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    Inspirational

    13 Reasons Why I Blog

    November 8, 2018

    I am an old-school person who still writes on notebooks, sticky notes and planner(at least while I was working full time). Getting paper and pen is easier for me than mobile phone/laptop. But an old-school person should adapt to latest technology and so I started blogging. This is not my first blog website. I started in Friendster and blogspot. Friendster is gone and I haven’t publish in blogspot for many years until recently when I was able to retrieve my account.

    As I mentioned in one of my posts in June, I will write about the reasons why I blog. Friends who know me well don’t need to read this post to know the reasons. But, I assume (yes, hopefully), there are people who are still interested and so please continue reading.

    1. I like writing. This is in #1 because it is the main reason. I like writing. When I start writing or typing, it seems like my hands have their own minds. But it doesn’t mean I’ll be satisfied with the output. Most of the time, it ended up in the trash bin or forever in my drafts and never get published or eventually deleted. Sometimes, I will erase all and start over again. I think most bloggers can relate to me.
    2. I can express my thoughts. There are times and things that we cannot express well verbally. For me, it’s when my emotion is more intense than my speech or sometimes I want to be heard first before the other parties react. I used to write love letters but never reach the recipients. It’s my way of releasing that strong attraction secretly. Hahaha! I used to write letters and emails to my friends and families too. I remember writing a letter to my mom on her birthday but instead of giving it to her personally, I put it on her clothes storage.
    3. I want to share my experience/knowledge. Where do I get my content? It’s from my experiences and knowledge. Although, they are common for others but for me, most of the things I shared are my firsts or many friends can relate to the topic.
    4. I keep in touch with my friends. It is not everyday that we reach out to our friends to catch up. Blogging is one way to keep in touch with them. Sharing what is happening to me is also a way of telling them “hey, this is what is going on in my life right now.” If they react, you connect to them. If they comment, you start the conversation.
    5. I want to improve my writing. And the easiest way to learn is to keep writing. Comment on my blog is not simply for reacting on the topic. I also accepts criticisms. I would appreciate if you can point my mistakes and proofread my posts. But I do try to write as grammatically correct as possible.
    6. It’s therapeutic.  Writing is one of my so-called therapeutic things. I feel the happiness and calmness whenever I publish a post or I completed the topic.
    7. It’s something to look forward to. I try to publish post once a week and that is one of the things I look forward to. It’s 1-2 hours me-time in front of the computer with coffee/tea and bread/cake on the right side. It’s quite a relaxing moment for me.
    8. Increase my awareness with my surroundings. I like observing my surroundings. I like sitting on a bench and watch the vehicles and people pass by. I believe in everything and everyone has story. With my up and running blog, if I have the topic in mind, I observed more. But I don’t dare touch some sensitive topics like religion and politics. My opinion for these matters are not meant to be shared on the internet. I don’t want to debate with others whom I don’t see.
    9. It’s a productive habit. Oh yes! I like watching asian series. One drama consumes 16-30 hours. That’s a lot of unproductive and unhealthy hours. But I still watch sometimes. Hahaha! Blogging will stop me from looking for another drama to watch.
    10. It’s like a filtered diary. I am sharing my stories, my thoughts, my life which makes my blog a filtered diary. Filtered because not all details are being shared, not all happenings can be a post. I still value a bit of privacy.
    11. Inspire others. Well this is my wish. I wish that somehow I am inspiring others. I wish that my readers will learn something good from my blog. I wish to give them hope. If I share my problems and how I overcome them, I want them to know that they are not alone and whatever hardships they have, they too shall pass.
    12. Write unspoken words of other people. Sometimes I write based on my friends’ stories and thoughts. If you have more information on my topics and you wish to include them, feel free to contact me.
    13. I can monetize my blog. I am a  newbie to this thing. There are so many ways to monetize a blog but I still don’t find the right thing to do. As of now, I only rely on ads. It will not make me rich but a cent is still a money.

    With all these reasons, do you understand now why I am blogging. Do you want to do the same? If you want to know how to setup your blog or want to have an eCommerce website, contact me. Next time, I will write about my first ever client on eCommerce website.

    Parenting & Kids

    What could possibly happen when you got stuck in a traffic jam with almost 20 kids in the bus?

    November 2, 2018

    It wasn’t boring at all.

