Our Chap Goh Meh aka Chinese Valentine’s Day

On the 15th day of Chinese New Year or Chap Goh Mei, the Yaps had their customary dinner at a Chinese restaurant. This year was at Super Tanker. By the time we got home, it was already 11ish pm. The moment we entered our house, we heard explosive bangsnaps of fireworks. We ran excitedly to the window to catch a better view of it.  It was a spectacular one and  was released from the Thean Hou temple.  We could watch it very clearly from the 5th floor of our unit.  Drama Queen and I rushed to our handbags to whip out our phone and start snapping the pix of the fireworks display…

Image may contain: one or more people

 

Image may contain: one or more people

Our 15 days Chinese New Year celebration ended on a high crow this rooster year. What is so special about Chinese New Year to me?  Apart from all the reunion dinners and special food, it is the time I reminisce about the birth of my no. 2 on ‘chor 8‘ (8th day of CNY) in 2005.  This year her Chinese birthday does not fall during CNY nor on Valentine’s Day. In two days, my very loud and brazen middle child will turn 12 and will officially get her own My Kad 🙂

 

Mid Autumn Festival 2016

The weather for this year’s Mid Autumn Festival was just perfect, unlike previous years which were wet.  We saw the big round moon shining majestically against the backdrop of the the night sky, illuminating it.   We had dinner at our usual Chinese restaurant with the girls’ grand aunt and grand uncle.

Since I didn’t have to cook dinner, I allowed Drama Queen to bake a cake for her granny (my mum) who will be celebrating her 70th birthday  on 19 Sept 2016.  For weeks, Drama Queen has planned to bake a gluten-free cake complete with frosting for her beloved granny.  My parents and younger brother, Roy will be arriving KL from Taiwan  tomorrow, after a week-long cruise from Taiwan to Okinawa, Japan.   We will be celebrating her birthday in KL this year.  I shall put up a post on the awesome gluten-free strawberry cake that Drama Queen baked for her granny… with SO MUCH LOVE! 🙂

After dinner, I brought Cass down to the lobby for a walk with her lantern.  She got the lantern from her Sunday School teacher last Sunday. It’s a basic no-frills paper lantern that probably costs a Ringgit each but Cass liked it anyway.  The 2 big girls were such spoil-sport. They commented that it’s such a bore to walk downstairs in the darkness without any lantern.  And the hubs was just plain lazy to move his butt. DUH!!  So it was just Cass and I.

Cass enjoyed her short walk with me and commented that she really enjoyed the stroll and chit chatting with me… just the both of us 🙂

After our walk, Cass created quite a stir at home. My bad too, for forgetting to blow off the fire on the candle before we stepped into the house.  She brought the lantern into the house and twirled around with it inside the house, dancing gleefully, under the ceiling fan.  She lost balance twirling round and round and dropped the lantern on the floor– onto her sister’s school bag! Our part-time helper had just finished wiping the bag and left it on the floor to let it dry.  I quickly pushed the burning lantern away from the bag. Seconds later, there was a mini bonfire right in front of our eyes.  Ashes were blowing in the air. I quickly turned off the fan. Hubs quickly brought a cup filled with water and poured it on the burning lantern. Phew! I could feel my thumping heart in my mouth!

Earlier in the afternoon, I walked right into Cass as she made a sudden turn backwards towards me when she was walking in front of me, resulting in my big toe nail yanked off… and the side of the toe nail was still stuck to the skin.  Oh. my. gawd.  That was another nerve-racking few minutes for me as I tried to cut it off with a nail clipper.   It still hurts now.

Now that my toe nails are in such bad shape, I have no more reasons to procrastinate visiting the nail salon early next week!

 

This year’s Mid Autumn Festival is such an eventful one where Cass almost burnt her sister’s bag (and maybe the house down too!) with her burning lantern and I think she will probably remember it until she’s a hundred years old 😀

Chinese New Year Day 2 and 4

On the 2nd day of CNY, we got up very early in the morning. We had a train to catch at 9am! Gawd, that was really early for me as it’s a holiday and I wanted to sleep in! I had to crawl out of bed at 5am, first to bring Cass to pee and then to do my slavery chores. At 8am, the hubby used his mobile app to get two cabs from GrabTaxi. We needed 2 cabs to bring the 6 of us plus our luggage to KL Sentral to take the ETS.

KL Sentral station was jam packed with people and there was a 10-minute delay.

