Saturday, October 3, 2015

Naomi's 3rd Birthday Celebration

Say hello to October!

My darling Naomi turned 3 two Sundays ago but since I was so crazy busy lately, I can only blog about it now.

As previously shared, we celebrated Naomi's 3rd birthday party in her play school/day care with her friends and teachers. I had also flown my parents from Indonesia to Malaysia so they got to celebrate Naomi's small birthday celebration this year. The party was planned to commence at around 4.30pm in view that if we held the party before 12, many (day care) kids would cry when the party was over and when they noticed us leaving the school in the afternoon. As such, Naomi's teacher suggested us to hold the party just before the kids go home in the evening. No biggie, I obliged.

For Naomi's birthday this year, I selected a cute dinosaur theme. Reason is Naomi was so into dinosaurs back in late August and early September when I was planning her mini birthday party. Back then, whenever she saw dinosaurs on TV or books, she'd smile, point at them and scream "Dinosaurs! Aaargh!". Whenever she saw crocodile or rhino, she'd claim them as "Dinosaurs!" too. When we went to toy shops, she was keen to bring some dinosaurs miniatures home too. I wonder why she was so obsessed with dinosaurs instead of Hello Kitty or Olaf. Are these two adorable characters way too mainstream for her liking?

As dinosaurs sounded so boyish to me and my girl's temporary heartthrob then happened to be dinosaurs, I thought of coming up with a birthday celebration that was in line with her current interest. In addition, I embedded a slight girly touch to the dinosaur theme so it was not looking so tomboy.

DIY party bags for the birthday party. 

We celebrated Naomi's birthday in her school a day after her actual birthday because our culture in Indonesia forbids celebrating one's birthday before his or her actual birthday dues. Since Naomi's birthday party was in late afternoon, my Mom and I decided to make extra chocolate snacks for the kids after our lunch. We spent some time making the chocolate balls's dough, rolling them into small balls and decorating them with rainbow chocolate rice and dinosaur labels.

Home made sweet treat for the birthday party.

Tick.. tock.. tick.. tock.. Finally... The time that we had been waiting for, Monday - 4.30pm, was about to come and we quickly put all the party goodies inside the car. However, just before my parents and I drove to Naomi's school to get her birthday stuff ready, glorious heavy rain dropped! What a timing. The sky was so dark and pouring hard, not to mention the strong wind too. MIL who planned to attend Naomi's party had to cancel her attendance because of this sudden torrential rain.

My parents and I arrived to Naomi's school at 4pm ++ and Naomi's teacher had decorated the school's multi-purpose area with some balloons. Some kids were already running around the area while playing with colourful balloons.

All decorations, except the name banner, were prepare by Naomi's teacher.

When we reached the school, Naomi was already dressed in her new birthday dress that my Mom bought in Surabaya. Not long after we arrived, my husband joined us too.

Greetings from the birthday girl!

Moving on, Naomi and her friends had a good peek on the dinosaur birthday cake that we had yet to take out from the box because we scared the kids would smear them before the party started. Unfortunately, Naomi's love on dinosaurs had considerably died down by the time her well-planned dinosaur birthday party came into realization. She was not as excited as I expected her to be when she saw her 2kg dinosaur cake. Nevertheless, I must admit that the bakery did excellent job in making the dinosaur cake, much better than what I had envisioned. Speaking of the low-level of excitement that Naomi expressed over her cake, did she have any idea how many days her father and I spent on Google, trying to find the perfect dinosaur design for her butter-cream birthday cake? #joyofparenting

Naomi's 3rd birthday cake.

Further, although all of us were ready to start the party, we could not start the party as yet because some of the Naomi's friends had not finished drinking their afternoon milk in the cups.

Waiting for the kids to drink their milk.

Some of the children really found it too laborious to gulp a cup of milk so it took almost forever waiting for them to finish the milk. Haha. Meanwhile, I don't know what happened but suddenly the kids were so engrossed playing with my husband. My husband casually asked one of Naomi's friends who was a chatterbox, "How old are you? (你几岁了?)" The boy answered him, "I sleep at 9pm. (我九点睡.)" My husband asked him the same question once more and he shared the exact same answer again. This boy was so hilarious. Full stop.