    Last October 28, 2018, we boarded bus 439 in Werribee Park and Mansion bus stop which is actually inside the park at 3:05pm. We expected to reach Werribee station at 3:20pm. Little did we(4 adults, 2 kids) know that there was a traffic jam ahead that’s why the bus was late for 15min. We’re just so happy coz we thought we missed the bus. Going to the next bus stop(Werrribee Zoo) took almost 1 hour. The passengers were mostly families with small kids. We got stuck in a heavy traffic jam, that’s the last bus,  the bus driver took his mandatory break for 15min and reached the Werribee train station at 6:43pm. Finally. But that was almost 4hrs inside the bus. Oh my butt and legs!

    So what happened in those 4hrs? It’s all about kids and parents. We are aware that each kid is unique and parents’ response mostly depends on how they behave.

    1. Almost half of the kids left. One mother has 4 daughters and she’s still breastfeeding the youngest. Salute! Two of the kids cried and so they left. Those who left were the kids who cried inside the bus or the parents decided to alight. We didn’t know what they do next to get out of the place.
    2. Play drum and piano toys. Two kids have their piano and drum toys. You know what happened next. Of course, it was noisy but what can you do if that’s their way of killing the time.
    3. Bubbles inside the bus? Why not?! Even I poked the bubbles and enjoyed it.
    4. Change seat, walk on the aisle and play with other kids. Will your kids stay still in their seat for almost 4hrs? I guess not and this was expected to happen.
    5. Going up and down of their seat. Some kids were obedient and won’t leave their parents. But it doesn’t mean they will stay still. It’s the least they can do. The two kids with us, are among them.
    6. Watch a movie. If you want to make them sit all through out the journey, take the tablet out and let them watch the Minion movies.
    7. Sing like The Wiggles and that’s what the boy did. “Everybody clap, everybody sing, la, la, la, la, la
      Bow to your partner, then you turn around, wohoo!
      Hands in the air, rock-a-bye your bear
      Bear’s now asleep, sh, sh, sh
      Bear’s now asleep, sh, sh, sh”
    8. Sleep, eat and watch the other kids. These were our daughter and my friend’s daughter. They were tired and it was their nap time so they slept for more than 1 hour. Afterwards, they ate biscuits, watched the other kids, talked and laughed.
    9. Pee on the tree. Hahaha! That’s one of the advantage of being a boy. He can just asked the driver to open the door, pull down his shorts and release. Being a kid, he didn’t care if he peed right in front of our eyes and many can see his precious little thing.
    10. Clap their hands when we reached the main road. Finally we were out and noticed the empty lawn which was full of cars in the morning.

    Most parents keep their cool including us, unexpectedly. Maybe that’s because we were with another family but most of all the kids had so much fun that there was no room for tantrums. We even queued for the famous ramen in the CBD since it was already late to prepare dinner at home.

    Are you curious why and how we got into that situation? Ok read more.

    We attended the Children’s Week Picnic in Werribee Park and Mansion which is located on the west side of Melbourne. It was the first ever event we attended in Melbourne. It was my daughter and my husband’s first train ride outside Melbourne CBD. It was our first journey to the west. It was our first time in Werribee. It was our friend’s birthday and they also went with us. Sounds super fun and exciting, right? It was.

    The event was held in front of the Werribee Mansion. It took us almost 2hrs to reach the place, 30min waiting time for the train. From the Werribee station, we took bus 439 which took us directly inside the park vicinity. Kids must wear a wristband with contact number just in case they get lost. The event has many activity booths and people can setup their picnic mats on the middle. So many things to do but our kids didn’t like the face painting and no patience for queuing, so as the parents. We settled outside of the event’s place where kids were free to run around. Eating our packed lunch and nibbles under the sun in a cool breeze surrounded by the beautiful view of the mansion and spring flowers, was so much fun.

    At the end of the day, if your kid said she was happy, whatever mishaps we encountered didn’t matter anymore.

    Migration

    Do you need to migrate?

    October 26, 2018

    Two years ago, someone asked me, “Do you need to migrate? What is the reason for moving out of Singapore?” That time, I was a bit caught off guard not because I have no reasons but because I am not sure whether my reasons were valid. Primarily, it’s because we didn’t want to be evicted from the country we lived in just because we lose our job.

    Are you thinking of migrating to other country but don’t know whether you really need to? Yes? Let me ask you some questions.
    1. What are your reasons for migrating? You need to have reasons for thinking about it. It should not be because some of your friends are migrating. In my opinion, that is a weak reason to move out because we are talking about your future here, a new life. Think about it.