After a 2-day joyful reunion with my family and relatives, with lots of meat-heavy meals, we headed back to KL on the 4th day of CNY, by ETS.

Once back at our home sweet home and settled down, we went to our favorite friendly neighborhood restaurant for lunch and tucked into our favorite ‘char siew’, ‘siew yoke’, roast chicken and ‘choy keok’ (Chinese Mustard Vegetable Stew)…

 

Yup, another meat-heavy meal!!  But funnily, we did not get sick or cloy with the food here. This restaurant serves the best ‘char siew’ in the world… even better than those that I had tasted in Ipoh, Hong Kong and Chinatown in Auckland.

While everyone gobbled down the roast meat to their hearts’ content, I whacked a big bowl of ‘choy keok’ (Chinese Mustard Vegetable Stew).  Yummy, my absolute favorite!

The mil’s favorite roast duck thigh…

 

After 4 days of over loading ourselves with meat, cookies and fried food, thankfully everyone is still not sick.  We have Izumio to help wash away all the nasties and heatiness as well as to alkalize our body.

Yesterday I had a pleasant surprise when I logged into my Naturally Plus account. I saw RM765 credited into my account. That’s my bonus for this week. It’s only the second week of February and I already have a 4-figure income in my bank account.  Thank you Naturally Plus and thank you God!  If you want to earn a passive income like I am now, do drop me an email at shireenyong@gmail.com

Gong Xi Fa Cai to all! 🙂

 

Eve And First Day of Year Of Monkey 2016

Eve of CNY dinner was at the girls’ grand uncle’s house as usual.  After a ‘big meat big fish’ dinner  (in Cantonese, it literally means a lavish dinner consisting of mainly meat and fish), which is customary of the Chinese, we had the usual ang pow giving and photography session.

Below – Cass receiving an ang pow from her favorite grand uncle.

On the first day of CNY, it is by custom meat-free for half a day.

My first assignment of the day was to tie knots on golden needle vegetables — a bowl full of ’em!

Golden needle vegetable is just one of the key ingredients in the ‘chai choy’ (Chinese vegetarian dish), traditionally eaten on the first day of Chinese New Year. It is not vegetable but is the edible species of a flower’s bud. It is called ‘gum jum choi’ (written as 金針菜 in Chinese), literally golden needle vegetable.

Below – the mil’s ‘chai choy’.  She woke up very early today to prep the ingredients. This dish is labour-intensive with lots of washing, chopping and of course frying it.  After prepping this, she went for her usual morning swim.  After her swim, she fried a big pot of ‘chai choy’, which would last us for 3 meals on the first day of CNY. We all had our brunch at 10:30am, which is a tradition of the family.

I’d like to wish all my Chinese readers and those celebrating this festival “Koong Hei Fatt Choy”, good health, good wealth and an abundance continuous flow of happiness all year round!

 

Boxing Day – 26 December 2015

We had visitors at our place on Boxing Day!

My parents, brother, SIL and niece from Singapore came for a short 3-day 2-night stay. Our girls were so happy to see them again.

My dad got loads of hugs from Cass and Raelyn. One calls him ‘koong koong’ and the other calls him ‘yeh yeh’.

The 2 cousins love to hug dad 🙂

We had dinner at our favorite neighborhood restaurant.

Hubby ordered my favorite roast chicken. This restaurant dishes out one of the best roast chicken, char siew and siew yoke in the world. I kid you not.  The roast chicken comes with super crispy skin with a moist and toothsome interior, in every bite.  I even doggy-bagged all the breast meat, which I will use to cook fried rice or pasta.

Below – sweet and sour pork (the girls’ favorite dish. I would say almost all kids love this tangy and appetizing dish) and steamed fish.

Below – pan-fried aromatic soy sauce prawns.  There were also 2 plates of veggies with no pictures taken of.

After dinner, we headed to Pavillion to see the vibrant X’mas decor.  The entire mall was swarmed with people of all ages, races and smell!  For a moment, it felt like we were at the busy shopping area of Causeway Bay, Hong Kong on a weekend night just 2 weeks earlier. The sea of people was intimidating and we just could not relax as we were all very wary of our handbags.

We quickly did some camwhoring with the Xmas decor…

Cass and Raelyn – the 2 bffs. Though 4 years in age gap, they are nonetheless at the same wavelength and the two can really chatter and play till the cows come home. From morning till way past midnight, they are still yakking and playing and I would be drop dead conked out on the bed. We’ve been sleeping past 1 am the past few nights.

