26 February 2010

Mango Mania



 

One of our favorite dessert places here is Hui Lau Shan (許留山).   It’s a dessert chain across Hong Kong.  I’ve actually been stopped by a tourist once who asked me how to get to this shop, because it’s on her list of must-visit places in Hong Kong, from a tourism booklet. 

Hui Lau Shan

Many of the desserts that they serve use mangoes, fresh mangoes.  Mango shake with sago, mango shake with aloe vera, mango mochis, etc.   A look at the banner on their wall will give you an indication of the different kinds of fruits and ingredients that they use in their desserts:

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We usually go for their classic mango shakes with crystal jelly.  The kids love a bit of strawberries in theirs.  We usually buy these to-go.  But once in a while, we would actually sit down and order proper desserts like these ones here when we went a couple of weeks ago:

What Chris had - Fruit dish with nata de coco, mango and coconut ice cream.

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What the Josh and Zoë had (each!) - Fruits with mango juice, nata de coco, and glutinous rice balls.

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What I had - black sesame seed soup (芝麻糊). I know it looks gross, but trust me, it’s very fragrant, sweet and very delicious.  I once recommended this to an Australian colleague who was visiting and she exclaimed, “Ew!  It looks like tar!”  I remember that I had a similar reaction when I was first introduced to this dessert.  But I love it now.  You just have to be able to look beyond the inky black color. *grin*

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Have a good weekend, everyone!

25 February 2010

Smart Napping



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I love naps. I don’t understand why it’s a battle almost every time to get Josh to nap. Yes, he is already 5 years old, but I think he benefits from napping –even just a short half-hour one. He had napped regularly with no problem until he was 4. Then the “I don’t want to nap” and the “Napping is so boring!” started.

The problem with no naps is that Josh becomes McCranky, McWhiny, McGrumpy, and McFrownie all rolled into one towards dinner time. Not fun, especially the McWhiny part.

On afternoons when I get to drive him to his activities, he would manage to nap a bit in the car and even those short naps help. He’s just a totally different child when he naps.

I’ve resorted to a little bit of creative persuasion to get him to nap. I just read an article last week about how even 15-minute naps can do wonders, not just for our physical health but for our mental health, too. So, I wasn’t exactly making it up when I told him that he gets smarter when he naps. Thing is, when he wakes up (usually 1 to 1.5 hours later), I would put my hand on his head for a few seconds and then marvel aloud at how he’s grown a bit smarter already. What? I have to do whatever it takes, okay?

So, since last week, he’s been having his Smart Naps in the afternoon after lunch. And I’ve been enjoying the cheerful, happy boy that he is when he gets his nap. I wonder how long this will last.

24 February 2010

Red, Red, Red



Red is an auspicious color for the Chinese.  Red is everywhere during Chinese New Year.  Red in my photos is what I have plenty of from these two weeks:

Red lanternsLantern
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Red lion headDSC06064
Red drumCNY - The drum

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But my favorite red photos are these:
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Zoë was trying to imitate the people doing tai chi.DSC06291 DSC06252

Do check out my SafetyTat® giveaway here.

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23 February 2010

SafetyTat®: A Review and a Give-away








Both Josh and Zoë love kiddie tattoos. I usually have a sheet stashed somewhere for those times when I need a distraction from a tantrum or when we just want to have some fun. These temporary tattoos have been a lifesaver for my sanity on a number of occasions. I never imagined that these tattoos could save a parent’s sanity beyond the figurative sense. Until Safety Tat®.

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Apart from the fun aspect and cute designs of the SafetyTat®, I love the idea that the tattoos could be used as a way to impart useful information about your child –emergency contact details, allergies, special needs, etc. How great is that?! SafetyTat® can personalize your information for you.
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OR, they also have their Quick Stick Write-On!, which can be stuck on like stickers (except they can last for up to 2 weeks!) and you simply write on your own info with the special waterproof tattoo pen that comes with the pack. These are especially perfect when traveling, during outings to crowded places, field trips… pretty much anywhere, any occasion.

