Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Ben's 5th Birthday

This past weekend my youngest celebrated his 5th birthday. And in addition to being another year older here are 5 things you probably didn't know about Ben...

#1 He's a very thankful and appreciative child who can be easily pleased. I asked him what he wanted for his special breakfast and all he said was "oatmeal and fruits". The day before, we picked up some fruits at the grocery store and upon seeing me put in some strawberries and a cantaloupe into the cart, he replied "This is going to be the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!" 
#2 He loves visiting new places and discovering new things which is why we brought him to the Petrosains Science Center at Suria Mall where he learned a lot about science and got to do a whole bunch of hands on activities. Some kids might be a little sad having to spend their birthday in a new country, surrounded by new faces and away from their friends, but when we told Ben he'd be having his 5th birthday in Malaysia he was so excited. He even said, "Mommy, next year I wanna have my birthday in Egypt!" I just love his adventurous spirit...

#3 Ben loves to make funny faces and taking pictures definitely captures his range of expressions. Our nickname for him around the house is BEAN as in Mr. Bean and if you watch Mr. Bean then you know why. You can probably guess by now who's the culprit behind perfectly imperfect family photos.

I wonder where he gets it from. 
#4 After we had his birthday dinner at Chili's, we asked him if he wanted his chocolate cake for dessert. He said, "No". Baffled, we continued ice cream then? No. Cupcakes? No. Donuts? No. Brownie fudge sundae? No. Instead of a sweet treat or dessert with a candle on top, this boy asked for one thing and one thing only. MORE BUFFALO WINGS! He's probably the only 5 year old I know who'd rather have buffalo wings instead of cake and ice cream for his birthday. We sang happy birthday to him as he made a wish and "blew out" his spicy, saucy drumsticks. 

#5 But like any other kid on the planet, Ben LOVES candy. We only allow them candy on three occasions; Easter, Halloween and their birthdays. So to top off his birthday celebration we brought him to Candylicious where he was overwhelmed with the myriad of sweet, sour, fruity, chewy, chocolatey selections. After walking around the entire store several times and two visits to the restroom, he walked out with some Formula Sour juice candy and a Batman Pez dispenser. He was a happy boy.

Happy Birthday Ben and may you continue to be a thankful, adventurous, humorous, unique and happy kid! Love you BEAN!  

Saturday, October 25, 2014

10 Years, 10 Lessons and Anzani

Wedding Day October 2004
It's amazing how fast time flies. One moment you're slipping on your wedding dress on the morning of the big day and the next thing you know, you've popped out three kids and 10 years have come and gone. 

I've learned a lot over the past decade, however I'm no marriage expert. But I'm no newlywed either. Looking back, there was a lot of maturing, changing and growing that had to be done and I'm so grateful for every second of it. If I had to do it all over again, I would because I love where I'm at right now in life. 

10 years later...October 2014
I've learned to appreciate the journey that we went through as a married couple and as a family to get to where we are today. If there were 10 important life/love lessons I've learned over the pass ten years of being married (to the same man I might stress) it would be these...

1) Don't be afraid to admit when you're wrong. Not just for your spouse's sake, but for your own. It's quite humbling. 

2) The longer you complain about a situation, the longer it'll take for it to resolve itself. Suck it up, walk through that wilderness and know things will turn around for the better. 

3) It's OK to laugh at or with your spouse...during "sexy" time ;)

4) No matter how crazy, outlandish and impossible your spouse's dreams might be, support them anyways. You'll be surprised (or not) on what they can achieve when they know you believe in them and when they believe in themselves.

5) Change...it takes time and patience. But always remember that no matter how long it takes, change is inevitable. And in many cases, it's an overall positive one.

6) Choosing sides: your parents/family/relatives/friends or your spouse. Your spouse. ALWAYS choose your spouse (even if they're wrong)!

7) First and foremost, do it for yourself. Whatever "it" is, make yourself your number one reason. 

8) Share. Everything. Share your thoughts, your fears, your joys, your visions, your plans, your goals, your clothes, your blanket, your favorite snack you hide behind the veggies in the fridge...share everything!

9) It's better to hurt and disappoint with the truth than to continue living a lie. At least with the truth there's a chance for resolution, forgiveness and growth.

And finally...

10) Date Nights! They're a must, especially for couples with young children. Everyone needs a break from the brood every now and then and Date Nights are the perfect opportunity to be alone, focus on each other and watch adult movies in the cinema....and by adult I mean movies that aren't made by Disney or computer animation, not the other "adult" type films (but hey, whatever floats your boat). 

Which brings me to our wonderful evening of fancy dining, sweet treats and a movie that might have had a little too much dialogue, but still enjoyable all the same.

We celebrated our 10 year anniversary at an exquisite Mediterranean restaurant called Anzani.

