A Taste of Hong Kong At Sheng Kee


SK 1UThere’s something about a bowl of oriental dessert that is comforting to the core of our Chinese stomachs. Perhaps it’s about growing up as a Malaysian Chinese that just links all of our childhood memories to the warm bowl of sweet red bean dessert (ang dow zhui) served in the old soup bowl that mom cooked for us after dinner which spoke of her devotion and doting love for us. Perhaps it’s all in the magic of having something to enjoy which brings back the memories of different places we travelled to, their sights and sound, and certainly the distinctive flavours they are known for.

What they serve at Sheng Kee, in a gist.

What they serve at Sheng Kee, in a gist.

Because one of our relatives has moved to Hong Kong, the little pearl of the orient is by now a regular travel destination for the happiest little family. We must have been travelling there once every one to two years since 2009 when I first visited HK for work purpose and subsequently brought the kids along to enjoy its cool weather from October to December. Naturally, anyone who has been to Hong Kong has had a dim sum or Cantonese-styled noodles. And anyone who has a sweet tooth has had at least a bowl of Hong Kong styled mango desserts at some point to beat the sweltering heat of its summer months.

The reason we have not gone broke from all the air fares is because of this simple philosophy that “desperate food craving time call for desperate but cheap measures”. This translates to getting our fix locally. Yes honey, you really don’t have to fly all the way to HK just to get a taste of its authentic flavours. The answer lies in Hong Kong Sheng Kee Dessert @ One Utama (drumrolls, please, I feel super-smart already).

Sheng Kee Braised Pork Rice served with Mui Choy is a filling, hearty dish prepared using the freshest ingredients and slowly cooked to perfection to seal in the flavour.

Sheng Kee Braised Pork Rice served with Mui Choy is a filling, hearty dish prepared using the freshest ingredients and slowly cooked to perfection to seal in the flavour.

Hong Kong Sheng Kee Dessert, which has 18 successful outlets in Singapore, has opened their first outlet right here at One Utama Shopping Centre last year to introduce and create the same buzz surrounding Hong Kong snacks and desserts at its outlet located at LG Floor Oval (New Wing) here.

With more than 60 tempting items on the menu, there are plenty of choices for foodies hunting down Hong Kong style desserts, snacks as well as authentic Cantonese noodles and rice dishes prepared with quality ingredients by an authentic Cantonese chef and his dedicated local kitchen team.

Sweetened by Phillipines Mango and the tangy crunch of juicy Pomelo, this SK Mango Pomelo Sago is a summer delight.

Sweetened by Phillipines Mango and the tangy crunch of juicy Pomelo, this SK Mango Pomelo Sago is a summer delight.

Last week, this happiest little family decided to give some of the popular dishes featured at the outlet a try, because we will not be planning for a trip to HK anytime soon and the 25% Cantonese gene in me which is inherited from my maternal grandma was craving for a mango dessert somehow (blame it on the work stress but someone wise did say that desserts is stressed spelled backwards, and I was ready to prove him right).

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Pumpkin Mei-Mei loves her dessert!

Unlike most food outlets on the streets of Hong Kong which are quite cramped and hushed due to the way Hongkies have made space efficiency and productivity a business priority, Sheng Kee outlet at One Utama is comfortably bright and spacious, with much room for sharing of food among family and friends, and the waiting service was satisfactory. We even find the lady supervisor who tended to us that night extremely friendly and would even explain how most of the dishes were prepared to us patiently.

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SK Double combination noodle features Cha Siew amd fresh prawn dumplings that is a favourite classic at Sheng Kee.

With her recommendations, we ordered a good range of savoury and desserts for our dinner and ended the night on a pleasant note. Our favourites include the Crispy Salmon Skin With Meat Floss for starter, SK Signature Combination Noodle (a must-try if you are one who loves chasiew and dumplings served with fresh crisp egg noodles), the fluffy and delicately yummy snowy-bun

Sheng Kee's Snowy Cha Siew Bun is baked in a fluffy bun crust that is unlike any buns I have ever tasted.

Sheng Kee’s Snowy Cha Siew Bun is baked in a fluffy bun crust that is unlike any buns I have ever tasted.

and its yuan-yang paste which is a clever mix of sesame paste served in intricate balance with sweet almond paste, both known for longevity and beauty in Chinese ancient belief.

Yuan Yang Paste

Yuan Yang Paste

With all the stresses busted, we proved that HK desserts did do a good job in comforting the core of our Chinese stomachs. I know, because the SK Pomelo Mango Sago desserts that were ordered by me were finished by the 3 happiest little people in less than the time for me to say “enjoy it, kids”. I should have known. But oh well, that’s what a mother need to sacrifice for, all in the name of love.

 

SWEET TREATS ARE FOR SHARING! Sheng Kee is having a special promotion now just for you. Take this simple steps:

1) Like the Sheng Kee Facebook  at 

https://www.facebook.com/hongkongshengkeedessertMY

2) VISIT Hong Kong Sheng Kee Dessert @ One Utama and ORDER their favourite mains (try the signatures or anything else!) 

3) Get 1 FREE SK Mango Pomelo Sago with each main course ordered – tell the wait staff “Sweet treats with Sheng Kee” upon settling the bill to claim this. 

Baby B digged right into the SK Mango Pomelo Sago dessert that was supposed to be mine. :)

Baby B digged right into the SK Mango Pomelo Sago dessert that was supposed to be mine. 🙂

*This is an exclusive sweet treat just for your friends and followers! Offer expires 31 May 2015.

*To keep to the authentic Hong Kong flavour, the casual dining restaurant is presently not halal.

Home Sweet Home


It is the crazy relaxing weekend, which means family night for us! OK, now with a little imagination, let’s just say that one tiny master bedroom is crammed with Cheeky Koko sleeping on the recliner, Daddy Joe and Baby B on the spare mattress spread over the floor and usually, the queen mother and her princess sharing the king-sized bed for the night. It’s a family tradition that we have always had even though the kids have their own bedrooms. It saves the electricity bill, and we get to chit chat a little into the night sharing with each other our ups and downs over the past week, and most importantly, because we get to pray as a family just before the sleepy fairy ushers us into the snooze land which is really special for us.

