Thursday, July 30, 2009

Grace's runaway puppy

On a few occasions before this morning, a puppy would come to the front of our house and Mambo would carry out a silent conversation with her through the gate. We met the little puppy again earlier. It's Grace's puppy. Grace, a young girl who lives in a house diagonally across the road.

When I first noticed the puppy visit, I thought the little four legged with cute permanent frown lines on the forehead was being ditched. We had Grace's house maid retrieve her back home. Later on, I realized there was a gap at the front gate of Grace's house. So the little one has an open "door" to the outside world.

In my ideal world, dogs have pockets of free-to-roam-anywhere time and go to their masters when called. However in the estate where I live, there are a handful of diseased dogs roaming around and our houses are separated by one of the estate's few main roads. So I could only show my affection by rubbing the frown lines and had to fight the urge to feed her biscuits from our dogs' jar. Wouldn't want to encourage puppy's runaway behaviour.

Mambo is fond of her but isn't too welcoming. Puppy was trying to get into our compound by crawling under the gate.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

travelling with baby

Our last trip in Singapore, we were once in the Toa Payoh area running an errand. I remembered Brian's long time friends live near the central so I suggested paying them a visit. Siva was working then and luckily, Kannia was home with her latest member addition to the family and her eldest son. I'd wanted to meet them for so long and I was glad we paid the visit. Baby Anushka is a darling and I've felt guilty for not bringing a gift that visit ever since.

I made a mental note to look for a baby dress when I returned to Palembang. However, I haven't seen a clothing satisfactory enough to send to Anushka and I wouldn't want to delay too long!

Did some thinking, a short researching on the internet and planning in the head yesterday and when Brian returned from work last evening and helped with babysitting, I made a travel diaper change pad for Kannia. I was pretty excited when the project took its form as I made it along. I wanted the change pad to be of a sufficient size so that baby can lie down and for it be functional, easy to use. Also I wanted it have clean lines and not look too "mum-ish". This change pad is made of hand-me-down stripe linen, a terry towel, vintage trim, thread and velcro for attachment.

Above shows how the travel diaper change pad looks when there are two disposable diapers, a pack of wet wipes and a tube of nappy rash cream in the roomy compartment and when it's laid open. Good to have it ready in the mummy's bag. I hope this still comes useful for Kannia. After all, baby is already a few months old! Maybe I'll look and hopefully get a nice baby clothing this weekend.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

cards n' cookies

Craftwork of the week:
three cards to add on to my stationery.

Baking for the week:
Chocolate chunks+almonds cookies. I used the recipe here. However I substituted the recommended chocolates with a Cadbury's 200gr milk chocolate and almonds bar and reduced the sugar amount. Crumbly soft type of cookies.

Friday, July 24, 2009

keeping (miracle) plant nearby

Aloe vera, not exactly a pretty looking plant but I do ♥ it. It's called 'lidah buaya' in Indonesian language, its direct translation, 'crocodile's tongue'. Sometime back, a tante (a Dutch term for 'aunt') gave me a tip of using the aloe vera's sap to increase Kaeden's hair growth. Remove the outer skin of an aloe vera leaf, take the sap and smear it on the kid's head, leave it on for about half hour before his shower. What little left of excess sap could be kept in a container and chilled in the fridge for similar future usage.

I tried it on Kaeden just 2 or 3 times, each time buying an aloe vera leaf from the supermarket. I can't say it's effective but after all, I haven't been diligent. Kaeden's hair growth did increase by a wee amount after a shave a few months back. The hair colour also darkened, both Ah Kwan and I noticed. But that's about it. I introduced beans (and nuts, soon I hope) to his diet. Hopefully, that would help too.

Also, Jorubi aloe vera gel is a neccessity in this household. I run to it whenever Kaeden fell and when a bruise might envelope, on his heat rash, scratch marks and on my zits, the rare but irritating oral ulcers and as a moisturizer once in a while. The only problem that it can't solve efficiently for us is mozzy bites.

I thought keeping a pot of aloe vera plant would be useful so we visited a mini "orchard" by the roadside, asking for it this morning. Apparently, it isn't a common plant that people buy here. The lady seller pointed to a lonely one hidden among plants and when I told her I would be taking it, she asked for my purpose of buying it. I bought a pot, made of broken tiles and plates/bowls by the sellers and soil from them as well. When I asked for the total price, it took a while for the sellers to quote me. The lonesome aloe vera plant certainly doesn't seem to be part of their inventory!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"to market, to market, to buy..."

It's my little family's good fortune that we have a middle-aged domestic helper whom we like, working for us here in Palembang. Ah Kwan has so far proved to be reliable, efficient and a good cook. She comes in the mornings and usually leave for home by 4pm on weekdays and works half a day on Saturdays. Besides the chores and marketing, she also helps me out with babysitting for short intervals when I need to do some quick cooking. Kaeden sees her as part of the family and seeks for her often. Ah Kwan is good with him too. Very lively when interacting with the boy and the word that he has been saying a few times a day everyday currently, is "pecah!". A word that Kaeden learnt from Ah Kwan whenever he threatens to drop the item in his hands. Now it's "pecah!" everytime an item dropped onto the floor despite it being intact.

