Thursday, 7 January 2021

Avocado Pasta Recipe with Perfect Earth

I made this avocado pasta dish when we were residing in the states many years ago, where avocados were abundantly good and cheap. Recreated this dish yesterday, with organic pasta packs from Forever Young

Totally in love with their variety of healthy pasta choices consisting of chia rice pasta, chia pad thai pasta and rice pasta.

 

Perfect Earth pasta, Eclipse muesli, honey and chia seeds from Forever young

Perfect Earth gluten-free pasta is made from one of the most nutritious, organic rice varieties. With the added health benefits of chia seeds, this healthy alternative to conventional pasta offers omega-3 essentials, proteins, antioxidants and manganese, so you can eat your delicious pasta meal guilt-free! It delivers the kind of taste and eating enjoyment you love in traditional pasta without the gluten. Nothing is added aside from rice and water, and chia for their chia Pasta.

For a cautious start, I picked the brown rice pasta (without chia seeds) for the kids. A super easy recipe that requires no cooking at all! And because there's lemon, the avocado pasta will not turn brown after some time. Lemon prevents the oxidation process.

Assembling the ingredients

Recipe 

  • 1 packet of Perfect Earth brown rice pasta (225g)
  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup of parsley
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 

1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions, 6 to 9 minutes. Remove and drain well. 

2. Skin avocados. Combine avocados with parsley, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Blend till creamy. Season with salt and pepper.

3. In a large bowl. Add in pasta, tomatoes and the avocado sauce. Toss and coat pasta with the sauce. Serve! 

And if you are one mama like me, needing to add that protein into the kids' meal, you may grill some chicken or beef for add on. I did beef for the kids.

Ready for blend


Season with salt and pepper

 

With the protein - beef

Here's our eager boy wanting to dive into his pasta soon.

The plate is small, not that his head is huge
 

Have a try and let me know how it goes. For now, hop over to our Instagram handle, where we are running a giveaway of 4 pasta packs and 1 muesli. Giveaway ends 14 Jan 2021, 2359hrs.

 

Disclaimer: Sponsored post

Thursday, 3 December 2020

Our Family Advent Calendar Activities

I was a little delayed in making an advent calendar for the kids, but late better than never. An advent count the days in anticipation of Christmas, and we have included some treats and activities in our calendar. We did up to 25 days instead of 24 days. More fun!

And we made it out of toilet rolls.

Our advent calendar

STEPS
1. Wrap the rolls with wrappers. I did it because I didn't like its raw look. I had an old nice calendar that I could tear and wrap. Up-cycled that instead.

Wrapping the rolls!

2. Cover one of its openings with soft tissue wrapper and sealed it with yarn. The other opening is for inserting the treats and activity slip. 

Soft tissue wrap and yarn

3. Insert treats and activity slip from the other end of the opening. You may put them in a small plastic or wrap them small enough to fit in the roll. So that it doesn't slip out easily. 

Treats and activities

4. Find a best fit box that can fit 25 toilet rolls nicely. I sourced mine by cutting off the bottom of a box, with a side height of about 4 cm, to allow me to hold and put the calendar upright. Remember to write or paste the dates!

Almost there!
 

5. Colour and decorate the base box if you like to! We painted it red and green.

Counting down to Christmas!
 

Here are the activities I've included in each roll, for each day.

1. Read together for 15 minutes
2. Share one thing we love about each other
3. Play a board game together 
4. Watch a Chinese drama!
5. Let's do leaves painting
6. Write a letter to each other
7.  Sing karaoke - Popsical
8. Make a Thankful jar
9. Share about a favourite book
10. Lego master competition
11. Teach our dog a new trick
12. Bake and decorate cookies/cupcakes
13. Fix a 500 pieces puzzle together
14.  Make a pinata
15. Play hopscotch
16. Make fruits chocolate fondue
17. Indoor candy cane hunt
18. Watch a Christmas movie
19. Create a Christmas popsicle flavour
20. Play water gun/balloon
21. Do an indoor picnic
22. Let's go ice skating
23. Draw an imaginary character for a story
24. Go for a walk nearby
25. Play charades 

December is a happy month, it's important that we keep the activities light and easy. With little or no preparation work for the mama, me. Everyone deserves an easy wind down towards the tail end of the year. 

Have a great time with December!


Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Steamboat King Singapore Delivery [Review + Giveaway]

Preparing for a scrumptious steamboat can be quite an intense feat. Having steamboat dishes delivered to your table can ease us from some hassle, and here's one we tried last week, Steamboat King Singapore. 