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As we shushed the kids to quiet them down after their noisy sibling chatters and kiddie jokes, Baby B suddenly asked to join his big brother at the recliner sofa and as he climbed next to Cheeky Koko asking his brother to cuddle him to sleep, he also asked Cheeky Koko to sing some bedtime songs for him. Being the ever unconventional and creative brother that he is, Cheeky Koko sang the Old Macdonald Had A Farm song with a twist – good ol’ cow’s “moo moo here and moo moo there” was replaced with a cold-blooded iguana as the farm animal which “lick lick here and lick lick there”, and as Pumpkin Mei-Mei laughed uncontrollably over her brother’s creativity, Daddy Joe who was half asleep already remarked sternly, “it’s bad singing, Koko, so bad… I can’t even sleep anymore. And any of you boys and girl who continues to talk will just have to go back to your own bedroom!” and the room fell silence at once, not before Pumpkin Mei-Mei laughed even more hysterically over the bad choice of her brother’s bedtime lullaby.

Good night, OH!” and so, with a gentle tug, Baby B hugged his new soft toy OH to sleep and ever so quickly, like an angel. And I am quite certain, somehow his dream tonight will be filled with an adventure with OH from the latest DreamWorks Animation movie, HOME, which we were simply privileged to catch just before the school holiday is over, all thanks to Paradigm Mall at Kelana Jaya, as part of its on-going commitment to contribute positively to the community it operates in.home2

As a busy working mother, attending events are a rare luxury when normally I’d rather be spending my weekend with the three happiest little people of mine. But we love movies! This movie is all about finding one’s home and perhaps, even a sense of belonging and optimism even when things do not pen out the way we want in life which makes it a great story for family with kids of any age, and even for the 15 underprivileged children from the Nalini Rumah Kasih Home in Kelana Jaya who were invited to attend the preview screening of the blockbuster at GSC.home5

I have invited my two boys to watch this movie together (since I have just had a mother-daughter date with Pumpkin Mei-Mei just over a week ago for the Cinderella movie). Along with the children, we were treated to a deliciously crunchy yet moist and tender fish and chips brunch from Fish & Co. Paradigm Mall before we were ushered to an instant photo booth that was decorated with adorable characters from HOME. As an icing to the cake, Baby B was overjoyed to have received the very-lovable, misfit alien OH character soft toy from the organiser as a souvenir too.home3

As the movie title suggests, it is all about discovering that home is where the heart is, and where one finds love and acceptance – which drives home the point that Paradigm Mall endeavours to be the mall where everyone feels at home and welcome and that the mall’s continual commitment towards the society at large extends beyond its physical building into the heart of its surrounding community.

Yummy brunch courtesy of Fish & Co.!

Yummy brunch courtesy of Fish & Co.!

If you are an animation fan, HOME, starring big name stars like Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Steve Martin and Jim Parsons will be released in Malaysia on 26th March 2015. It is about the adventure of a girl named Tip and her new-found alien friend OH as they embark on a journey to discover the meaning of home.

As everyone finally snoozed away in their respective dreamland, I looked around our tiny room squeezed every corner with one of the five of us either on the floor, on the bed or on the recliner sofa, I thank God for this tiny home of mine, where love is shared everyday many times over, especially when a classic nursery rhyme is sung imperfectly and peppered with an iguana from a brother for his toddler brother.

That’s HOME, in every sense of the word for me.

Family Trip to Bangkok in December 2013


Bangkok Trip in December 2013, truly asian, truly fun.

Bangkok Trip in December 2013, truly asian, truly fun.

Some airlines are throwing promotions online and offline for parents to book a dream holiday with their kids come this school holidays. And if you need some ideas on what to do with your adorable small set, Bangkok offers the perfect setting for a fun and affordable family vacation which combines delicious Thai food (oh, Tom Yam Kung, how I love thee!) , cheap shopping, friendly people and a host of charming family attractions that will make a family vacation truly memorable.

We went to Bangkok in December 2013 (yes I should have posted this long time ago!) on Air Asia Free Seat Promotion early of the year and ended up paying RM1600 for 5 of us, which was quite a steal. Throw in a cheap hotel deal from those online sales group for our amazing hotel stay at the Royal President Bangkok Hotel for less than RM900 for 5D4N, our family vacation for five pax was all in RM2500, which was really not a bad deal at all.lion king

Roar like a lion or lioness!

Roar like a lion or lioness!

I am not kidding when I say my kids have visited just about every zoo locally in Malaysia as well as in the South East Asia. But the one that really stood out as our favourite-est favourite is the Safari Park of Bangkok. I cannot praise it enough for the sheer awesome learning opportunity for the kids to learn how animal live and behave in the natural habitat of their own. So, to satisfy the animals-lover of our little people, we headed straight to the safari on day 2 with a driver guide recommended by the hotel.

Do not mess with me, says the tiger. Yes we know, sir!

Do not mess with me, says the tiger. Yes we know, sir!

Safari World is divided into two zones: There is the open space, 500-acre Safari Park that comes with a bird park where one can drive through in their own car or in the park bus, and a Marine Park which is the traditional zoo that showcases many shows, lots of food stalls and souvenir shops.

Even as a grown up, my imaginations went wild as soon as we reached the open air Safari Park! The definitive keyword here is Herds. Whereas the other zoos in this part of Asia house animals that look like they are undernourished, bored and lonely because they are confined to such small, sad space within their cages, Safari Park Bangkok is a very impressive eight kilometers wide land where animals wander freely in groups and herds exactly like one of the Madagascar movies!

rhinoFeast your eyes on the wilderness as you drive past tigers, lions, deer, zebras, antelopes, black bears, horses, camels, rhinos, pelicans, ostriches, cranes, storks and more, all roaming so healthily, looking handsome and well-fed and so wild in a really well-maintained free space of their own that are filled with trees and preserved naturally like a safari jungle. Wind down your windows at your own risk but I wouldn’t do that with 3 active kids in tow. 🙂 There is a separate drive-through safari area that houses the carnivores with massive metal grill gates complete with a security lookout tower as if you are entering the Jurassic Park. My three happiest little people were all oohs and aahs during the whole tour— it couldn’t get any better!

