CNY dish - Yee Sang

Yee Sang which translated literally means raw fish salad. It is available in Sushi King now. It comes in 2 sizes this year. I remembered it only available in one big size last year.
Yee sang” is a widely popular contemporary Lunar New Year dish created several decades ago, first believed to have originated from Malaysia and Singapore and spreading to other Asian countries such as Hong Kong, Thailand and New York City’s Chinatown. Only available at restaurants during Lunar New Year, “yee sang” consists primarily of thin slices of raw fish (usually salmon), shredded vegetables (carrot, pickled radish, ginger) and topped off with deep-fried crispy strips of flour, pounded ground nuts and sesame seeds. The ingredients are neatly arranged on a round platter like an unmixed salad dish and are accompanied by separate bowls of raw fish, dressing, plus five-spice powder and pepper. Next comes the dressing (plum sauce and oil) which is poured over the dish followed by squeezing lime juice over the slivers of raw fish and mixing it together.
Four of us ordered the mini yee sang, which cost RM8.88 only.
Finally the fun begins; the ingredients are mixed together vigorously with chopsticks by Hayley, Yvonne, Lorita and myself at the table. While all this “food play” is taking place, we are also obliged to shout out “lo hei,” with the word “lo” meaning mix and “hei” being “to rise.”
This is a very auspicious act as it portends to financial and personal success where future ventures will hopefully “rise and reach high levels”. Moreover, we involved in the mixing will have a hand in future success!
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Homemade CNY Cards

Chinese New Year is right around the corner and a great way to celebrate is with homemade greeting cards. You're not Chinese? No problem! Learning about and appreciating other cultures is a lot of fun. So surprise your friends and family with some custom greeting cards for the Chinese New Year. Creating CNY cards can be an activity for the family.
April and May enjoy doing handcraft a lot. I remembered I had some left over pink color card stock. I dug out the card stock and cut them into 2 folded cards. One for each of them to create a CNY greeting card for my sister in Ipoh and also for my Xiao Gu in Australia.

April and May used a shape puncher to form the butterfly and train shapes craft papers from the recycled red packets. Then, they glued the craft papers on the front page and back page of the card.
Using the scissors to cut the Chinese Symbols and Flowering Plum tree from the recycled red packets as well. Having the children to glue the cut out papers onto the inside of the card. Let the children draw some oranges or any picture they liked, color the drawing with colored pencil, and then stick the drawing inside the card.

The card design is fairy easy and simplified for younger children. The last step is to have the children write their names and greetings in the card.

Put the finished custom design card in a pink envelope. Seal it with a kiss. Write the receiver's address at the envelope. Paste a stamp and post it out in the post office.

Step 1. Chose the paper for your card. I chose card stock for this design. You can use other types of paper as long as it isn't too thin or absorbent.

Step 2. Draw, color, stamp, cut and glue assorted Chinese Symbols or flowers. You can also write a Chinese New Year poem that you know.

Step 3. Write the receiver's name, sender's name and greetings inside the card.
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CNY costume

In China people ring in the New Year with Chinese New Year Costume. From cleaning their houses, paying off debts, painting their doors and window panes to purchasing new year clothes and even getting new haircuts.
>> Being a kiasu person, I have done all the above. What about you?

The Chinese New Year is a hub of activity. These activities represent new life and new beginnings. Chinese New Year Costume actually reflects a long and complex interaction between elegance and tradition. According to the Chinese tradition a graceful costume is the only means to showcase the elegance of a human body. Chinese New Year Costume reminds people of that age old tradition. In many parts of china people wear traditional costumes on the New Year's Day and greet their parents and grand parents. This is a simple yet a thoughtful way to unify the family ties.

Chinese New Year Costume for women ranges from cheongsams, qipaos, mandarin blouses to jackets and pants.

For men, Mandarin shirts with Mandarin collars, Dragon shirts, Kung Fu suits & Chinese coats are some of the famous Chinese New Year Costumes.

The Chinese New Year Costume conveys the true essence of an immortal line "A garden full of the beauty of spring can not be prevented from being enjoyed."
>> source from here.

