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Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

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! ;)

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Created by my youngest sis, DZ and 小姨… :)

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I love mee hoon kueh but the ones outside are almost always MSG laden. And I recall we used to have it at home when we were kids. My mom would boil the ikan bilis and soy bean stock from scratch and served it with a “QQ” mee hoon kueh, a result of the hand knead dough she made. Mushroom slices, minced pork, an egg, leafy greens, topped with generous helpings of fried shallots and ikan bilis. So many years on but tonight’s dinner is still the taste I remember.

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Refreshing Taiwan grass jelly pudding dessert topped with nata de coco and aloe vera cubes. Easily made from packets of grass jelly powder that we always get our uncle in Taiwan to bring over whenever he visits. We used to have this a lot but somehow forgot about it until it’s revival tonight.

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2014 New Year’s Day

Organized by Jac, we kick-started the new year with a walk-a-brunch at Bishan Park. Now, with the exception of the Lees, we are not exactly a morning family so kudos to everyone for making the extra effort to get out of bed early that day!

We slow-walked along the meandering paths around the big park, stopping occasionally to peer into ponds and little brooks with fishes and tortoises. The kids did some simple digging around the sandpit, we took short breaks and took many pictures.

We managed to get good seats at GRUB where we enjoyed good food and the fine weather. It was a day well spent with people that matter most. I love my family! Happy New Year to all!

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4 year ago after the sisters were all married and got our own places, we took turns hosting the annual year end party. Celebrating our 25 years in Singapore, it was apt and meaningful that the traditional family gathering on Christmas Eve this year was held at my parents’ place, the very same place where we first moved in 25 years ago.

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This is what a big family’s Xmas tree looked like, overflowing with tons of presents and goodies!

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Bubblies for the adults and sparkling grape juice for the kiddos. Cheers!!!

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Between Rose and myself, we came up with this year’s dinner menu. There were homemade avocado and pomegranate guacamole and salsa dip for the tortilla chips, bacon wrapped pineapple and dates for appetisers, champagne ham, 2 roasted chickens and vegetables, green salad, buttered rice with raisins and spaghetti aglio olio. Everyone had a hearty meal, except me. After all the experimenting with various roast chicken recipes, and the fact that I’ve totally lose interest and appetite for western food for the time being, eating was the last thing on my mind that evening.

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Julius’ third Christmas, Travis’ first Christmas and the gramps happy faces.

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Our one and only small family pic. Merry Christmas from the Chans!

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Pressies time for the kiddos. Another pros of having a big family is that these lucky peeps get to receive many presents from doting aunts and uncles.

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In the beginning, there were only 6 of us. 25 years later, the family size has doubled and so did the love and laughter. We are ever thankful for our parents’ decision to give us a better education and quality of life when they uprooted the whole family to Singapore more than 2 decades ago. May our loving and tight-knit family continue to grow in number and strength and may everyone stay safe and be blessed with good health. Happy 25th Anniversary to us all!

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A last minute impulse for a hotel stay, a few clicks on Booking.com and a week later we checked into Capella at Sentosa for a 3D2N staycation. The plan was to have the little one over for the first night and have him stay over at my parents’ the following. We had a feeling it just might turn out beautifully, and we were right!

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After checking-in and checking out the hotel premises, we had light afternoon tea at the hotel’s cosy library.

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Post dinner activity after the grandparents left and while waiting for the rain to stop, we spent 20 minutes inside Candilicious and spent nothing, v good! He had fun, well I guess most kids do, pushing the child sized shopping cart pretending to shop like an adult.

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After his first cable car ride a few months back, he had been requesting to go on one every time we pass by the area. Finally went again on the Night Rider promotion that night despite the light drizzle and he was thrilled and woke up next morning suggesting we go again!

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Just a tiny bit on the hotel big bed; Face of first Yakult the next morning at breakfast.

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It was between the hotel pool or the beach and our little beach boy chose the latter. And so we spent an uncharacteristically cool late morning at Palawan beach digging and mucking around. Simple fun is the best fun really.

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Riding the free beach tram from Palawan to Siloso beach was an entertaining activity on its own. He insisted on standing up all the way to enjoy the sight, sound and breeze. After this, we returned to the room for his afternoon nap before Gong Gong and Poh Poh came to whisk him off to Park West happyland!

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Meanwhile, it was reported that there was no love lost over the other side. Throughout his stay, he didn’t ask for us a bit! We did prep him for his first overnight stay but we were still amazed at just how seamless and effortless the whole procedure had been. So proud of you my little boy! And here are some behind the scene shots that my Park West correspondent took and sent to me. The back view of him starring at his cousin using the potty really tickled me.

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As promised, he got his Yakun brekkie treat the next morning. It was such a novelty for him and he was so happy and high that he couldn’t sit still and kept the gramps on their toes pretty much the whole time.

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Bath time was the only challenging bit as he refused to be showered by our helper and even Poh Poh had a hard time washing him. So much so that the 二姨 had no choice but to resort to bribery. Look at that post shower sneaky face!

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From the moment the punkster left our side, we felt an unsettling sense of peace and calm. It was refreshing and welcome change not having to be constantly on the look out for trouble or possible danger but it also felt very strange to be able to both let our hair down at the same time!! We quickly got over it and reminded each other to savour every precious moment. Now that his first stay over was a success, we know we have this option as and when we need it. Thank you Gong Gong and Poh Poh for your invaluable help!

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We celebrated our parents 35th wedding anniversary, traditionally also known as the coral anniversary, over the weekend. We presented them a bouquet of 35 stalks of coral and champagne roses, enjoyed a delicious lunch at one of our all time favourite family restaurants at Imperial Treasure Nanbei in Takashimaya and bonded over our shared love for a good chocolate cake.

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They didn’t go for marriage counseling, they didn’t read no books on Venus and Mars. Their personalities and interests are as disparate as can be but together, they built a family with very little and gave their children the best they could. After 10 blissful years, they made the joint decision to relocate the whole family for the sake of a better education and future for the kids, and wagered their marriage by having to live apart for the next 20 something years or so. In spite of that, they remain each other’s best cheerleader, weathering life’s ups and downs together. These 35 years is a testimony to their individual strength, dedication to each other and commitment to the family. It wasn’t after I got married and started my own family that I am able to truly understand the immensity of this. Marriage is hard work indeed.

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With our parents, our best role models in life. From them we learned the rights and wrongs, the shoulds and should nots, and above everything else, the value of kinship. Sibling rivalry never existed among us and even after we’ve started our own families, we remain as close as an extended family can be.

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And finally a shot of the proud grandparents with the three cuties who have brought lots of cheer and laughter to our big family. Happy 35th anniversary Gong Gong Poh Poh! Wishing both of you good health all the way to your golden anniversary!

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