Naomi's friends attacked her Dad with balloons while waiting for the party to begin.

I didn't check the clock to see when we finally kicked off Naomi's birthday party, but the party began with some photo sessions with the birthday girl and her simple dessert table. Naomi was very uncooperative during her birthday party I nearly lost my patience.

It's either my Dad or Naomi who didn't look at the camera.

Naomi literally refused to stay still and look at the camera, transformed herself into Queen Greedy and forced me to open the birthday party bags that were meant to be distributed to her friends. Basically during the photo sessions, all Naomi cared about was the snacks inside the party bag that she already tore and put in her mouth.

Alas, the family picture.

After the photo sessions with family and Naomi's friends and teachers, all of us heartily sang the birthday song to the birthday girl.

When the birthday song was sung.

This year, Naomi demonstrated more confidence and appreciation when she heard her friends and teachers sang the birthday song out loud. She was not shy at all. In fact, she also tried to sing along the song with them. They were all so cute.

Naomi, blow the candles!

After singing the birthday song and blowing the birthday candles, each child in the room was given a chocolate ball and a slice of the birthday cake.

Distributing the chocolate balls to the kids.

I think the kids were still full from their afternoon milk or maybe they didn't like cake or what... but almost half of Naomi's three-tiered fruit birthday cake ended up in the garbage bin. So much food wastage... Lesson learnt, maybe next time, we don't need to invest on a huge cake for the birthday celebration with a bunch of toddlers. Also, giving a smaller slice of cake to the little friends will probably make more sense. We don't intend to be stingy about the cake here, it's just that it was really a pity witnessing the cakes went straight to the garbage bin while most of them were hardly eaten.

The cheeky Naomi.

For the last procession before Naomi's birthday party ended, the birthday girl was supposed to pass the party bag to each of her friends before they went home. As expected, considering that the birthday girl was notably so greedy and stingy, she was totally against the concept of giving her friends their party bags. I believe she thought Mommy painstakingly prepared a giant box full of DIY party bags just for her.

Anyway, after Naomi's teachers distributed all the party bags to Naomi's friends, Naomi's birthday party was concluded. Minutes later we packed our things and went home. With this... Naomi's big day of the year was over.

(BTW, Naomi's teacher reported that Naomi distributed her party bags to some of her friends who missed the party on the next day just fine. Somehow our presence during her party made her behave differently and acted so spoiled that evening).

At home, my Mom complained to me because she didn't get to take picture with the birthday girl alone as Naomi was always distracted and moved a lot during the party. I then made Naomi take some pictures with Grandma since Grandma was so eager to take pictures with Naomi dressed in the beautiful dress she bought all the way from Surabaya.. but again, this attempt failed miserably. Naomi just was not in the mood of photo taking at all that day.

Told ya.

Last but not least, belated happiest birthday to you, Naomi, the child who stole my heart. May you grow as a healthy, beautiful, kind, clever and happy little girl. Mommy wishes you nothing but the best, love.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Making Raisin Buns with Butter and Sugar

When my parents visited me last week, I spared some time to bake them some home-made bread so they know how my bread, that is kneaded with bread maker, tastes like. Previously, I could only show off my bread photos to my Mom via Whatsapp or BBM so I was quite happy that they were finally in Malaysia and I could bake something for them.

The first bread that I made for my parents last week was Raisin Buns with Butter and Sugar which recipe I adapted from here. My Dad and Mom enjoyed the buns for snack and my Dad was very excited to eat the home-made buns that used no preservatives at all.

So here's the recipe that I used:

Raisin Buns with Butter and Sugar


200gr Bread Flour
15gr Condensed milk 
120ml Milk
1 Egg white
20gr Sugar
1/8 tsp Salt
1 tsp Yeast
20 gr Unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp Vanilla extract
20-30gr Raisins
10gr Unsalted butter, cold and divided into 4-6 pieces (depending on your bread shape)
Some sugar, for sprinkle
1 Egg yolk and 1 tsp of Milk, for egg wash


1. Double boil or heat fresh milk and condensed milk in a heat-resistant bowl until lukewarm.

2. As per the general bread maker function: Place fresh milk, condensed milk, vanilla extract, egg white, sugar and salt first in the bread maker.