We were in for a treat with its Steamboat King Bundle C (5-6 pax), it was definitely more than sufficient for our family size of 5 small eaters. Here's what our bundle included:

  1. Delicious Signature Soup Base (2L) x 2
  2. Fresh White Fish Slices (200g)
  3. Chicken Shabu (200g)
  4. Beef Shabu (200g)
  5. Pork Belly Shabu (200g)
  6. Pork Collar Shabu (200g)
  7. Chicken Sausage (200g)
  8. Luncheon Meat (Pork) (200g)
  9. Handmade Pork Balls (6 pieces)
  10. Japanese Steamed Rice (6 servings)
  11. Handmade Ramen Noodles (1 serving)
  12. Sweet Potato Noodle (1 serving)
  13. Enoki Mushroom (100g)
  14. Fried Beancurd Skin Roll (8 Pieces)
  15. Egg Tofu (100g)
  16. Chinese Long Cabbage (200g)
  17. Pearl Sweet Corn (6 pieces)
  18. Shanghai Green (200g)
  19. Shimeji Mushroom (150g)
  20. FREE Home-made Sambal Chilli Sauce (60ml x 2)
  21. FREE Thai Chilli sauce (60ml x 2)
  22. FREE Goma shoyu sauce (60ml x 2)
  23. Drink (1.5L) x 1
  24. Fresh Cold Fruits (6 pax)

Our feast!
 

Quite a feast eh?! There were so much leftover that we could do another round of steamboat for dinner. Our bundle selection began with 5 broth choices to choose from, with some requiring additional top up. We selected tomato soup, which was not too bad except that it was a tad sourish. Cooking and boiling along with the dishes made it much tastier. We ended our selections with choices of drink and fruit - chrysanthemum and watermelon for us.

Let's eat!

The meats and vegetables given were very fresh. I'm extremely particular when it comes to purchasing vegetables, and I've to say those in my given platter was beautifully fresh and green! In the event you received hotpot ingredients that are not fresh or stale, they will replace it for free! I love this assurance they give. Making our every cent worth.

Meat Platter

We love that its meat choices included all meat types - beef, pork, chicken and fish! The meats were mostly satisfying, just felt that the pork belly was too thick for steamboat, a little thinner would have been perfect. And of course, if the bundle deals don't work for your appetite, there's also a wide selection of ala carte menu to choose from. It's quality steamboat ingredients at affordable prices because they manage their own wholesale supply of steamboat ingredients. 

Enjoy free delivery when you spend above $100. Delivers anywhere in Singapore within an hour! Christmas is near, so Chinese New Year is not too far away! You have one steamboat option added. 

Photo credit: Owari Photography

 

Giveaway 
We have a set of Steamboat King Bundle (3-4pax) for giveaway to ONE winner.  Hop over to our Instagram post, @mumscallingblog for participating details. Giveaway ends 02 Dec, 2359hrs.
 

Steamboat King Delivery:

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Best in Singapore:

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Disclaimer: Sponsored post

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Heart Studio - Review (II)

Juboy ended his 10 weeks art lessons with Heart Studio. We shared the journey of his first 4 lessons in the previous post, where he drew a fruit bowl using different colouring mediums - colour pencils and paint. 

Subsequent lessons, he completed artworks of drawing and colouring various jellyfishes, and according to him, he said he drew a dragon! Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. I think his dragon is really cool. Along the weeks, I could tell that his pencil and colouring coordination skills improved tremendously. He used to dislike colouring, which is a fair understanding, especially when the area to be coloured is really huge. Recently, I spotted him taking colouring books to colour patiently when he's home. Practice surely makes it perfect.

Jellyfishes

Cool Dragon

Every artwork begins with drawing and colouring with colour pencils. Then the same drawing will be replicated, and brush painted with water colour or acrylic. It was good that he got to try the different mediums on his various art pieces. With that, he has also learnt some brush painting skills during art lessons. He was taught the various brush positions when painting, how using a sleeping or standing brush gives different draw strokes. As well as how to properly clean his brushes with these various brush positions. That helped him clean his brushes really well after each colour. Being the playful little boy at home, I am really amazed at how well he followed instructions.  

Cleaning his brush
 

Juboy was also taught how to do simple highlight to his drawings. In one of his drawings, he was asked where does he wants light to be shining from. From there, he was guided to do a highlight on his drawing. It was a rather impressive detail for a 4 year old.

And here's a cute secret. For doing his lesson right smack at 3pm on a weekend, he fell asleep while painting his dragon. It was a day that he refused to nap. His angelic teacher gave him a few minutes to hibernate, which I thought was really a nice gift of time for this tired preschooler.

Juboy really loves his art classes. No cries, no stress and no tug of wars when we shooed him off to class. Occasional tantrums, but all sorted out once lesson begin. I'm glad how the fun and engaging lessons kept his interest ongoing. It definitely helped that his teacher was extremely patient and encouraging. Love too, that his art pieces are also nicely presented and kept in a huge booklet.

