Picnic at home

Picnic at home

As the boys were home today, we had a change of routine for breakfast, with a picnic, in the hall! 😆

J2 was still recovering from a bout of hives, and so outdoor activities were not allowed for him. Being home was the best alternative and I had had to make it fun and meaningful.

The picnic idea worked really well and we had such fun! With an OCBC picnic mat spread out, we had food put into plates and laid on the mat. Breakfast was served buffet style and the boys felt so thrilled to sit and eat and talk.

I had prepared finger food so that mess would be minimised. They also had honey lemon prior to breakfast, which helped whet their appetites and get them hydrated.

Breakfast was a variety of scrambled eggs, sliced bacon, tomatoes, cucumbers and pork pau. Though it was a simple meal, it was thoroughly enjoyable as the setting was relaxing and they could help themselves to a repeated helping of the food till they were full.

I had expected to save half of what I had prepared for lunch, but was surprised to see most of the food eaten up for breakfast!

Good way to start the day, and both boys did not feel tired nor hungry till late afternoon.

Hope to have an outdoor picnic real soon with some friends! ❤️🤗

Learning with pride

Learning with pride

It has been quite a while since I last entered a post. Lately, my family hasn’t been feeling too well, and hopefully now we are back on track. ☺️

J2 has been actively acquiring knowledge from his surroundings and through J1, who teaches him quite a fair bit of good and not so good antics. Haha. That aside, J2 went on to some serious learning and has been showing interest in activity books.

It was a heartening moment for me to see him trying to join the dot to the line of his Kumon book, and to insist on doing the exercises on his own. Such independence made my day and he was attempting to assert that he was able to cope on his own.

For a toddler, to me at least, it was a feat. He had never written nor drawn much in his life, but had the courage to want to take on learning to a personal level. Great job!

How else could I motivate him intrinsically but to let him choose a set of pencils to own and use. 😆 So off we went, and he chose a colourful set of children’s triangular pencils, of which he took very very good care of.

As he prepares for nursery in 2019, he knows he needs to be ready for the challenges coming up. As his Mum, I hope to be that source of encouragement and motivation to help him find his gifts and guide him in ways where he needs one.

Being more mindful of food portions

Being more mindful of food portions

In order to ensure that Mummy gets enough fibre in her diet, I’ve been stir frying a lot more these days. Packing my meals into the size of a mini frying pan helps me check the proportion of each food type and not end up in undereating on vegetables.

This is lunch today, with most of the food being greens. I added some capsicums for colour. Protein is fish seasoned in tamari. Yummy!

Be sure to keep check of your vegetable portions from time to time! 💪 Hoping this habit will rub off on my children in time to come. 😁

Woke up late!

Woke up late!

I jolted out of sleep, one hand on J2, on his bed. It had been a night of interruptions, as J2 woke up twice and had to be pat back to sleep.

I glanced at my watch and realised it was 6.40am. 😱😱😱 Late! And everyone had just woke up…. maybe the weather was just too cooling last night. 😆

There goes… my ‘grand’ breakfast plans were dashed, especially that of my hubby’s and mine, which required some form of cooking over the stove. That wasn’t the part that worried me; I had to quickly get it all out by the next 5 minutes before hubby left for work, and for my boys to eat (before J1 misses the school bus).

Never mind the type of breakfast, I told myself, survival mode now. As long as there’s breakfast packed, I’m done for the first meal. So I took out an already prepared overnight oat sealed mug, hurried to boil water for my Kopi-O, zoomed to get bread and peanut butter out, to spread for hubby and J2, prepared the Kopi-O, before stir frying egg, bacon and spinach for myself. 😅 Thank God, I managed to, and breakfast was dished out and snapped up before we hurried for the school bus.

What a close shave!

Learnt that it’s important to have an already prepared breakfast ready at some corner of the house in future, just in case of a late wake up day like today.

I need to get these items always ready:

1) overnight oats in fridge

2) loaf of bread with peanut butter to stand by (if there is time to prepare something decent)

3) fresh finger fruit such as berries or apricots

4) UHT packet milk

5) nuts such as almond or macadamia

At the moment, these are probably what I can think of, for a grab and go breakfast.

Breakfast is so important as it’s the breaking of a long night’s fast, so it has got to be nutrient packed. However when time is not on our side, we still try to ingest something so as not to starve ourselves till break time or when time permits.

Ok, this signals something… I had better sleep early tonight to avoid another episode tomorrow.😆

Going the extra mile while I can

Going the extra mile while I can

Sometimes I wonder how many more years we get as parents, to see our children through life. In all our efforts to ensure they get the best possible education, pick up the correct values, master life skills and enter our best school choices, we end up feeling exhausted and burnt out.

While I do not have any straightforward answers to exhaustion and burn out, I need to keep reminding myself that ultimately, what really matters, is that I walk the journey with them.

Am I present for them when they need my help?

Do I intentionally spend that one-to-one time with them?

Do they know that I care for them, not as a caregiver or teacher, but a Mother?

Are their emotional needs adequately met and addressed to progress on to the next level?

