it means Mr Thick and I have been seeing each other for 10 whole years. Where did the time go? It’s been 10 years! Unfortunately, while he still looks the way he did when we first met (with just a few more wrinkles around the eyes), I look older and wearier than when I was 18. It’s definitely true that men age gracefully like wines and women just AGE. Period.

Anyway, to make myself feel happier, I like to look at the Krispy Kreme box that I made husband bring home from Japan in his suitcase. Don’t you just love the polka dot goodness and retro fonts? I still haven’t a clue what I am going to do with the box – perhaps frame it on a wall that is still bare.

Which, strangely enough, is hard to find in this household.

The organised chaos

Perfect Sunday

Husband and I have gotten into this routine of cleaning the house on Saturday. I know, it’s odd, we are supposed to be going out to paint the town red on Saturdays, right? But it’s worked out fine – east end gets a good wash and we head out in the late afternoons for dinner.

And on Sundays, we chill. Sometimes we head to the gym for a light workout and a swim. Other times, we just stay in, cook lunch and then head to the supermarket to get groceries. In the afternoon, I’d grab a magazine or a book, cut up an apple, pour myself a glass of wine and nestle in the balcony.

These moments are just pure bliss.

Kitty Tales

Post Formula One…

…Travis was BLOODY. AWESOME.

It felt so surreal watching them live, almost eight years after we had first caught their joint concert with Coldplay. Can you believe that? We watched Travis and Coldplay jam together at ONE VENUE. It was one of the best concerts we have ever watched. When is that ever going to happen again?

Anyway, it’s three in the morning and I need to get to bed. Coco was meowing like crazy at eight this morning and when we let her into the room, she started meowing like crazy because she was bored. Husband then let her out of the room, only for her to meow like crazy AGAIN at 10.

I always tell her that if she wasn’t so damn cute, I would have put her right back onto the streets again. Hah. As if she cares about what I say anyway.

Snuggling under the covers
Snuggling under the covers