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25 December 2009

Bedazzled Christmas @ The Curve

24 Dec 09

It has been a long, long time since I updated my blog. Pardon me for the silence. We're in between maid for almost 2 months now and we are still waiting patiently for our new maid to arrive.

I have many things to update in my blog and am not sure when will I get the chance to update them one by one. I hope to do so eventually. Till then, I am very excited about Christmas and would like to take this opportunity to wish all my family, friends and colleagues ...

"Merry Christmas and may Joy and Happiness be with you all the time."

Christmas is my favourite time of the year. I like the gatherings with family, friends and colleagues, the atmosphere at shopping malls, the decoration, the songs, etc.

I've attended the Year End Christmas party hosted by Citibank at Hardrock Cafe on 13 Dec 09. I went with Jared, Jaden, Darren, Jaselyn and my eldest sister. My company had Christmas dinner at d'italiane at Jaya 33 on 17 Dec 09.

I took a day off from work today. My mother in-law left for Ipoh this afternoon. She came since last Friday to help us out. My mother in-law woke up early this morning to boil winter melon soup for us. Hubby and I are glad to have her around to help us out, especially she cooked for us her famous fried yong tau foo. Today, we had vegetarian lunch near our place and thereafter, we sent her off to train station.

We adjourned to The Curve. I had a voucher for a free photo and decided to take a family photo with the nice Christmas decoration. The quality of the free photo is not as good as expected. The photo was reddish. I'm glad that I brought my own camera along as Jared and Jaden were in photo taking mood.

These are the photos taken at The Curve today.

We also shopped for Christmas presents for Jared and Jaden. We bought "Flushed Away" DVD for Jared and Ikea train set for Jaden.

Gotta go ... need to wake up early tomorrow. We were invited by Jared's classmate family for a Christmas breakfast at their church. The family hosted a table and we are their guests.

Merry Christmas ... ho ho ho!

25 October 2009

Hats Off to the Grad! It’s Party Time!

27 Sep 09

Jared was very excited about his birthday. He had been talking about his birthday since the beginning of the year. This year, he wanted a birthday party rather than the usual 20 minutes birthday celebration in school.

Hubby and I discussed and thought of a few celebration options ... have a big party at Club House, food catering at home with tent and clown, kids party in baking school, small gathering at home with close friends, party with Krista school mates and teachers, etc.

Finally, we decided on a birthday party at home with Jared's classmates and teachers from Krista. We were thinking since this is the last year that Jared will be in pre-school and most of his classmates will not be in the same class or school as him. We would also like to show appreciation to those teachers in Krista who have nurtured him over the last 4 years.

Since we did not know Jared's classmates and their parents, we need to give proper invitation with details of the party. I searched on the Internet for card making software and didn't like any of them. After a few days of searching, Hubby goggle search and emailed this Printable Birthday Invitation link to me.

While deciding on the design and wordings on the invitation card, lots of idea came to my mind. I scribbled the birthday invitation wordings along these lines ... Jared and his classmates will be graduating from pre-school, they will move into primary school, its a graduation, its a farewell, its also a celebration of Jared's Birthday, etc.

Jared likes Pokemon and I chose those characters for the invitation cards and mix them with some graduation and cupcake pictures.

Finally, this is what I printed on the invitation card:

"As we bid farewell to Pre-School years, let’s celebrate the beginning of Primary School Years. Jared will be turning 6 and we would like you to join in the Birthday Celebration too!"

I also thought of the activities for the day. Nowadays, it is a trend for kids to have parties in baking school where kids will make pizza, decorate cookies or cupcakes and get to take them home in a nice gift pack. I did make some enquiries and noticed that its quite pricey to have such party in baking school.

I decided to have my own version of cupcake decorating session for kids and printed this on Jared's birthday invitation card itself "Please RSVP to decorate your own cupcake to bring home". I knew this would create some excitement in the kids. I included Hubby and my handphone numbers for the parents to RSVP.

I printed 20 invitation cards, fold them and asked Jared to write his guests name on the invitation and envelopes.

I bought these colourful envelopes from Popular Bookstore.

We did not receive many RSVP phone calls or sms from parents of Jared's classmates. Unlike inviting our own friends where we could just email or sms to them to chase for confirmation. We did not have the parents contact numbers. I got worry as we need to know the number of people attending the party for food preparation purpose.

Few days before the party, I decided to print RSVP reply slip, wrote the classmates names, tick Yes or No and asked for contact number in case of emergency. It was a clever idea as most of the reply slip came back the following day. Malaysians are real lazy and love convenience though it means inconvenience for others :( I've forgotten to ask if any of the kids were allergy to any food. In future, I will include this RSVP reply slip in the invitation card itself.

