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Days of Three.

I’ve always find it hard to relate when a fellow mother confesses if they could ever love another child as much as they love their firstborn. I can understand the intricacies of such emotions but I’ve never once doubt that I would feel any lesser for my second child, believing that our heart is capable of a lot more love than we can ever imagine.

That having said, I remember feeling sappy towards the end of my pregnancy. For three years, this was what had been. A little boy and his Daddy and Mommy. I hope I remember these days, this family of three. Not to mourn its loss but to treasure what it was.

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I attribute it to all the walking in those wedge heels. Taken on the evening of 30 July, this simple shoot was done in about an hour. The next morning I woke up to my first “show” that kickstarted labour and 24 hours or less later, we welcomed our daughter into the world and begun a new chapter in our lives as a family of four.

meet Vivian


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Vivian Chan 曾靖霓
born on Aug 1, 2014 at 10:24am
3.075kg; 49cm

you decided to follow your brother’s footstep. on this day, exactly 3 years and a speedy labour later, you entered the world. we are so smitten by you. your big brother adores you. we love you sweet baby girl, thank you for coming to us. our family is now complete.

Around Here

Just a note to say, I miss this space.

So many things and events– big and small, life changing and the day-to-day– since the last entry more than 4 months back, but I just couldn’t find the time nor energy to update any of them. I blame it on Instagram for making it so easy and fuss free to upload a photo and scribble some notes. That, and the fact that I had a baby and we are all trying to settle into a new routine as a family of four. Over time, the inertia to blog became stronger and I proscrastinated further. To the extent that I entertained thoughts of abandoning this place and switch to Instagramming completely.

Tonight I finally mustered all my will and pulled myself out of bed after putting the baby to sleep. The screen flickered on and I checked in once more. 6 solid years of memories all stored here, photos and words and all. And I remember why I blog in the first place.

4 months late but better than never. It’s good to be back.

I’ve been itching to bake a classic Japanese strawberry shortcake for the longest time but did not quite find the courage to take on the challenge. I have an unexplained fear for anything that require too much whipping, whether it is meringue or cream. I am sure there are tons of other more difficult baking techniques out there that I had no idea of but to a novice home baker like me, light airy sponge cake comes a close second to chiffon cake in the difficulty department. Moreover, leavening agents are typically not used in a classic sponge cake recipe, so the rising depends entirely on how well you mastered the art of beating and folding. Now, I’ve tried making a roll cake that uses a similar sponge cake recipe once before while residing in Japan. It turned out way too hard for rolling and heck it wasn’t even nice eating on its own! Suffice to say, that was my one and last attempt at sponge cake of any sort.

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Some 7 years and a second bump later–both times it happened so I am attributing this recent insatiable need for baking to my being pregnant–i finally plucked up the courage to give it a go. I scoured the Internet for recipes and watched this video countless times before getting started. Overall, for a first attempt, the sponge cake turned out relatively well though I suspect I might have over whipped the cream as it turned out “grainier” than I would have like. What I had not expected however was what a nightmare it was trying to frost a cake with fresh cream in our weather! Both cake and I were literally sweating as I hurried to lather on the cream. Halfway through I even had to pop a half frosted cake back into the fridge for a while to salvage a dire situation.

So yes, I can finally say I baked a strawberry shortcake from scratch. I will likely give it a second try but instead of using a 7″ cake tin and having to bake twice as it yielded a flatter sponge cake, I’d invest in a taller 6″ tin and slice the cake into half hence saving myself the extra step the next time.

It was May Day and we had no school. A little activity was in need to occupy him in the morning. He’s been humming this tune a lot lately so I decided why yes we could bake a cake and have it for snack when he wakes from his nap in the afternoon.

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Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man.
Bake me a cake as fast as you can;
Pat it, roll it and mark it with a “B”,
Put it in the oven for baby and me. 

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I decided on an easy steamed chocolate cake from my “to-bake” list and after a quick check on the Internet threw up many similar versions of the same recipe, I picked this one to try out. Besides cutting the sugar from 200g to 160g and using low fat instead of full cream evaporated milk, I followed everything dutifully. The result was still an extremely moist and not overly sweet chocolate-y cake. Seriously, this cake can give Awfully Chocolate a run for their money, it is that good! And what is even more amazing is that it is so easy and fail-proof to make. I am totally won over by this gem of a recipe and can see it being a staple around this household from now.

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Behind the scene: sous chef enjoying his own creation and having fun singing to his current favourite nursery rhyme♬

Every 5th May

Every 5th May, we gather to celebrate the most important woman in our lives. Sometimes in the comfort of home, sometimes outside but always with lots of cheer and merriment, a good cake, plenty of candles and Happy Birthday song in English, Mandarin and Cantonese. This year is no exception.