Cheeky Koko fed banana to the giraffe

Cheeky Koko fed banana to the giraffe

We also watched an animal shows at the zoo’s amphitheatre but the kids loved the spectacular dolphin show the most. At this point Baby B grew so tired (he was barely two years old) he slept through the entire show but Cheeky Koko and Pumpkin Mei-Mei were awe-struck with the whole performance.

After that we also watched a western cowboy stunt show that was a little cheesy but it did showcase the performers’ horse-riding ability and with its good old western humorous acts, was a nice way to wrap up the whole visit with a smile on the kids.

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The lion king upclose and personal right next to our car!

My personal favourite was the giraffe feeding platform where at a very low fees, the kids could buy some banana to feed these graceful giants which was a nice way to inculcate love for the animals in children. The gentle giraffes came in large herds. There must be at least more than 100 head counts there that make it such a sight to behold. Did I mention Herds?

We spent our day 3 on our own to do some retail therapy at the Platinum Fashion Mall and spent half of our day there. Because Bangkok is home to so many treasure troves of shopping malls and wholesale market, really, if you are into haggling prices in the wholesale market such as the Chatuchak Market or Night Markets, you should really travel there with an empty large luggage to lug back all the goods and satisfaction from Bangkok. Things that can be found there are largely imported from China which means you can get very good bargains for such things as home decorations, kitchen wares, kids clothing, tees, arts pieces and a gazillion of knick-knacks.

Tranquil ride down Bangkok canal called klong.

Tranquil ride down Bangkok canal called klong.

With the 3 kids, it was not feasible to walk through the many alleys of wholesale markets or the open-air stalls of the Chatuchak under the scorching hot sun to get our shopping done, so we opted for Platinum Fashion Mall instead, which is a 6-storey wholesale mall at the Pratunam area to get our shopping completed in the comfort of an enclosed, air-conditioned mall environment with the same satisfaction that came from putting our best bargaining power to full test. For less than RM300, we managed to get basic clothing such as tees, hats and short pants for Daddy Joe, trendy work tops, denim jeans for Cheeky Koko, Thai designer tops for Pumpkin Mei-Mei, jumper for Baby B, fashion belts and accessories that filled our small empty luggage to the brim. It was truly a fun experience to get some retail therapy.fruits

No trips in Bangkok is complete for the kids without a visit to their Khlong (Bangkok canals beautifully nicknamed as the Venice of the East) on a long-tail boat. So on day 4, we engaged the same driver again to bring us to where we hopped onto a small fast boat to visit this famous waterway along the Chao Phraya River.

Thai souvenirs sold at the floating market.

Thai souvenirs sold at the floating market.

The kids were thrilled to be riding the narrow but fast boats that cut through the waterway, which was quite a delightful and tranquil experience as we zipped past the many wooden local houses along the long canal only to reach a floating market at the end where there were many Thai traders crisscrossing and trading on their small boats packed with our favourite dessert — Khao Neow Ma Muang (sweet mangoes served with glutinous rice and sweet coconut milk), local arts and crafts, fruit and drinks and even roast pork rice which made the whole experience made even more enjoyable.

Sweet mango served with glutinous rice was a real treat. I must have bought 3 plates of this dessert to reverse my working mama stress. :)

Sweet mango served with glutinous rice was a real treat. I must have bought 3 plates of this dessert to reverse my working mama stress. 🙂

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Kids enjoyed the elephant ride so much!

We learned that for many villagers, the waterway is still used as a main transport mode (in the form of a water taxi) to get around. It made you appreciate the simple conveniences and joy back home where one is able to get around in your own bike, car or any of the public transportations. After that, our driver also brought us to an elephant sanctuary where they offered elephant rides for the kids at around RM30/pax for a full 30 minutes ride around a small forest. Elephants are much revered in Thailand, and it’s not hard to see why — the kind, intelligent, gentle mammal made not just Baby B but all three kids came back with a beaming smile that lasted for days on end!

Good family vacations do not have to be extravagant nor does it have to be extremely sophisticated for the average family. All in, we feel Bangkok truly has its rich, charming Asian flavour offered in an affordable package for families that seek a good bargain and enriching fun memories that last a lifetime. Happy holidays to all!

Elephant show was both entertaining and educational at the same time.

Elephant show was both entertaining and educational at the same time.

thai food

If you love food, Bangkok is a foodie haven for delicious Thai food to savour all year round.

Our Best Days… Ever!


Last month my domestic helper who is from Indonesia went back to her hometown to celebrate Eid with her family for 30 days.

When this happens, a stay home mom would just go on life managing the family routine, kids and her home with much grace, flair and poise that make her home completely functional as it has always been.

Forget about grace and flair with her counterpart who happens to be a working mama! The operative word was PANIC at this Seven2SevenMom planet! Short of clinging on to my helper’s leg even before she stepped off my front door, I was lost. I was petrified. I thought I’d crumble. First, I thought of my work – how do I cope with washing all the 3 bathrooms and 4 bedrooms in our apartment AND iron all the kids’ school uniforms after working 10 hours at the office? Then I thought of the crazy-beyond-description school routines of my kids and their mountain-high homework piles, which meant I would be coaching homework with my kids sitting on the kitchen floor while I (try to) wash all of the pots and pans and numerous little plastic cups and utensils after dinner. Multitasking will surely take on a whole new meaning in my life!

Maid-less day: The home was in a crazy mess but baby B found room for simple joy and laughter.

Maid-less day: The home was in a crazy mess but baby B found room for simple joy and laughter.

But when I thought of how my family-work balance will be temporarily thrown off its balance and yet I could have a chance of living my childhood dream of being an all-present, all-loving stay-home mom… I was elated!
After I succeeded at applying for a one-month special work arrangement with my extremely understanding bosses to work only half day at the office and the other half day to take care of what mattered most to me – my kids, I pictured myself launching into a supermom mode for the next 30 days doing the following loving things for the family:

1) Laundry at 5am – Oh ya. I will rise early and sort out my laundry into different colours and making sure that the stubborn sweat stains of Daddy Joe and Cheeky Koko’s shirts are rid of like they are new shirts. I even bought stubborn stain removal to get this job done that I thought was super-easy! (What really happened was: Laundry at 2pm because I only got to go to bed at 1.30am the night before after I finish ironing the gazillion of school uniforms and toddler clothings! In fact I closed one eye to the stubborn sweat stains after a capful of bleach was poured over the laundry load over a few days and it just didn’t work! Curse I had over the bleach solutions because they don’t get the job done!)

