Oh It's Mommy

A world into my life as a hats juggler


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Tears still trickle

I no longer believe that time will heal. It probably will ease the pain a little, but it doesn’t heal.

18 years ago, she called me that one night and requested me to go and accompany her. I still remember it was a Friday, because I told her there is no school the next day, no ECA (it’s now called CCA) and I will be able to visit her early.

She tried to persuade me because it was at 8ish in the evening, I know Dad won’t agree to have me travel down so late, I assured her I will come by the next day, wait for me.

“It will be too late if you come by tomorrow.”

These were one of her last words.

We hung up, I never put much thought into that call because she was very ill, and has been wanting more attention. I thought that might be one of those attention grabbing moment.

It never occur to me that that was one of her last wish.

Before the call, I was thinking about her. I walked to the calendar hanging outside my room, calculated the days and told Papa that her birthday is coming is just another 5 days away, moments just before that call.

For the whole week before that very day, I had the same dream for the whole week. Exact same dreams for a week, unbelievable. I dreamt of her passing on.

She was illiterate. She couldn’t even read numbers, yet she troubled my auntie to call me up that evening. Why didn’t I know earlier?

Just a few weeks before this day, I was having my semester break, hence I went to stay over and helped look after her. At that time, she already had motion incontinence. I helped to bath her one day, she told me she is a burden and hope to join my grandpa who passed on a year before her.

I cried, badly. I told her she can’t leave me just like that.

Seeing me crying uncontrollably. She consoled me and said, “I will live to see you get married and have kids.”

I broke into a smile upon hearing that.

My world came crashing down the moment I heard she left. I was sitting in Papa’s taxi and looking out of the window in a daze. “How could this even happen? Didn’t we just chat few hours ago?”

I was in a daze, but I didn’t shed a tear.

When we reached, I saw her half seated on her usual foldable chair, no longer responding, motionless, that instant I can no longer control my emotions.

Whatever that took place the day before, and that day itself, is unforgettable.

Today, lunar 4th day of seventh month marks her 18th year death anniversary.

Hubs played a song on his phone and trigger all my misses I have for her all these years. Memories of her are still fresh.

I miss her terribly. How nice to have her around, and see my children, sharing with them the same stories she shared with me.

The only woman who loves me so much more and unconditionally, I miss you, Ah Ma.


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When all fall sick

Last Thursday, E was suddenly unwell, complaining of chills and body aches. Those flu-like symptoms fooled everyone including the GP we saw.

He gave a quick diagnosis, less than 5 minutes we are out of his clinic. We were of course sent back after he prescribed with a cough and runny nose syrup.

I received a call from E saying she ran a high fever on Friday, halfway through her lessons. Rushed to school to pick her up, only to see her having a little spot on her face, and she seemed otherwise well. I thought it was probably caused by the flu. Whisked her home and gave her paracetamol.

I guess Mommies really have some strong maternal instinct. Even when she had only one spot, I was suspecting it might be chicken pox. Saturday, I checked her on her body again and noticed 2 spots on her chest. Mom said they didn’t look like pox, but I still thought they were. Later in at noon, I checked again and told Hubs to bring her to another GP for another check.

BINGO!

This GP diagnosed her to have chicken pox.

Now, the next question that comes will be – how about the 2 little ones?

Fret not, B had his 2 years back. Though his was really a mild case back then, many people told us he might get it again, so be it.

True enough, Monday noon, i received a call from childcare telling me B ran a fever.

SIGH.

Even when I am mentally prepared, I am still praying hard that he better not be. Fever came and go. He seems to be having flu-like symptoms, BUT…no spots till date. In case you wonder, the incubation period is between 7-21 days as we were told, we can only hope his is not the case.

We decided to pay our family GP a visit yesterday as his fever did not clear. After checking B, he felt his case was probably a viral fever and not chicken pox. Why? The flu was really quite bad, and flu syndrome for chicken pox is milder. No spots found on him as well, should be safe, but we will have to monitor.

Now, the baby is also home today. She also had flu and cough. This common flu is really making everyone sick.

Unlike E and B, she is a much happier “prisoner” I held at home. Happily playing toys and iPad, eating, singing and dancing around. Making me busier only, this girl.

I hope this episode clears soon.

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The love for Green

The little ones at home are asking me I am baking (again), whenever I don’t do it for a few days.

For the sake of my waistline (if I can locate it somewhere midriff), and all theirs, I think I will reduce baking. Easy to say, but so hard to achieve.

On Monday, M asked, “Mommy, you bake cupcakes for Meimei eat?” I said no, and she pouted. “So when Mommy bake cupcakes?” That pair of eyes looking so hopeful and I said, “soon, I think!”

I have been baking a no butter, and eggless cupcake that the brood and SIL loves. They enjoyed it, and I think even when it looks green, it is still good to go into the mouth.

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Matcha Chocolate chips cupcakes.

Matcha has a bitter after-taste, and to suit the children’s and my taste bud (read: sweet tooth!), I added a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. I think Hershey’s are the easiest for us to lay our hands on, BUT semi-sweet is still quite sweet for some. I think it is good for me and my brood though.