    2. Do you want to be a citizen of other country? This is something you need to consider for choosing which country you want to go. Some countries offer dual citizenship but others don’t. Although it will not happen anytime soon but it is something you have to think about as well.

    3. Do you have enough money to start in a new country? This is important. Migrating to other country will cost you a lot from processing the visa until you settle down in your chosen country. You cannot foresee everything that will happen once you move. Even how prepared you are, it is possible that you will still face unexpected situation. Migrating is a bit stressful, at least in my experience. Stress is reduced if you are financially prepared especially if you don’t have a job prior to your big move.

    4. If you are moving with your family or partner, have you discussed and agreed on your planned setup? If you have a partner, definitely your friends should not be a big factor on your decision. Making plan A, C or until Z (just kidding!) should be done together with your partner and ensure that you both agreed to the plans. After all, both of you will execute the plan in order to achieve your goals. Again, this is to lessen your stress. Discuss the possible scenarios that will happen and how are you going to deal with them. Sit down. Discuss. Take some notes if necessary. I prefer to do it over a cup of coffee, definitely not over a glass of alcoholic drinks.

    5. Are you ready to leave everything and everyone you have now? This is the most difficult question. This is something you cannot answer with 100% yes. Sometimes, you will say no but the answers in question #1 are taking more weight than what you have right now. However, I still ask this for you to be prepared emotionally and mentally.

    Research about the countries on your option list. Ask your friends about them. Gather more information. If your decision, will affect your family, talk to them. It is always worthy to have as much support as possible and to know what you can expect.

    You see, I cannot answer it directly whether you need to migrate or not. It is not an easy question, it is a life-changing question. I know you are aware of that. I write it hoping to help you in your decision-making. Once you have your decision, stick with it and do your best to make it happen.

    Migration

    Melbourne in My Eyes

    October 17, 2018

    In my previous post, I promised to write about Melbourne. It’s been 8 months since we started living in this city. When I say Melbourne, I meant Melbourne(with 3000 zip code) and Inner Suburbs. It is the second most populous city in Australia and we choose to live here in spite of the fact that we do not have any friends nor relatives here. Why? You know the this-is-it feeling when you see something, that was what I exactly felt the first time we visited last year around this time. The cheaper rent(compare to Sydney) and the tram, to be honest, attracted me too.

    The Place. There are very few malls or maybe none if I take Manila and Singapore malls as the definition of mall. It has a Munich, Germany feel: old buildings and structures, the smell of coffee and breads in the morning, the smell of beer in the beer garden at night especially on Fridays. Shops mostly close at 5pm. Melbourne is known for their arts that’s why most of the places have graffiti. Playgrounds have wood chips not rubberized. There are many beautiful parks which are perfect location for friends and family bonding. Our favorite is Albert Park and Lake being the one nearest from our apartment, just 20min walk. Libraries have many activities for the community from babies to oldies and most of them are free. Membership signup and borrowing books are free. They provide eBooks and renewal of borrowed items online. Melbourne is not as clean as Singapore. You can see trash everywhere, broken bottles, human’s spits, dog/birds’ poop and even leftover foods. But they are serious when it comes to segregating recyclables from general waste.

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    The Food. Australia’s common foods are fresh salads, avocados, cheese, hummus, crackers, steaks, BBQ and sausages. I think every local household has cheese board. Woolworths, Coles and Aldi are the three major supermarkets and they already stop giving single-use plastic bags. People don’t care anyway if they bring the goods without any bag. They all have a wide-range of ready meals or ready-to-cook(with seasonings) foods which make working people’s lives easier. Perfect for mom who’s already juggling between work and home. Their favorite drinks are coffee and beers. Melbourne has a Colonial Tramcar Restaurant that goes around the city while diners are enjoying their meal.

    The People. Ohhh they are so warm. Smiling and greeting a stranger is a common thing. They love dogs. Some shops have water bowls for dogs outside and drinking fountains in the parks and beaches. Black is their fashion color and fashion style is like European’s. And the look, I find them gorgeous but they are not brand conscious. They are friendly people and they greet people by saying, “Hi! How are you?”. I admit I found it awkward and unable to respond on the first few months. Should I answer? Then I only ended up smiling. But now, I am already used to it and adapting the same whenever I meet someone(except Filipinos). It’s is normal to see police officers in the city with their horses. With all the good things I said, you’ll see the opposite as well. There are homeless people who live in the street or in their car or yacht. There are also people who lose their minds and you’ll see them shouting or talking to nobody or simply talk to you without any sense. Some people are also asking for money from young to old. I got scared many times already but one person who saw me said, “Although Melbourne has people with special characters, they are harmless in general.” Depression seems like a normal topic. I already heard from few mothers I met that they experienced it and the community offers lots of support.