It was a mix respond. Some of the classmates couldn't make it as it was still Hari Raya celebration, some asked if they could bring their siblings along which we welcomed very much, some came with their mother, etc.

I shall share more details on the preparation of the party, especially the busy day just before the party.

24 October 2009

Ming Ren Restaurant, Genting Highland

27 Sep 09

After the lovely lunch at The Olive, we brought 4th Auntie walked around Genting Highland. The last time she was there was more than 10 years ago.

In return, Hubby wanted to bring his 4th Auntie to try out Ming Ren Restaurant "Xinjiang's Lamb Speciality Cuisine". Ming Ren Restaurant is located in Level 2 of Highland Hotel. We have been to this restaurant several times as Hubby loves its tantalising, tender and succulent lamb dish.

    There were 2 choices of rice, the normal white rice or this special yellow mini rice (RM3++ each).

      We ordered 2 types of lamb dishes ie Roasted Lamb Ribs (RM41++).

        and Roast Lamb Skewer (at RM6++ each).

          Tempura Beancurd (RM16++)

          Stir fried Beijing Cucumber with Preserved Olive (RM 15++)

          We had Genting shareholder voucher and entitled 30% discount for the meal. The total bill was RM95.70.

          22 October 2009

          The Olive, Genting Highland

          27 Sep 09

          Hubby's 4th Auntie offered to take us out for fine dining as belated Birthday celebration for both of us since our birthday was in end Aug 09. She asked us to choose the venue.

          Hubby chose The Olive located at the Lobby Floor of Genting Hotel. This restaurant won the Restaurant of the Year for Hospitality Asia Platinum Awards 2005-2006. The last few times that we were in Genting the restaurant was closed as the only lunch that the restaurant is open is on Sunday. On any other days the restaurant is open for dinner only.

          The colour theme for the restaurant is "olive" and green with warm lighting.

          Trendy, cosy, yet modern and elegant ambiance.

          The Restaurant serves Continental cuisine ie meat, seafood, salads, pizzas, delicious desserts, fine wines and more.

          I decided to choose "Olive's Experience" 3 courses menu (RM 88.00++) consisted of Fragrant wild Mushroom Soup, Pizza Margherita and "The Durian" dessert.

          Our appetizer ... varieties of bread, one of it was in "Olive" shape, Season Platter (RM48++), Mushroom Salad (RM26++), Fragrant wild Mushroom Soup flavored with Fresh Herbs & Cep Powder (from the set that I ordered), etc

          Hubby ordered Angus Rib Eye (RM95.00++).

          4th Auntie ordered Roasted Chilean Sea bass with Ponzu Sauce set on bed Asparagus & Ragout of Mushrooms (RM60.00++).

          Pizza Margherita

          Hubby's choice of dessert, Cream Brulee (RM24++) ... sourish and tanga taste.

          Chocolate Lava Cake set on Dark Pitted Cherries & compliment with Ice Orange Soufflé (RM22.00++). Auntie only managed to finish half of it. I love hot chocolate cake with ice-cream and obviously, I cleared the other half of this dessert.

          The Durian, presented in such a nice, tempting way.

          Throughout the lunch, inclusive of our table, there were only 2 tables of customers in the restaurant.

          The opening hours of the Restaurant:

          Mondays to Saturdays: 6.00pm to 7.00pm

          Sundays: 12.00pm to 2.30pm and 6.00pm to 11.00pm

          20 October 2009

          Bake & Decorate Cupcakes

          26 Sep 09

          2 months back, I made Pink cupcakes for Andy's baby full moon and shared the photos with a few of my colleagues. Our marketing manager, Wendy, didn't believe that I made those. Subsequently, I baked and let her tested my cupcakes and she just loved it.

          One day, after our meeting, Wendy told me "Hei, we are going to have this concept store launching. Do you want to make cupcake for us?". It was an unexpected question and after a few Q&As, I decided to take up the challenge. Then, Wendy told our GM about it and he said "Why not? Its passion from our own staff." Wah lau ... that statement added on so much pressure on me.

          Lots of things and ideas came to my mind. I started thinking, planning and browsing through Internets on cupcakes and decorations. The problem with me was I can bake yummy cupcakes but I couldn't make pretty cupcakes. And this company's event was on "Decorate your own cupcakes". Then, I started to get worry. I spent lots of late hours to do research and cupcake decorating classes.

          Wendy asked me "How do you charge?". I've never done this as business, I only bake for family and friends. And how could I charge my company when I'm drawing salary from it? I decided to claim based on bills and requested for 2 things ... Cupcake decorating class and cake tray.

          I signed up for ICCA's Bake & Decorate Cupcakes hands-on class at RM120. The class covered some basic cupcakes decoration techniques.

