Friday, October 09, 2009

Is this NEWater???

I have never been this sick in my life.

I woke up at 0230hrs two nights ago, and for the next 3 hours, alternated between hugging the toilet bowl and sitting on it as I vomitted and had diarrhoea!! The diarrhoea continued for a further 4 hours as I waited for my neighbourhood GP to open.

My dad had been vomitting and had diarrhoea the night before and I'd brought him to the GP. My mom exhibited the same thing earlier in the day. And the 2 kids she looks after had been having diarrhoea for a week!!

I was so badly dehydrated by 0930 hrs that I needed a jab.

Diagnosis: Viral infection, probably got it from an INFECTED FOOD HANDLER (ie my mom!!!!). All of us had been eating her meals for the preceding few days or so.

But the GP had an interesting addition to the diagnosis. He said he'd seen an increase in cases like ours ever since NEWater was introduced / dosage was increased.

And I heard that quite a few of my mom's cronies experienced the same thing too!! And Little Pixie woke up vomitting last night as well, after a few days of diarrhoea. Thank God she was up and running again this morning.

What a horrid experience!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

I'm Grateful For Family

As much as I'm always making jibes at my family, in times like these, I'm really thankful that they are my family and that I'm part of theirs!

When the Grim's mother (ie my grandmother) passed away, and she had to be at the wake for like 5 days, Little Pixie and I were suddenly stuck without lunch for a few days.

I had to er, start cutting apron strings in a hurry, and it was really no joke trying to cook 3 big meals and snacks - breakfast, lunch, dinner and teatime on just one day.

I capitulated the other 4 days - we simply ate out! -
Since I'm allergic to every other dish in the hawker centre - all we had was Bee Tai Mak and more Bee Tai Mak!

When we couldn't stand it anymore, we leeched on the Goose!! (Gosh do I feel like a vermin now)

When I was younger, I used to make fun of them and grumble about all their idiosyncracies, irritating or annoying behaviour. But, time goes by, there are ups and downs in life - and as cliched as it may sound - they look more and more beautiful through the untinted glasses of adversity and maturity.

I can't imagine how the Grim really handles the following:
- babysits 2 kids for a pittance (24 x 7 - the kids go home for a few hours every Sunday)
- cooks lunch for Adult Baby (that's me) and Little Pixie on schooldays (that's 5 days a week!)
- insists on doing household chores herself after kids sleep, refuses even part-time maid,
- insists on cooking dinner for the entire household 5 nights a week.

I can't imagine either how the Goose takes care of:
- cooking 5 nights a week for a household of VERY FUSSY EATERS who won't eat anything green and who eat at different times of the night, from 5pm to 9pm.
- babysits 2 VERY FUSSY KIDS
- being the primary caregiver for a high-needs senior
- waking up every hour each night to tend to the Gnome's needs, and never making up for her lost sleep by taking day naps
- wanting to do everything herself despite having a capable and kind domestic helper

I don't think the Goose has an easier job than the Grim just because she has a helper and the Grim doesn't. I think both have it real tough. And I've learnt to really appreciate them, and the love that is written all over their sacrifices and acts for the family (despite all their fogey demeanours that inspired their respective nicknames!!!).

I've just undergone what turned out to be a rather not-so-minor surgery on my tummy. Doctor says part of my tummy muscle's been damaged - so no exercise allowed for the next 3 months. Don't want to burst the wound!

Tin Hang Zai had the wisdom to suggest I do so during the March hols, and he was so sweet to take a week's leave to care for me.

I'm so grateful to everyone because Little Pixie got to attend the Goose Daycare (meals, nap, bath - what more could I ask???) for the entire week after I was operated on. Grim Daycare was out because the 2 charges inside were sick from a virus. This left Tin Hang Zai free to be my house-helper since I couldn't really move around!

And get this, I got homecooked steamed fish & vegetables & rice & tonic soup from Goose Tingkat Services daily for lunch & dinner, delivered by the Tin Hang Zai Courier Services which also provided Little Pixie's transport to the Goose Daycare. And since the Goose Tingkat doesn't operate on weekends, I was certainly very blessed to have hot meals, ALLERGY-FREE from Grim Tingkat.

The list doesn't end there.

Cosmo came to visit me and kindly donated her hand-me-up magazines, and I had friends (you know who you are: - Miss Quiet, Miss Intellectual, Miss Music, Miss Salmon, Miss Koala, and Miss J) who prayed for me and kept me company with your smses.

Lastly, I had received another cake order for the Pixie Fudge-Frosted Chocolate Cake this weekend but really did not feel up to it. So Airport agreed to help me fulfil the order!

Thank You to my Friends and Family!

