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    Migration

    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. Check out some of the photos on my instagram.

    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.

    A post shared by kusinelda (@kusinelda) on

    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.

    A post shared by kusinelda (@kusinelda) on

    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. 😛

    Migration

    When finding a place to rent feels like finding a job

    May 23, 2018

    Migrating to another country is really a tough one. In Australia, at least in Melbourne, finding a place to rent is more difficult than Singapore and Philippines. Here, when I was looking for a place to rent, I felt like I was looking for a job and when I got it, my heart was overjoyed.

    We booked an airbnb apartment unit in Docklands for 3 weeks. Our requirements for the house/apartment were: near to tram/train station, not too far from the city, near to supermarket (Woolworths or Coles), as much as possible newly built or newly renovated or well-maintained one, lots of natural light and most of all within our budget. First area is of course Melbourne City. As you know or may not know, Melbourne means Melbourne City and inner suburbs. Come the first inspection day in the city, I was so excited. When I reached the place, it was like I am queuing for a blockbuster movie. But the place was not as good as I expected it to be. After few more inspections in the city, I decided to forget the city and focus on searching in the inner suburbs. This means I will be travelling outside the free tram zone and a bit far.

    After our first inspection in St. Kilda suburb with my husband and my daughter, we realized it was more expensive and tiring if we all go together for inspection. Expensive because we have to take the taxi so that we can reach the place and return as soon as possible. Why? Because my husband is working remotely so he cannot be out for long during office hours. Tiring because my daughter can be very impatient, very active inside the property and sometimes she had to give into the call of nature and we have to find a nearby toilet.

    The tram stop in the middle of the street in an unfamiliar suburb and I was alone.

    I am not good in direction. I know in this journey that I will get lost but I have no choice. I can only pray and rely on maps. I just ensure that I have cash in case my myki card, use for paying in public transports, needs reloading. Yes, extra cash for reload not for taking taxi. In Philippines and Singapore, I use extra cash for taxi if I get lost. Taxi in city has taxi stands and you can’t just hail them. It is also difficult to get a taxi outside the city. On the first week, that was Saturday, I booked 8 inspections in a day. Unlike on weekdays that I can only leave after lunch, that time I left at 9am. I went to Hawthorn, Armadale, Malvern and St. Kilda. I traveled in 5 trams with total of 68 tram stops, walked almost 2.5 hours in total and guess what, I have to give up the last 2 inspections in Coburg because I was too tired. I came home at 5pm and submitted 3 applications.

    One week had passed but negative. I inspected many properties but there are 10 or more who viewed and probably submitted their application too. Our chance was small because I have no job and we are new in Melbourne compared to others. We revised our profile in 1Form. This is the website where you submit your application to rent a property. Agent and owner will review your profile and they will decide whether they will accept or reject your application. We wrote almost 2 paragraphs stating why we were the best candidate for the property we applied. Sounds familiar? I know right, it’s like when you are writing a cover letter for job application.

    I thought I can find a place and at the same time find a job. But actually, I cannot do both. It was stressful and not to mention there is a toddler and I have to do household chores. My husband is working at the same time taking care of our daughter while I am away. It’s a teamwork but still stressful. Maybe because we were used to a comfortable life in Singapore.

    On the second week, I could not find a good property. All my inspections didn’t meet my standards. We decided to stretch our budget a bit more to increase our options. I started to lose hope and thought that maybe we need to extend our stay in airbnb.

    After 12 days, while I was viewing one property, I received a call from the first property I inspected outside the city. She asked about my husband’s job and called my husband for more details. Later in the afternoon, she confirmed verbally that our application was accepted. We were so happy and thankful. The next day we received the confirmation email and we can get the keys after 4 days. That’s 3 days before our booking ends in airbnb. Thank you Lord!