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    #melbournepolice 🇦🇺

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    The Transportation. Melbourne is known for its tram network. There are also trains and buses but car is a necessity especially if you are living in the suburb or travels most of the time. One good thing is that you only need to use 1 card called Myki to pay for the public transports. However, I find their fare system a bit complicated. There are free tram zone. It means you don’t need to touch on or touch off. In tram, you only touch on on Zone 1. Touch off is not required unless you’re travelling to Zone 2.  But for buses and trains, touch on and off are required. Daily fare is AUD8.60. Some may find the trains and tram’s seats dirty. But I think it is expected when the seat is padded and not easy to clean. There are many taxi companies too but you cannot hail them anywhere you want but the taxi stand. A 20-minute walk is near. Train and tram doors are not automatic. You have to press for the door to open or manually slide them sideways. Tram stops can have a proper station but sometimes they are in the middle of the road which are on the same lane as the cars. I’ve been to many suburbs, got lost a few times already when finding the stops but I still like taking the public transports. I like the view of trees, graffiti, houses and building structures.

    The Weather: One word, as many people say, CRAZY. Now is sunny, later cloudy, then cold, then rain, then sunny. What do they say about it? Ah, four seasons in a day. Today’s weather prediction, may not be the same tomorrow. It is always advisable to carry a pocketable jacket and a sunscreen if you will be out for the entire day. But hey, don’t be discouraged to visit Melbourne. Although, the weather is crazy, it makes the place unique and it is not happening everyday anyways. In my 8 months here, I only experienced this kind of craziness twice. Also, it feels nice to be a bit colder early in the morning before it gets hot mid-day and then a bit cold again at night.

    credits to fragrantica.com

    Our life is far from perfect but I can still say that we have a better quality of life here in Melbourne.

    Disclaimer: All the information I mentioned are based on my observation only. Should there be any incorrect details, feel free to tell me.

    Thank you for reading my blog.

    Bake

    Super Special Super Moist Avocado Mini Muffins

    July 10, 2018

    I am so excited to write about my new experiment. Definitely, my own recipe and did not copy from anywhere else. I called it “Super Special Super Moist Avocado Mini Muffins”. Super special because I use plant-based butter(anyways I always use plant-based butter), soy milk and coconut juice. Super moist because it was really very moist. I think that’s because of avocado itself. Not sure about that.

    So how did I come up with the idea? My daughter used to ate avocados but she started to dislike it when we introduced normal foods (with sugar and salt). Avocado is a healthy food for kids. I will not mention all the good benefits of it. Please read it separately here. She likes muffins so why not make an avocado mini muffins(I only have mini muffin tray).

    I checked online to find a recipe but all recipes are not what I want. Therefore, I made my own. I have butter, soy milk(my daughter’s milk), lemon juice, coconut juice, chocolate chips and walnuts. The rest are usual ingredients for baking bread. I did measure the ingredients so that if it fails, I can adjust the quantity next time.

    I started by the usual mix of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Followed by mixing butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, lemon juice and pouring them on dry mixture. Then mashed the whole avocado and add to the mixture. When I was measuring the milk, I saw the coconut juice I reserved for my daughter and poured some on the milk. Then add them in the mixture. The batter was very sticky so I already knew that it will be very moist. I sprinkled walnuts on 6 holes, chocolate chips on another 6 holes and left the remaining holes with no toppings. After 25min in 160 degrees celcius fan-forced oven, my muffins were ready. It’s very tasty. Taste like avocado hehehe!

    What made me happy was when my daughter liked them and asked for more. Oh but she commented “mami, it’s green.” pointing to the avocado bits.

    Inspirational, Migration

    Time to make things right

    June 21, 2018

    For the past months, I was really emotionally unstable and my brain was a mess and my previous post have the details. I really felt the stress all over my body and I also got sick. Thanks God I was able to get out of that situation.