Cass and Raelyn’s joy ride with koong koong / yeh yeh on the way to the restaurant…

 

Below – Dad and mum enjoying their Kindori black sesame ice-cream @ Tokyo Street. Dad is 72 and mum 69 this year. May they be blessed with many more healthy and blissful years of spreading their love and company with us.

 

Winter Solstice and Early X’mas Celebration In Ipoh – 21 & 22 December 2015

We went shopping for X’mas pressies on 21 December 2015 in Ipoh. Also got our girls their extra pairs of school shoes. Now, I’m going to have a problem lugging the bulky shoes back to KL tomorrow as we are taking the ETS (electric train service) without the hubs around to help me. I’m going to get the girls to carry their own shoes since they reassured me that they will lug them back to KL!

Lunch with my parents and younger brother at Seoul Garden, Jusco Kinta City…

Back home – mum, Sherilyn and Cass continued with round 2 of tang yuan making, which was to stuff the peanut, black sesame and mung bean filling into the dough before rolling them into balls.

 

Dinner was ‘ngar choi kai’ (bean sprouts chicken) and ‘kai see hor fun’ (shredded chicken flat rice noodles)…

 

22 December 2015…

My brother, SIL and niece from Singapore arrived in Ipoh by plane.  After picking them up from the airport, we went to a nearby coffee shop for Ipoh hawkers’ fare.

Back home, we had an early X’mas celebration and birthday cake cutting ceremony for my brother, Raymond.

 

 

Cempedak birthday cake from JJ Swissroll for my big bro, yummeh!

Next, we had tang yuan with red bean soup.

We’re off to a Chinese restaurant for a scrumptious family reunion dinner. For the Chinese, the Winter Solstice festival is more important than the Lunar New Year. Here’s a little history on why this is so…. During the Han Dynasty, the Chinese believed that after the solstice, days became longer and so did positive yang energy. Emperors and commoners alike would spend the day offering to the heaven and to deceased relatives. Today, many of the traditions continue.

I’d like to wish all my Chinese readers a very happy Dong Zhi festival 🙂

 

Qing Ming 2014

It was Cass’ maiden participation in Qing Ming this year. Her sisters had partaken twice in the past. She was very curious to visit the graveyard and pestered me to bring her to the graveyard. Actually I did not intend to bring her along this year but with her persistence, I caved in.  So on Sunday, 30th March, a day after my birthday celebration in Ipoh, we woke up very early to visit the graveyards in Tambun.  And Cass was so excited that she woke up first and then jolted me and her sisters up from our beauty sleep, just so she could go to the graveyard, HA HA HA!

So here they are at the first graveyard, which was the tomb of hubster’s great grandparents and the girls’ great great grandparents.  The girls’ two little uncles from London were back to partake in this year’s Tombsweeping Day as well and they were equally excited!
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Cass and her little uncle, who is the same age as her were happily counting ‘MONEY” and distributing them into several bundles before burning them.  The kids loved the burning part.  It was a chance of their lifetime to be able to burn papers and joss sticks without getting chided for.

 photo TOMBSWEEPING2_zpsbc55440d.jpg

After visiting 3 tombs in 3 hours under the scorching hot sun, we were all sweating profusely, flushed and dying to drink water.  At the graveyard, we kept water drinking to the minimum, to prevent the urge to pee.   When I asked Cass if she would like to do this again next year, her answer was “no”.  I knew it.  But their daddy being the filial son, grandson and great grandson will assuredly drag the girls along again next year, without any doubt.

What about you?  Did you fulfill your duty of sweeping the tombs this year to pay respect to your loved ones in the afterworld?

 

 

 

 

 

Chinese New Year Shopping… Again

This morning, after sending my car for a wash, hubs and I went to do our CNY shopping at a nearby mini mart. I love shopping at this mini mart as it carries a wide variety of fresh produce, organic food stuff and Japanese food stuff. Prices  are reasonable and the fresh produce as well as dairy products are fresh.

Here’s part of our loot in the car – total of 9 boxes of ‘gold’ (Mandarin oranges)

Pre CNY1

 

Part of our loot at the check-out counter…

The oranges in the rectangular box are from Japan and they are so joyfully sweet and juicy! The best that I’ve ever tasted thus far.  But a bit pricey at RM64.88 a box for 12 oranges.  Whatcha expect, flown in from Japan what. But it’s OK la, we only eat this once a year.

