Friday, December 20, 2013

Egg Fried Rice with Ham - home cooked with love in 20 minutes

Another quick quick meal for the family last weekend. I was scratching my head wondering what to cook for dinner, as I wasn't in the mood for anything too complicated. Plus, it's the weekend and I was just feeling lazy. And so were the kids.

But they still needed to be fed, and the leftover rice in the fridge needed to be used, so…. Fried Rice! 

I used just 4 ingredients:
2 bowls cooked leftover rice
4 eggs, beaten, with a dash of fish sauce
5 slices honey baked ham (or any other ham of your liking), cut into square chunks
1 tsp chopped preserved radish

1. Heat some oil in a wok, on medium heat.
2. Add the preserved radish and fry until fragrant.
3. Add the rice, and give it a good toss.
4. Make a little dent in the middle of the rice, so that it resembles a 'donut', then pour the egg mixture over it.
5. Stir continuously, making sure that every grain of rice is covered with egg, until the egg is cooked. This may take up to 5 minutes.
6. When the egg is almost cooked, add the ham.

Egg 1

All done in 20 minutes. AA, my little 饭桶 (literally means 'rice bucket', or one who loves rice), asked for thirds and fourths, while EV, who usually prefers noodles, finished every grain on her plate. Tried and tested, this quick-to-cook dish has definitely won over their tastebuds. Until they next decide to surprise me by changing their tastes, that is, at which time I'll have to challenge myself to think of other ideas to cook fried rice. 

Do you have any to share?


Thank you for reading. If you like this post, please do connect with me on FacebookInstagram and Twitter, so I can share our fun adventures, thoughts and exploits with you. 

Lavsuca promo banner

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Happy family day out

Some of my favourite photos of the kids during the holidays.

Aaron 1

EV 1

Aaron 2

Linking up with

new button Wordless Wednesday Hop


Thank you for reading. If you like this post, please do connect with me on FacebookInstagram and Twitter, so I can share our fun adventures, thoughts and exploits with you. 

Lavsuca promo banner

Friday, December 13, 2013

Braised Pork Belly with Egg & Chinese Cabbage with Dried Scallops

With a busy day looking after the kids and doing the housework, preparing a tasty, sumptuous and easy dinner can be a challenge. Especially with two young demanding kids who constantly want your attention. Before the kids, I could prepare and cook at one go. Now, I need to multitask, and break the dishes I want to cook into smaller manageable tasks that I can do throughout the day. Something that most mums do, I'm sure.

Though busy and tiring, with one thing happening one after the other without stopping, like clockwork, I enjoy cooking for my family, and seeing their happy faces when their hungry tummies are filled. It's very satisfying, if you know what I mean.

Today, I'm sharing two dishes that fits the above criteria that I've listed, and which are some of my kids' favourite food - Braised Pork Belly with Egg and Chinese Cabbage with Dried Scallop. And I will focus on the various steps that I took, from the time I started preparing to the serving of the dishes at 6pm. Firstly, the ingredients needed for each dish:

Braised Pork Belly with Egg
500g pork belly
6 hard boiled eggs
3 tbsp light soya sauce
2 tbsp dark soya sauce
1 tbsp Hua Diao wine
1 tsp corn flour
1 tsp Five Spice powder
1/2 cup water

Chinese Cabbage with Dried Scallops
500g Chinese Cabbage
10g dried scallops
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/4 cup water

Step by step method and time
9am - Purchase the pork belly. If it's frozen, take it out of the freezer and defrost.

11am - While AA was having his nap, and DaddySay was playing with EV, I cut up the pork belly into strips and boiled the eggs. Then I seasoned the pork with the dark soya sauce, light soya sauce, wine, corn flour and Five Spice powder, and let the seasoning set in in the fridge. After the eggs are cooked, I set it aside to cool.

2pm - Peel the eggs and put it in the fridge along with the seasoning pork. Wash and cut the Chinese Cabbage into strips.

3pm - Start cooking the pork belly. First, sear the pork with the stove fire on high. Once all the pork is browned, pour in the water and turn the flame to low, and let it braise slowly. After about 45 minutes to one hour, carefully put in the hard boiled eggs, and leave it to simmer for about another hour, or until the eggs attain a nice brown colour.

530pm - Soak the dried scallops in water for about 15 minutes. Heat a wok with some oil and put in the scallops. Fry until fragrant, and put in the cabbage. Add the water, and let the cabbage simmer. Once they turn soft, add the fish sauce.

6pm - Serve both dishes with some hot fragrant rice. 

Belly 1

Cabbage 1

Simple home cooked fare that my whole family loved. That just makes me super happy. Now I can rest my tired head and body, provided the kids don't stir.