    One day, we were in the library and saw one of the books with warning tag, “The Less Stress Lifestyle”. Maybe it’s time to read this and it might help me. But one week had passed and I was still in the first chapter. I am not a bookworm. I only read pocketbooks(novels) and 3 inspirational ones but that’s ages ago. However, I cannot let go of that book so I keep renewing it. Somehow, deep inside I know it will change my perspective of handling stress.

    One night, a friend messaged me and confided her situation. She was also not okay. As a friend, I wanted to help her. I gave some opinions and shared my issues too. We comforted each other. Unknowingly, our advice seems like a strong reminder on how to deal with our issues. It goes down to talking heart to heart with your partner. Of course, the best person to help you is your partner or the person who live under the same roof as yours. If he will not understand, then who will.

    We were almost finishing our lunch that day when I broke down in tears. I told my husband my thoughts, my failures, my failed wants, everything. I know it will make him feel bad but he needs to know. We talked about the issues and how we’re going to fix them. I thank God for giving me a supportive husband. It really feels a lot better after talking to him.

    First of all, I need to fix my relationship with my daughter. I stop looking for job(but only for sometime). If I see an opportunity, I will apply. I try to do some chores when she is sleeping and set them aside when she’s awake so that I have more time with her. Deep breathing whenever she throws tantrums but of course there are still “face the wall” moments.

    Last month, we went to Sydney to renew our passports and met our friends. I had the chance to chat with my female friends and 2 of them are moms. This vacation which gave us time to bond as a family and with friends, hearing their stories and sharing mine completely got me out of the mess. Yes, I can share my issues with my friends in chat application but nothing really beats when you share them personally to your friends and learn from their stories too. Everyone has a story and sometimes all we need is to listen and learn from their experiences.

    Know that difficult time will resurface, it’s just that we don’t know when, but we are never alone in the battle. We just need to keep trying, accept our situation, admit that we need help and let go the things we cannot control. Worrying too much will not help. My husband is right. Instead of worrying, I should do something to improve myself. I will by learning web development(typescript and angular). This is hard for me coz I realize I am too lazy to study. I fell asleep most of the time, I get bored. I am easily distracted by other stuffs. But I will continue and hopefully will get what I want to achieve. I will try my best to finish the book. As of this writing, I am already in chapter 7. There are so many things I want to do. But time to be realistic and only do what I can do, one at a time. Things will always get better. One had reminded me to trust God, to enjoy the journey. I will.

    For now I am a housewife, a stay at home mom. I enjoy every bit of it. I can fulfill my duties as wife and mom and for now that’s all that matters to me. There are so many work inside the house but sometimes I still miss working outside. I joined the Melbourne playgroup to meet more moms and establish my network. Sometimes, I still think about money. But this time, I don’t let this eat me.

    I have a lot of realizations for the past months. I learned a lot. Thank you to my friends who are always with me even we’re miles and miles away and for my family in Philippines who support my decisions even if they will affect them. To my own family, for being the anchor of my life. Most of all, thanks God for giving me these wonderful people. I will forever be grateful for having such blessing and for surrounding me with so much love.

    This is the situation that gives birth to kusinelda. I’m back to blogging and it really feels good. Why am I into blogging? I will tell you next time. 🙂

    Inspirational, Migration

    When things seem to be going wrong

    June 21, 2018

    Place to live is ticked. It’s time to focus on finding a job. Oh man, it’s so difficult. There are not much C++ opportunities in Australia. If there is, it’s either not match with my skills or need to obtain a security clearance which is only given to citizens or for some with special cases. Because of this, I have too much time to think, to reflect on so many things and look into the future. Now it’s not good. Overthinking will result to unwanted and unnecessary stress. Migration itself is already a stress.

    What if we did not leave Singapore? What if I applied in Germany? What if we went back to Philippines? … If I write all my “what-if”, I’ll have a long list.

    Should I create an application using C++ Qt to improve my skills? Should I continue learning the C# WPF? Should I learn database, typescript and angular? Should I change my career and try testing and support? And so many questions whenever I didn’t hear from the recruiter anymore.

    We have outstanding loans and we give support to our families. I have this pride of earning my own money to support my family and doesn’t like the idea of forking it out from my husband’s earned income. My husband and my family in Philippines are facing some issues too. The pressure started to creep inside of me.

    I would like to help but what should I do? Should I apply for casual job? Should I sell something? Should I do freelance job? Should I apply for online tutor? Another list of questions.