3. Pour the bread flour then make a small hole in the flour.

4. Put the yeast in the flour hole (make sure the yeast is not in contact with the liquid ingredients before kneading).

5. Turn your bread machine on (I use the basic program). Once the mixture has turned into a dough, add the (room temperature) butter in. If you think the dough is too wet, add 1-2 tbs flour, as needed.

6. At the second kneading, add the raisins.

7. Take the dough out of the machine and divide the dough into 4-6 portions, depending on the loaf pan you use. Shape each portion into round ball then place each ball in the lined loaf pan then cover the loaf with a cling wrap. Let the dough proof for 45 mins or until double in size.

After proofing.

9. Slit the centre of each dough rolls with a sharp knife and place a slice of cold butter in the cut area. Egg wash the buns then sprinkle the top with some coarse sugar.

Ready to bake.

10. Bake the buns in a preheated oven at 180 degree Celcius for 20-25 minutes at the middle rack (turn the oven to fan forced for the last 5 minutes of baking).

11. Once done, remove the buns from the loaf and cool it on a wire rack before serving.

**This recipe makes 1 regular size loaf of buns.

The interior of the bread.

These buns was easy to make and the final results had very soft texture too, which my Mom and Dad appreciated. However, as these buns used no preservatives, they only lasted for about 2 days before they went bad - so consume the buns fast!

Days after I baked these buns, I made plain Potato Bread for my parents. You can check the recipe here.

Monday, September 14, 2015

EnviroHome for Happier, Cleaner and Healthier Home

As my husband has to work hard outside to bring home the bacon, being a SAHM, my daily life is unquestionably bound to cleaning the house, preparing the food, taking care of Naomi, doing laundry, tending my garden and feeding our pet fish, to name a few. Ensuring that my house, including what we eat and wear, is clean is my priority because clean house and body equal to happy and healthy family. I mean how can we promote a happy and healthy live if we lead an unhygienic life?

As such, when EnviroHome asked me to test their natural home cleaning products, I am more than happy to do so. If you are new to EnviroHome, it is actually an eco-friendly home and personal care brand which provides 100% natural ingredients, chemical-free, bubble free and unscented products. Their products are not produced with preservatives, antiseptic, surfactant and other chemical substances that are poisonous to us so their products are very safe for our entire family use.

EnviroHome products for me to test.

EnviroHome Food Wash

The first product that I want to review here is EnviroHome Food Wash. To be honest, I think Fruit and Vegetable Wash is not a novel product and it has been around in the market for a while now. I have seen such products every now and then but never tried any before. Before EnviroHome sent me a bottle of their Food Wash, I only used lots and lots of tap water to thoroughly wash vegetables and fruits before cooking or serving them to my family.

EnviroHome Food Wash for vegetables and fruits wash.

After I used EnviroHome's Food Wash that is non-toxic, unscented and derived from natural ingredients, I realized that it's actually better to wash our vegetables and fruits with a solution like the above mentioned to break down pesticides, wax, insecticides, bacteria and preservatives in vegetables and fruits before consuming them, especially if you don't purchase organic fresh produce.

Soaking my non-organic vegetables and fruits with Enviro Food Wash to clear all the harmful bacteria and pesticides.

How to use EnviroHome's Food Wash to clean your vegetables and fruits before cooking or eating them raw?
  1. Add 1-2 pumps of EnviroHome Food Wash into a large bowl or basin of water.
  2. Soak the vegetables and fruits into the solution for 2-3 minutes. Make sure that you put enough water in the bowl or basin to cover all fruits and vegetables.
  3. Rub the vegetables and fruits gently.
  4. Drain the dirty water.
  5. Rinse the vegetables and fruits with running or tap water 2-3 times before cooking or consuming them.
From what I understood, EnviroHome products are supposed to be bubble-free so when I noticed that the Food Wash created a bit of bubbles on the water that I used to soak my vegetables and fruits for the first time, I thought I pumped too much of the solution to the water. However, seemingly the product does create a bit of bubbles when used to wash fresh produce because I tried it to wash my green leaf vegetables with it and small amount of bubbles came out again.