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Ever since my first foray into tart making, I decided we should never part with our hard earned money for another store bought one, ever again. After obtaining approval from the birthday girl to bring a homemade birthday tart this year, I got down to work. I had originally wanted to make a classic fruit tart with light pastry cream filling or a “fancier” strawberry mascarpone tart after some research, BUT the supporting male lead aka Daddy the No.1 chocolate lover requested enthusiastically for yet another chocolate-banana tart so I eventually accommodated his earnest call for ganache filling but topped it with fresh strawberry slices instead. The final touch of glazing the berries with some apricot jam gave the tart a glossy, finished look and I must say I am mighty pleased with the way it turned out. And a beautiful tart was born for a beautiful lady!

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An informal pic of my large family enjoying a good meal on a peaceful and leisurely Sunday afternoon. Love the casual yet chic interior of the restaurant, love the pops of colour from the orange juice filled mason jar and glasses of red wine sangria, love the red roses that adorned the tabletop, love the celebratory mood captured in the shot, love the people most of all. So many things, big and small, to be grateful for every single day.

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Ever the open minded and adventure seeker, Mommy decided she wanted a birthday venue surprise this year after concluding she had “no idea” what or where she wanted to eat or do. Between the four of us, we rolled our sleeves up, did a little brainstorming over the siblings watsapp chat and a quick consensus was reached for a brunch-y affair at Sabio by the Sea at Sentosa Cove. Bright, breezy, not overly crowded and plenty of open space outside to take bored and impatient young kids for a walk and play, and also importantly pretty decent Spanish fares, it was a right pick for the occasion. The birthday girl loved it!

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My little gourmet NOT. He dabbled a few spoonfuls in the yogurt, took an unceremonious bite of the pain au chocolat, swigs of orange juice and declared he was “done”. And that was before any of the main dishes were served. What eventually came to my rescue was the paella and he managed a somewhat decent meal after all. So many months of dining out with my fussy and unadventurous eater, why I should be used to this by now shouldn’t I?

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Happy Birthday to our dearest Mommy! These days it gets harder and harder for a big group shot especially when in public setting. The kids would appear in most of the shot as it is much easier to have them stay put that way while we take turns taking small families photo with the folks.

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Another sunny Singapore afternoon at the marina and someone woke up just in time for grouchy photos… :)

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I love you, I love you not- yes these two has a complicated relationship. They claim to miss one another when they do not meet for a while but yet when together, particularly when indoors and in the presence of toys, they’d get territorial and tear each other’s hair out. That day however, they decided to be best of friends! Argh… kids, don’t you just love them?

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Quick selfie under the sweltering heat before scurrying into the shelter of our car!

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Au natural petit birthday celebration on the actual day at GGPP’s place. You know, just a cake and candles and bday song and all that to humour the little people at home! ;)

The day had come for my 2.5yo to leave home. Okay for just 4 hours a day but hey it’s a big deal considering he had never been in the company of non family members for this stretch of time. Mostly I was looking forward to the me time I will be getting once I dropped him off at school in the morning. Imagine going to the supermarket without having to rush down the isle? Or having a leisurely breakfast at a cafe and lifting through the pages of a decor magazine without having to worry about what to order and to finish leftovers? Ah… the luxury of just surfing the net and blogging without any interruption! BUT the neurotic and emo Mommy in me couldn’t help but had a little misty-eyed moment. After all, I lived and breathed this person the past 30 months or so! My baby goes to school, what a huge milestone this is for the both of us!

Some photos from the first week at school:
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January 6, 2014: Posing with Papa in the morning on the first day of school.

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Back view of his little frame carrying his oversized school bag gifted by my sis over a year ago.

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The sign at the foyer welcoming new and old students back to school after the long year end break.

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In clockwise direction: 1) Walking up the driveway to the school foyer; 2) Putting his shoes in the cubbyhole allocated to him; 3) Saying bye to P.J. before we could call it a day; 4) Recounting his morning with teacher and friends…

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At the school gate at the end of a tears-free Day 1. Well done Julius, Mommy is so proud of you!!

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I like that the school is pretty cool about parents and students hanging around the compound before class and after dismissal. The first week he couldn’t get enough of the new environment and was always off to the garden when I came to pick him up after school ended. Of course I seized the opportunity to snap a few shots with my phone as usual..

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Posing with his new designated school bag at the end of the week.

Overall, I couldn’t ask for a more positive outcome. I braced myself for the much dreaded separation anxiety. Except for the occasional protests and whines, it was a surprisingly smooth transition. Now I really look forward to all the adventures we will have together as he embarks on this early learning journey.

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