Achievements, celebrations & the mundane

What a week it has been! We’ve done more home improvement in the last month than we have done in the last year! That’s Parkinson’s Law for you.

The biggest achievement (and a huge weight of my shoulders) is the completion of Richard’s office. It’s a small room attached to our garage and basically had bare brick walls, a concrete slab floor and a dodgy light. Richard installed down lights and put new power, telephone and TV points. Then we spent the entire last weekend painting the brick walls and ceiling, which by the way is very hard work! And on Friday I laid down the new vinyl flooring all by myself. Yes, me! I rock!

Richard's newly renovated office

Richard has set up his office now and he is a very happy hubby. Only 2 more weeks before my new house mate moves in and I’m starting to feel nervous and excited at the same time.

On Saturday, we celebrated our nephew’s 9th birthday and there was a bit of fooling around when the sparkles got lit on the cake! That’s the uncle (Richard’s brother) grabbing his nephew’s face. Haha… no harm done I promise!

Jackson's 9th B'day

Now for the mundane part of life. Charlie had one of his showers this week and was happy to show off for the video camera. He LOVES it and gets all excited when he sees the spray bottle.


[Video link]

I’ve also bought yarn to start knitting a charity Christmas project. I won’t say what it is just yet.

Red & White Homemaker Acrylic 8ply

Has anyone started their Christmas knitting? I can’t believe we’re only 4 months away from 2011!

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Not your typical love poem

Love is in the sleepy smiles that greet me in morning.

Morning Smiles

Love is sharing a laugh when brunch arrives with roquette adorning!

Brunch

Love is dreaming of our future together –

Deaming

while others wonder, will it be forever?

Etched heart

Love is smooching and cuddling your beau.

Cuddling Cats

And love is in every stitch, row after row. :)

Seamless Hybrid Sweater WIP

XOXO Happy Valentines Day!

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Life’s Simple Pleasures

I bought a little toy from a soya bean drink stall in Singapore called Mr Bean. It’s such a cute little toy and I just couldn’t resist him.
Mr Bean

When I got home and was putting the toy together, I saw this paragraph at the back of the box:

“Have you felt the beauty of a smile, the warmth of a touch or the bliss of simply watching the world go by… Share a little time and imagination with us. Let’s indulge in Life’s Simple Pleasures.”

If you’ve been to Singapore before, you would know that life there is far from simple. It’s fast paced, busy, loud and did I say, busy? It’s hard to find people enjoying life’s simple pleasures. I thought about this carefully and have managed to capture five wonderful memories from my trip there.

1. Meeting my cousin’s 17 month old daughter for the first time. Her name is Sofea and she is soooo cute. She has the sweetest smile and her face just lights up when she giggles.
Sofea (Mosaic)

2. Meeting my friend’s daughter, Georgia, for the first time. Teresa was heavily pregnant and gave birth the day before we flew back. We didn’t get a chance to meet her baby son, Kieran, but Georgia sure was entertaining!
Teresa, Georgia & Me
She played doctor and nurse with Richard and it was such a crack up! Don’t be fooled by the photo. Georgia wasn’t the nurse. She kept bossing Richard around and Nurse Richard played along, following her every instruction very carefully. Haha… She is so imaginative and will make a very good big sister!
Georgia & Richard

3. Catching up with my mum and three brothers. My two teenage brothers grow so fast! I’ve only met them a few months ago when they visited me here and now Irfan is already taller than me! Here we are sharing a meal together at Pastamania the night before we flew home. Who would have thought that their pesto pasta would actually be the best tasting pesto I’ve ever had! Either I need to eat out more in Australia or Pastamania got a good thing worth coming back to!
Umi & 3 Brothers

4. Friends! It’s always too long between visits! I miss having Jeevan and my two girl friends, Radiana and Dianah, around. But they’re more like family to me so the years never seem to have passed by when we get together again.
Richard, Me, Jeevan & Salihin
Me, Dianah & Radiana

5. Finding unexpected surprises throughout the ever changing Singapore. I’ve only been away a bit more than two years and there are so many new buildings around. The train line has expanded too. There are so much construction around that it’ll be exciting coming back to see all the changes.

