Sunday, March 30, 2014

Morning Walk Series [5]

Casually strolling one fine morning with Little One again, and we came across what looked like a patch of dead, brown leaves on the ground:

Dead leaves?
Upon closer examination, those "dead leaves" were actually a cluster of fungus!

In our daily rush, don't forget to look around you.  You don't know what you're missing.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Trying New Things as an Adult

Everyone knows that it's much easier to pick up a new skill when you are young.  Kids seem to have less fear and others are less likely to judge them when they make mistakes or fail.  It's part of learning, part of growing up.  What happens when an adult wants to pick up a new skill?

Big One happened to see someone inline skating and decided that he wanted to learn how to.  At his first lesson, he was already armed with brand new inline skates, full protective gear, and a helmet of his choice; quite costly start-up gear I must say.  Fortunately, it wasn't just a phase.  Somehow, he wanted to get better so much that we found ourselves going to the multi-purpose area a few times a day during the weekends so that he could practice.  For a kid who's not even 6, I have to say that his determination impressed me!

Seeing that he was still very young, and also because I didn't know how to inline skate, I took the chance to take lessons together with Big One -- (1) I get to keep an eye on him, and (2) I get to learn how to inline skate.  It was tough..... for me that is.  Big One?  He was a real trooper, falling and getting up and falling and getting up. He never stopped trying.

Physically, it was not easy to pick up the skills, and I was really really fearful of falling. "What if I hurt myself badly?  Who will look after my kids then?", "What if I fall on some kid and hurt them?", "What if I bang into someone because I can't stop?".  With each fall, I just got more fearful.  As I got more fearful, I got even slower....

Mentally, it was worse.... There I was waddling around like a drunken duck, while kids half my age, no wait, a quarter my age, were zipping around like nobody's business.  I think I looked like a complete idiot, but I bit my lip and continued.... I wanted Big One to learn that sometimes you just have to ignore what other people think, and do what you have to do.  I held on.... until one fine day....

Big One had moved on to more advanced skills.  I was starting to enjoy being able to do new things, though less complex than what Big One was doing.  "Big One, do you think Mummy's inline skating has improved?", I asked.  Silence.... "I can now go down the slope without falling, and can do parallel turns. Don't you think I've improved?", I continued.  He looked at me and quietly shook his head.  "No improvement? Why?", asked a very puzzled me.  "Because you are still very slow...", he said.  Feeling quite sad by now, I went, "It's not nice to laugh at people who are not as good as you are, you know".  "I didn't!", he answered instantly.  "Did the other kids laugh at Mummy for being slow?", I asked.  Big One kept very quiet.....

My heart sank....  other than looking like a total idiot myself, God knows what Big One has been hearing what the other kids have been saying about me.  Ever since I decided to learn inline skating, I knew I had to put my ego aside.  But this really hurt.... whatever little confidence that I was so slowly building just crumbled...

I only have 1 more lesson to go this month.  Honestly, I don't know if I can continue....

Saturday, March 15, 2014


It doesn't take expensive toys to make kids happy.  Kids are happy with the simplest things in life - running around aimlessly with baby brother, building sand castles, splashing in the swimming pool...  There's one very simple and rather cheap activity that never fails to entertain little ones.... BUBBLES!  Why not forget that you're an adult for an hour and just blow bubbles, chase after them and watch them float up into the sky.... Simple joys...

Bubble solution

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Homemade Peanut Butter

When it comes to spread for my bread, I find myself sticking to a few favourites: Nutella, peanut butter and Kaya (coconut egg jam).  These spreads win hands down when compared to fruit jams for me.  Having found a way to make Kaya the easy way, I was ready to try something new -- Peanut butter!  I always thought that there was butter in peanut butter.  Isn't that why it's so creamy?  It was after the usual Googling that I realised that all you needed to make peanut butter, was peanuts!  That's all!

Thus began my little experiment...

First, I "toasted" the peanuts in a frying pan without any oil
'Toasting' peanuts in a frying pan

Then came the worst part of my experiment..... I had to remove all the skin from the peanuts!  I was literally kicking myself for not buying peanuts which had the skin removed.  Anyway, when I finally removed all the skin from the peanuts, I chucked them into my blender.  Many websites mention that a food processor should be used, NOT a blender because it might overheat.  I didn't have a food processor, so my Bosch cake mixer cum blender was the only option.  I did stop often to let my blender rest though.

Place peanuts in a blender or food processor

As I blended the peanuts, it went through different stages before eventually getting to the peanut butter stage.  Amazingly, it became creamy peanut butter without any liquids added!
Different stages of blended peanuts

Verdict?  I liked it!!  It was not as sweet or as oily as store bought peanut butter and had a very natural taste.  Maybe next time I'll experiment with different nuts or add some honey :)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Morning Walk Series [4]

While I've been eating ladies' fingers since young and later cooked them myself, can you believe that I've never actually seen the plant until last year??  Well, here it is for all city folk like myself :p

Common name: Okra or ladies' fingers
Binomial name: Abelmoschus esculentus

Ladies' fingers flower and fruit

Ladies' fingers leaf

Does the leaf look familiar?  That's because we've seen it here!