The baby alone ate almost TWO of this straight after dinner, because she can’t wait any longer! haha….very funny, this lil girl.

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And, do you want to bake some?

Here is the recipe adapted from a sharing on IG

What you need:

3/4 cup milk
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted
2 tbsp matcha powder, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup of chocolate chips

Method:

*pre-heat oven to 190 degrees Celsius*

1. Whisk milk and apple cider till smooth, set aside for 10 mins till slightly thickened.

2. Sift cake flour, matcha powder, baking powder, baking soda in a big bowl.

3. Whisk sugar, grape seed oil, vanilla extract and salt in medium bowl.
Whisk in mixture (1) until well incorporated.

5. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and briefly whisk till just incorporated. Add in chocolate chips and mix well.

6. Pour batter into cupcake liners. Bake for 15 mins.
I turn to 180 degrees C in the last 10 mins.

This recipe has not failed me. Try this!


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Condense Milk Toast, and a person I miss

When I was little, whenever people mentioned “condense milk”, everyone will think about “Milkmaid”. In Hokkien, we call it “ang gee gu ni”.

When I first spotted this recipe on Singapore Home Cooks, I was reminded of her, always making my milo, and condense milk drink for me to dip my cream crackers for tea break.

Even when this is one of the worst foods, it is something I really enjoyed having when I was child, with my dearest Granny. She always makes the best milo and condense milk drink for me.

During those times, her condense milk is used up very quickly. However for my case, mine sits in the fridge for the longest time, and left forgotten. I even had to wash out the last condense milk that probably sits in there for more than a year, or even longer.

“What a waste!”, I always thought.

Since the last bake few weeks ago, I am still left with some in the fridge, just nice I chanced upon the recipe for a condense milk toast, I decided to save the recipe, and lay my hands baking it soon.

Original recipe is from Winnie’s Kitchen Work, and I think someone mentioned there is a translated version, but I cannot recall which blog that is. Anyways, here is an English version.

Ingredients:

For Dough:

200g bread flour
15g condense milk
129 fresh milk
20g castor sugar
3g yeast
20g unsalted butter, room temperature

For Glaze:

20g condense milk
20g unsalted butter, room temperature

1 egg, lightly beaten

For Topping:

Almond flakes
Icing sugar

Method:

Grease a 17cm chiffon tin and pre heat oven to 170 degrees.

1. Place all ingredients for dough into a mixing bowl, use the dough hook and knead for 10 mins.
2. Shape the dough into a ball, place it in a greased bowl and allow it to proof for 30 mins or double in size, clingwrap.
3. Punch out the gas in the dough and roll out into a rectangle approx 12″ x 8″
4. Brush the glazed ingredients on the surface evenly and cut into for strips, lengthwise.
5. Stack the strips together and cut breadth wise into 8 pieces.
6. Arrange the cube sized dough standing around the centre of chiffon pan, building it outwards. (more pics on the link provided)
7. Clingwrap the chiffon pan and allow it to proof for 40mins.
8. brush the eggwash on the bread and sprinkle the almond flakes.
9. Bake for 25 mins.
10. remove and dust with icing sugar.

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Here is how it looks like fresh out from oven. I love how the smell of the bread sills up the air in the house.

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You need to stack the cubes nicely to get a prettier interior. My fat fingers didn’t do a good job here, so…bear with this ugly interior. It is soft and fluffy though.

Not difficult. Start baking yours now!


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To The Man I Stand Behind For

Father’s Day always crept pass almost unnoticed over the last Sunday.

His early gifts from B and M were the tumbler with them as a cover, and also the sandwich they prepared in school. Feel so touched!

No chance to snap pictures of the sandwiches, the ones who prepared them, came home after dinner, and said they were hungry and nom-ed down the remaining of the sandwich after the Daddy took a bite. Poor Hubs.

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An incredibly awesome gift, that I think the Dad will not bear to use this.

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He may be an unsung hero, but we all appreciate him for bring back the dough, working hard, and being responsible to this family. I can only render my support to him, so that he can focus in his work.

To show my appreciation to our children’s Dad, I baked his favorite flavor of cupcakes on Saturday. The chocolate cupcakes was moist and not too sweet, good for everyone.

Hubs love this batch so much, that I am going to share the recipe to everyone, and also for my own easy reference.

You may refer to the recipe from Add a Pinch, or simply use the one I shared below.

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon espresso powder
½ cup milk
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup boiling water

Instructions

* pre-heat oven to 160 degrees*

1. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Use a balloon whisk, and whisk through to combine well.
2. Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter.
3. Fill the batter in cupcake liners to about 3/4 full.
4. Bake for 12-15 mins. (I baked for 12 mins. you rather have a moist cake then a dry cake right? If you do prefer a drier texture, bake for 15 mins).
5. Remove cake from oven and allow it to cool completely.

Nutella Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3½ – 4 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
½ cup Nutella
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons half-and-half, heavy cream or whole milk
pinch of salt

Instructions

1. Cream together butter and ½ cup of confectioner’s sugar at a time. After each cup of sugar has been added, add Nutella 1 tablespoon at a time, then add vanilla and then beat on high for about 20 seconds to lighten the frosting.
2. Add half-and-half, one tablespoon at a time until the buttercream has reached a consistency where it will hold it’s shape. Add pinch of salt and whip on high for a final 20 seconds.