Here we are testing out Goretex jackets from the National Geographic shop where Salihin works at. The cold room is in the shop to test their jacket. Cold wind blasts you and the room is set at -7 degrees celcius! Such a cool experience, especially when it’s stinking hot and humid outdoors.
Testing Jackets from National Georgraphic Shop

And the new Marina Barrage with the water play area and the grass roof was an interesting visit. It was also a hydrologist’s dream (…ahem… Richard). He took pictures of everything! I was just happy to find a place where I don’t have to fight for standing space and the water play area really helped cooled me down. (It was just so hot and humid!)
Jump!

Click HERE to view more photos from Singapore

What are your simple pleasures?

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Back from Singapore

I’m home and very tired. Been fighting off a cold before I even left Singapore and now my body has finally given in to it. So I won’t talk much today. But I do want to thank everyone again for their well wishes. I did have a good time catching up with family and friends in Singapore, despite the family loss.

Here is a photo of my 81 year old grandma, my mother (I won’t mention how old she is :P ) and my three younger brothers – Salihin, 30; Hakiim, 16; and Irfan, 14. And me, of course. I’m 31. Don’t ask me why I’m mentioning the ages. My brain’s too zonked out at the moment.

Grandma & Family

Well, I better go unpack between naps. I’ll see you on Wednesday. Hopefully more alert and refreshed after some R&R. Take care ’till then!

P.S. I’m behind at replying to the all the comments left on the previous posts. But I do appreciate every single one of them and I’ll get around to replying to them asap!

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30th Birthday Chocolate Chip Muffins

I mentioned in my earlier carrot cake post that I was going to try out Melissa Goodsell‘s choc chip muffins recipe. I did bake the muffins as planned but you would be surprised at what time I baked them.

I went on a big bushwalk on Saturday afternoon, came home and cooked roast chicken. By the time we had finished dinner, it was well after 8pm but I thought I’ll just whip these muffins up quickly. The birthday party was on Sunday and I didn’t want to have to rush around in the morning. Half an hour later, I was on the sofa sharing a freshly baked muffin with Richard! I knew it was going to be quick but 30 minutes! Wow! I was impressed! Washing up was just as easy. A bowl, a spoon and a measuring cup. The muffin tray just needed a wipe because I used muffin cases. It was too good to be true.

Caramel Choc Chip Muffins
Chocolate Chip Muffins Recipe from Melissa Goodsell

So I inspected the muffins. They looked good. I like the rich caramel colour and the sweet smell filled the entire house. The dark chocolate chips peaking through the top gave the hint of chocolatey goodness to come. The muffins whet my appetite visually.

I ripped a muffin in half and saw that the chocolate chips have melted inside them. I handed one half to Richard and I held the other. My first bite was a little unsure. It doesn’t seem to be as moist as the other muffins I’ve made. Then I took a second bite. I quickly forgot about the slight dryness and was instead reminded of how much I love caramel … and chocolate …. and of course, cake. Mmmm… I wanted more. But I couldn’t! I needed to bring the muffins to the birthday party the next day!

Exerting as much self-control as I could muster, I packed the muffins away for a night and revealed them to Richard’s family on Sunday. Those who had the muffins said they liked them. If only they knew how much nicer those chocolate chip muffins were straight out of the oven! The gastronomic experience was worlds apart.

Emma's 30th Birthday Cake

Nonetheless, the birthday party went very well. It wasn’t all about the muffins. :P Everyone had fun celebrating my sister-in-law, Emma’s 30th. Richard’s dad brought a nice spread of seafood, roast chicken and salads. Uncle Kevin brought a yummy blackforest cake from The Cheesecake Shop. The day sort of ended with my nephew, Jackson, and my brother-in-law, James, in the pool together. We couldn’t walk into the backyard because they shot everyone with their water guns! I would have taken a photo but my camera would have gotten wet! It was a fun day. Happy 30th, Emma!

Related Posts:
White Chocolate Berry Muffin Recipe
Applesauce Muffins

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