All rules broke loose! Pumpkin Mei-Mei was happy to have traditional chinese delicacy tang yuen in weird colours combo as supper!

All rules broke loose! Pumpkin Mei-Mei was happy to have traditional chinese delicacy tang yuen in weird colours combo as supper!

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Bake-happy days: One of my whimsical favourite comfort food: Ji Dan Gao (Chinese Steamed Cake). I was really one fearless chef who would just bake and cook to my heart’s content.

2) Making home cooked breakfast for the family by 6am which included preparing cute bento lunch sets for the three happiest little people — oh I would prep those rice meals into cute bear shapes, served with motivational love notes to spark up their days. (What really happened was: Kids made their own cereals and milks at 6am and bought food from the school canteen instead because mama was so exhausted from housework the night before she was still snoring away at 6am! I even rationalised to myself that my kids needed calcium to grow strong bones. So, have your milk today? )
3) Make up and change into my working attires by 7am (What really happened was: It took place at 8am. Blame those mountain-high pile of laundry!)
4) Send Baby B to nursery at 8am – and I won’t even forget about packing along Baby B’s favourite snacks and child vitamin into his lunch bag that our helper often overlooked. (What really happened was: Checked. Everything was lovingly done the way I would have it done!)
5) Reach office at 9am and conduct efficient meeting with staff because work load is still the same, half day or not, I just have to continue to optimise my productivity in half the amount of time. (What really happened was: The staff queued up to update and seek opinions over everything because I only had few hours for them everyday. On the hindsight, I was happy that I was deeply missed by them. Hehe…)
6) Get off work by 1pm, drive to pick up baby B from his day care at 1.30pm. (What really happened was: There was always pesty, long-winded meetings and discussions with staff for urgent matters that spanned a little longer than expected and I got fine just about everyday for five to ten Ringgit because I was so ridiculously busy!)
7) Get Baby B to nap at 3pm so that I can free myself for the next 2 hours to prepare and cook dinner as well as get some house chores done. (What really happened was: In between singing the Barney’s I love you song to get Baby B to nap, often we cuddled up and slept together!)
8) 5pm is my allocated one-hour clean up time when I would set a small amount of time, like 15 mins each room to clean up the apartment, room by room. (What really happened was: I was chopping the veg, some poultry meat and soup ingredients away like a mad woman because the older kids were coming home in an hour and I had not even washed the anchovies and potatoes yet!)

The kids were on dysfunctional mode. Hey mom, someone is using those tang yuen's flour mixture to press into his toy car! OMG.... Whatever!

The kids were on dysfunctional mode on some days. Like here, someone was using those tang yuen’s flour mixture to press into his toy car! OMG…. Whatever!

9) Cheeky Koko and Pumpkin Mei Mei, my two older little people would come home from tuition day care at 6pm into the warm embrace of their mama and the entire apartment would smell like a rockin’ celebrity chef has just made the best gourmet meals cooked with the freshest ingredients in the whole world. (What really happened was: The kids came home hungry, waited for another hour before mom is finally ready and before that, they still had to help to clear the dining table from the mess they left over from their school projects last night!)
10) 8pm is homework time – normally this is the hour when everyone would either complete their homework or have some quiet reading time. (What really happened was: Older kids helped clean up the house, and mom is still cleaning up the kitchen and everyone get a little dizzy over the mom barking restrictions about the number of clothing one wears in a day (just so that she would not have to wash two loads of laundry per day). Her idea is the kids should just wear the school uniforms as home lounge wear and pyjamas, one set per day, that’s ALL!)

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Clean, cook, vacuum and laundry were synonymous with my existence.

Time flies and our helper finally flew back into our home which survived a super busy working mom commando in chief’s lacklustre management for 30 days. Did any good come out of it? Yes, plenty.

In that one month we have had many good times just enjoying each other’s presence as a functional family, albeit a home that always had unfinished chores and a mom who always seemed to be slaving away at the laundry and at the kitchen. It was great to see that for once, I was licensed and given the blessing to prioritise my children and my family, instead of work.

Yes I was stressed still juggling half-day work at the office and nothing went according to The Mom’s plan. But I love every moment of it and I mourned for the loss of this precious time when it finally ended. In that one month, I have also cooked and baked like there was no tomorrow – it was how I envision a family should smell like. I could spend an hour watching Barney sing and dance with Baby B and yet not feel hurried to rush because I have to go for a business conference. I was not pursuing anything related to career. I was simply a mom spending time with my kids and doing the whole Barney dance with them and loving it every moment even if I had danced it the fifth time that afternoon.

I am back to work now but in my heart, there’s always the tender spot that cherishes those Barney days that I simply would not trade with anything else.

The Cold Never Bothered Them Anyway


“Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway”

peekaboo

I sang along when my ray of sunshine Pumpkin Mei-Mei belted out her favourite song from “Frozen” the movie as we drove to our favourite park. The kids hopped out of the car and it turned into a scenario of a papa and mama geese chasing their wild goslings that were headed towards their favourite destination of choice — the playground. Never mind that the kids were running so fast that we almost couldn’t catch up with all of them, except for Baby B who got so excited over all the running around that we managed to scoop him up in a jiff, the rest of the park goers pretty much smiled at our family’s silly antics on the jogging track.

Beaming with pride as he watched Cheeky Koko and Pumpkin Mei-Mei outran the other kids on the jogging tracks, Daddy Joe said, “I think my kids inherited my sporty genes. Look at their calves muscles, their strides, forms, the pace they pick up and the way they run, those are the stuff good runners are made of!”

“Goodness, they are just running the way other kids run, all over the place, laughing and having fun, darling! If you think they are athletes in the making, I would be a celebrity chef just by knowing how to add a fried egg over my instant noodles!” I said with a smile and continued, “But yes sure, you can get credit for whatever little sporty genes and DNA that are surely from your side of the family because I have never outrun anyone in my lifetime.”

Cold bugs be gone, let my kids grow strong and healthy!

Cold bugs be gone, let my kids grow strong and healthy!

“I am taking Cheeky Koko to his first 30km road biking next Wednesday anyway,” he said as we both watched baby B climbed up the stairs towards the slide.