I really thank God for you all!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Little Pixie Turns 3!!!

Last year this time, we were too worn out from the Hong Kong holiday to prepare anything. The year before, we weren't aware of her allergies or mine.

But this time, I managed to find a REALLY cool recipe for decadent, egg-free dairy-free chocolate cake.

So this is her very first home-baked birthday cake from Mommy!

Over the course of 1 week, I made like 5 of the same cakes in a row:

Cake 1 - Tin Hang Zai's Colleagues (aka guinea pigs for most of my baking experiments) "they all say very nice!"
Cake 2 - For my family's Christmas get-together-cum-Little Pixie's birthday cake "yummy!"
Cake 3 - For Becks, my "apprentice" "I like it. I'd give it 9 out of 10"
Cake 4 - For the Goose & Gremlins "too much frosting!"
Cake 5 - For Lasik's Friend Liz "tastes like Awfully Chocolate!"

I haven't wanted to see, smell, taste or eat anything chocolate since.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

More pictures of poetry

That's me holding a huge beach bag.

The Sun, the Sea, the Sand

After another eventful year, we finally got to go on holiday again. Our "simple-life" goal has always been to indulge in all the "S"s - last year's trip to Hong Kong was an indulgence in the shops and the stomach - before I got diagnosed with all those allergies.

This time round, we opted to indulge in the sun, the sea, the sand, the stomach and...the Silence!

Have you ever been to a place where there is absolute silence? I have never - not in Singapore at least. Even at East Coast Park, you could always hear - besides the airplanes overhead - sounds of other beach goers, sounds of the cars whizzing by in the distance...and just...sounds.

This was definitely the best holiday we have had so far - far surpassed our experiences at Bali and Phuket.

This is the wonderful resort we went to - the Tanjung Rhu at Langkawi - and those other people on Tripadvisor couldn't have said it better. Someone described it as "heaven on earth" and another described it as "paradise" and none of them are exaggerating. The resort's website says it even better - "1001 acres of poetry". And those wonderful pictures you see on the hotel website are nothing compared to the real thing when you get there.

That's how it was for Tin Hang Zai and me! Here's how we spent our 5 days there on the "S"s - (minus 1 day because we needed to take a day trip to check out what else was in Langkawi)
  • Stomach - we were on an all-inclusive plan where all meals were included and you could eat from any of the resorts' restaurants *unlimited* - and room service *all day*. (now how cool is that?) - and because I had informed them earlier about my shocking allergies - they took great pains to accomodate my meals. I had an egg-free dairy-free selection of 3 different breads baked for me daily and they even told me they had more on standby in case I happened to request it for room service at night!
  • Sleeping - someone described our bedroom as "massive" and it really was
  • Sun & Sea - having 2km of private beach, sunbeds scattered everywhere you might want to lounge around, and a half-empty resort is a good thing!
The Silence? Tin Hang Zai, Little Pixie and I took a walk one day along the entire stretch of beach - to the "Land of Far Beyond" - yes, the resort was THAT expansive - and we sat among some shrubs which sheltered us from the hot sun - and watched the sea and the islands far ahead and just sat still. And listenedto the sound of silence. It was AWESOME. I had never heard such silence before - there was just absolute peace, tranquility - and serenity. We really could have heard God whisper in there!

You've really got to see this place to believe it. It's the first time I've ever wanted to go back to a resort a 2nd time.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My First Snowskin Mooncake

Life-post-allergy-discovery - I now have to learn how to make all my favourite foods in order to ensure I don't accidentally ingest anything that might make me sick.
This is one of the few recipes around that doesn't use milk / egg - and tastes just as good. (The commercial baked ones all use milk & eggs - and the snowskin ones - some do and some don't).
This recipe is adapted from Cheryl - the famous gal with those famous bakes. Her pictures look much better and she has even got some nice background as to the origins of mooncakes - so check out her post if you are keen.
Snowskin Mooncakes
115g Hong Kong Flour (steam for 15 minutes, leave to cool)
115g fried glutinous rice flour
210g icing sugar
1 tablespoon shortening
5 tablespoons cold water* I had to use 7 tablespoons plus a few more drops to make the dough wet enough.
1 teaspoon banana essence - I completely omitted this since I'm allergic to bananas anyway. I decided against using the store-bought pandan flavour cuz it smelt so..fake. I have since read somewhere that you could replace all the water in this recipe with pandan water.
2 tablespoons Hong Kong Flour (mix with 2 tablespoons hot water to form hot dough)
1.5 kg lotus paste * I used up approx 1kg of it - since I only bought a 1kg pack from Phoon Huat.
100g melon seeds (baked) - as this was my first time, I decided to omit this - but have since realised that adding this would improve the texture significantly.
salted egg yolks (steamed) - can't be bothered with this - since I'm allergic!
  • Sieve fried glutinous flour and Hong Kong flour, add in icing sugar.
  • Make a well in the centre, add shortening, water and hot dough, and knead until smooth.
  • Roll the dough and wrap lotus paste, press into moon cake mould.
  • Scale - if you are using the small size (which I used), scale at 29-30g for the filling, and 18-20g for the dough - just changed the ratio along the way in order to maximise the use of all the remaining ingredients - since Cheryl's original recipe doesn't give you any exact weight to go by.
  • Knock mooncake out from mould, chill and serve.