Thank you for reading. If you like this post, please do connect with me on FacebookInstagram and Twitter, so I can share our fun adventures, thoughts and exploits with you. 

Lavsuca promo banner

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Book Box Thursday: The Read-Aloud Handbook

This week, instead of a children's book, I'm sharing a parenting book that I recently discovered and which I think is extremely helpful to any parent.

Read Aloud 1

As the title suggests, The Read-Aloud Book by Jim Trelease is about reading aloud to children. It reinforces what I believe in - the importance of reading aloud to my kids, and much more. So since I already read aloud to EV and AA, why do I still need to read a parenting book about reading aloud?

While this book is written as a guide to help parents begin the reading aloud process and how to make the home a conducive place for reading aloud, it contains delightful information for parents who are already enjoying the bond that reading aloud with their kids bring. What I like about this book is that it comes along with a lot of supporting research information conducted on children's reading.

The book is categorized into easy to read chapters, so that it is easy to jump to a specific chapter depending on one's familiarity with the reading aloud concept. These include 'Why Read Aloud' and 'When To Begin (and End) Read Aloud'. Though I generally know that reading aloud is beneficial, I do not know of the specific reasons why it is so. And I like this following quotation from the first chapter 'Why Read Aloud' that summarizes exactly why all parents should read aloud to their kids:

As you read to a child, you're pouring into the child's ears (and brains) all the sounds, syllables, endings, and blendings that will make up the words he or she will someday be asked to read and to understand. And through stories you are filling in the background knowledge necessary to understand things that aren't in his neighbourhood - like war or whales or locomotives.

What's useful about this book is that it gives insights into the reading aloud process. For example, it lists out the three important things that happen when one reads aloud to a child, including the bond between the child and the book, the learning journey that both the parent and child embarks on while reading, and the way the child absorbs everything that the parent reads. And thirty minutes is all that's needed for these things to happen.

Besides sharing about the various stages of reading aloud that a child goes through, and discusses whether there is a natural transition from picture book to novel. The Read-Aloud Handbook also gives it's view on fairy tales and their purpose, and it has this to say:

What distinguishes the fairy tale is that it speaks to the very heart and soul of the child. It admits to the child what so many parents and teachers spend hours trying to cover up. The fairy tale confirms what the child has been thinking all along - that it is a cold, cruel world out there and it's waiting to eat him alive. ... It addresses itself to the child's sense of courage and adventure. The tale advises the child: Take your courage in hand and go out to meet the world head on. ... If you have courage and if you persist, you can overcome any obstacle, conquer any foe.

More than just about reading aloud, this book also talks about Sustained Silent Reading, which refers to independent reading by a child for themselves and for pleasure. It emphasizes the importance of parents as models to develop this in children, and suggests some tips to do it.

I'm glad to see that this sixths edition has also been updated with a chapter that investigates whether TV and technology is hurting or helping literacy. The key, it seems, is all about balance, as TV and technology can help in certain cases, but care needs to be exercised to ensure that that doesn't become over-dependence.

The bonus of this book has to be the 115-page treasury of over 1000 suggested books for reading aloud, from picture books to novels. It also gives the recommended reading level and a brief synopsis of the books. Truly a treasury that all parents will find useful and helpful. No wonder The Read Aloud Handbook has been a trustworthy guide since it was first published in 1979.

Disclaimer: My Imagination Kingdom sponsored a copy of The Read-Aloud Handbook for the purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions and images are my own.


Thank you for reading. If you like this post, please do connect with me on FacebookInstagram and Twitter, so I can share our fun adventures, thoughts and exploits with you. 

Julia Alphabet promo banner
Lavsuca promo banner

Monday, December 09, 2013

Giveaway: 5 Lavsuca's Pink Label wet bags & 20-slot card organisers

Remember our giveaway of Lavsuca's Pink Label's umbrella wet bag?

Well, great news! Lavsuca's Pink Label is sponsoring another three wet bags (each worth $19.90) and two card organisers (each worth $24.90)

Like the umbrella wet bag, the normal wet bags are made of cotton and lined with Procare lining to make it 'waterproof'. The seams are heat sealed to prevent leaking.  And the bags are environmentally friendly too, as they are machine washable and reusable.

The card organiser features 20 slots, along with two big pockets to hold notes, vouchers, coupons and so on. It's really a good way to organise all those discount cards and membership cards that one seldom uses, so you only have to carry those that is used more often in your wallet.

The wet bags and card organisers come in a variety of designs, to suit any taste and style.

Lavsuca promo
Five winners will get to win for themselves either a wet bag or card organiser, of a random design as decided by Lavsuca's Pink Label. Just follow the instructions below to enter. Good luck!