“What? Are you crazy? He is only 12! Not that I think he is still a child therefore he cannot cycle for 30km but he hasn’t even done any shorter distance cycling before. May be you can start him off at 10km or 15km first?” Like a mother hen, I am over-protective, as always.

“Hey, he is good, darling, really, we went cycling around the block the other day and he was going very steady with his speed and followed through my instruction on staying close to the curbs,” Daddy Joe assured me, “and Pumpkin Mei-Mei could pick up badminton skills in just one session. These are confirmed my kids, man.”

“Right, your genes no doubt but I breastfed them for two years each, so that their good genes especially the sporty ones could be unleashed to run like a pro, hahaha…” the woman had to have her final say and the man laughed, because we always got into silly debates over whose legacy it was between the two of us that the kids inherited. The good legacy, that is.

“Darling, they are 12 and 10 now and even with all the wonderful benefit from the nursing years, they are to continue with good nutrition and suitable exercises to fully unleash my sporty genes.”

“Right. Your genes again!” I laughed, “But I am the one who buys them supplements!” The man was speechless. I really should have studied law. bike

Both Daddy Joe and I believe in extra nutritional boost for children from supplement because kids tend to pick up lots of germs and viruses from school and nursery. In a year they get some sick bugs here and there which are fairly nasty. Prevention is better than cure so every morning we repeat like a broken record to remind them to take their glass of juices that we blend right out of our kitchen’s juice machine before their breakfast. After a quick breakfast, we also give them a treat of Seven Seas Kids Fruit Gummies that they won’t resist at all, due to its yummy strawberry, blackcurrant and orange flavours, to start off their day in school.

Beyond its chewiness and yummy taste, the gummies boost Vitamin A, B6 and C for a healthy growth and development of children and is free from artificial colourings, flavourings, sweeteners and preservatives.

While I believe in getting all of our vital nutrition from good eating habit of a balanced diet, on school days 50% of my kids’ diets come from their own choice of food when they are in school and at their day care and I doubt there are much nutrition they get from the limited food choice they have from the canteen. The fact that the kids go to public schools and have contact with at least a thousand kids every day and often come back with sick bugs from time to is enough to send a working mom into a hyper-panic zone.

Seven Seas Kids Fruit Gummies come in 3 fruitilicious flavours

Seven Seas Kids Fruit Gummies come in 3 fruitilicious flavours

There are also only so much whole food one can eat and digest in order to get certain essential vitamins that hopefully do not get destroyed from food preparation and overheating from cooking.

According to Seven Seas Malaysia, a few vitamins are vital for healthy development of a child, such as:

Vitamin A — helps to maintain healthy eyes and skin. As an antioxidant, it also helps prevent damage to the cells, making it good for the overall well-being of the body.

Vitamin B6 — is good for the brain and is essential for blood to carry oxygen to the cells, tissues and organs of the body. It also helps to keep the immune system and nervous system healthy.

Vitamin C — is known to enhance the immune system to minimize incidences of children falling sick.  At the same time, it is also vital for ensuring health bones, teeth and gums in the growing years. 

Just then, Cheeky Koko climbed onto the top of the slide and jumped off it like a Tarzan.

“Haha, like a monkey, Hun, absolutely your genes!” I laughed it off.

Seven Seas Kids Fruit Gummies is available at all leading pharmacies nationwide. To make things even sweeter, Seven Seas Kids Fruit Gummies is also running a nationwide ‘Colour & Win’ contest now until 31st July 2014. You could let your child participate by colouring the Seven Seas Gummy Fruity Heroes on the contest form and stand a chance to win a Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 Lite/Kids or other goodies.

For more information, please visit:

http://www.sevenseas.com.my/index.php/promotion/

 

 

22 Dinosaurs Roaming in Kuala Lumpur


Apart from being a wife, a mom, a daughter, a friend, a worker, a sister and a positive thinker, I recently realize that I too, am the official Social Director of our happiest little family. But of course, I suck at it compared to my friend Cheng.

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I got to know Cheng through work few years back. She was born a Malaysian but migrated to New York since she was nine and is now as American as the American Pie. Being a working mom of four married to an ABC, she is the epitome of a modern day mom who has it all – she is the happy breadwinner who excels at work (some years back due to the recession her husband lost his job and they figured since she had a more promising job, and since both also wanted one of them to care for the kids and be there for them through their growing up years that it was a better arrangement that her husband became the stay-home dad instead) and at home life.

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Every weekend her family would be doing something fun together, such as a cook-out with grandparents, canning their own jams, cycling together, visiting a farmer’s market, taking a metro to visit arts museum, picnic at the park, attending outdoor concerts or just taking a stroll to some interesting places which made me wonder why I could not find just as many interesting places around KL that can so much as stimulating my happiest little people to want to know about life and things beyond their boring textbooks.
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Every school holidays, I scour through google to find places of interest locally that can make our interactions and time spent together a fulfilling and memorable journey.

Never quite a Jurassic Park fan myself (uh-uh. Ain’t messing with those ferocious carnivores or prehistoric reptiles who consistently thought humans were food in the movie!), I was initially a little hesitant to step into the Malaysian Jurassic Park (yep, you heard me right and do enter at your own risk because you are dealing with not just one but 22 dinosaurs of all shapes, sizes and appetites too!)

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Unlike the world’s favourite dinosaur Barney, these dinosaurs do not look like they need a hug t all but thankfully they do not bite either! They are life-like, can really roar and even move if you wake them accidentally but they are pretty much tamed and now viewable at the Dinoscovery by Dinosaurs Live! which is Asia Pacific’s first-of-its-kind interactive, edutainment dinosaurs exhibition located at Discoveria, Avenue K.

Now, to visit these dinosaurs, one is expected to dress in style like a Paleontologist (Bermudas, safari hats and matching trail boots are not necessary, of course), which is easy considering that each visitor is first decked in tan-coloured Dinoscovery vest before the trail to track down the dinosaurs begins.
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After a fun and short briefing, visitors are to complete the Dino Quest in search of specific dinosaur specimens amidst the roars of many larger-than-life animatronic dinosaurs in their habitats which make it a rather unique and fun learning experience for children of all ages.