          We learned how to bake vanilla cupcake. Honestly, I wasn't there to learn this but to ask questions regarding cake baking ie why cake rose and sink, why cake crack, what's the difference between Buttercup and Anchor butter, sensitivity of ingredients and how they react, etc. I was happy that I got the answers for most of my questions.

          Vanilla butter cream icing using Krimwell margarine. Personally, I would prefer the pink icing to be lighter in colour.

          Cutting off the dome effect on top of cupcake for ease of decorating.

          Swirl and sprinkles using Tip 1M.

          Rosettes (Tip 16) and leaves (Tip 352).

          Sunflower using Tip 352 and chocolate chunks.

          Flower power and star-filled centres using Tip 3 for outline and Tip 16 for stars.

          Star border (Tip 16) and name (Tip 3) in centre.

          The instructor decided to teach us additional tips ... Basket using Tip 16

          and Zig Zag using Tip 16 too.

          I like Tip 16, there's so much you can do with it.

          These are the cupcakes that I took home to show off to my family.

          I was more confident after the cupcake decorating class.

          19 October 2009

          Chin Swee Caves Temple, Genting Highland

          6 Sep 2009

          Many people may know about Chin Swee Temple in Genting Highland but many might not know the history, the temple, its attractions, etc.

          Hubby suggested to visit this temple after he read an article on The Star on "Temple gets a cable car station". Genting noticed there was an increase in the number of tourists visiting the temple and decided to construct the Chin Swee Cable Car Station, which links the temple to Genting Highlands via the Awana Skyway.

          There are lots of information on this temple in Resort World Genting website. According to the website, the late Tan Sri Lim discovered this serene site when he started building the first hotel in Genting Highlands Resort. While constructing the road leading to Genting Highlands, he spotted this cool rocky slope, covered with green tropical vegetation dotted with flowing streams, which was very similar to the Chin Swee Crag back in Penglai Village (where he was born) in Fujian, China. Since young, he watched his parents and relatives pay their respects to the Reverend Chin Swee and have their prayers answered. The late Tan Sri Lim was a devotee of the Reverend Chin Swee and he was inspired to build a similar temple when he saw the remarkable resemblance between the present Genting Highlands temple site and its original in China.

          The temple has 110 hotel rooms, a prayer hall, observation deck, Kuan Yin statue, a Sky Terrace, a waterfall, The Ten Hell Chambers, Nine Dragons Wall, etc. The panoramic view from the observation deck was excellent.

          The tranquil environment of the Temple at 4,600 feet above sea level is peaceful and an ideal place for retreat, prayers, reflection, meditation and self-discovery.

          We had our vegetarian lunch at its Vegetarian Restaurant.

          Michael Learns To Rock Enternity Tour 2009 Live in Malaysia

          5 Sep 2009

          Michael Learns To Rock ... I love their love ballads.

          When I knew of MLTR Eternity Tour 2009 Live in Malaysia on 5 September 2009, I told Hubby about it and he didn't have much reaction. Thereafter, I just close the subject.

          Then one evening, Hubby asked "Do you want to go for MLTR concert?" and I answered him "Why? You are not interested". Before I knew it, Hubby booked online 2 tickets for us to watch their concert live in Arena of Stars, Genting Highland. I took out MLTR album and started to listen to their songs again to prepare for the concerts.

          Despite the H1N1 outbreak, the hall was packed and I could hardly see anyone with face mask.

          Jascha Richter, Kåre Wanscher and Mikkel Lentz enthrall the Malaysian audience with their popular love ballads.

          MLTR is more famous in Asia. They shared their experiences in Asia.

          The Actor - the most played songs in Indonesia's radio station back then.

          Take Me To Your Heart - When MLTR were in Shanghai, while they were in a taxi, they heard the Chinese version of this song and liked it. They didn't understand the lyrics and decided to write this song in English.

          Hubby and I enjoyed the concert. It was much better than we expected. Glad that they sang most of their famous love ballads ... 25 Minutes, Paint My Love, Sleeping Child, Take Me To Your Heart, Nothing to Lose, I'm Gonna Be Around, That’s Why You Go Away, The Actor, You Took My Heart Away and many more.

          18 October 2009

          Strawberry Farm and Mushroom Farm, Genting Highland

          5 Sep 2009

          OMG ... I just realised that I've only posted 2 posts in the month of September. Yes ... I've been extremely busy for the past 1.5 months. Will do some updates and catching up posts here. Do bear with me and stay tuned.

          We went to Genting Highland in Sep 09. As I've mentioned, this trip to Genting was different. Rather than visiting theme parks, we visited a few other attractions of Genting.

