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Friday, September 30, 2011

Disneyland Paris 2011 Trip - #2

Kaira and the disney characters.  Unlike the previous trip, where she was afraid of the life-sized characters -- she's all grown up this time! excited and thrilled to be hugging them and taking photos with them.  Only thing was, she wasn't keen on taking photos with pooh bear and tigger :( and we missed goofy! 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Disneyland Paris Trip 2011 - #1

On arrival at our hotel, we were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by Mickey & Minnie! So fortunate!  Plus, the hotel wasn't crowded then, as we arrived around 2pm, so kaira had quite alot of "interaction" with them and personal attention ;) 

Unlike our previous trip in Mar 2010 when she was scared of the life-sized characters, she was thrilled by their presence this time round.  did lots of hugging and posing. What a great way to start our stay :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Striking a Pose

Some time back she saw a live fashion show and she's been into posing these days when her mood is good!

These were taken during the National Day Lunch on Sunday.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Eventful Weekend!

Not just eventful.  But also a weekend of summery weather! how blessed!

just when i was going to keep our summer clothes and bring out the winter wear, the weather turned warm this week.... wonder how long this will last?!?1 hopefully it stays this way for the coming week as we are heading off for a short getaway :)

back to the weekend.  Saturday, brought kaira to Jenny's babyshower cum farewell party and it was a lovely afternoon spent with the ladies from Int'l Baptist Church (Eindhoven).  Thank God for bringing these ladies into my life -- encouraging me in my walk with the Lord and also extending their friendship and fellowship.

On Sunday, we headed to Rotterdam for the National Day Luncheon 2011 hosted by the Singapore Embassy for the Benelux Region.  I look forward to the national day event annually as it's a time to make new friends and meet up with "old" friends (whom i got to know when we first came).  since we are located all over the netherlands, we don't meet up that often and this event is a perfect time to catch up with everyone!!  This year's lunch seem to be more crowded than the previous ones...... :))

 it was really a weekend of catching up and more catching up !

Great weekend indeed.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

They have to share everything.......

including their seat!!

sometimes i wonder, whether their paths will cross again in the future........... ;)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"Park" in our backyard

today, i am reminded once again to give thanks to the Lord for choosing our current place to be our home in eindhoven.

There's a park just opposite our place and friends always comment that we are very blessed to have access to the park like it was our backyard! the park is big, with a kinderboederij (children's petting farm), outdoor pool, 2 sand play areas, blocks, lots of equipment for kids, a pirate zone (for older kids), and a builder's workshop (for older kids to do their woodchopping and build stuff).

every once in a while, there will be special activities organised for the kids..... sometimes on a larger scale, sometimes small scale.

indeed, kaira spent a fair amount of time in the park ....especially when she was younger..... for whenever the weather is good, and we have time, i will bring her there, even if it was for a short while.  nowadays, we have reduced the frequency of our visits due to school and other commitments.

today, brought her there and we were pleasantly surprised that there's some form of organised activity there and there were free pony rides and snacks for the kids (cotton candy and popcorn).

really glad that we live here, so near the park. 

didn't have my camera with me today so no photos!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Shows that I enjoy now...

Great British Bake-Off.
Masterchef (UK)
Escape to the Country

.... one would have thought that i am living in the UK! haha.

Monday, September 19, 2011

@ The Dutch National Circus -- Herman Renz

The Dutch National Circus, Herman Renz is in eindhoven now.  As my neighbour was also interested in bringing her kids, we decided to organise an outing today for the kids :)

I've never been to a circus -- so i am naturally a lil' excited too at the thought of going to one!

At the entrance to the circus
it was a 2.5 hour performance and i must say that i was a little disappointed ;p  cos the ticket was not cheap and maybe i had higher expectations.... but it turned out that several of the performances were similar to the entertainment shows that we have seen on board the cruise holidays that we have been (maybe the circus performance was of a higher standard but.... hmmmm, i cannot really say for sure).  the key difference was that @ Herman Renz, there were performances by animals such as horses, seals and lions. i was also disappointed that we don't get to see the clowns more!

Nevertheless i was glad that Kaira enjoyed the afternoon, but i think she was more thrilled running after Logan (our neighbour, a 2 year old boy) and by the following :
dancing to the music with the glow light
enjoying her popcorn

for some reason, i don't have a shot of the 2 kids together!! ;p

a fun-filled afternoon for her i suppose :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Stroll In the Woods

Autumn's round the corner....decided to take a walk in the woods

Little Kaira getting tired cos she had swimming lesson in the morning and now this!!!

Papa! Wait for Meeeee!!!