Interior Dining
Terrace Dining 
We started off the meal with wine, artisan breads, and hummus...

Olive and Tomato Bread with olive oil, tomato basil and balsamic vinegar dips

Spicy Chickpea Hummus
Followed by our exquisitely plated appetizer, Five Wonders of the Ocean.

Oyster in white zabaione, seared US jumbo scallops, marinated Norwegian salmon, crispy squid,  and steamed lobster tail
Then it was on to the main course!

Baby Back Pork Ribs with steamed veggies, seven spiced crispy potato wedges, and cream of Rockford cheese sauce

16 oz. Australian Beef Porterhouse with steamed white rice, tomato stew and vegetable ratatouille, and whole green pepper corn sauce
A little photo op after dinner on the terrace which featured a beautiful view of the city down below.

Afterwards we had dessert at Red Mango and Vanille Patisserie for some froyo and macarons!

Frozen Yogurt with strawberries, red beans, mango and almonds

Hazelnut and Peppermint macarons

Banoffee Parfait
What a sweet way to end such a lovely evening. Happy 10 Years to my one and only...looking forward to another decade of love, happiness, adventures and of course many many more food trips! 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Spice Fusion Birthday

Yesterday we celebrated my husband's birthday and had another extraordinary dining experience, but this time it was at Spice Fusion. This place fuses the flavors of Southeast Asia with all its spicy, sweet and sour dishes. It's managed by Malaysian Chef Ling Sui Ching who does a great job of keeping their menu fresh and exciting by introducing new items on occasion.

But enough talk(type), here's what we had...

Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice, Mint Green Tea and Chrysanthemum Mint Tea
Dumpling Soup
Steamed Tofu Skin Shrimp Roll
Battered Chicken in a Basket
Sambal Mixed Vegetables
Grilled Tanguige Steak in Banana Leaf
Roasted Honey Pork Belly
Sizzling Pepper Beef

Everything was so good and the kids agreed the restaurant was top notch. My 4 year old even asked if we could go back and this is while we were STILL eating. No birthday meal is complete without dessert and what better way to end the celebration than with ice cream! But not just any ice cream...only THE BEST for my hubs.

Cookies 'n Cream, Milk Chocolate, Italian Cream Cake and Mocha Almond Fudge
Blue Belle...ma belle...sont les mots qui vont tres bien ensemble! It's been over 5 years since we've tasted your sweet, creamy smoothness and now we can experience your southern goodness once again. Happy Birthday daddy, hope you enjoyed your day of fun, shopping and good eats...Love ya' lots!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hong Kong: Nong Ping 360 and Po Lin Monastery

Another awesome family vacation in the bag. We can never get enough of Hong Kong because there's so much things to see and do and we barely scratched the surface with last year's Disneyland trip.

The Big Buddha and the 250+ steps we climbed to get to it.
Our trip was a little longer this time around so we were able to see  more sights like Ngong Ping 360 and the Po Lin Monastery which was the highlight of our vacation. We went on a 20 minute cable car ride overlooking the ocean and mountains, climbed up 250+ steps to see the Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha), and delighted our bellies with a vegetarian lunch at the monastery's restaurant. 

Boarding the cable car, kids not too sure about it all.

But apprehension soon turns into excitement and discovery.

Views below from the cable car.

Exploring Ngong Ping 360 Village before heading to the Big Buddha.

Atop the Big Buddha, climb was not that bad.

Vegetarian lunch included tofu, mushrooms, bean curd, deep fried spring rolls, soup and hot tea.
After our visit to the monastery we checked into the Rosedale Hotel Kowloon (highly recommended by the way) and headed out for dinner. We had dinner at Cafe De Coral which is considered to be one of Hong Kong's popular "fast food" chains...

Baked pork chops, spicy sausage, sweet bbq pork, spaghetti, beef soup, and bbq duck.
If this is what they consider "fast food" then count me in, I'd eat you ALL DAY!

And according to my children, no trip to Hong Kong would be complete without a visit to Disneyland which basically made up all of Day 2's itinerary.

I would say this Disneyland visit was more relaxing, less rushed and a lot more enjoyable since we've seen almost everything in previous visits and we just focused on the rides and shows we missed last time. Like the AutoPia car racing ride that my youngest was too small to get on last year let alone drive. This year all three kids were tall enough to drive. Check out Zoe speeding like a boss at 100+ kph (really 10 kph but the speedometer was exaggerating a bit)...

Traveling with kids can be such an adventure and my children were awesome sports. They tried foods they weren't familiar with, conquered fears of height and speed, and didn't mind all the walking we did in the three days we were in Hong Kong. I'm pretty sure I burned about a million calories so that should make up for all those carbs I consumed ;)

See you next year Hong Kong!
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