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As a parent, I always get a bit stressed out whenever we take the kiddies to crowded places. Even though Josh can recite our numbers by heart, I know I’d breathe a little easier if he’d be sporting a SafetyTat® all the same. And for sure, I would feel so much better when Zoë wears these when we go out; she still thinks our phone number is 9-10-eleventeen-14-20!
Oh, oh, oh –they also have TAT Kisses. I love these! Not only are they fun –I put one on Josh’s cheek and he proudly wore it for a couple of days, –but the TAT Kisses could be used as a physical reminder of Mommy’s kiss to see a preschooler through her day at nursery school or at the daycare. Zoë loves it that she has “Mommy’s kiss” on the back of her hand. She shows it off to her playmates, to the security guards downstairs, to people we meet in the elevator (!)…
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Do drop by Safety Tat® and check out the different temporary tattoos that they have and also read about what law enforcement professionals and other parents have to say about SafetyTat®.

Until 10th Mar 2010, all of you will get a 10% discount on orders of US$15 or more. Just use this code when placing your orders:
BuckerooMama (Must be typed as seen, case sensitive).
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The GIVEAWAY…
Two winners will get one sample pack each of SafetyTat® Quick Stick Write-On!, their choice of Boy, Girl, or Multi design pack.

Mandatory entry: Visit SafetyTat.com then leave a comment below to let me know what you love about SafetyTat® or which design you think your kids would like.

For additional entries, please do one or all (!) of the following and leave me separate comments:
1) Follow my blog (Google Friend Connect) or remind me that you are already a follower.
2) Follow Buckeroomama on Twitter and leave me your Twitter name.
3) Grab my button and post it on your blog / website.
4) Vote for me by simply clicking on this Top Mommy Blogger button.
I will pick the winners on 3rd March. Two winners with a valid entry will be selected using random.org. The winners will be announced and must respond with a current email address within 48 hours to claim. Otherwise, another eligible entry will be chosen. (Giveaway open only to readers in the US and Canada).

Have fun and good luck!

Note: While I have received samples from SafetyTat® for review, there was no monetary compensation. All opinions expressed above are mine and are indicative of my actual experience and impressions of the products.

Serious Beading



I have to get more beads. I have to do this more often. Why? Because this activity kept both Josh and Zoë quietly occupied for over an hour. I would have been happy with occupied, but quietly occupied deserves more than a passing mention.

I got the idea for this from Traveling Longhorns and her post about how to make a treasure keeper necklace. (Go check out her blog; she has some fun ideas for crafts and such!) I haven’t gotten around to getting those “treasure keepers” for the necklace yet, but boy, was this fun for the kids to do nevertheless!

During our trip to Central to get the wig for Josh, Zoë and I saw this little stand selling all sorts of beads. I couldn’t resist getting some even though I knew that I would get a lot more variety at much lower prices somewhere in Sham Shui Po.

Letter-blocks 
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Josh patiently made his own necklace and bracelet.DSC05925
This is the necklace that I made for Zoë.DSC05941

And this chocolate and vanilla BRAY-seh-let (that’s how Zoë says it)…

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Zoë strung the beads herself!

I still have leftover elastic string from the activity, but I will have to go get more beads. I’m thinking what a cool birthday party activity this might be… and the kids can make their own party goodie. Hmm, not too early to start planning for Zoë’s party…

22 February 2010

Pao de Queijo (Cheese Bread)



After last Wednesday’s post about the mini cheese bread, I got a couple of comments back that they look like kolaches and Aunt Lolo mentioned that they look like Pao de Queijo that her sister makes.

The original recipe calls for Parmesan cheese. My first batch was made with Parmesan cheese and they turned out exactly the same as the cheese bread that we got. We were so excited that we chowed them down before I remembered that I wanted a photo of them.

This second batch, I tried making them with a mix of parmesan, cheddar, and mozzarella. I had a bag leftover from making pizza. This is what the dough balls look like before they got popped inside the oven.

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This is what they look after they are done. Very cheesy and not as “smooth” as the first batch made with only parmesan.

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Next time I make them, I’m going to stick with parmesan, although both Josh and Zoë still gobbled these down. The mozzarella and the cheddar made kneading a bit messier and somehow these don’t taste as good as the parmesan-only ones.