This morning I got two marketing bags that Ah Kwan helped me buy from a market near her home. They are handmade woven bags made of plastic strips which some local women would use for their marketing because of its large and easy to clean interior space. It's a local product that I appreciate in its pretty form and functionality.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

pies to end the week

Not productive at all this week as the "things" that I've made so far are two meat pies from this morning. Kaeden was unwell and I'm so glad to know of the Pak Poh powder from Eu Yan Sang. He broke out of fever on the first night and the medicine stopped the cold in its track in less than 3 days. I didn't need to bring him to see his doctor.

This week, we had blackout nights on alternate days, starting on Monday. The longest lasted more than 5 hours on Wednesday. I predicted it would be power trip night last night and when it didn't happen at 9pm or 10pm, I thought we were spared. Who knew, alas, my prophecy came true, only later, at 11pm. I slept on the cold hard floor while Brian fanned Kaeden for two hours straight before he knocked out. The electricity came back at 2am.

I was glad Kaeden broke out of his fever on Thursday.


Meat pie

2 double crust 9 inch pies


4 cup flour
1-1/3 cup butter
1-1/3 teaspoon salt
a few tablespoons ice cold water

450 gr ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 potatoes, chopped
half a big carrot, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
a few tablespoons green peas
1 portion of cream of mushroom soup (from can/packet)



I made the crust a day ahead.
In a bowl, combine flour and salt and cut in pieces of butter. Rub in butter until mixture resembles bread crumbs. Gradually add water, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball. Divide dough in half, one for each pie plate. From that half, break into one ball that is slightly larger than the other.

Roll out the larger ball to fit pie plate. Transfer pastry to pie plate. Wrap with cellophane. Flatten the smaller ball and keep in cellophane.

Keep pie crust chilled in the refrigerator.


In a wok, fry onions, then beef until the meat is starting to cook, add potatoes and fry for about 2 min. Add carrots and tomatoes then peas. Stir fry for a few minutes and pour in the soup until it covers the meat. Add salt, pepper and basil leaves (optional). Stir contents and let it cook til boil.

Transfer contents to pie crust. At this point, the crusts have been removed from the fridge to thaw for about half hour.

Top the filling with crust and brush top with milk and put pies in the oven (175 deg cel) for until crust turns golden brown,
for which in my oven's case, 30min.

Monday, July 13, 2009

the immediate neighbourhood

Some mornings, Kaeden and I will go for a short walk after breakfast. Before stepping out of the house, he'll be fully covered in clothing and his legs and hands smeared with cream to ward off mosquitoes. It's a tiresome ritual.

To the left of the street where our place is, we see Brian off to work. On the left of our house, lives an elderly Chinese lady and some of her children. Not quite sure how many children she has. I'm always pleased to see her in the rare occasions when I'll catch her in the garden, tending to her plants and picking out vegetables. She's not well and when I do see her, I feel happy and I'll greet her. On our right, it's a Muslim family with two boys and a newborn boy. The lady of the house is pretty and mighty strong in my opinion. She could ride a motorbike to fetch her young son from school, in a little more than a month after giving birth.

Mambo rules the front garden of our home and he'll be barking at his nemesis=cats, stray dogs, taunting kids who walk pass and at us because he wasn't allowed to join us for the walks. When he barks on unearthly hours, I always worry about him disturbing the neighbours. On other times, Mambo lazes around as much as any of his nemesis along the street.

Our walk will start and/or end with a visit to our dog friends which live two houses down the road. Minnie and Molly the puppy hang out in the cage until sunsets. They look forward to run in the backyard when comes nightfall, from what I hear.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

little by a little bit

So this will be going to Christie. The purse is made of vintage print red fabric and pre-loved floral lining, buttons and metal zip which I love to use for the owls. I also made a simple vintage trim keychain to go along with it this morning. It can double up as a wristlet, I guess.

I didn't sew much during the weekend. In fact I didn't do anything much except to take care of Kaeden and cook for the last two days as Brian had to be away in Jakarta for a work trip. It was a last minute decision and though it wasn't the first time he had to be away, it was definitely the first time I'd to deal with the household by myself. It was funny how every time before he leaves, there would be a mini episode of melodrama with yours truly as the lead actress but I always know there will be similar future events like it. Anyhow, I think I was strong for until the night before Brian came back last morning. Admittedly I was stressed up already. I start to loosen up only little by little bit from this morning. I think.

Some purses I did before the weekend. I'd put them up in my shop.

Friday, July 03, 2009

milk and honey quick bread

It's no secret I like to eat bread. Looks like Kaeden is one bread lover too. We have to have it for breakfast a few days a week. Since I have an oven now and I try to make an effort to use it once a week, making bread is in the agenda. But I'm an amateur baker and quick bread is something I can tread on first.

I found a recipe for Milk and Honey quick Bread here. As usual, I didn't follow exactly. For one, I didn't use nuts. Nuts are a rare luxury in this household and where we are, I can't get walnuts and pecans which I love to eat. Peanuts are easy to obtain here though. I used up my bottle of honey today. It was about a quarter cup left. I also put over a loose foil of aluminum over the pan when baking as the top fire is always so strong. The bread did turn out alright. However I do find it too salty and next time, half a teaspoon of salt should suffice.

I must agree the bread tastes yummy with butter!