June 27, 2016

The Happiness Tag

Category: Blogging

Do you remember a sitcom back in the 1970s – 1980s called Happy Days? Actually,  I could only recall it vaguely but I do remember the theme song very well:

Sunday, Monday, Happy Days

Tuesday, Wednesday, Happy Days

Thursday, Friday Happy Days

The weekend comes, my cycle hums

Ready to race to youuuu

 

These days are ours…Happy and free..oh Happy Days.

These days are ours…Happy and free…”

That was the song that first played in my head when I learnt that one of my favourite Daddy Bloggers,  Eric aka Stomper Dad of All in Dad’s Work has tagged me as one of the 5 bloggers who has made him very happy. Happy days, indeed! What a divine compliment to say to another blogger and for that,  a huge thank you to Eric for such kind words. 

Here are the rules. List:

  • Five things that make you happy.
  • Five songs that make you happy.
  • Five bloggers that make you happy and notify them of the nomination.

The five things that make me happy:

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1. Spending quality family time without the distractions of everyday mundanes of chores, errands and work-related obligations. Must add coffee to the equation.

2. Makes me extra happy when the kids behave, listen and eat well as they rumble around with their relentless explosion of energy and seeing their faces light up with laughter over the silliest things. Must add coffee to the equation. Strong. 

3. Food and food and creating magic in the kitchen to feed the family (and self of course). This is the only time when coffee takes a back-seat

4. Seeing them devouring the food that I have made, then asking for more or a repeat appearance for the next time, especially when I least expected that they remembered the last time I made!  After-dinner coffee would be lovely, thank you. 

5. Spud and Squirt can officially cycle on their bicycles now! Spud’s doing absolutely great on her bike and she’s riding it like she’s been doing it all her life. With Squirt, he managed to get it for the first time he was let go. All within the first minute and off he went. Just like that without side-wheels, much the surprise of his Papa!

Two days later, he is able to get started on his own. He has been riding around (almost) like a pro now and telling me that when he’s a bit older, he wants to “fly with the bike” (hmmm…I absolutely know what he means. Let’s just say I’m willing to keep an open mind).

I guess when it comes to riding, our job is done! Yippeeee.  Gonna go get coffee now! 

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The five songs that make me happy:

  1. Happy –  Pharrel Williams
  2. Sway – Michael Buble
  3. Better Together –  Jack Johnson
  4. The Middle – Jimmy Eat World
  5. Bow Down Mister – Boy George

 

The five bloggers that make me happy:

  1. Eat, Play and Clove
  2. All That’s Jas
  3. A Momma’s View
  4. Ah-Dad
  5. Dream Big Dream Often

 
2 of the bloggers above have already been tagged by Eric (and possibly a hundred others too) and I’m compelled to include them on my list given that they are also one of my regular reads. I have absolutely enjoyed their writing (which makes me happy). 

As for Danny, I know he doesn’t usually do things like this (he may also have been tagged by a thousand others  as well) but he’s definitely is on my list for being an awesome and kind blogger. Plus, he recently asked the question if money would make people happy with  lots of discussions going on about this. I thought it’s apt!

Don’t even question Jas and Gen as they both are my food inspiration de-facto and pushes me beyond happy with their will to indulge me. 

Happiness all around and ready to race happy to you! 

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June 26, 2016

Sunday Humour: Gestures of Respect

Category: Entertainment

Ah Dad provided me with the funnies this week on his rant about gestures of respect that are unique to specific cultures as he described below:

Down here in Africa, Afrikaans people have been taught to address the elderly with “Oom” (male form) or “Tannie” (female form).  It’s roughly translated into “Uncle” and “Aunt”.  But it’s not only used for drunk relatives you want avoid at a family reunion. It’s also used when addressing a geriatric.

The culture as he outlined is similar to the culture we have back in Singapore where anyone older would be addressed as “Uncle” or “Aunty” (Pakcik and Makcik in Malay) Somehow, that includes every bus/ taxi drivers as well as the elder generation who works in shops or retail outlets.

So, when you get into a taxi, you’ll say: “Hello Uncle! To Orchard Road by expressway, please.”  (or whatever it is you will be saying, but it starts with “Uncle” or “Auntie”). Or if you walk into McDonald’s, you’ll say to the person behind the counter whom you know is older: “Hi Auntie, can I 2 large fries and a diet coke, please?” Or if you happen to see a Makcik dropping her stuff, you’ll run after her and go: “Maikcik , Makcik! I think you dropped this from your bag!”

You get the drift. To the outsiders that would seem weird, but to us that’s normal and acceptable.