Art Portfolio

Apart from his art progression, the best part was always hearing how he enthusiastically shared about what he drew after each lesson. More than just asking what he drew, I extended the conversation by asking about his colour choices, what part of the dragon this was and every detail I could find! It was always some good conversations for us.  

GIVEAWAY
We have TWO slots of Paper Tearing Landscape workshop (worth $85 each) to giveaway to TWO readers! This workshop is a unique approach of using paper to create landscape artwork. It elevates the creativity of our little ones to another level, guiding them in the technique of blending and exposure to colour combinations. The objective is to teach children to transpose what they see and break it down into layers, to enhance their understanding of composition and depths using the stenciling method through an organic approach. Workshop is suitable for 3 year old and above.

Sounds cool? I'm excited that Juboy will be in for this workshop too. Join the giveaway on our Facebook post and Instagram post. You may try your chances on both platforms. But first, ensure that you can make it on the following date and time, if you win. 

Date: 02 Dec 2020
Time: 9.30 am to 12.30pm

Winners need to be able to make it for this date and time slot. It cannot be exchanged for a different workshop or cash. 

 

Heart Studio

Address: 1 Charlton Lane #01-04, Singapore 539631

Contact: (65) 6554 7563

Email: info@heartstudiosg.com

Website: http://heartstudiosg.com

Instagram: @heartstudiosg

Facebook

Opening hours: 

Wed to Fri: 11.30am to 8.45pm

Sat: 9.30am to 6pm

Sun: 9.30am to 4.30pm

Disclaimer: Sponsored post

Thursday, 12 November 2020

My Social Media Dilemma

Many would have known that I lost my Instagram account about 2 months ago. Upset is an understatement, it's devastating! I remember vividly how I slid off my swivel chair and screamed in horror when I lost control to it. It was a day when all three kids were home, bugging for my attention while I was trying to boost an ad on Instagram. It was part of a paid collaboration agreement. I wanted to get things done that morning, so that the day and upcoming weekend would be work free for me. 
 
Many things swarmed up that morning when a link came through to my direct message box asking for my login details. I thought it was an part of the boosted ad seeking for some confirmation or whatsoever. First time with it, so I had no idea what comes next and I literally brisked read the content. It was all about timing when these two came together. And so, that was how I got phished without setting a two-factor authentication for that account. I belatedly do so now. I'm not sure if having Norton installed would have alerted this link that came through direct message, but I did so after that.
 
Instagram is still fairly fine and stable. After all, I went through it smoothly for 6 years. Only worry is how hackers get more innovative along the days, as more businesses and livelihoods depend on it. 

Photo credit: Hot For Security
 
The journey 

If you followed us through, I began blogging 11 years ago since the daughter was birthed. Then 6 years ago, I explored Instagram. It became a gradual migration from blogging to micro-blogging on Instagram squares. I still come back here to share when I have more than what Instagram captions can hold. So all these sharing and social media stuff were ingrained in me for a decade! 

There was an indescribable void upon losing this account. I know, it's just social media. But I had so much hard work and memories within, it was substantial enough to cause a burning ache.

Staying On Course
I was at 3800+ followers upon lost. Not a big deal to many, but definitely a big deal to this mama here. A big deal on our little red dot where population is small, and parenting demographic on Instagram is not high for my age. It was an account I lovingly and patiently build up for six years, and never once sought a quick way to get it up. Not even joining pod groups for likes, or follows exchange. Being a Mum, I'm stubbornly inclined to truth and authenticity. Sadly, that's not how most aspiring accounts are run. Likes and follows are sometimes strangely not correlated to the photos and captions shared. A terribly taken photo or account can astonishingly garner immense number of likes and followers! It dilutes the true appreciation of great content.

Here's one confession, I was tempted to inflate my new account the unorthodox manner after losing it. Just buy followers! Ok, don't try that. It's against Instagram's rules, you may be tracked. And buying of followers are usually non-local accounts, it affects the demographic distribution of your audience. I reminded myself why did this journey begin? It wasn't for income or fame, it began with just wanting to write, to inspire and be inspired. But of course, I do appreciate the streams of pocket money I get out of certain collaborations. It is a sweet pie to stay home mums, to be rewarded for the work and effort behind every post. Which of course, with little followers now, it translates to less opportunities. It's time to go slow, perhaps. 
 
Many collaborations sprouted throughout my journey, but I was careful to not become an outright advertising platform. No one likes subscribing to adverts. I still love bringing in spaces of my personal thoughts at times.
 
The Social Media Dilemma
In midst, I watched the Social Media Dilemma documentary on Netflix. I saw how social media monetises and manipulates users with algorithms, hijacking people's brains and dividing society. Social media can change a lifestyle. It didn't convince me to delete or deactivate my social media accounts, instead I turned off all my social media and whatapps notifications after watching. I've learnt to be more disciplined with its usage, and allocate scheduled or appropriate time for it. I don't want to get distracted at the wrong time and wrong place. I believe urgent matters will come through the line.  
 