Decided to walk again since Papa didn't heed her call ;p

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Going on 4.

In about 2 months time, little kaira will be 4. Cliche as it may sounds, how time flies. How is she as a soon-to-be 4 year old? lazy mum hasn't been writing much about her ;p

I thank God for a bubbly and cheerful gal who is quite sociable (in my opinion lah!) and who loves to be tickled.  However, she has her moments -- when frustration and negative emotions overwhelm her ..... this is when she will SCREAM and i mean SCREAM! sharp, shrill and piercing.  if my hearing deteriorates faster than an average person, i know the reason ;).  Besides screaming, she may pout and show her angry face and throw stuff around.

when i see her, i feel both a sense of gratitude and guilt.  grateful because she's so cheery and social, i am quite sure she didn't take after me. Thank God!

Guilt because the way she expresses her negative emotions obviously was modelled after me :( i don't scream, but i do shout at her when i am upset at her.  and yes, sometimes i am so angry i throw stuff ;p when i see her doing the "ME" actions, i get a wake up call.  that's not what i want her to be!! and so, i try. i try to be a better mum. i am learning from her and through her.  managing my emotions and helping her cope with hers as well.

today, we have come some way to right the wrong.  i tell her, when she's upset or angry or over something, tell me and i will hug her.  Hug her till she feels better. and she can hug me as hard as she wants to express her frustration and usually we end up in giggles.  she still screams at times.  she still cries at times.  but if i manage to catch the moment, the hug therapy works, for me and for her.

O, how i love her hugs.

I want to thank God for an active and athletic gal as well! guess the playgrounds of the netherlands have trained her well. after summer she has started unaccompanied swimming classes and she's enjoying it.  here, kids under 4 attend swimming classes accompanied by an adult and i am glad the teacher saw that she was ready to progress to the next class even though she's a few months away from 4 :)

I believe her current ambition is to be a teacher.  When she's home, she's always pretend-playing that she's the teacher and she will gather her friends to be the students in the class. she imitates all the actions of the teachers -- from attendance taking to supervising the snack time to leading the class in song.  Even her teacher tells me that she can be a teacher in future ;p hahaha, hope NOT.

She still doesn't like Thomas the Train the cartoon very much.  i am not sure why.  whenever it's on, she usually switches the TV off.  she may watch it occasionally but it's definitely not her favorite cartoon. she loves 巧虎  a chinese cartoon which is great in teaching her chinese :) and she's into fairies and princesses. 

When i am tired and lie on the sofa for a short rest while she's playing, she will come over and put the blanket over me and give me a kiss -- just like how i put her to sleep.  very sweet.  she will sometimes stroke my face before kissing me, what a darling.

a darling can be a "monster" sometimes and she's one stubborn monster especially when she doesn't get her way.  oooooo, how we have to harden our heart when we say "no" and endure her whining and crying. i always say i am a "hard-hearted" mum -- i will not give in to her crying and whining BUT as she grows older, i have to admit that it has become harder.  because she is more articulate now and she's developing emotionally, i wonder how long i should maintain my "hard-heartedness".  Praying for God's wisdom and guidance.

My constant prayer for my little princess Kaira is this - that she will grow up loving God and having the knowledge that she's deeply loved by God and her parents and experiencing the security that comes with it.  That she will always walk hand in hand with God in His shadow.  That she knows that God is her Helper and that she can call upon God for help.  Hallelujah Praise the Lord.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Flower Parade @ Valkenswaard (Bloemencorso Valkenswaard)

This annual parade takes place on the second Sunday of September and a total of 14 floats made entirely of fresh flower (dahlia) went on display.

According to a local we met, she explained that the flowers are picked on Thursday and on Friday and Saturday they are pinned, with a nail/needle, individually by hand onto the float structure. 14 villages/neighbourhoods are represented by the 14 floats and the residents of the village/neighbourhood work together to build the floats. The floats are manouvred manually !

It was a last minute decision to go view the parade and we were glad we went. the floats were beautiful!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mid-Autumn's Festival Gathering.

Our 4th mid-autumn's celebration here in the netherlands and this is the 3rd time that we have organised a gathering over at our place.

Thank God for friends to celebrate this tradition together. The fellowship over a shared meal and the friendships that are developed in spite of the fact that people come and go. It was nice - keeping a tradition alive overseas.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

We Went Apple and Pear Picking (APPELPLUKDAGEN) @ Philips Fruit Tuin

It was a warm and humid saturday !!! guess better than wet and cold for a day for us to go apple and pear picking ;p

It was a fun experience and boy were the apples and pears cheap! 85 euros cents for 1 kg!!! can u imagine??!! this only happens for 3 saturdays in September so it was rather crowded and we need to catch the moment else we would miss it (like we did last year!).