There were more than a dozen family-friendly activities such as Climbing an artificial rock wall to glimpse a Pteranodon’s eggs, Race A Theropod where visitors are given the chance to challenge the swift-footed Gallimimus in a 10-metre interactive race (losers won’t be eaten I guarantee, seeing that Cheeky Koko has had to race it twice to win the race but didn’t get swallowed alive when he lost the race to the Gallimimus at first), the Dinoshooting Range where visitors can partake in a mission to save sleeping Diplodocuses from pesky mozzies with paintball rifles and also watch a 3D Dinosaurs Movie.

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Pumpkin Mei-Mei and Baby B loved the final game the best which was all about excavating for fossils in a sand pit. They also enjoyed learning about the different kind of food dinosaurs ate. It was a good thing that all of the facts about these prehistoric animals were presented in fun, humorous and interactive language and manners that the kids could relate to.
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As for Seven2SevenMom, all that was proof of her worth as the best Social Director to her kids were happy smiles captured in the photo souvenirs she bought which speaks a thousand words – that Dinosaurs hunting could turn out to be the best school holiday fun sometimes, especially the kinds that will make you want to go back for more. J

Dinoscovery by Dinosaurs Live!will run from 21 March 2014 to 28 February 2015. Tickets for children aged 17 years and below are priced at RM35 for Malaysians and RM50 for non-Malaysians while tickets for adults are priced at RM25 for Malaysians and RM40 for non-Malaysians. Senior citizens (aged above 60) and persons with disabilities are given a special concession rate of RM19. Opening hours are 10am to 10pm daily including school and public holidays with last admission at 9pm.

Just as we came to the end of our visit, Cheeky Koko mumbled, “Ahhh… perfect for lunch!” as he stood up on the sand pit. Curious, I asked him what he meant to which my super-cheeky 12 years old pointed with a smile towards the T-Rex ribs he dug out from the fossils sand pit. Truly entertaining!

The Dinoscovery by Dinosaurs Live! Exhibition is exclusively brought by EMS Entertainment and supported by Malaysia’s Ministry of Tourism and Culture, making it the first-of-its-kind edutainment exhibition to be hosted here at Level 4 of Avenue K, Kuala Lumpur.

Raising Generation Why


Baby B who has just bombed in his diaper caught my attention with his intensive facial expression. Just to test the two older kids’ reactions, I said, “Oh dear, Baby B has just poo-poo! Now go ask your Koko and Che-Che to wash your bottoms for you!”

Hearing that, the two older siblings scrambled into their room like a flash of thunder but before they could even shut their door, I held their bedroom door with one hand and gently guided Baby B into their room and patiently commanded, “You are helping your baby brother wash his bum or we are not going to go cycle in the park later.”

Cheeky Koko has always been my funny boy that I truly think he is made entirely of laughing genes

Cheeky Koko has always been my funny boy that I truly think he is made entirely of laughing genes

“Okay, Houston, we have a problem here,” Cheeky Koko said, “We need a disposal unit for a 7.8 grade home-made bomb by a baby!”

“Cut the drama, Koko!” I said laughingly.

“Mama… Oh… it’s soooo smelly I am going to pengsan (faint)!” Pumpkin Mei-Mei protested. “Such is my life as a sister! Gosh… Ok, OK I will help him wash but Koko, you are so going to take the diaper off his bum and throw it into the rubbish bin, k?”

“You said you wanted to be a doctor for little kids when you grow up, so you have to first learn to accept the whole package of a kid, darling!” I tried to encourage my little doctor in residence.

As they gagged as if it was the most horrific task to remove their toddler brother’s soiled diaper in the bathroom and lifted him into the shower area and made him stand at one corner of the shower in order to jet-spray and wash up his bum, I came to Baby B’s rescue and scooped him up onto the toilet seat instead and did the rest effortlessly.

Pumpkin Mei-Mei aspires to be a future Paediatrician, which I think she could potentially be a really good one, like Dr. Adam “Patch” Hunter

Pumpkin Mei-Mei aspires to be a future Paediatrician, which I think she could potentially be a really good one, like Dr. Adam “Patch” Hunter

“Baby B smells good now, Mama, let me help you dress him up!” Pumpkin Mei-Mei said enthusiastically.

“I am intoxicated, Ma, I think my nose has lost its permanent function to smell, like forever!” My drama king Cheeky Koko added. Baby B who was smiling at his siblings’ antics suddenly turned to face his sister and gave Pumpkin Mei-Mei an affectionate hug, saying “Baby luff (love) Che-Che!” Just like a politician, he is always smiling, always promising.

Every day in the Seven2SevenMom planet feels like one big happy circus and a comedy show. However, if I should be so blessed, I am seeing a Comedian, a Paediatrician and possibly a Politician in our happy little family.

Each of them is so uniquely gifted in their own way. While the Asian mom in me tells me that I should constantly reinforce the importance of academic excellence as a strong foundation in life for them, the Western mom in me wants them to be happy as they pursue their own path growing up and be driven as well as responsible in the pursuit of their own dream nonetheless.

Baby B is definitely a future politician in the making!

Baby B is definitely a future politician in the making!

Recognising that each child can be an accomplished individual according to their own talents and intelligence are important aspects of child development according to Dr. Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligence.

According to Dr. Howard Gardner, children have different kinds of intelligences related to musical–rhythmic, visual–spatial, verbal–linguistic, logical–mathematical, bodily–kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. He also says children possess a unique blend of all the intelligences, and that as parents, we should let our children explore and empower them to discover their own blend of intelligences so they can grow into wholesome people.

Child developmental experts say that up to 70% of a child’s brain cell connection occurs when they interact with their environment and that children ask questions because they are curious about the world around them. They say an inquisitive mind is an indication of a child’s positive developmental process. (The Timing and Quality of Early Experiences Combine to Shape Brain Architecture, Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University.)

Growing up, my own mom always said that I was so inquisitive that I would have made a good career out of legal or investigative journalism. Turned out that I really pursued Journalism in University, no thanks to a loving mom who welcomed my questions with patient replies after replies.