While we were shopping at TESCO, April saw the children CNY costume. She was asking me to buy one for her. I said no, because the CNY costume is not practical. This type of costume is only nice to wear on CNY, and it may look funny on other functions. Besides, the silk type of material is also too hot to wear in our country.

In my conversation with Yvonne this morning, it has given me a chance to change my mind completely. She said her husband thought that the CNY costume is only cute to wear when they are still small, and not that they have grown up. It sounded logic to me.

Hence, I rushed to Giant at my lunch time. I was so lucky to find the last 2 pieces of little girl cheongsams, and they were exactly in my princesses' sizes. They were meant to be my happiest purchase today. Only at RM13 per piece, and the material is thin enough to wear in the hot weather.

After letting my two princesses put the cheongsam on, they like it so much until they refused to take it off. I needed to scare them that the cheongsam will tear if they wear it to ride their cars, then only they let me take the cheongsam to wash.

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CNY house decoration

Another 2 more weeks, most Chinese are celebrating the traditional Chinese New Year, and the celebration will last for fifteen days. One of the ways you can celebrate the Chinese New Year is by adorning your home with traditional Chinese decorations. Have you started to decorate your house for this big day? Hubb was a bit in advance this year, he started to work on the CNY decoration on the weekend.
We threw away the old lanterns and bought a new lanterns, as the old one was not functioning anymore.
The decorations centered on the animal of the year which represents the year. This has been the tradition for many years and is still practiced on this Chinese New Year. We pasted a wind chime, Gong Xi Fa Cai 春联, a pair of Tigers crafted papers.
Hubb wasn't alone in his decoration job.
My neighbour was also there decorating his house. It was quite funny to see both of them climbing up and down the ladder and busy in their work.
The red curtain (红彩) was hung up together with some newly bought lights tangled down the sliding gate.
It looked like the W alphabet here. W is for Wealth, Huat ah! (发啊!) lol!
This part was like the Christmas tree. Anyway, these were all Hubb's brilliant and creative ideas.(Must give him some credit and praise him a bit one! Otherwise next year he doesn't want to do.)
Night view from inside the house. These 2 new lanterns were very beautiful.
Nigh view from outside the house.
Lastly, I have got myself ready with a fresh and new hair style to celebrate this big celebration. Here is the picture of my new hair cut and new hair color.
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Soup of the week: Yacon

I didn't know that January is the month to commemorate soup, which is celebrated annually in the United State until I read it here.

If you are following me, you would know that I have been quite some time that I didn't blog about the soup of the week. It was not because I didn't boil soup anymore. I still boil soup on every weekend, but I kept boiling the same type of soups that I have blogged before. I have run out of idea on what soup to boil. Could you please kindly provide me some soup recipes? Anyway, I boiled Yacon with port meat soup last Sunday. Ingredients: 100g Yacon, 150g pork, 10 to 15 dried longan and about 10g of wolf berries. The yacon soup tasted sweet and yummy.

Please click here for the health benefits on Yacon.

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Juice: Cucumber

I told you before I am interested in whatever can promote weight loss and healthy skin. Cucumber is one of those food. One long and thin cucumber in the morning as my healthy and low calories breakfast.
Hubb was more hardworking then me. He juiced the cucumber with some green apples and let me bring to office today. This was all because he doesn't want to be blamed by me on my weight gained. I skipped a few yoga and aerobic lessons last week because hubb was away for the on job training, and no one was around to help me to watch my children. That's why I needed to stay at home to watch them myself. No exercise for 1 whole week, that make me only have input and no output at all. So, the cucumber and green apples juice was my compensation.

The Many Health Benefits of Cucumbers
In the culinary world, cucumbers aren’t given the respect they deserved. Relegated to salads and pretty garnishes, cucumbers are frequently an afterthought; but when it comes to health, cucumbers pack a powerful punch. This is one green vegetable that deserves a second look.

What are the health benefits of eating cucumbers?
They’re good for re-hydration
Cool cucumbers are a refreshing treat on a hot summer day. Not only are they crisp and delicious, but their high water content makes them excellent for replacing fluids lost through sweating. Eating foods with a high water content such as cucumbers is one way to protect against summertime dehydration and heat exhaustion.

They’re the perfect low calorie food
Cucumbers are the perfect food for anyone trying to lose a few pounds. One medium cucumber has only forty-two calories and is quite filling due to its high fiber content. Cucumbers dipped into a low-fat, creamy dip is a quick and easy, guilt-free snack that won’t end up on the waistline.

They help to control blood pressure
Cucumbers are a good source of potassium and magnesium that help to control blood pressure. Studies have shown that diets high in these important minerals helps to lower blood pressure. Some sources recommend drinking a daily cup of cucumber juice to help control blood pressure. The drawback? You’ll miss out on the heart-healthy fiber found in the skin of the cucumber when it’s juiced. Cucumber skin is also a good source of silica which helps to maintain healthy connective tissue.

Vitamin Content
Cucumbers are a good source of the antioxidant vitamins A and C as well as folate. Folate is particularly important during pregnancy as it helps to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in the unborn baby. Folate also may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering levels of homocysteine.

Cucumbers aren’t good just for eating. Cool cucumber slices laid over tired, swollen eyes helps to reduce water retention and puffiness. This is thought to be due to the caffeic and ascorbic acids cucumbers contain.

To get the maximum health benefits of eating cucumbers, it’s best to eat them unpeeled because the outer skin is a good source of fiber and minerals. Conventional cucumbers may be waxed and have pesticide residues on their skin which can be difficult to remove, so it’s safest to buy organic. The next time you’re shopping for veggies, don’t forget about the many health benefits of cucumbers!

source from here.
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Talk: I kick and I push

Last few days news headline reported a 4 year old little girl was killed by the falling 21 inches TV from the TV cabinet, while she was dancing in front of the TV. Yvonne has also blogged about it here.

At night, I told my 2 daughters about the news and I tried to exaggerate the story a little bit more, with the intention to scare them away from playing too rough or running around in front of the TV.

April is mature, she comprehend the moral of the story very well.
Whereas, my little May gave me a shocking feedback.
She said,"If the TV falls on me, I will kick it with my legs, then I will push it with my hands.".
I totally lost my word. T____T.
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Flower Four

What I have been up? I have not got enough sleep for the past 4 nights. Why? All because of these 4 well build, young and good looking boys from Korean. All started when I watched 1 or 2 episodes on TV8 during the Christmas and New Year holidays. Thanks Hayley for getting the BOYS BEFORE FLOWER DVD again from her husband and passing to me. Why AGAIN? She lent the DVD to me quite some time ago, but I was not interested in the drama at that moment and thought myself having no time for it. In order not to keep people thing for too long, I returned to her.
8 years ago, I totally lost myself in my own fantasy island when watching Meteor Garden. This is the first Taiwan drama that I have watched up to 3 times, and I am still thinking of watching it again after I have finished watching the Korean Boys Before Flower. By the way, after spending 2 hours from staying up from 11pm to 1am for the continuous 4 nights, I still have 14 episodes to go. Means I need another week to suffer from dizziness when at work. My dizziness will be automatically gone when the clock strike 11pm.
Lee Min Ho played the role as Gu Jun-Pyo, the lead of the F4. The same role which was by Jerry Yan in Meteor Garden.
Jerry Yan was making me go crazy in year 2002, when I was just newly wed and I had no kids . Thus, I have a lot of time and space to go MAD in the drama.
Lee Min Ho vs Jerry Yan, both look quite alike in fact. Will Lee Min Ho my new love? Wait and see, I will tell you soon.
p/s: Lee Min Ho is very charming. His smile is very cheeky and cute. So far I like him the best in this Korean drama.
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I am sorry

Just now, when I went to fetch my two daughters back from school, and sent them to their babysitter's house. On the way back to work again, I hit a stray cat that walked across the street. I thought it would have seen my car and run away, but I felt the "thump" under my car and when I looked it my rear view mirror the cat was still moving. I kinda panicked and kept on driving. I didn't stop and go back for it. I didn't know what to do.

NOW I FEEL TERRIBLY AWFUL! I really do. I regret not stopping to help the poor thing! I APOLOGIZE TO MY GOD, AND ESPECIALLY TO THE POOR CAT! I M AM SO SORRY! MY CONSCIENCE IS KILLING ME! AGAIN I AM SO SORRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I should have went back for it and really regret it now. It was an accident and I never meant for it to happen! I don't know what to do now or how to deal with it.

I admit that I was wrong, that's why I blog it here.

p/s: I promise to everyone that I'm going to be extra careful not to hit a cat/dog in future. I always stop for them to pass by, and if they hesitate, I will honk to let them pass the street.
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New bubble guns

Little May first went to school in November last year, as I registered her for the holiday enrichment class which was held by current kiddy. I didn't expect her to show any rejectionl to return school after the long holidays, as she was very excited on her first day to school. There were some new students cried on the first week at school. Thus, May's mood was seriously impacted by the classmates as well. One of the mornings, when I was in the office, FIL called and told me that May was crying when she was about to enter the class, because she saw some of the students crying and their parents were there pacifying the crying children. In order to stop her from crying again in the school on the subsequent days, I promised her that I was going to bring her to the toy shop and she got to choose the toy she liked, if she could really withold her tear.

This worked. She didn't cry on the following day, and they both got a new bubble gun from the toy shop.
These bubble guns have better design and a few advantages. The solution bottle can be screwed tight to the gun, so that there was no dripping on the floor and caused no waste on the solution too. They are easy to be handled by the children.
The disadvantages of these bubble guns were consuming to much of batteries and too much of solution. Thus, we need to have a lot of batteries and bubbles solution standing by at home.
Another update which is not relevant to the title of the blog. I actually keep track of May and April's growth chart constantly. April is showing a positive result in her growth, but May isn't that good. Her weight is stagnant for about a year. We only noticed her growing taller, but no change in her size so far. I wasn't that worried at first, as she drank 3 times milk and ate 2 times main meals regularly. Nevertheless, there were some people making a remark on her skinny body lately. May be she is getting taller, or may be due to the lack of sleep in the morning after going to school, she looks significantly thin now. I couldn't relax and feel no pressure anymore. We bought a small tin of Pediasure, and started to let her take it as her night time feeding. She managed to finish the 200ml (5 scoops of Pediasure) on the first night. Her milk bottle was still on the sink at the back. We really hope to see her gaining some weight soon.
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Vegetable in the daily diet

Ever since I know the importance of fruit and vegetable in our daily diet, I always spend a lot in different varieties of fruit and vegetable. They are naturally good and contain vitamins and minerals that can help to keep us healthy. Vegetables and fruit also contain other compounds, antioxidants or photochemical, which help protect the body against cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
I like to have colourful vegetable to boil soup and cook Japanese curry. The mixed vegetable soup that I used to cook is contained of tomatoes, potatoes, sweet corns, carrots and onions.
These were the vegetable that I used to cook my Japanese curry. They included potatoes, onions, carrot and red peppers.
Chop all the vegetable into smaller cubes.
Garlic is always a must in all the dishes that I fry with oil. Garlic is one of the oldest known medicinal plants, and it's been credited with fighting heart disease, lowering blood pressure and helping to fight off colds.
Heat up the wok and put in 3 big table spoons of oil. Stir fry the grated garlic until it turned brown. Pour in the mixed vegetable and continue to stir fry for 10 minutes. Add in water and mild hot Vermont Japanese curry cubes. Lid the wok until the curry was boiled.
Serve in plate. My children and me love the mixed vegetable Japanese curry and mixed vegetable soup very much. We can just have this with a bowl of rice.
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines recommend that adults eat at least five kinds of vegetable and two kinds of fruit every day. Foods of similar colours generally contain similar protective compounds so try to eat a rainbow of colourful fruits and vegetables every day to get the full range of health benefits.
For example:
Red foods – like tomatoes and watermelon contain lycopene, which is thought to be important for fighting prostate cancer and heart disease.
Green vegetables – like spinach and kale contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which may help protect against age-related eye disease.
Blue and purple foods – like blueberries and eggplant contain anthocyanins, which may help protect the body from cancer.
White foods – like cauliflower contain sulforaphane, which may also help protect against cancer.
Types of vegetables
Vegetables are often cooked, although some kinds (salad vegetables) are eaten raw. Vegetables are available in many varieties and can be classified into biological groups or ‘families’,
Leafy green – lettuce, spinach and silver beet
Crucifer – cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and broccoli
Cucurbits – pumpkin, cucumber and zucchini
Root – potato, sweet potato and yam
Edible plant stem – celery and asparagus
Allium – onion, garlic and shallot.
Source from here.
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Beads sewing by girls

The school has reopened for 2 weeks. The girls are back to their daily routine. After dinner, either hubb or me will revise their home works and studies. In order to motivate them to do the homework and revision regularly, I'll allow them to have a short play time after they have done their school work. Since they are only allowed to access computer on weekends, weekdays I'll let them choose their own preference of toys or games.
This evening, they wanted to do the beads sewing.
I can trust April on her skills in sewing the beads. She mixed and matched the beads nicely every time she sewed.
As for May, I didn't expect much from her, but surprisingly she could do it quite well too. Just that the combination was a bit weird.
May was posing with her DIY necklace and ring, while April was searching for her running beads at the back. April's beautiful necklace snapped when I tried to take a picture for her.
Thank God, April has higher EQ now. She wasn't that upset of losing her beads necklace, and she was still able to pose with her ring only.
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Handmade bracelets for girls

I got myself a handmade bracelet as my Christmas gift from My Little Closet, and I blogged about it here. Barbara from mommy to chumsy left me a link of more handmade bracelets in the comment.
Yvonne and myself spent some time browsing through Mom's Little Treasure Box. We both decided to have Dinah, the blog owner and also a mother of 2, who enjoys working on jewelery from home, to customise bracelets for our princesses. We just told her that we wanted something girlie, pink and lovely. Thus, she made use of materials like Stainless Steel enamel charms, pewter charms and findings.
The first 2 rows were for April and May, and the last row was for Avery.
When I reached home with my two princesses. Hubb handed the parcel for me.
The bracelets were nicely wrapped. 2 thumbs up!
April was anxiously waiting for me to unwrap it. She was first wearing it on her right hand. Later on, papa suggested to shift the bracelet to the left hand, because he didn't want the bracelet to cause distraction while April is writing her homework. Hubb always has more sensible thought when come to thing like this.
After going to school, May is getting thinner. May be she lacks of sleep in the morning.
Well, she needs to wear the bracelet as the anklet at the moment.
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Christian Names 3

Last Saturday, Yvonne and I worked. Normally working on Saturday is just waste of resource and time, the employees are not productive due to their will power to work is damn low or none on weekends. We were a bit relax that day. While I was checking on the FB, I found a long lost primary and also secondary classmate, Stefanie added me as friend. I told Yvonne that this old friend's Christian name has a history. She found this Christian name Stefanie, because of her great liking in Stefan Edberg, the world's No 1-ranked tennis player in 1990. Please google Stefan's picture and have a better look at him, this good looking tennis player is from Sweden. Yvonne, "Do you know my Christian name also has a history too?".
Me, "What history?".
Yvonne, "I got the name when I came to work here.".
I was shocked at her answer, as I was the first few person whom she worked with when she joined. I still remembered clearly, at that time I was told by her personally that her name was 'Yvonne'.

Yvonne, "Someone, not sure was you or not, asked me 'what is my name?' , I said 'Yee Hua',
may be I spoke too soft, then everyone started to call me Yvonne on that particular day.".
I was laughing non stop and felt the whole thing rather stupid. I was the one who started to call her Yvonne, but I didn't know until last Saturday. I asked her why she accepted this name willingly, without correcting people that was not her name.

Yvonne, "Never mind, Yee Hua sounds like Yvonne. Since I don't have any Christian name, so it is fine for me." .

I slapped my forehead. How could this thing happen? I have been calling her 'Yvonne' for the past 6 years, now only I know she wasn't called Yvonne before I misheard it.

If I only knew her after she has become a mother of 2 kids, I guess she may not be called Yvonne anymore, she will be forever called Yee Hua. I am sure that she has exercised her voice control enough now, because she needs to adjust to the right volume when talking/yelling/lecturing/nagging at her kids day and night.
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