Except when you address a complete stranger on the streets, then the connotation to “Uncle” or “Aunty” can be an offensive one. It also comes with a certain, typical “look” which I should not go further on this least I’m being accused of stereotyping. 

Reading his post, I completely get it.  I can resonate with that as this Uncle-Aunty thing comes with age. Darn it I’ve gotten it several times myself even though I look forever 22 (I wish!).  

But that wasn’t the only thing that kept me laughing. It was the way he wrote on how The Destroyer did whatever he could to save his dignity and that had me guffawing until the end. Then this comes to mind:

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Image Credit: Google Image

That something really apt for both Uncles and Aunties (or Ooms or Tannies), don’t you think! Always up for a challenge. Dare you to insinuate old!

For double the humour this week, you gotta hop over to Ah Dad’s and read his post on When showing respect becomes disrespectful. It’s a great read to tide you for the week I assure you  because Ah Dad is just a funny guy. 

Here’s to an awesome week for all Uncles, Aunties, Pakciks, Makciks, Ooms and Tannies out there! (No disrespect intended)

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June 25, 2016

Magnificent Moon

Category: Weather

Summer is officially upon us since a few days back yet the weather has been nothing but unpredictable in the last few days. If I remember it right, it actually rained like the whole frigging day on the first day of summer. 

Then it started pouring quite a lot but because I have always loved the rain and as long as I’m indoors, I don’t mind it at all. It’s also a nice weather for a nice cup of hot chocolate and cuddling up with the cats. I mean kids.

There have also been days when the weather changed from rain to shine every 5 minutes. That happened for a couple of days in the entire afternoon and the radical indecisiveness of Mother Nature got me a little confused.

They say it’s a very typical Dutch weather.

It makes it hard to plan if I should take the kids out or stay home. Especially when my weather app said that it was going to be cloudy and cold for the day.

The kids must have thought I’m crazy because I keep changing my mind every 5 minutes. I thought I have gone a little bi-polar.

But at night…the nights have been pretty interesting for sky watching.

Every now and then the usually clear sky is filled with grey, fluffy clouds that are just ready to hose the land down.

Few evenings back, I caught sight of a large mass of clouds moving in its languid slow motion. Every move came with a 5-second pause before the mass moved again and then paused for a little more.

As I stood under the sky, I felt like the entire earth had moved along with the clouds. It was kind of giddy. And cool. It makes me feel like a mountain tortoise**.

Despite the cloud-filled sky, the sight continues to be fascinating with the presence of a near-full moon in the last few evenings.

Stars or no stars, I’m loving what I see in the chilly nights. It makes me want to wake the kids up so they can come join me to stare at the beautiful sky (but doing that would not be the smartest thing to do after almost midnight so I desist. Maybe when they are a little older).  

Despite the cold , windy nights standing in the backyard to catch that gradual change of colours in the sky as the moon make its appearance,  it was worth it because…

It’s a sight I don’t always get the chance to appreciate before…

…a sight that just fills me up with a sense of inner peace…

…and a sight I could stare at for hours.

These photos taken from my phone don’t do justice but for me, they are just too precious to ignore. And it always make me feel a little sentimental.

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**Mountain Tortoise is a slang for country bumpkin and someone who is not very well informed, otherwise termed as Suaku in Hokkien

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June 24, 2016

Fabulous Friday Flavour: Peppermint Syrup

Love peppermint?

Then you gotta love this recipe which I’m sharing for this week from Cooking with Curls  instead of one of my own recipes because it was one of the most pinned and liked on my Pinterest board to date:

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I’ve been amazed at how many re-pins this one pin has and I’m getting re-pins and/or shares on an almost daily basis several times a day. For that, I think Lisa, author behind Cooking with Curls deserves a shout-out for this recipe she has created.

If you are wondering who Lisa is, she’s a Cookbook collector, a Dinner Party Diva, a Research Queen and a Kitchen gadget collector – if it is made for the kitchen, she probably own it…..and she’s been wondering if there is a support group out there.

Have you been to her blog? She’s got one hell of an amazing collection of recipes. You can also follow her on Pinterest or on Twitter to find out more.

For this week’s Fabulous Friday Flavour, let me feature her brilliant Peppermint Syrup recipe. You’d really only need 3 ingredients with the hero being fresh peppermint leaves, of course.  Only THREE. Really!