 
There's more to explore in life than just social media. There are books to read, home to build, family to bond and many more! More importantly, I want to set the appropriate role model on social media usage for my kids.
 
I've also read 'Ten arguments for deleting your social media accounts right now' by Jaron Lanier. Interesting read, but I'm still hanging around my accounts. Simply because deleting social media accounts is not solution, it's mindset we have to work with. Undoubtedly, what many share on social media can float up various emotions in us. We can't control what the world shares, but we can control how to perceive it. We need to cultivate the mind of knowing that social media is not our judgement, it should not spike us, it should not waver our insecurity or self-esteem, and most importantly, we should not allow it to degrade our character. Which is more valuable than anything you can buy. When we are tempted to lash out or put someone down on these platforms, sift through the thoughts carefully.  

The idea behind 'Likes' on Facebook began with wanting to spread positive vibes in the social media realm. Along the years, it became one that determines the self worth, and to some self-esteem. It should not be a standard of excellence that determines personal value. We have bigger goals and visions out of social media.
 
These are the essential values of social media usage that I want to ingrain in the kids as it grows to become a bigger part of this world. It's not reasonable to get our kids avoid social media totally, instead we can teach them what lies within, what to share and what not to share, what to read and how to flea when you are wrongly influenced by content.
 
It involves much thoughts about an intention before hitting the 'share/post' tab. Do we want to share something purely for bragging? Do we want to share something to intentionally upset a friend? Or do we want to share based on bad underlying intentions? Privacy and lashes once given away are not retractable. What's shared has to be extremely well thought of. It's not too soon before the kids become teenagers, wanting their social media accounts. Teenagers are the most vulnerable group when it comes to social media.

Let me share a story that ached me years ago at a beauty salon. I was trimming my eyebrows at a hipster beauty salon where I was sat next to 3 young girls. Secondary school girls I believed. Not that I'm hip, it's just more affordable at these places and stay home mums are frugal. For sitting next to them, I became an accidental eavesdropper. One of the girls was telling her friend, "She saw my IG story!" Another went, "She did! She knows we're hanging out without her." My motherly heart sank. I've thoughts of how my children may one day become a social media bully or victim! If you know a friend will get upset over that, don't even bother to post in the first place!

Yes, it's the social media dilemma. The love and the hate out of it.

After hacked
Days after losing my account, I thought, finally a good break! I paused all collaborations that allowed me to hold back, while I sorted behind the scene on trying to get my account back. Obviously, there was no successful outcome connecting with Instagram. It was a bigger pain dealing with them. I reckoned it would better off starting a new account.

What sign was this? I was constantly running the thought of its significance. I prayed hard and sought God for directions. I was also getting weary. I would have halted if there were not any outstanding commitments. I'm ageing and my kids are growing. They have traded innocence and adorableness for 'publicity' since birthed. And each time we work with a brand, it's not just getting myself into frame, but the kids who are helping with the photo styling. Parents, you know how tough it is when it comes to photography! So yes, it's an onerous journey.
 
I went on a 10 days social media detox. Quite unintentionally, because I had no idea how to pick up the pieces. To move on, or to end. I had campaigns and products on hand that wasn't fair to the brand if I continued posting. I felt really sorry for that. On a hindsight, my Facebook and blog are still in tact. There will always be things to thank for. Yet, it's nice how the world isn't that bad after all, with brands still encouraging me to proceed working with them.
 
Whatever decision ahead, I created a new account on that very same day. Secured an account name first. Having to start all over again is arduous! Which means more time and heaps of hard work if I want to grow this account. I do love photo styling, writing and content creation, but I'm not sure if I've what it takes to rebuild again. Akin to a newborn, I keep reminding myself that I should not despise small beginnings. I'm back on social media, but perhaps with a less eager mindset in advancing.
 
@mumscallingblog


The empathy
I hope my foolishness is one living story to prevent a repeat. I thought that I would cry big time over this, but I didn't. Instead, I teared when I saw how the people I got to know through the social media realm readily shared my new account on their Instagram story. In hope to garner some previous and new followers to my new account. And I've only met most of them virtually. This is one that really warms the cockles of my heart. *wink* Very thankful and grateful for them.
 
The older kids were really comforting, Jazz went round asking our extended family and friends to follow my new account. Jare eased my ache by telling me that good things lie ahead after something bad happens. The roles reversed! My kids became my counsellors. And of course, I made it back into good shape after a few days. It's an intangible lost after all.

It's a lengthy post. Words just flood when I've so much to say. Thanks for hanging around! But maybe, the key message is this > follow my new account on Instagram, @mumscallingblog. Thanks Thanks!