    Being emotionally not okay means I easily became impatient and angry whenever my daughter did something wrong or throwing tantrums and wanting her daddy even he’s working. Until I realized that our relationship was no longer ok. She cried. I cried. And then we decided to enroll her in a child care center twice a week. The search for the child care center and meeting all their requirements like immunization record in Australia, having a maternal and child health nurse and proof of allergic reactions signed by a pediatrician, consume most of my time and set aside my job hunting. When the session started, I am back with my questions although things got a little bit better coz I have 2 days to do some household chores, study and look for job. Still me and my daughter were like dog and cat.

    One day, my husband received a call from a recruiter(oh yes, he has call even if he is not looking for job, how ironic). It went pretty smooth and fast and he gets the job. Now what? He will be working outside. This is not the plan. The plan is he will work from home, I work full time outside and our daughter will go to childcare at most 3 days/week. How are we going to manage this?

    I really felt that I failed as a mom, as a career woman and as a daughter. I am good for nothing. One once told me not to worry because things will be okay because he knows that I will do my best. Am I really that kind of person ‘coz right now, I am not seeing her. I was not telling these thoughts to my husband. I was ashamed to admit that I am not helping to make our situation better. I started to take comfort from watching series but at the end of the day, it made me feel miserable because I was aware that I was wasting my time. Was I in the brink of having depression? Maybe but I felt really stressed and I need to get out of there as soon as possible. Actually I did and I will tell you on my next post ‘coz this is already long enough to read. Thank you for your time.

    Foods, PinoyFood

    Embutido

    June 18, 2018

    My challenge last week was to take a break from stir fry dishes ‘coz my husband started to request some viands. To take the challenge to the next level, I decided to finally make an Embutido, a Filipino style meat loaf. The first time I made an embutido was when I was in Grade 6 as part of Home Economics project. This dish takes a lot of effort to make. I just like to cook those which I can finish within 1 hour. Making embutido surely will take me hours with constant break to take care of my daughter. After more than two decades, I tried again. That decade thing surely makes me feel old. Hehehe.

    My husband came from a family who’s used to eating embutido because his mother knows how to do it well and tasty. Why not ask her recipe? Ok. I will. But time difference and her schedule and mine did not meet. So I ended up googling “Panlasang pinoy embutido” and this was my guide in making one.

    Normally, I don’t follow the exact ingredients and procedure. I still stick on what I have in the kitchen and adjust according to the recipe. Because of this, my dishes are sometimes tasty, sometimes nasty(but edible) lols. Sweet pickle relish is one of the important ingredients of embutido. To be honest, I don’t know what sweet pickle relish is. I went to the supermarket and voila! there are lots of pickled stuffs. Which one to choose? I spent a lot of time reading all the labels with pickle word in it and ended up choosing sweet mustard sandwich pickle spread. I know it’s not the same pickles that we have in Philippines but I couldn’t find anything close to what it looks like and we can use the remaining stuffs as sandwich spread. I changed tomato sauce to tomato paste. I just prefer paste over sauce for cooking. I did not use cheddar cheese but the flavored cheese I have and use the herb & garlic breadcrumbs instead of the plain breadcrumbs.

    As for the procedure, I put all the ingredients in the bowl(except hotdogs and boiled eggs) and mix everything. I don’t have a steamer so I used the small steamer which comes with the rice cooker and two sauce pans. After steaming, I can’t wait to taste it and I was disappointed with the texture. It’s too watery. Huhuhuhu! But soooo delicious!!

    The next day, when I open the foil, it was no longer watery. It’s tasty! Woohoo! And guess what, my husband and my daughter love them! My heart is overjoyed. The 5 hours I spent for making this dish were worth it. But I will not do it again anytime soon. Hahaha. See some of photos in my instagram post.

    Migration

    Moving to a new home

    June 3, 2018

    After moving to the new apartment, I became busy finding the right furniture and appliances. Right means, within a budget but trusted brands and can fit on the allotted space. This is again something new to us. We had never shop for furniture and appliances before because we rented fully furnished HDB units in Singapore. Thanks to AU-NZ trips last year and the airbnb where we stayed. They gave me the idea of what to put in the small apartment and how to use a dishwasher. I even messaged the owner of the airbnb property to ask where she bought those items in their unit. Hehehe! She was very helpful. If ever you decided to visit Melbourne, I will recommend this airbnb listing: Cosy, light-filled with harbour view Lynda and David are wonderful hosts and their property is within the free tram zone and the station is right on your doorstep.