    The place we get is actually the best among the properties I viewed and the first property I inspected outside the city. It’s near to tram station and few stops to city. One minute to supermarket and near to the wet market. The place is newly built and we are the first tenant. It has 1 bedroom, 1 study room and a balcony. Just enough for the 3 of us.

    In those 2 weeks, I got lost twice. The tram stops do not look the same. Some has nice-looking tram station. Some are in the middle of the street. Some are in the same lanes as the cars and you will only rely on the signs. That is where I get lost the first time. The second time was navigating through the map. I went to the wrong direction. Hehehe. But that’s ok. I still reached home and didn’t need to call for some help. Getting around Melbourne and inner suburbs to look for a place to rent was part of our journey. I learned a lot and I got to know Melbourne more. And I will write about it next time.

    Bake, Foods

    Banana Bread with Cheese

    May 20, 2018

    Our typical breakfast is having a bread and a cup of coffee or chocolate drink for adults and a soy milk for the toddler. It has always been my task to think of what bread to serve. My husband and I are not fans of eating the same food at least in 2 weeks unless we don’t have any other choices.

    One week ago, I bought the Paradise’s banana bread mix in Woolworths. It is exclusively packed for woolies anyways. I like this brand because I can use our overripe bananas coz banana is one of the staple foods at home. Again, the same question, what could be different?

    My daughter has allergic reactions on cow’s milk that is why when baking, I use soy or almond milk as replacement. At this time, I am currently doing the Home Introduction and Immunology program from my daughter’s paediatrician to slowly introduce dairies, cow’s milk and tree nuts(except peanuts). I checked the fridge and found excess cheese from the pizza I made few days ago. Baking with milk and cheese is part of the program. I asked my husband if it’s okay for him to eat banana with cheese and he said ok.

    I added the cheese on the last 10min of baking. The result is yumminess! It is really tasty. Although to be honest, I can work on the texture next time. Maybe I will add the cheese 5 min before baking or I will include the cheese in the batter. That’s for the next version of banana bread.

    Oh, my daughter did not show any sign of reaction with the milk and cheese. Another milestone, yey! 😛

    A post shared by kusinelda (@kusinelda) on

    Foods, PinoyFood

    Tortang Talong with Minced Pork and Spices

    May 20, 2018

    Few weeks ago, I started to introduce the eggplant to my daughter. Having a child who shows food allergic reactions, I introduce food one at a time. I was thankful that the first Tortang Talong, a Filipino dish which consists of eggplant and egg”, she ate did not show any reactions on her skin. Whew!

    So this week, I cooked it again. What could be done to make it something new? I checked the fridge and found excess minced pork and of course eggs. I got this idea from the packed lunch of my friend when we were still in Philippines. I checked the spices I have. Hmmm, basil and cayenne pepper. Let’s do this. I add the spices when it is almost cooked. As a routine, I will take a photo of it but it looks plain so I sprinkle some dried parsley herbs. Still boring but anyways it won’t stop me from taking a photo.

    When I serve it, my daughter is very excited because she saw while I was preparing that it has eggs. She loves eggs. But to her dismay, she cannot see the egg(those with white and yellow thing).

    D: Mommy where is the egg?

    M: “It’s there. It has eggs.”

    D: “No egg.”

    Therefore, at night, I cooked a separate creamy scrambled egg. What makes it creamy? Mayonnaise.

    D: “Hmmm, its’s delicious!”

    🙂

    A post shared by kusinelda (@kusinelda) on

    Foods

    It’s a Wrap on Mother’s Day

    May 18, 2018

    It’s Mother’s Day and I feel like serving something new at the same time consuming our leftover foods from yesterday. The leftover rice becomes fried rice with egg and spinach. To put the “adobong chicken na may gata” in a wrap, I cut them into strips using fork and fried 3 slightly scrambled eggs.

    All are still well until I warm the wrap in the oven. I played with my daughter and forget to remove them immediately. By the time I remember, they are already crispy wraps. It’s a failed dish but good thing my daughter likes her big “biscuit”.