Use immediately or cover and refrigerate up to three days. To use once refrigerated, slowly allow to reach room temperature and then beat on low speed until the buttercream is smooth before using.

I only used 1 and half tbsp of half-and-half as the consistency seems fine for me. You may want to adjust the recipe accordingly.

The recipes from Add a Pinch is simple and easy to follow.


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Rose & Lychee Chiffon Cake

I first stumbled upon this pretty pink cake from The Pleasure Monger‘s blog.

She has since removed the recipe she posted. I “recreated” using what’s left in my memory department. Very risky attempt. I was keeping my fingers crossed, and hawked on the batter that is rising slowly in the oven.

Baking chiffon cake is probably one of my weakness. I always have some issue with creating a “stiff peak” for the meringue, BUT…since I really love soft fluffy chiffon, I decided to give this a go. How will I fare? I will not know until I get my hands dirty, right?

E was curious as usual, she stood beside me when I was trying to make the cake. She kept posting me questions, and I just shoo-ed her off because she I NEED TO CONCENTRATE on getting my steps and meringue right!

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Look at how well it has risen in the heat? Ya, I kept squatting and sitting around the oven to make sure it looks “right”.

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Alas, 40 mins later, it came out nicely baked, soft, fluffy and cottony! E and I almost finished half of the cake before the lil ones and Hubs returned home. So much about gluttony.

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Just one more shot before I share the recipe okay?

Rose & Lychee Chiffon Cake

Ingredients

(a)
70g plain flour
20g corn flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (I used sea salt)

(b)
4 egg yolks
50g castor sugar

(c)
100ml coconut milk
80ml sunflower oil (I used canola oil)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp rose syrup
1 tsp Lychee liquor
few drops of red coloring (optional)

(d)
6 egg whites
50g castor sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
10g rice flour (I used plain flour)

Steps:
*pre-heat oven at 160C*

1. Sift (a) together and set aside.
2. blend (b) together with a balloon whisk. DO NOT BEAT mixture, just blend well.
3. Add sunflower oil and coconut milk to (b), blend well. Add in the other ingredients listed in (c), blend well.
4. Add in (a) and mix the batter till smooth.
5. Whisk egg whites with cream of tartar till frothy. Gradually our in sugar and rice flour, beat till stiff peak forms.
6. Use 1/3 of the egg white mixture, and fold in gradually and gently into the yolk batter till just blended. Repeat again till all egg white mixture is used up.
7. Pour batter into tube pan, and bake at 160C for 40 mins.
8. Remove from oven, and invert pan and allow it to cool (about 40mins), before removing the cake.

Viola, 8 simple steps and you get some yummy Rose & Lychee Chiffon Cake on your plate!

Happy Baking! *muacks*


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Results Vs Character

OMG! It’s PTM (parent-teacher-conference) today. I see so many posts on my Facebook wall talking about the various achievements of their children and the various feedbacks since 2 days ago. I was thinking, what will mine be like?

Result slip didn’t reflect any Band 1. I double and triple checked. All I see are those 80-something marks, and graded Band 2. Don’t judge me yet, I have not finished.

Even when I repeatedly reminded myself before the report book is being returned, marks doesn’t matter. When I do not see any Band 1, I can’t help throwing her a frown.

Oh well, and so when I sat down in front of the teacher, and she asked, “E’s Mommy, what is it that you wanted to know about E?”

“Well, my only concern is her math. I do not know where went wrong sometimes, it just doesn’t seem to work out during exam?”

She gave a smile and quickly checked on her SA1 results. She scored very well for paper 1, her flop was paper 2. Teacher shared her observation she had on E. She does well on practice papers, class works etc, just not exam. Why oh why?!

I shared my observations too – like her sleepless night the day before math paper, even when she was pretty well prepared under Hubs’ coaching. Her practice papers showed vast improvements, understanding of concepts were good, ability to apply and analyze the questions well. But…why does it not work out on the actual paper?

Conclusion to this was that, she cannot manage stress. She knew math was her weakest subject, and even when she is so prepared, she simply under-perform whenever the examination pressure weighs on her. E had a very bad outburst of viral infection right on the last day of SA1, right after her Math paper. She took 3 days of MC from school too, otherwise she seldom fall sick. We went on about academic, and suddenly, the teacher said,

“E is a very reliable monitor in class. I can always depend on her to help me run errands, and collect work from the class. She never fails us, and has been a really good helping hand.”

Know what? I am really glad because she has always been a class monitor, and the teachers’ feedback for the past 3 years were all the same. Something different now is the initiative. Teachers mentioned that with her help and initiative, she has been able to do more teaching in class, instead of administrative work. We discussed a bit on this, and praised E for displaying her leadership potential. She tried to help out whenever she can, even when her friends had disputes, she tried to talk to the different parties and see how she can help to mend the friendship.

I walked out of her class, beaming with pride. I know some things means more than the numbers. At least for now, we are on the right track.