Now that my life is inundated with questions from my own Gen Why? kids, every day is filled with an impossibly long list of questions that I do not take it lightly, because who knows, the next funny man Jerry Seinfeld, brilliant Paed, Dr. Pumpkin, and well-loved Member of the Parliament could just be very well come out of this household.
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Challenged by questions such as, “Mama, how did you and papa put me in your stomach before I was born?” Or, even better, “Papa, why is the ocean blue in colour?” Get on to the Anmum Essential Gen Why? Workshop held this weekend for first-hand information from parenting experts such as professional child psychologists and nutritionists on how to raise up wholesome kids with multiple intelligence. Details are as follows:

Anmum Essential Gen Why? Workshop

Date: 31 May (Saturday) and 1 June (Sunday)

Venue: The Oval, 1 Utama Shopping Centre, Bandar Utama

Time: 10am – 10pm

See you there, peeps!

Grocery Shopping


Grocery shopping is so not for the faint-hearted (man of the house).
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As we wind our way past rows after rows of fresh produce and meat stalls at our local wet market, Daddy Joe who was carrying a big heavy bag filled to the brim with our family’s one week supply of vegetables and fruits and another bag filled with chicken meats, meat balls, tofu and small pomfret fish, turned back and said to me, “Seriously, I always buy all these food for our kids but hardly get to eat them! I am starting to wonder if our food just vanished by itself while sitting inside the fridge!”

I laughed and tried to comfort my man, “Chill man, just chill, there are six of us in the house including our kakak (helper), and we eat at home every day except some weekends. OK, you sometimes eat out due to work but with three kids ranging from toddler to preteens, THESE could hardly justify the nutrition and energy they need to fuel their growth, k?”

Daddy Joe shook his head and said with great disbelief, “We must be living in an age of serious price hikes — RM60- RM80 every week, incredible! Or I must be buying food every week that can disappear from our fridge! And those chocolates I got for you during my last trip to Thailand, did you ever get to eat it? Or they too, can just disintegrate itself in the fridge?” he asked while shovelling Cheeky Koko’s favourite green beans that were dangling out of the plastic bag handles into the other bag and loaded everything into his boot.

“Yes I had some, but really darling, you should install a CCTV in the kitchen when we have some savings so that you can see it with your own eyes that Pumpkin Mei-Mei has been visiting the chocolate compartment quite regularly. Even Baby B knows how to open the fridge and grab the chocolate bars by standing tiptoe,” I explained.

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Barely three days later, I came home in the evening victoriously while dragging a grocery bag full of energy-giving malt drinks, breakfast cereals, milk drinks, biscuits, wafer snacks, dried fruits and the longest bread loaf I could find from a sundry shop. As I chucked the bag onto the dining table, the kids gave me such affectionate hugs and fanfare welcome that one would have thought that it was the coronation of the Homecoming Queen in our happy land.

But the man of the house looked pale in silence. “I see we are going through some kind of severe food scarcity in this house,” he said. “Relax, dear, it’s the school holidays season! The kids will go famished very fast, so I bought a little snacks for them to munch on anytime of the day!” I said while happily stocking up my half-empty kitchen cabinets.

“I don’t think they ever feel hungry before, really, at the rate they clean up our shelves. If the wooden shelves or fridge can be eaten, they will eat them too, like termites!” Daddy Joe whispered into my ear, “…and may be this is why I am near poverty with these grocery bills!”

I laughed, thinking how wise God is to have decided that woman should always rule the heart of the home, which is the kitchen. Clearly a man’s place is in hunting or working, and NOT in grocery shopping!

Photo Credit:
photo credit: BC Gov Photos via photopin cc

Behind Every Working Mom Is A Dyson Vacuum


I am trying to remember the days before my kids came along.

My wardrobe was a lovely display of feminine frocks for the weekends and sassy corporate dresses and suits for work. I had long, straight, naturally dark brown hair which I’d sometimes style into a high ponytail dressed up in a chic hair accessory. I carried a small handbag with my purse, mobile phone, a pack of tissue paper and car keys in it. My car was spotlessly clean with music CDs and some high heels kept in the car boot for those occasional corporate or social events in town.

The operative word then was Clean with a capital C. Then the bundle of joy came along. Three times it took place, if you care to ask, and my world was suddenly associated with unplanned madness. First, the word stylish eludes my wardrobe and then the hair decide to go in every imaginable directions except being in one place and finally, it’s about surprises everywhere.

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Look at the crumbs from the curry puff! I fainted twice seeing it!

They range from discovering a McDonald’s happy meal plastic toy (Yes!) inside my pumps (after finding a used dirty baby hankie in the laptop bag earlier) to staring into the rear-view mirror in HORROR as your toddler reaches for the bag of food (such as curry puff) dangling in front of him and decides to toss, poke, eat and make a massive (shocking) mess of crumbs and dirt all over the car.

So yes, I am a working mom with a day job in the marketing field but keeping dirt and mess at bay can sometimes look like it’s my main occupation.

Fortunately, half a lifetime of working has well-prepared me to deal with a dirty crisis such as this, kinda like a Mom Terminator. Now if this was left to the man of the house and the toddler alone, he would NOT have made it back in one piece without first going over-the-top swearing and cursing at the crumbs as if they had a life and then lecturing the 2 years old who’d probably just imitate him back by babbling at the crumbs, before both dad and son came home exhausted because they had just lectured the poor crumbs for 30 minutes flat.

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Dyson Digital Slim DC62: Sucks up as much dust as even a corded vacuum!

On the other hand, picture me cool-ly carrying the toddler upon reaching home on one arm and reach out for my Dyson Digital Slim™ DC62 Vacuum effortlessly on the other, get back into the car, suck up and say goodbye to our dirty little friends in less than a minute, all the while smiling, because victory is mine to savour with my DC62! Yes, they say, mom is the world but you know behind every mom is powerful, nifty home appliance that makes life sweet as a Lenka’s song!

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Be gone, dust, mess and all!

As with other Dyson products that are engineered for optimum safety and usability, Dyson DC62 Vacuum is packed with features that are lady-friendly. You know, because I don’t lift weight and stuff, I don’t even have lady muscles to carry anything too heavy. This baby is lightweight and cordless all at once so you literally don’t have to break a sweat while doing your motherly chore. There is also no cords behind so that means no cumbersome wires behind the machine that can get entangled into corners or furniture legs, and plus, I also get to skip the step of having to press the retractable cord button to coil back the long cords.