Peppermint Syrup
Serves 1
Only 3 simple ingredients to make this delicious Peppermint Syrup!
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Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
12 min
Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
12 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup granulated sugar
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 1 bunch fresh mint leaves (about a cup)
Instructions
  1. Pour the sugar into a small saucepan. Add the water and stir to combine.
  2. Heat over Medium-High heat until sugar dissolves.
  3. Add the mint leaves and stir into the sugar mixture.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Remove the mint leaves and allow syrup to cool completely.
  6. Store in a sealed bottle for up to a week.
Notes
  1. All recipe and image are directly taken and credited to Lisa from Cooking with Curls. I have yet to attempt this.
Adapted from Cooking with Curls
Grubbs n Critters http://grubbsncritters.com/
If you are looking for more recipe inspirations, come follow me on any of my Pinterest Board @grubsncritters (note the ONE “b” instead of 2). I tend to go trigger pin-happy quite often with recipes I like in my bid for inspiration. It’s another brilliant place to bookmark for future reference and sharing. 

See you on Pinterest. And with next Friday scheduled for our Monthly Mystery Munchies with Gen, I hope to be seeing you back here as well for something fun.

Damn! I’ve got a week and I still have nothing.  Till next week!

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June 22, 2016

Biking it like a Dutch!

Fun Fact:

Do you know that the Netherlands is home to 18 million bicycles and with a population of 16.9 million people, there are more bikes than people living in this country? That averaged out to 1.1 bikes per person. (Source: Holland Trade & Invest)

Additionally, the Bicycle Union of Holland stated that an average Dutch person cycles about 2.5 kilometres per day . That would come about to 900 kilometres per year. That’s a hell lot of cycling there!  

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Image Credit: Google Image

With its 35,000 km of cycling lanes, it also has one of the lowest rates of serious injuries per kilometres cycled. And they do this without any helmets too. 

I’d say cycling without a helmet is kind of crazy but Silver Bullet would counter that cycling WITH one is even crazier!  Unless you are into competitive cycling and going for Tour de France, the chances of one being laughed at with a helmet on while on a bicycle would be pretty high.

So says he. 

That said, I’ve been pretty impressed with the skills of the younglings in our neighbourhood. By younglings I mean as young as 3 or even 2 years old as they cycle alongside their parents so confidently without their training wheels. Such fine skills at a very tender. Pretty darn amazing as to how quickly these kids start to cycle in this country.

I’m not about to compare (and I’m not) but just drawing a comparison to the Dutch kids and if age is something to go by, our kids started late. Way late. 

At 4 years old, Squirt is still on his side-wheels and Spud only got the chance to start learning serious cycling at a ripe grand age of 5+ when we moved here.

And only because it has been a challenge to teach the kids to learn how to ride while we were living in  Bangkok where we were confined to enclosed spaces. That has provided us with no motivation to bring them to the nearby park 5 kilometres away in the blazing hot sun, crazy traffic and uneven pavement.

But now that we have the luxury of open and safe space, Spud has finally learnt to cycle without her side-wheels in a short span of time. It took her Opa and her Papa about 2 days to help her get her balance. Then as soon as she could balance, she took about 2 days to get started on the bike herself (she needed help with that initially).

She has been super proud of her accomplishments.

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She finally did it!

Like any other proud parents, we could not be prouder when we first saw her go.  By now, she’s already quite the pro, cycling while standing up and has now (almost!) perfected the art of starting her bike in 3 different ways. What a joy to see her learning one of the more important life-skills only she could accomplish herself. That’s a skill she’ll have for life. 

Well done, Spud! Way to go!

Next up:

Squirt’s turn to learn how to ride without his side wheels. A must for every Dutch kid since it would be their main mode of transport. And that’s a job I’ll leave to his father. Only because I’m not too hot about running after him while he is still fresh off his training wheels.

Besides, that’s more of a dad’s thing. I’m just as happy to be on the sidelines to cheer him on when he can balance by himself. I’m more cut out for that. We are only just taking our time (and trying to find the time) with him now to first ensure his sister is properly good to go.

As far as I can tell, Squirt has been pretty excited at the prospect of him going without the sides.  He is quite the family’s little dare-devil and is quite gamed for it, having seen his sister done it. He is now riding his bike like there’s no tomorrow, he goes real fast and he would give me a heart-attack with all the stunts he’d have no qualms attempting. 

He did insist on one thing:  He’d need a new bike for that. (Wha…t!)

He has, for now adamantly refused to take off the sides from his current bike. He has been whining about a getting a new bicycle that does not come with the side-wheels whenever I mentioned about the wheels. He wanted new, without the side-wheels just like what his sister got when she first started on it. I’m choosing to ignore.

Nope.  He can whine and he ain’t getting a new bike. Those wheels are gonna come off. From his current bike. Soon.

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