Cheryl scales hers at 1/3 total weight for dough and 2/3 total weight for filling, and Zu's recipe scales at something like 30g filling to 20g dough)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Simplicity through the Shops...and the Skin - Organic Skincare

You know I'm a walking encyclopaedia about all the poisons that go into skincare and what's all that hype about "organic" skincare.

After all my years of reading up, I've been using these baby products for myself.

Those brands that claim to be "organic" that you find in Watsons / Guardian are generally not all that "organic" - they merely use a few "natural" sounding ingredients and the rest is all that nasty petroleum-derived stuff).

These are a few brands that I would recommend and some comments about them.
  • Lavera
    If you want lipstick or lipgloss that won't poison you, this is the brand to go for (the rest are baby brands and don't carry makeup). The range of colours is good and very moisturising.

    For sunblock, this brand wins hands down. It's the cheapest for the amount of sunblock in the bottle. And none of the nasty ingredients that go into the other non-organic brands at Watsons/ Guardian.

    However, I have been trying their moisturiser for oily skin - and I'm not sure if it's doing me all that good since I started using it a month ago. It contains alcohol too (a no-no for skincare).
  • Aromababy
    This brand uses the least amount of ingredients for their Newborn Baby Lotion, which means it is least likely to irritate your skin should you have sensitive skin. However, their prices have gone up from when I first bought these products in 2005 - the 125 ml tube used to cost S$12 then, now it retails for S$28 at Robinsons. (!!!!)
  • Buds Baby
    I bought this today at Robinsons because it was much cheaper (cost per unit weight) compared to Aromababy. The list of ingredients is slightly longer, though I would say it's equally safe. (for me, I can't even take moisturisers with vanilla in them!!)
    Their sunblock is equally effective as Lavera's, but not as cheap if you compare the costs per unit weight.
  • GAIA
    I have tried their Baby Massage Oil for Little Pixie and I like it. Very short list of (safe) ingredients and price is the lowest amongst all 3 brands of Baby Massage Oil. Please do not even try Johnson & Johnson's or some other conventional baby brand like Avent or Mustela - they contain mineral oil which clogs pores!

    I bought their moisturiser too because, it is every bit as organic and safe as the rest - and it's also the cheapest. In fact, its advantage over Buds is that it doesn't use alien-sounding ingredients that Buds claim are safe.
Lastly, about the Pureen Fluoride-Free toothpaste. Fluoride isn't as good for teeth as the media would have you believe - at least that's what I read from the back-to-naturals literature. I have over the years tried buying fluoride-free toothpaste from Neways, from organic shops, and the cheapest I'd found was this brand called Nature's Gate (S$10 a tube). So I was elated to find this brand (it actually says : "fluoride-free - safe for baby" - can you believe it? If fluoride is harmful for babies then what makes it good for adults!?!?) selling for S$2.35, and it's sugar-free too!!!

Simplicity through the Shops ...and the Soles

Tin Hang Zai's Cushioned Slippers from Adidas and my Pink Crocs

Those of you who have known me through the years will know I can't stand window-shopping and shopping without a list. Those aimless strolls through the malls make me very nervous - with no promise of any "meaningful" outcome at the end of each trip.
I even think the last time I truly enjoyed shopping with THZ was when we were dating, like 10 years ago. Gasp!!
Well guess what, perhaps with the passage of time and with Little Pixie, I am learning not to be so hard on myself (why must every activity have a tangible outcome anyway?) and to well, indulge in the simple pleasures of life. Today I actually enjoyed window-shopping at Centrepoint with THZ and Little Pixie for like, 6 hrs!! We went to Robinsons, looked at "stuff", went to John Little, and then back to Robinsons, and then to Cold Storage!
About the Crocs - first, I wasn't even looking for shoes (see? that's what happens when you don't shop with a list). Second, I have never even been interested in Crocs after those horror stories about kids losing toes from wearing Crocs . THZ was smitten with the quirky Mary Janes and persuaded me to try them. And I was converted!!! They were so comfy I bought them right away and wore them out of Robinsons!
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