          We visited Strawberry Farm and Mushroom Farm located in Gohtong Jaya, which are opposite of Genting Sports Club and next to Goh Tong Jaya Apartment. These were new attractions and they were so new that there were still some renovation work going on when we visited them. I believe not many people know about this place yet as there weren't many visitors there.

          We didn't pluck any strawberry as we've planned for holiday in Cameron Highland and plucking strawberry will be one of the activity there.

          There was also a Café selling strawberry shake, strawberry cake, strawberry tarts, light snacks, etc. The menu wasn't very exciting. Hope it will pick up when more people is aware of this eatery place.

          Next to this Strawberry Farm is the Mushroom Farm, which was a bonus trip for us as we were not aware of such farm available there.

          The concept of this farm was interesting. Hubby explained to Jared and Jaden how these mushroom grow. Its an educational trip for all of us.

          06 September 2009

          Genting Highland Sep 09

          Hubby bought Michael Learns to Rock’s (MLTR) Eternity Concert tickets which was held in Arena of Stars, Genting Highland.

          As Monday is a public holiday, we booked a night stay in Awana Genting using Genting vouchers. Hubby paid RM60 for the surcharge for shoulder period.

          We reached Awana Genting at 3.15pm on Saturday as both Jared and Jaden had their classes. We were upset when told that our room on non-smoking floor was not ready yet. It would take another hour for the room to be ready and they offered a temporary room in smoking floor for us to wait and rest. After checked in, we noticed the room is quite noisy and it was inconvenient for us to unpack and pack. Hubby complained to the front desk as the check-in time is at 3pm and there’s 3 hours for the house keeping to clean up their rooms and he requested to speak to their manager. Immediately, we were offered a room in non-smoking floor facing golf view. That was a surprise to us. The room just got ready within minutes.

          The view from our hotel room.

          This trip to Genting was a little different. After checked in to our room and had coffee and cupcakes (I brought some cupcakes), we had a swim in the resort.

          Thereafter, we visited the new Strawberry Farm and also Mushroom Farm located in Gohtong Jaya. Lastly, we had early dinner at Gohtong Jaya itself.

          At night, Hubby and I drove up to Genting for MLTR concert.

          The next day, we visited Chin Swee’s Temple and had vegetarian lunch there. Thereafter, we drove up to Genting for the kids to enjoy the theme park rides, since we have the annual passports.

          We have stayed in Resorts Hotel and we prefer Resorts Hotel than Awana Genting. Resorts Hotel is more comfortable and the hotel is newer and between walking distance to others attraction places. We did not have to drive up and down between Awana and Genting Highland and look for carpark. It was a challenge to look for carpark in Genting over the long weekend.

          On the way down from Genting, we stopped by Gohtong Jaya to buy fresh vegetables and cempedak (had fried cempedak fritters for tea today). We wanted to have strawberry shake, strawberry dipped with chocolate, etc for tea break at the Strawberry Farm but Jaden was asleep in the car.

          01 September 2009

          Pink Cupcakes for Baby Full Moon

          My schoolmate, Andy and his wife, Quin have another baby girl, Kyle. We were invited to their full moon party last Saturday.

          I love cupcakes and always wanted to make beautiful cupcakes. Since Kyle is a baby girl, I decided to attempt to make sweet, lovely cupcakes.

          For a few nights, I browsed through internet, baking magazines, Wilton book, etc to get some cupcake designs idea and also to look for more information on the right texture and ingredients for butter cream icing. Those nights, I fell asleep on baking books and magazines.

          On Friday, I dragged my colleagues to Wilton baking shop located opposite my office during lunch time and bought "Baby Booties" sugar candy.

          The next morning, I bribed my hubby to have breakfast at Old Town Kopitiam which was located near to House of Ingredients to buy Wilton Tip 1M (RM7.70), 4 Pastel Icing color (RM22.70), Cupcake baking cups (RM6.50 for 50 paper cups, love these white baking cups as no baking tray is required to bake cupcakes) and ingredients.

          I made butter cream icing and a total of 6 designs cupcakes in pink and cream colour, using Wilton tips. Thanks to my sister for letting me experiencing with her Wilton decorating tips.

          It was a project for me as this is my very first attempt to make cupcakes as a gift for special occasion. I am quite happy and satisfy with the results as I self-learned these decorations from internet, Q&A, etc. I wanted to attend classes to learn cupcake decorations but didn't get to do it.

          Hubby said the cupcakes looked professional and the icing was not too sweet ... hmm hmm.

          Neny came to my house the following day and tried the last 2 cupcakes left. She liked the butter cream icing as it was very smooth and not sandy. I was recommended to use glucose instead of icing sugar to obtain smooth texture icing.

          Mission completed!