Making us proud?

There was once a man asked Chloe about her academic achievements, of course given her who doesn’t really strike super well academically, it didn’t impress him at all and he had made a statement like ‘children supposed to excel academically to make their parents proud’…

Do we really want our children to make us proud by being the top students in the class, by attending various enrichment classes to be multi-talented? Are the parents competing and comparing their kids too often? Jack Ma has once mentioned that he only aimed for his children to score an average academically because by scoring great grade means the kids have to sacrifice their time in developing others skills.

There are lots of little things that our children can actually make us proud if we able to pause for a moment and appreciate the little things…

I am very proud of Chloe’s determination of learning to ride on a bicycle, she was so afraid of falling and yet kept telling herself that she could do it, I saw courages and determination through her eyes and at the same time I saw fear and worries. She spent almost an hour a day just to practice her balancing skill and total 6 days to be successfully rode on a bicycle. Personally, the length of the practice wasn’t really matter but what matters the most was I was there to witness her emotional growth, giving her moral support, watching her improving day by day…

It makes me feel proud when Chloe told me she kinds of like performing on stage now. Again, she has overcome her stage fright over times. I still remembering her first audition during her kindergarten, she sang the song ‘Love Story’ by Taylor Swift. Practically she was just mumbling, her voice was soft and zero showmanship. There was once she performed solo in Bentley Music Academy, her voice was sweet but it was obvious that she was very nervous. I am proud to see her confidence level has grown day by day even she still doesn’t sing like a pro or being very outstanding on the stage but what matters the most is the process of getting there, it takes courageous and efforts…

I am proud when Alexis first admitted her wrong doing and learning to apologize. For a strong-will child like her, sorry seems to be the hardest word. It takes a lot of self-reflection moments and courageous. Besides, leadership by example is equally important. By saying ‘ I am sorry’ to our children, it shows that no ones are perfect, adults will make mistakes as well. What’s more important is to admit our wrong doing, learn the mistakes and move on with life!

I am proud when my girls show kindness and sympathy when I am tired. A simple gesture of tucking me in my blanket, an offer of a massage session, stroking my forehead asking me to rest early and making sure I have my meal. It touches and warms my heart!

There are plentiful of little things that our children can make us proud other than academic or performing arts, we just need to pause for that moment and appreciate the little things! Emotionally and physically growth are equally important than academically.

Let’s be proud and celebrate the little things!

Curry Fish Head with Prawns

Ingredients

Fish Head (cut into half)     1 whole

Prawns (optional)     20pcs

Salted fish head (fried)     half head

Round Cabbage     1 whole

Brinjal     1 whole

Long Bean     200gm

Coconut Milk     200gm

Curry Leaves     10 stalks

Lemon Grass (sliced)    3 stalks

Galangal (sliced)   2 -3 slices

Fresh Chilli (deseed & cut into strip)     1 whole

Water (to be adjusted accordingly)     500ml

Salt     2 tsp

Sugar     3 tsp

Soya sauce     2 tbsp

Curry Paste (to blend)

Lemon Grass     5 stalks

Shallots     250gm

Garlic     8 – 10 cloves

Ginger     2 inches

Tumeric     50gm

Candlenut (Buah keras)     10gm

Galangal (lengkuas)     10gm

Fresh Chilli     15pcs

Dried Chilli     20pcs

Water (adjust based on the paste texture)

fish curry powder (mix in with the paste)     2 tbsp

Cooking Oil     80gm

 

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Step 1: Fish head and prawns

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  • Marinate fish head and prawns with salt and pepper.
  • Steam until half cooked in boiling water.
  • Discard the steam water.

Step 2 Cook it!

  • Heat up cooking oil and cook curry paste on medium fire until fragrance and oil are separated from the paste. Add in half coconut milk in between time, it helps to induce oil and minimize usage of cooking oil. (about 15 – 20mins)
  • Add in lemon grass, galangal, curry leaves and fresh chilli, continue to cook until fragrance. (about 10 -15mins)
  • Add in fried salted fish, fish head and prawns, continue cooking for another 10 -15mins.
  • Add in water in between time staggeredly.
  • Add in fish head and prawns, cook for 5 – 10mins.
  • Add in the cooked vegetables and the remainder coconut milk.
  • Add salt, sugar and soya sauce to taste.
  • Serve with hot steam rice!