This is one of the easiest recipes that I’ve come across. All that is needed are:
1 cup water
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp salt
450 grams of tapioca starch
2-3 eggs (depending on size)
About half a pound of parmesan cheese
The other thing that I love about this recipe is that I can make the dough balls, freeze them for later use. AND I can just pop them directly from the freezer into the oven whenever I need some freshly-baked ones!

Go ahead, try these… Your little ones will tell you, “Mommy, you’re the best!”


Myrnie’s recipe can be found here. (You should check out the site for other yummy recipes!)

20 February 2010

CNY - Josh and Zoe1


This is the first year where both kids are well enough to enjoy the Lion Dance our estate arranges every Chinese New Year. We got downstairs early enough to snap a few pictures before the ceremonies began. Nothing too fancy or dramatic to the ceremonies. Essentially, just some Chinese New Year greetings from the Owners’ Committee and then the Lion Dance started.

Here you see the three lions resting before the program began.
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A few tall poles were set up and part of the lion dance included one of the lions prancing up to the poles and doing a little dance on top.
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After the lion dance was over, the God of Fortune came around and handed out lai see packets and gold (chocolate) coins.
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One of the lions was made available for photo ops. There was a long queue behind us, so I couldn't really take my time getting some shots. I’d originally wanted each kid to stand on either side of the lion, but Zoë was a bit scared and wanted to hold Josh’s hand.
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As we were queuing up for the photo op, the other lions went to each building to “eat the green (vegetables).” The vegetables are tied to lai see packets with a red string. This is then dangled from 8-10 feet off the ground and the lion dancers have to do acrobatic moves to get to the “green.”
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After it successfully gets the “green,” the man manipulating the head of the lion takes the lai see and tucks it away safely. Then he cuts up the veggies into pieces and “spits” them back out to the crowd –left, right, middle… to symbolize spreading prosperity in all directions.
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The children then rush forward to pick up the pieces… for luck. While the lion and its entourage –the drummer, the cymbalists, and the gong man (gongist? gong-er?), –move away to go back to their base to the beat of dong dong chang, dong dong chang!
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After all that excitement, Josh and Zoë didn’t feel like going home yet. I let them run around a bit to burn off excess energy.
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While I took the opportunity to get more shots of them in their red outfits. Be warned. There will be a post coming up with lots of Zoë and lots of red… once I am done editing! In the meantime, I leave you with this:
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Have a wonderful weekend!

19 February 2010

Because I Am My Father’s Daughter



It’s a family joke that my dad is a sucker for cool items sold on the TV shopping channels or on specialty stalls on the streets / department stores. You know, the ones where the vendor wears a microphone and very skilfully demonstrates how the product works, tells you rather convincingly what makes the item revolutionary, glibly argues how great a deal you’d be getting if you purchase it now, etc.?

Let’s see, he has bought a small vacuum cleaner that could suck up a bowling ball, collapsible closet space savers, rechargeable hand warmers (even though where he lives is almost always over 25oC the whole year through), etc. Each time, he utterly believed that he had scored a great buy. Nobody could convince him otherwise.
Well, I guess I won’t be taking part in any future ribbing, because yours truly here bought this today.

ceramic knife

My excuse? I was in the market for a new knife anyway. Really, I was! So it was little wonder that I actually stood for about five minutes, listened, and watched while the vendor demonstrated how smoothly this knife cuts; while he told us how, if we use this knife to chop onions, we won’t tear up (he even held the onion close to his eyes and got us to smell it to prove that it was a real onion); how it’s so easy to slice and make thin slivers of meat or fish (for sashimi); how apple slices cut with this knife won’t turn brown, etc. Apparently, if we buy the knife on the spot, we'd also get a pair of high-grade poultry shears. Then I remembered that I needed to replace my current pair, too.

So I forked over the cash. And here I am justifying to all of you why I’ve been suckered into buying a ceramic knife.


Because I am my father’s daughter. No question.

Have you ever bought any gadget from TV shopping channels or from specialty stalls like the ones I’d described above? ' ‘Fess up! Surely, I'm not alone. ShamWow, anyone? *Grin*

18 February 2010

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Out of the blue this morning, Zoë announced that “komodo” is Spanish for broccoli.
I asked, “Wherever did that come from?!”
“From my head!”
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