Terms and conditions:
- Entries that do not fulfill the requirements stated will be disqualified without notice.
- No repeat winners are allowed.
- Winners will be notified by email, through the email address provided in the Rafflecopter widget.
- Winners must confirm by reply email, within three days. Otherwise, a new winner will be picked.
- This giveaway is open to Singapore residents only.
- Giveaway starts on 9 December and ends on 23 December (inclusive) at midnight.
- Winners will be announced on this post and my Facebook page by 27 December.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Lavsuca's Pink Label sponsored three wet bags and two card organisers for the giveaway. The wet bags and card organiser used for the image above are my own. All opinions and images are my own.


Thank you for reading. If you like this post, please do connect with me on FacebookInstagram and Twitter, so I can share our fun adventures, thoughts and exploits with you. 

Julia Alphabet promo banner

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Play Learning Tuesday: 5 easy crafts for Christmas

Christmas is just 22 days away (what a nice number). We’re excited, are you? Here are 5 simple Christmas crafts to do to prepare for the festive season.

Xmas 1

Ice cream stick Christmas tree
This is an extremely easy craft that teaches shapes too. Here’s what you need:

9 ice cream sticks
Pom poms, in a range of colours
Green crayon

First, colour the ice cream sticks on both sides with the green crayon. You can get those pre-coloured sticks, but I think getting the kid to colour the sticks themselves also lets them practice their motor skills. After the colouring isdone, I asked EV to put the sticks together into triangles. Here, it’s a good opportunity to infuse some maths concepts, like multiplication by also asking how many sticks make one triangle, and how many triangles can we make in total. Glue the sticks together to make three triangles.

Xmas 2

Then stack the three triangles on top of each other to make a tree, and glue them together. Add some pom poms for embellishment, and viola! It’s done. Easy peasy!

Jolly holly wreath with pipe cleaners and pom poms
Here’s a DIY wreath that also practises motor skills. You will need:

Christmas tree decoration about 1.5m in length (we got ours from Daiso)
Pipe cleaners, in a range of colours
Pom poms, in a range of colours.

Make a round circle with the Christmas tree decoration. We made three rounds and secured it with pipe cleaners. EV twirled different coloured pipe cleaners all around the wreath. Then we pasted pom poms on to it, and we had a jolly holly wreath that will take its place at our front door.

Xmas 5

Printed Christmas tree
An awfully simple craft using a recycled cereal box. Here’s what you need:

Recycled cereal box
Green and red paint
Cardboard pieces
Recycled toilet roll

Firstly, cut out two Christmas tree shapes from the recycled cereal box. Then get painting using items ither than paint brushes. We used small cardboard pieces and recycled toilet roll to ‘print’ green and red paint on to the Christmas trees. EV didn’t just print the shape of her cardboard piece; she also decided to use it like a brush and patiently painted the whole Christmas tree. AA on the other hand, decided to paint with the paint brush first, before proceeding to make round prints and hand prints.

Xmas 3

Cardboard Christmas tree with felt glitter balls
This craft required some assistance from mummy to make the felt glitter balls. Other than that, it was a rather easy craft to do. You will need:

Recycled cardboard
Felt, in different colours, cut into circles
Glitter, in different colours
Green paint

To make felt glitter ball, put glue on to a felt circle, then gently apply glitter, ensuring that the glitter covers most of the circle. Leave to dry.

Cut out a Christmas tree shape from the cardboard and paint it green. Leave it to dry.

Xmas 6

Once all the individuals components are dry, simply paste the felt glitter balls to the green Christmas tree. Looks like this will be occupying a space in our living room.

Ho-ho-ho Christmas hat with pom poms
What’s Christmas without a Christmas hat? Here’s a simple one to do, and you’ll need:

Red Christmas hat for children (we got ours from Daiso)
Pom poms, in a range of colours

Xmas 4

Paste the pom poms on the hat, and then pop it on to your child’s head. Instantly adds loads of Christmas fun. (The photo of AA is a little blur, but don't you think he looks so suave here?)

Xmas 7

What Christmas crafts are you doing today?


What is Play Learning Tuesday?

Play Learning Tuesday is a bi-weekly linky hosted by Toddly Mummy where bloggers are invited to share their child-friendly play, learning and craft activities. Taking part for the first time? You might like to read the guidelines here first.

Toddly Mummy

Linking up with:

Tot School No Time For Flash Cards Photobucket Teach Beside Me


Thank you for reading. If you like this post, please do connect with me on FacebookInstagram and Twitter, so I can share our fun adventures, thoughts and exploits with you. 

StickerKid promo banner
Julia Alphabet promo banner