The Little Things in Life…

I still remembered when I was a working mum, competing with time was one of my main task in my daily life! Settling kids to kindergarten and nanny’s house in the morning, drove an hour to office, meeting, work, meeting and work…6PM! Time to leave in order to make it on time to pick up my kids, stuck for another hour in traffic! Spent 1-2 hours bonding time with kids and most of the time dozed off with kids!

Over times, I’ve lost touch with the little things in my life, sleep deprived, lack of ‘me’ time, busy with work and house chores. Sometimes, I’ve tried to squeeze or steal time for myself over a facial appointment or quick chill out with friends but some how there was a guilt feeling of leaving the kids behind…

I am very grateful that after 10 years of working in the corporate world, I have an opportunity to be a stay-at-Home-mum (SAHM). As a sahm allows me to re-prioritize my time but it is definitely not an easy job as well. Or put it in another way, it depends on what path you’ve chosen. The easy effortless way or the full fledge way. Of course I’ve chosen the later one, I started to learn baking, cooking, doing small little things such as giving a surprise gift when fetching my girls after school, prepare a theme breakfast or snack box, taking them out for a morning walk or evening stroll, DIY art and craft, take part in their school activities, plan for girls sleepover party and many more. By planning and getting involved in their activities, indirectly has reduced their time spend on gadgets and TV. I disliked using tv or gadgets to baby sit my girls but having said that, they do have their tv and gadgets time under supervision and time control.

What is exactly the little things in life? In my context it will be living in the moment and taking one step at a time, appreciating the surroundings, enjoying the laughters and capturing the moment!

Most of the time, I will try to arrive at the school gate 10mins earlier to welcome and comfort them and indirectly send an emotional message that I am always here for them. Chatting and sharing their school life’s are our routines while driving home. Holding their hands and looking into their eyes while having either a comforting or apologetic conversation open up our hearts and bond us closer each time. Simple play time such as acting, guessing or even home made ninja warrior have deposited lots of memories and laughters. Tucking them in bed and kissing them good night seems to be a routined that couldn’t be missed.

Overtime, it seems I’ve been doing too much for the girls. Thus, striking a balance in between is important as I’ve learnt from the ‘burnt-out’ me when I was working. Thus, I would never felt guilty anymore when I squeeze or steal time for myself. Heading to gym, hanging out with friends, taking an afternoon nap makes me feel better and stronger mentally.

It doesn’t mean only sahm can have the privilege of enjoying the little things in life, it all boils down to the prioritization as every individual has only 24 hours a day. Sometimes appreciating the little things only require 10mins of your time. It always a choice that we make, choose whatever path is comfortable and always learn to strike a balance and remembered a healthy family builds from healthy parents inside out!

Stew Mushroom with Chicken Feets

Ingredients

Chicken Feets     600gm

Dried Mushroom     200gm

Dried Chilli (soak in hot water to soften)     30g –  50gm

Garlic (peeled)     1 Whole

Ginger (sliced)     2 inches

Star Anise     3 pcs

Cinnamon Stick     2 sticks

White and Black whole pepper     1 tsp

Water (add in step 3)     1/3 cup

Seasoning

Oyster Source     2 tbsp

Light Soya Sauce     3 tbsp

Dark Soya Sauce     1 tbsp

Black Pepper Sauce     1 tbsp

Salt     1 1/2 tsp

Sugar     2 tsp

Sesame Oil     1 tsp

Chinese Rice Wine (绍兴酒)     1 tbsp

Step 1 Cleanse Chicken Feets

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Cleanse Chicken feets with salt water, trimmed nails and drained it.

 

Step 2 Marinate chicken feets

  • Marinate chicken feets with seasoning, add in all dried ingredients for 30mins.

Step 3 Cook it! (Method 1)

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  • Place marinated chicken feets into pressure cooker.
  • add 1/3 cup of water into the bowl.
  • Set menu to stew, set timer to 30mins and press start.
  • After 30mins, release pressure and add seasoning (if needed) to taste.
  • Continue for another 20mins until chicken feets soften.
  • Serve hot with rice.

Step 3 Cook It! (Method 2)

  • Add 1/3 cup of water and braise in pot on gas stove or induction cooker for 1 – 2hours.
  • Stir and add water (if needed) in between time.
  • Serve hot with rice.

Tips

  • Dried mushroom: Slow cook in boiled water until soften, add a bit of sugar into boiled water, it helps to soften the mushroom quicker
  • Use mortar & pestle to slightly crush the garlic, it enchance the taste during cooking