These are issues that I consider to be mind boggling, since they go through various stages of growing up, and change from time to time.

While the demands of mothering has gone up since the start of the year, I know I cannot slack off in these areas that matter most.

In an effort, before J1 went up the school bus today, I gave him a really big hug and told him that ‘Mummy loves you.’. J2, in response, gave J1 an unexpected bear hug too. ☺️

Spent more time than usual engaging in conversation with J2 after that, and did not try to discount on the quality of time.

Our days are numbered but we do not need to focus on the negativity of it. Make every day count and live it to the fullest. Then life will be without regret.

Need to get rid of ants in the kitchen? No sweat!

Need to get rid of ants in the kitchen? No sweat!

I found the answer to get rid of ants in the kitchen, naturally. 😄

Used to have the problem of having to hunt them down, chase them, kill them at the table top, along the walls, in-between cracks… and these ants are so good with hide and seek. They just know when to appear and when to hide. And it gets on my nerves, because 1 or 2 will appear in my dishes, or even in the water dispenser. 😆

These days, after doing a spring cleaning of the kitchen, they hardly appear. I realised what attracts ants to anywhere isn’t about the presence of food, but about the presence of a certain type of food. Sugary food, in particular. This is purely my own conjecture, so correct me in the comments if I’m wrong, ok? I’m sharing and learning at the same time. 🙂

My mentioning sugary food, I mean any kind of food that contains sugar… and these are the ones that attract ants. It could come in the form of spilt fresh milk, stains from fruit juices, soy sauce and dark soy sauce and obviously, sweet desserts. And so, I eliminated them from the kitchen. (I would sincerely applaud any ant who would like to come stay in it after the cleansing! 😂) Surprisingly, the ants started to get fewer and fewer, and if they do, they came from the stains from eating sweeter fruit. And so I realised that I needn’t go purchase any ant poison to rid the house of it. There is really such a natural way of doing so – by signalling to them that there’s nothing for them to consume, and hence no point to stay on.

Another realisation is that the amount of ants found in the kitchen could be possibly an indication of how many items you own that have sugary content. (Big ‘aha’ moment for me!) So if there are less uninvited minibeasts to your kitchen as you get more conscious of the food you’re bringing in, it sure is a good sign that your diet is not as high in sugar content as before.

Above is what I have left after spring cleaning, and other than the manuka honey, which is in fact sugar, I think there isn’t much left for the ants to feast on. 🤗

Ketogenic meals

Ketogenic meals

Since about 2 months ago, my family and I embarked on ketogenic meals, meals that consist of low carbohydrates and high fats, mainly obtained from whole foods. I am so eager to share this new lifestyle with you as it has brought us plentiful amounts of benefits.

The rationale of this way of eating is to allow the body release energy through the burning of fats and not carbohydrates. In our modern society, the largest portion of our dietary consumption consists of carbohydrates. They come mainly in the form of our staples, such as rice, potatoes, noodles, pasta and grains. Though they make us full, it is hardly nutrition dense. Our body would need to process and burn off these carbs as energy first, in order to start burning fats. In the case where our meals consists mainly of our staples, there is usually an excess of carbs and hence, or bodies find it hard to even start burning off any fat (with exercise), so long as we keep feeding it with carbs whenever we are hungry.

What is the way around? In order to burn fats, we could play around with the numbers by reducing the portion of carbohydrates consumed and increasing the fat content of our meals. We would then want to consider what kinds of carbohydrates are great for our bodies so that we reap maximum benefits for our nutrition sake. These would include plenty of green leafy vegetables, certain low sugared fruits such as berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries), avocadoes and apricots, nuts like almond and macadamia. Selecting what type of food goes into our diet is necessary since everything we eat literally contains carbohydrates! 😌

So what are the benefits that came our way?

My Husband and I, for once, experienced weight loss. We didn’t cut back on food portions, but ate our three meals whole, and stop when we are full. Surprisingly, I cut back close to 5kg in 2 months, and am definitely not on a diet.

For my children and I, our hunger pangs stopped. I try to provide 5% carbs, 20% protein and 75% fat in our meals. With an increased amount of fat in our diet, they took to it well and requested less of snacks and additional portions of food. I had no more power struggles with them on finishing their food, and because of the high fat content of the meals, almost every meal was yummy! I use healthy fats to plan our meals around, like cooking with olive oil or butter, trying to be generous on fatty meat like salmon, bacon, pork belly and chicken skin and encourage eating fatty fruit like avocadoes.

We became more conscious of food in the process. We took to reading food labels, making as conscious an effort as possible, before any purchase. Soy sauce is a passé and I’m using liquid aminos now to replace sauces.

This the book that inspired most of my cooking and learning.

Every day, I’m learning so much in how to prepare nutrition dense meals for the family. Cooking doesn’t become a chore anymore, maybe for the first week or so, when we first started on this journey. These days, I cook all the meals by choice. Planning ahead helps me and it sets the pace right for the day with a mental picture of how the meals will turn out.

For more information on this lifestyle, do check out these links: