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Gong Xi Fa Chai January 30, 2006

Posted by Zara's Mama in celebration, Zara.

On Chinese New Year eve, instead of dining at our place (the initial plan), we had it in MIL’s because BIL was bringing 6 of his friends from the Philippines to join the dinner (we only knew later that these ‘friends’ were actually his new girl friend and her family/chaperon).

No pix to show for the dinner since it was quite kelam-kabut (Malay: chaotic) to be having so many people in the house for dinner (normally it’s just 6 of us).

On the first day of Chinese New Year, as usual, we visited MIL early morning, and then it was lunch with my family. Zara did the GONG XI, GONG XI sign while addressing the family, and she also served tea to my side of the family (since this is our tradition).
All I could say is these 2 days were really hot!

Next few days there’ll be no blogging as we’ll be going for a holiday (unless I got so bored and there’s free broad band connection in the hotel).






Wakey, Wakey, Sleepy Baby January 26, 2006

Posted by Zara's Mama in Zara.

Have seen many photos from Mom2Ashley titled Good Morning Ashley. Just like Ashley, Zara is always in a good mood when she wakes up in the morning, I thought I too should capture moments like this.

This was taken last week, Zara was still sleeping when I had finished changing for work. Camera in hand, I woke her up by using the standard wake up call, “Wakey, Wakey, Sleepy Baby!” This was what greeted me, a smiling and good smelling (yes she smells like a sweet in the morning, and best of all, no morning breath!) toddler!

eyes opened; a cheeky smile; hands stretched out to be lifted up (to sitting position); a moment on the bed before she climbed down to start her busy day

On another note, I contributed my angelic voice singing to Lin Peh’s Chinese New Year sing song project. Go here, if you want to know what it’s all about and hear some of the bloggers singing!

Weekend – Fullmoon Party, Zoo Visit, CNY Shopping January 25, 2006

Posted by Zara's Mama in celebration, trips, Zara.

Tasha’s Fullmoon Dinner
It was already a month since Tasha (my eldest sis’ daughter) was born. We had a little family dinner party in a restaurant.

It was a typical Chinese dinner with shark fin soup and suckling pig (both of which we don’t take), and because it was close to CNY, we got to lou-sang (raw fish salad) as well.

A full blown karaoke session was going on in another section of the restaurant (probably a company dinner). This group of people, blasting singing extremely outdated songs in horrendous voices. Tasha slept through, oblivious to the noise. Zara on the other hand was showing lots of interest in what was going on on stage, she kept wanting to get out of the room and when she saw people singing, she started dancing too, never mind if their singing sucked!

Tasha sleeping
Zara dancing

The singing and torturing didn’t end, until our last course was served and when the group has left. What a noisy dinner.

Zoo Visit
Daddy dragged brought us to the zoo again on Sunday. He thought Zara has picked up quite a lot of names for animals, and it should be more fun for her compared to the last time.

The weather was so hot, and Zara so much heavier, it was quite a torture, physically, when I had to carry her in the sling.

Zara was quite excited when we could see the elephants, giraffes and flamingoes up close. We got a chance to feed the camel, but Zara wouldn’t do it as she was afraid. I fed it instead, and Zara just looked on gingerly.

At one resting area, the zoo keeper was handling a tiny green snake. He passed it to me when I showed interest in it. And yes, I had the little fella twirled around my arm (Daddy was so disgusted he just walked away, so no photos of the snake lady). I asked Zara to stroke the snake, but instead, she was squashing the snake with her pincher grip! I had to unclutch her 2 fingers, fearing for the snake’s life. I quickly passed the snake back to the zoo keeper.

We spent almost 2 hours in the zoo and at the end of it, we were all sweaty and smelly, and then, it was to KLCC to enjoy the aircon and to get some retail therapy!

This was the only weekend left before CNY (Chinese New Year), so we went to KLCC and did lots of shopping both on Saturday and Sunday. The sales are still on, more reason to grab something.

As usual, we bought the most for Zara. She had to have new top, new bottom, new pajamas, new everything for CNY.

Daddy wanted to get me a good and expensive handbag. One which is big enough to hold some of Zara’s stuff like a water bottle, a few pieces of diaper, a tupperware to hold some biscuits.

We were looking around in Coach, Furla, Burberry (oh, Zara just loves the signature sheep on display) and Ferragamo. I loved this and this (with pix shown), but when I looked at the price tag, I just cringed (although I pretended to look cool and behaved I could afford 10 of those).

In the end, I settled for a LeSportSac which was just 10% of the price of the above items. I am too kiam siap (Chinese: stingy) still can’t bring myself to buy a bag with a 4digit price tag.

14 month old January 24, 2006

Posted by Zara's Mama in development, language, Zara.

I have to be discipline and do this every month, just to capture Zara’s development. She turned 14 on Saturday, I had been so busy, only have time to do this now.

Weight: ~ 7.9Kg (weighed 27/12) but I believe she’s about 8.5Kg now b’cos she feels very heavy.
Height: ~77cm
This month, she sprouted another tooth, so she has 4 upper teeth, and 4 lower teeth now.

Dexterity :

  • walking up stairs while holding up the rail, or the wall
  • likes bouncing on her feet, a bit like jumping, but not lifting herself off the ground yet
  • walks up and down stepsLanguage :
    She has us amazed on this area, her understanding of the language is really good, and she’s picking up new words almost every day. She’s also started to join them to make them into phrases. Additional words she’d learnt this month :
  • Nah-yen (lion)
  • Nam (lamb)
  • moong (moon)
  • Spicy (after saying this, she’ll stick her tongue out panting)
  • Laugh (Giraffe)
  • Stairs (she sometimes confused this with UP, she’ll say ‘stairs’ when asking me to carry or asking me to lift her up to the bed)
  • Panda beh (Panda)
  • Pane (Plane)
  • Paink Paink (Pain, she says this while pointing her index finger to her chest)
  • Skeh Skeh (Scared, she says this while patting her chest)
  • Big
  • oh-nang (Orange)
  • gap (grape)
  • nai-nai (night night)
  • tir-tee (dirty)
  • soo (shoe)She says phrases like :
  • Tatak, wis (kakak, fish; meaning she wants kakak to give her fish)
  • Bye Bye Nah-yen/Papa
  • Go up stairs
  • Go park
  • Bird bird fai (fly)
  • More more biskuh (biscuit)/moonermang(banana)/wise (rice)She knows almost all the body parts : *eyes, ears, head, *nose, hair, neck, face, stomach, *pet-pet (private part), *breast (thanks to breast feeding), legs, hands, feet, pointer, belly button
    (*she knows how to say the word too)

    Feeding / Food :

  • Favourite is still fish.
  • Still mainly on breast milk, but on days when supply is low, she’s willing to take a bottle of formula even from me unlike previouslyEmotions :
  • Started calling me Ah Meen (Ah Mee slowly turned Ah Meen)
  • became even more clingy.
  • Giving me more kisses on the lips nowadays
  • Showing some toddler tantrum nowadays, by crying, kicking her legs, arching her body when she doesn’t get her way
  • Sociable, but when confronted by a stranger, can be a bit more quiet then her normal self
  • Being Tagged 3 5 times January 23, 2006

    Posted by Zara's Mama in misc, myself.

    I got tagged by King’s Wife, Egghead, The Diva, YL, Greenapple, on the same tag, I’d better do this quick, since this is spreading so fast, most of the bloggers I know would have been ‘infested’ with it very soon!

    Here’s the tag/meme:

    4 jobs you’ve had in your life:

  • primary school teacher (every day after work, left with no more voice, and I felt as though I’d been in the disco the last 6hrs getting my ear blasted)
  • administrator in an English language centre for pre-schooler (cum substitute teacher, cum bum cleaner, cum baby sitter, cum child psychology)
  • system administrator in IBM (after that, there’s no turning back; only big corporation like this lure me)
  • my current job, doing business processes in XYZ company
  • 4 movies you could watch over and over

  • Joy Luck Club
  • 1492: Conquest of Paradise
  • The Emperor and the Assassin (荆坷刺秦王)
  • Hero (英雄)
    (actually most of Zhang Yimou’s movies I can watch over and over, just because I have problem understanding the Mandarin they speak :P)
  • 4 TV shows you love(d) to watch

  • Whose Line Is It Anyway
  • American Funniest Home Video
  • ?
  • ?
    (I don’t really watch that much TV)
  • 4 places you’ve lived

  • Kajang (Primary school days)
  • KL (most of my life)
  • Stafford, England
  • Shah Alam (now)
  • 4 places you’ve been on vacation to

  • French Riviera and the Alps (before we got married)
  • Turkey -Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Pamukkale, Cappadocia (for our honeymoon)
  • Sabah – Hike up Mount Kinabalu, Pulau Gaya, Sukau Rainforest
  • Thailand – Kok Mak, Kanchanaburi (for our 5th wedding anniversary)
    and many more before Zara was born, but I chose these 4 as they gave me the biggest impact.

  • 4 places you would rather be

  • at the beach
  • in the mountains
  • shopping in the factory outlets in US
  • driving along Hwy 1 on the West coast of US (instead of getting stuck in a M’sian jam)
  • 4 of your favourite foods

  • Duck – roasted, stew, grilled, fried, I just love duck!
  • Japanese – tenzaru soba, unagi, ramen, sushi
  • Dimsum – (only pork-free version) Cantonese, Shanghainese.. absolutely love it!
  • Deep fried stuff.. sinfull.
  • 4 of your favourite beverages

  • teh si (tea with evaporated milk)
  • pure fruit or vegetable juice
  • lemon grass tea
  • soya bean
  • 4 (or more) websites you visit daily

  • www.zara-low.blogspot (very important site, please book mark it)
  • www.blogspot.com (most of us think this is also important, and will pull our hair when the site is down)
  • the company website (to check stock prices, keke)
  • all the blog sites in my book mark (if there’s updated post)
  • 4 tagged

  • allyfeel
  • Fannie
  • Two Little Fellas (again, I know)
  • Helen (I know you LOVE tags)Enjoy doing it!
  • New Year New Template January 21, 2006

    Posted by Zara's Mama in celebration, misc.

    So we’re supposed to buy new clothes for ourselves for Chinese New Year.

    Since I eat full nothing to do (Chinese: too much time in my hands) the blog template is the ‘clothing’ to our blog, I thought I’ll spruce it up and give it a new look too.

    After all, some of these itchy backsides people, like LB (going for the minimalist look, but in the beginning was giving maximum firewalling to his site anxiety among his readers); Ah Pek (now the romantic poet); Seng Kor (his blog now has his portrait, mask removed); have already upgraded theirs.

    I made some changes to this template, and Viola! New Year, new clothes!

    PS! Do I still need to give this guy credit since the template no longer looks like the original?

    A morning with a busy toddler January 19, 2006

    Posted by Zara's Mama in Zara.

    Zara’s Ku-che (my SIL) gave her this bag over the weekend, she told Zara it’s for her to take along when she goes shopping.

    Yesterday, when we were about to leave the house for King’s Wife’s place, Zara wanted to take the bag along, and she kept muttering “Ping” “Ping” while holding it. Probably she wanted to go shopping with it. Here is Zara with her ‘aunty’ looking bag.

    (L) We going shopping?? Let me take my bag
    (R) Oh, I better make sure I bring my phone along.

    (L) Ok, I think I got everything in my bag
    (R) Lets go now

    (L) I need to make a call to get an appointment to do my hair
    (R) Hello? Baldilocks Hair Salon? Can I speak to Richardo please?

    Bye! January 18, 2006

    Posted by Zara's Mama in development, language, Zara.

    Zara was in one of her ‘naughty’ mood this morning.

    I gave Zara her First 1000 words book to ‘read’, while Daddy and I were busy getting ready for work. She was happily flipping, pointing out to things she knew and uttering the words.
    “Ao” (Cat)
    “Nai-yen” (Lion)
    “Eh-Bit” (Rabbit)
    and then “PIAAK…” she tore out one of the pages; she held the torn piece in her hand and looked at me.

    Since she learnt how to appreciate books, she had never torn any pages out of any books. I wonder what happened this time. I went over to her :
    Me : (stern voice) Zara, that’s not nice! Why Zara tear the book?
    Zara : Tuck (Take)! (she gave me the torn piece)
    Me : (stern voice) Mummy don’t want!
    Zara : (gave me a fake smile)
    Me : (lecture time) Zara likes this book right? Then why Zara naughty? Tear the book?
    Now you see (put the torn piece next to the page it was torn out), you cannot see Elephant any more.
    (Shouted to Daddy) Daddy, you see, Zara tore her book!

    Zara stood up, and started pulling her pajamas top up (a sign showing that she’s nervous). I picked up the book, and wanted to put it back to the shelf. Zara immediately hugged my leg.

    At this time, Daddy stuck his head out from the bathroom, “What happened?”. Before he could say anything else, Zara quickly let go of my leg, walked to daddy, and hugged his leg. This is probably her way of saying sorry, so I thought.

    I picked her up, and said tenderly, “Zara saying sorry is it? OK, next time don’t tear your book any more ok?” I put her down, and continue dressing, while Zara walked to the shelf to pick another book.

    5 seconds later, “PIAAK..” She did it again, this time she tore a page from her Nursery Rhyme book.

    I quickly went to her, smacked her hand, and told her sternly, “Zara cannot tear your book! Why Zara naughty?” Daddy chipped in, “Zara, you tear your book again huh? Why you naughty?”

    What happened next really caught us off guard.

    Zara looked at us (normally if I smacked her, she would fret a bit, but this time she didn’t).
    Tossed the torn piece down at the book.
    Waved her hand in the air and said, “Bye”
    While walking towards the bed room door nonchalantly.

    What the.. ?? My jaw dropped!

    I asked, “And where is Zara going?” She just turned back and looked at us one more time, and tried to reach for the door knob, and said “Bye” again (of course she’s not tall enough to actually open the door and get out)

    Cha-dou! (Cantonese : Being caught off guard)

    I can’t help wondering what will happen when she gets older, she’ll pack her bags and go to Mama’s (Cantonese : Paternal Grandma) or YiYi’s (Hokkien : Mum’s sis) house? Or she would talk back like this kid when she knows how to speak better?

    Note: I normally used yai-yai (Cantonese: naughty in a mild form) instead of naughty, unless she’s really badly behaved. As for smacking, I do it only when warning has been issued and she just ignored it.

    Separation Anxiety January 17, 2006

    Posted by Zara's Mama in parenting, Zara.

    After the long break during Christmas & New Year, and with me working from home twice a week since we had broadband, Zara has become ever closer to me.

    Starting this year, on days I go to the office, when I drop Zara and Tuyam off at King’s Wife‘s place, Zara would kick up a fuss. She would be reaching her hands out for me, put on a very sad face, refusing to follow Tuyam or Lita (King’s Wife‘s maid) into the house. Normally, I’ll pick her up from the car seat, say my bye bye firmly, tell her to be good and that I’ll see her later, passed her to either Lita or Tuyam, get back to the car and drive off. Making our parting short and sweet.

    this is how she looks like when she doesn’t want me to leave her (this is not taken at King’s Wife‘s place, but the situation and the expression is the same)

    Tuyam said at King’s Wife‘s place, Zara would be fretting, and during nap time, she would be tossing and turning, and mumbling Ah-Mee (her pronunciation of Mummy). Sometimes Tuyam has to call me in the office and let me talk to her. Normally it’s just a ‘Hi’ from her, some talking from me to tell her to be good, listen to kakak, and then a ‘bye’ from her and end of conversation. It seems to help her to feel more settled.

    While working from home, she would constantly try to climb up the stairs, or point up to the study from the courtyard, and start calling “Ah Mee”. I have to avoid coming downstairs, because if I do, she would rush to me, then cling on to me and refuse to go with Tuyam when I have to go back to the study to work.

    Even in the middle of the night when I have to go to the washroom, if she so happened to turn to my side and found I wasn’t there, she would sit up and then call for Ah Mee (crying will start if she didn’t see me in a few seconds).

    I wonder what would happen if I was given a summon by the boss to go for a business trip??!! How will the both of us cope with the separation anxiety?

    Weekend Culinary Feat January 16, 2006

    Posted by Zara's Mama in misc, myself, Zara.

    Besides going shopping on Saturday and visiting my eldest sis on Sunday, during the weekend, I spent quite a fair bit of time in the kitchen.

    After we came back from the wet market, while we were sorting out the shopping, Tuyam commented about Daddy buying apples again as we already had some in the fridge. Daddy mentioned that those in the fridge were not nice, and he would like to chuck them away.

    I just read about Greenapple‘s post about double boiling apples to make a drink, so I thought I’d tried it out using these 4 unwanted apples + 5 mud-chou (Chinese: honey dates). After 5hrs in the slow cooker, a wonderful drink was produced. We all loved it, especially after it has been chilled! Thanks Greenapple!

    Since Zara loved Ping’s mum’s fish porridge so much, I made Pomphret (couldn’t get Mayao/Kurau from the market, so I just substituted it with Pomphret) porridge using her method for lunch. I didn’t like it at all *blech*, but the little cat took 1 big bowl for lunch, and another big bowl for dinner! So I guess it must be good for her standard.

    After coming back from my sis’ place, I got Daddy to look after Zara while I tried to bake some chocolate chip cookies for Chinese New Year. I like making this because it’s so simple and the recipe is a hand-me-down from Ping’s Australian FIL.

    While trying to get Zara to take her evening nap in the living room, Daddy fell asleep first before Zara (=.=), and Zara walked to the kitchen to kay-poh (Chinese : busy body). She was very good though, I told her I was busy, the oven was hot, and asked her to play at the dry kitchen area while I worked on the cookies. She cooperated, and stayed out of my way and the oven’s!


    Dough on a baking sheet, nice golden choc chip cookiesI managed to bake 2 bottles (old Hollick bottle), they are very nice, just a bit too sweet (I forgot to adjust the recipe like I used to in previous years).

    And for dinner, I thought I’ll make salt baked red mullet, a recipe from Jamie Oliver. The fish was stuffed with ginger, spring onion, coriander leaves (the recipe calls for fresh thyme, rosemary, lemon and bay leaf, and since I didn’t have any of the ingredients I compromised with what I could find in my fridge), laid it on a bed of course salt, covered with another layer of course salt, and then baked in the oven.

    Fish before entering the oven, cooked fish with the salt cake scrapped off

    I find the fish was too salty, I think probably because I pricked the skin accidentally before I baked it. However, both Zara and Daddy loved it. I chose the bits which were not too salty for Zara, and Daddy just cleaned up the rest of the fish after Tuyam and myself took a little each.

    Anybody has any proven cookies recipe to share which is easy to make, and delicious? I would try to make another batch of cookies the coming weekend.

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