Pre CNY2

 

Mandarin oranges and fresh fruits galore. So many to choose from, I so wanted to buy all the fruits there!!  I LOVE fruits and can survive on a fruits, veggies, nuts and eggs diet. One day, I’ll turn into an ovo-lacto vegetarian (vegan who eats eggs and dairy products), yes I will! Lately, I am cutting down on meat quite a bit.

Pre CNY3

 

These pretty big apples printed with auspicious Chinese meanings caught my eyes and I bought some to be given away to the girls’ teachers.   They are sold at RM10 for two.

Pre CNY4

 

CNY is the best time to reap some quick big profits for shopping malls and supermarkets while it is the worst time for us consumers. Many of us are still recovering and reeling from the year-end celebrations and back-to-school expenses and now, money is flying out again inevitably! Hopefully the God of Prosperity will pay us a visit this year and reward us with a big bonus! I promise I’ll do good, lots of good deeds 😀

Pre CNY5

First Day Of Our Year Of Sssssssssnake

We had our  reunion dinner at the hubs’ uncle’s house yesterday. Everyone was hissing with laughter, tossing yee sang and feasting on lots of rich CNY dishes from chicken (organic chicken) to pomfret fish, loads of pork dishes, braised mushrooms with sea cucumber, duck, gigantic prawns, several veggie dishes, soup and an array of CNY desserts and snacks.

Today, as part of our CNY tradition, my mil cooked fried vegetarian  vermicelli and a vegetarian dish.  In the morning, we had a Skype call on the mil’s iPad with her 3rd daughter in New Zealand.  The girls tempted sam koo ma with the fried vegetarian vermicelli and mandarin oranges. It was great catching up with her and her pair of cutie twin boy and girl.

The girls ‘offering’ kam (mandarin oranges) to sam koo ma

After our vegetarian lunch, hubs and I gave ang pow to our brood of 3 and they were taught how to say sweet verbal offerings to the elders.

And after this ang pow ceremony, we went to Mid Vally Megamall. Whilst the hubs, the mil and the 3 girls watched ‘Journey To The West’, I had a great time shopping — bought clothes for the girls and myself and shoes for myself haha! Nothing gives me better satisfaction than retail therapy, sssssshehehehehessssssssssssss…….

Here’s wishing my family members, all my readers and all my friends a very happy, prosssssperoussss and sssssssssmooth sssssssailing year of the Ssssssssssssssssnake!  Ularla!!

Winter Solstice Dinner At Nihon Kai Japanese Restaurant @ Old Klang Road

Last Winter Solstice festival, we had dinner at Han Room @ The Gardens.  That cost the hubs a bomb.   This year, I suggested Nihon Kai Japanese Restaurant as it would cost lesser to dine at a Japanese restaurant on a Chinese festival.   I’m glad we chose Nihon Kai, our favorite family Japanese restaurant as we had a sumptuous dinner and the price was pretty reasonable.  We had so much food that we had enough to take-away for lunch today, so happy coz 1 meal less to prepare today 😀

Nigiri Sushi, Ebi Tempura Maki and fresh salmon sashimi.

See how fresh the raw salmon is. Love this to bits.  Love the freshly chopped raw radish too.

Ramen – authentic Japanese noodles with egg, bacon and Japanese fish cake.

These 2 plates of protein were MINE!  Salmon Butteryaki and my favorite grilled Shishamo (pregnant fish). The 2 huge chunks of salmon only cost RM23, so ‘tai’ and value for money! That’s the reason why Nihon Kai is perpetually packed to the brim.

Edamame beans is one of our all-time favorite Japanese snacks.

Teppanyaki oyster for my seafood fanatic cum foodie hubby but he was dead tired to experience any surge in libido after consuming this plate of aphrodisiac haha!

Tanin Don for my ‘rice pot’ Alycia

This huge Saba Terriyaki only cost RM16.  The portion was so big that we had the fish cut into half — half to be eaten on the spot and half for our lunch today, so happy!

Damage done was RM227.15 for 2 adults and 3 big eaters kiddos.  I think the price was very reasonable as the portion for the dishes was big and we could even take-away for our lunch today!  Really ‘tai toe lan’ (worth it).

The fat daddy pig was so full that he almost dozed off at the dining table, with 3 little piglets resting on his chest muahahahahaha!!

Thanks to a good friend who so kindly gave us some yummy homemade tong yuen for dessert 🙂