    Back on the furniture and appliances hunting, I list all the items we needed and compare prices. I would say that the furniture is difficult because there are so many suppliers and shops online and around Melbourne. For appliances, we only have 2 options: Harvey Norman or JB Hi-Fi. My first goal is to buy bedroom furniture which can be delivered as soon as possible. I had to frequently go out to check the shops I saw online. I went to Ikea Richmond and the other shops in Victoria Gardens, DFO South Wharf, Target in Bourke Street, Factory Outlet near us and QV Mall.

    Sometimes I will ask my husband and daughter to go with me on weekends. One day when we were heading to Ikea, my husband commented that the place was too far. Oh well it was his first time to go out of the free tram zone and going to Ikea takes more than half an hour. Only then he realized how far I traveled to find a house. We managed to complete the important furniture and appliances in 2 weeks.

    Some tips I can share for beginners like me are:
    1. Buy a tape measure. Measure the allotted space for each item, take note of them and bring the tape measure when going out.
    2. Measure the width, height and depth of the allotted space. Normally shops will display or include the dimension of the item.
    3. List the important stuffs and consider your budget without sacrificing the quality. Necessary furniture and appliances are investments.
    4. For renters, don’t forget that you are renting. Buy stuffs which can be installed without breaking the tenancy agreement and it can fit in the door once you move out. The last one is specifically for those furniture that you assembled by yourself.
    5. If you have a small kid, choose kid-friendly furniture as much as possible and leave enough space where your kid can play.

    It has been 3 months since we purchased the following items and we they are still as good as new. If you need ideas where to buy, here are the things we bought and where we bought them.

    Regal Sleep Solutions South Wharf – bed frame, mattress, headboard, pillows, pillow and mattress protector
    JB Hi-Fi South Wharf – fridge, washing machine, dryer, rice cooker, TV (but they have lots of products)
    Harvey Normal (QV Mall) – vacuum (just happens that the vacuum we wanted was cheaper in this shop so better compare with JB Hi-Fi)
    Adairs DFO – quilt cover, fitted sheet, pillow case, bath towels (Adairs is more expensive than target but the quality is better so watch out for sale)
    Target Centre Melbourne – quilt and other small stuffs in the house like clock
    Ikea Richmond – kid’s table & chairs, shelves, storage container, dining set, kitchen utensils, bath mat, rugs
    Kogan – shoe rack, coat rack

    Although starting a new life will hurt your pocket but it’s a wonderful experience. Since I do not have a job yet, there are more factors to consider when getting money out of your pocket. The joy of hearing the intercom because it means new items are coming. The satisfaction of seeing the transformation of the empty space into a livable one. We learned a lot of things and it started to feel like, you’re home.

    Foods

    Pancake with Strawberry and Salted Caramel

    May 23, 2018

    Pancake is one of my daughter’s favorite food. I guess most kids love pancakes. Since she turned 2, we are almost eating pancake weekly or fortnightly. Inside or outside home or even outside the country, she’s requesting for pancake. So last week, I made a pancake but I don’t want to be just plain buttermilk pancake. Sometimes I try different flavors such as honey, cheese, fruits, chocolate. This time I want to try something new.

    I went to Woolworths to buy salted caramel. On my way back, I kept thinking what I will do. Should I mix it in the batter, as a topping or while it’s in the pan? As usual, I checked the fridge and the shelf. There were strawberries, whipped cream and icing sugar. I cut the strawberries into small pieces and tasted it. It was not as tasty as the other brands I bought before. I could make 6 pancakes and strawberries were not enough.

    After cooking the pancakes, I put the first one on the plate. Since the strawberry was not sweet, I sift a bit of icing sugar before putting the 2nd pancake and sift icing sugar again. On the 3rd pancake, after sifting some sugar, I put half of the strawberries. I put the remaining 3 pancakes with sugar on each layer. On top, I put the whipped cream, then strawberries and the salted caramel.

    While putting the salted caramel, I noticed that the whipped cream was melting. OMG! Noooo! Slowly the strawberries on the side were falling one after the other. Oh my, it was a failure because the pancakes were still hot. I used the fork to mix the salted caramel and whipped cream and this is the result.

    What a disaster! hahaha But don’t judge the look ‘coz it was so tasty that my husband and daughter requested for more. P.S It was not soo sweet. It’s just sinful. I hope next time, I will do better. 😛