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See how the Dyson Digital Slim is totally cordless? It’s what I call beauty with power!

In order to get it to work, I would charge the battery of Dyson DC62 fully because with each charge, the vacuum provides 20 minutes of powerful, high suction power to help clean hard-to-reach places. In this particular curry puff crisis over the weekend, I am happy to report that despite settling into the tiny, minute holes inside the car seat fabrics, the crumbs vanished in two minutes!

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Goodbye, dust and crumbs. You don’t stand a chance to live on my car seat or home with my Dyson cordless vaccum!

This vacuum is made with a 350W digital motor that is already on its 6th generation (V6), a 2-Tier Radial™ cyclones and a re-engineered nickel manganese cobalt battery. Put all these together and you get a mean, terminator-grade vacuum machine that even the kids will call it cool. The kids are happy to help with vacuuming task these days because it is light and easy to carry for them (of course, they also use it to role-play as imaginary Terminator game!).

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Yes they help with house chores, but kids being kids, the vacuum turns into a Terminator gun sometimes too. 🙂

Dyson DC62 also comes with a 8-minute Boost Mode for more difficult tasks. Thank God I have not encountered any mess so great that I need to use that. But even on its normal suction mode, from the moment you start cleaning until the moment you finish, I love that the DC62 maintains powerful and is extremely easy to use to clean up everything and anything everywhere – up top, down below and in-between.
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I also find the hygienic bin emptying feature a plus point because the dust particles literally gets dumped neatly into my trash bin from the back without spreading all over the floor like some vacuum models do. Once I am done with it, I can store it back into its docking station that we have installed neatly on one corner of our laundry room, instead of taking up shelve storage space.  The docking station is like a mothership, it stores and charges the machine, and holds additional attachments and accessories.

 

My life would never get back to where it was back then before the kids. Thankfully while kids and mess will always come together as one package, I’d say the joy of having those butterfly kisses at the end of a tiring work day just supersedes it all, spillage, dirt, mess and all. ❤

 

The Working Mama Learns To Bake


Hens for Life

Hens for Life

In the Seven2SevenMom’s world, leisure doesn’t seem to exist when there are endless line-up of compulsory activities that fly by our household, from Saturday school classes for my UPSR-sitting Cheeky KoKo, his Boys Brigade weekly activities and extra-curriculum at school to Pumpkin Mei-Mei’s girls scout activities, compulsory extra school classes and play dates.

I learned to bake these!

I learned to bake these!

On top of that, we fit in our already-packed schedule with a weekly 40-minute drive up to a different town to visit the grandparents as well as a sacred weekly grocery trip (usually upon a shocking discovery that all snacks from milk to cookies literally vanished from our kitchen because the mom, guilty as charged, has neglected her kids’ snacking needs because of work.

So whenever someone who is still single asks me what I do during the weekend, I’d just take in a deep breather and not say anything at all. Seriously, where do I begin to describe what I actually do on my rest days, right?

Yes, I enrolled myself into a baking class finally!

Yes, I enrolled myself into a baking class finally!

Without the luxury of some me-time, the boundless energy that resides in this mama does run dry especially during work-intensive phase, such as this few weeks when all I am made to process, think, breathe and live in are all the tiny grains of the project details and task lists I am handling at work. It’s only when we go for a bicycle ride or swim and splash as a family that I can get my mind off my work and that’s about as good a chill-out option a mama can indulge in.

So when a group of ex-colleagues-turned-buddies suggested to throw a hen’s party in the form of a baking class for one of the girls, I stepped right in with both my hands waived high like a mad woman. I guess part of me wanted to feel young again with all the girly goss and silly laughter that have long eloped me ever since I left youth for motherhood (lol) and the other part was because I was so dying to learn to whip up some really delicious tea treats for my little ones. At least the minis won’t starved anymore, I assured myself.

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Wrapped in Sour Cream Loaf

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Wrapped in Sour Cream Loaf

After a nice brunch, we found ourselves creating quite a noisy scene as we arrived at The Cooking School in Sri Hartamas. Because my girlfriends and I went into the class as a group of giggly hens who chatted and laughed non-stop I am quite sure the school and other students have blacklisted us for the sheer noise that was bursting through the roof. And we weren’t even drunk! Imagine a random group of young managers and executives who became good friends working together and over the years went on separate corporate ways and now walk into a cooking class together as fellow hens! Who would have thought that we would one day measure and sift some flour, knead the dough and bake together, all in the name of hens fellowship!

As my soul heals the shame, I will grow through this pain,  Lord I'm doin' all I can  To be a better chef!

As my soul heals the shame, I will grow through this pain,
Lord I’m doin’ all I can
To be a better chef!

While I can’t blow my own trumpet that my culinary skills has since been improved from no-where near passable standard to Master Chef status, the easy-to-follow recipes that our instructor Pei Ling shared and taught us has made even a cooking-challenged working mom now make her kids come back for more of her home baked goodies.

We learned to make Strawberry Frangipane Tart, Cranbery, Yoghurt and Apple Tea Cake, Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Wrapped in Sour Cream Loaf and Buttermilk Scones all within four hours. There was hands-on group baking session for the Tea Cake and Scones whereas the Tart and Loaf were demonstrated to us with detailed explanation over every tips and steps.

And the cost for this self-improvement? A mere RM150 per person which also includes free afternoon tea or coffee as we enjoyed the delectable spread of our very own home-made desserts and savoury yummies..ingredient

Apart from the step-by-step demonstration of each recipe from mixing to baking, we were also given handy tips on the optimum ways to use each ingredient and baking tool. For example, when making butter crumbs, the butter is not supposed to have been thawed to room temperature, which my girlfriends from the other group did. Instead one should take it from the fridge to the mixing bowl to be mixed with the flour straight away to make sure that the baked crumbs come out just crunchy with a nice camel colourWe were also shown which baking tools were essential to have around the kitchen, something that might have come all common sense to an experienced chef or mom chef, but certainly an eye opener for an untalented mom such as yours truly.tart

At the end of the session, we even made some coffee and teas and enjoyed our own baked cakes and scones on the spot, mixed with lots of girly chatters and photo sessions with the glowing bride to be.

To think that I did not fail the baking class and now know how to put my oven and cake mixer to more productive use was totally a sweet spot!

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