These are Sierappels (not for eating. for decorative purpose)
A volunteer demonstrating the right way to pluck apples

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Luncheon Meat - Part 2

[afternote : since i have not bought a can of luncheon meat for a while, i decided to check out the prices today @ my local Albert Heijn supermarket. Most expensive i found was 1.50euros and cheapest 0.89 euros. hmmm, think prices have also increased...;( ].

Read in the news that the price of a can of luncheon meat reached HKD20 a can recently.
That's about 1.80 euros @ today's conversion rate.

A fren of mine commented that a can of Mei Ling luncheon meat in singapore which used to cost S$1.30 a can a few years ago now costs S$2.50 which is about 1.50euros @ today's conversion rate.

Now, i can get a can of luncheon meat/spam for 1 euro (+/-) depending on which brand i opt for.

So, for all those who think that europe's cost of living is high, i think this is evidence that that MAY be a myth!

in fact, as we lived here, and learnt how to manage our costs (e.g. buying household goods only when they are on sale), i had that "feeling" that singapore can be a more expensive place to live than here in eindhoven, netherlands, though i couldn't really confirm it. plus here, we limit our eating out and i think the locals do like wise. we usually like to gather at home ......and have potluck etc. in fact, when we do eat out with frens, it's usually with fellow singaporeans ....heehee... guess we singaporeans are used to the idea of eating out ;p

in addition, prices for branded goods are generally cheaper here than asia. and cars and housing are so much cheaper compared to singapore/hong kong!! ...... not sure if we will be really better off in asia u know what i mean.

Whatever it is, we will know when we go back :)

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Luncheon Meat Buns

Yesterday (Tuesday)was raining cats and dogs. And the weather forecast for wednesday was rain as well.

And because kaira has no school today (Wed), i was thinking what we can do together the ENTIRE day (besides the usual activities of eating, watching cartoon and so forth). And so i had it in my mind to make bread - the water roux method - and make baked luncheon meat buns (which i miss terribly ;p) ! that should keep us occupied for a while i believe.

did i mention before that the weather forecast here is terribly inaccurate??? geee, it didn't rain at all the morning and afternoon.....but whatever..... instead of heading out, we stayed at home and made our bread.

she loves playing with dough (the REAL dough ;p) and helps me in her own ways -- pouring the ingredients in or kneading..... so we spent most of the morning making the dough, proofing the bread and so forth.... to satisfy my gal i had to make 馒头 as well ... so there was quite alot of dough kneading and i do it all by u can imagine how tired my right hand was. for a change, i let her use my moulds to make heart-shaped, flower-shaped 馒头 .... make it more fun for her :)

i've made bread in the past but they are usually quite dense and i have read about the water roux method (汤种) that yieds soft fluffy bread , so i am keen to try it! been putting it off for the longest time and finally, today, decided not to be lazy ;) my first time working with the water roux (汤种) method and i must say the bun came out quite soft and fluffy :) and i used didn't follow the recipe fully ;p (as usual....heehee, that's why sometimes things turn out quite disastrous. ha!) so i used a combination of wholewheat + plain flour.... not bread flour as called for by the recipe. and i had so much trouble with the kneading cos it was so wet and sticky that i added more wholewheat flour than stated to make it more pliable.... i didn't wait for the water roux to cool as called for in the recipe ..... u get the drift..... i really am not such a great student sometimes ;p

BUT good thing that the final product turned out quite fine (i think!). the bread was quite soft and although not as fluffy as others i have seen on the internet, it's acceptable by my standards!! hehehe. ;p so yeah, this water roux method is really quite fail-proof :) i even steamed one just to see how it will turn out and it was indeed a fluffy and soft 馒头 (compared to those that i normally make). i should use this method more often..... only thing is i must master the mixing....

although, my impatience showed through -- see how oversized my buns are???? can't even see the luncheon meat. it's supposed to stick out at the ends ..... hahaha...i couldn't be bothered to make dainty ones cos i was quite tired by the time i was assembling the bun ;p i think i should have been more diligent !! wellz, always another time :)
when they were ready, i can't wait to eat one!! reminds me of those days in hong kong, when in the morning (as we set off to work), we will buy a bun each from the baker near our block of flats. and 餐蛋包 was one that i ate quite frequently ;p yes, unhealthy. but i love it!

and talking about luncheon meat........... i've something else to say...... shall leave it to my next post :)

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Great start to September

3 sunny days in a row!!! wow, it's like winning TOTO.... LOLOL.