Soaking my green vegetables on water plus a pump of EnviroHome Food Wash.

Anyhow, I found out that it is normal for the bubbles to appear when the Food Wash solution is in contact with running/tap water or when we stir the water in the basin with our hands. These bubbles don't mean anything as neither the colour nor the taste of the vegetables and fruits washed with the solution is affected and they disappear almost immediately. The main point here to remove harmful substances from the vegetables and fruits before putting them into our mouth. Just make certain that you rinse your vegetables and fruits again with running water for a couple of times after soaking your fresh produce with the water that is mixed with this Food Wash - and they are good to go!

 I turned the above vegetables into this. Yum!

Food Wash to clean vegetables and fruits is rather mainstream, isn't it? But what about Food Wash that breaks the bacteria and fishy smells from seafood and raw meat? EnviroHome Food Wash is ideal to clean seafood and raw meat too. To me, this is quite a revolutionary and amazing concept as I hate eating meat or seafood that has very strong fishy smell after being cooked.

EnviroHome Food Wash does raw meat too.

Try washing your seafood and raw meat with EnviroHome Food Wash because not only it kills all the bacteria and annoying smells from the meat but it also preserves the freshness of the meat so it stays fresh after you keep it frozen for days.

EnviroHome Laundry Detergent

I think I am a bit OCD when it comes to wearing clean clothes. I dislike wearing smelly shirts or stained clothes and because of this, I have the feeling that the amount of dirty laundry in our house is slightly higher compared to other small households'. In addition, Naomi's diaper sometimes leaks overnight and she tends to pee on her pants when throwing tantrums so these wet pants and urine-soiled bed sheets add up to the number of dirty laundry that my washing machine has to deal with.

Proofing the goodness of EnviroHome Laundry Detergent.

The second product that EnviroHome sent me to try was perfect to meet my need in providing my family with clean and fresh clothes day in day out. It's the 1kg unscented chemical-free liquid detergent that contains marine extract and botanical formula. Prior to this, I was a bit sceptical about using fragrance-free detergent as our clothes drying area is not under direct sunlight. That's why I usually only buy super fragrant detergent and occasionally pour some fabric softener into the washing machine as well to avoid my laundry having terrible smell after being hung dry indoor.

Chemical-free, colourant-free, bubble-free and fragrance-free detergent.

Although EnviroHome laundry detergent is fragrant free, to my surprise, it does not produce any odour problem on my washed laundry after I hang them dry indoor. The detergent cleans brilliantly and my laundry still feels clean and smells fresh like usual, just minus the strong fragrant smell.

It's safe to be used to wash kid's clothes.

The product's use direction mentions that it is enough to pour 50ml or a full cap of the liquid detergent into our washing machine but I pour two full caps of EnviroHome laundry detergent to my washing machine because my washing machine's capacity is 15kg and I always wash full load of dirty laundry into my washer to save electricity and water.

Mommy's laundry duty is always ON.

Speaking of electricity and water, EnviroHome Laundry Detergent will help us save our utility bills and protect environment too because it contains anti-foaming agent. Washing foam-free means using less water to rinse your clothes. See below pictures as a comparison of hand washing your clothes using EnviroHome Laundry Detergent versus Chemical Laundry Detergent. Notice the foam difference both products produce when mixed with water.

Soaking fabric in water and EnviroHome Laundry Detergent. No foam.

Hand washing your laundry or baby clothes with foam-free EnviroHome detergent is obviously less painful and utilizes less water because you don't have to rinse the clothes over and over again with gallons of water to clear all the foams.

Soaking fabric in water and chemical-based Laundry Detergent. Foam everywhere.

To conclude, I think EnviroHome products are something that you should think of buying if you are looking for effective, all-natural and eco-friendly household cleaning products. I must admit that their products are somewhat pricey. But then again, in general we need to pay extra to get anything that is made of all-natural ingredients in the market because natural products offer much safer and healthier benefits to us and environment. Having said this, if you have the budget and intention to create a 'greener' and healthier home, do consider switching your home cleaning products to EnviroHome's.

Learn more about EnviroHome products on their Facebook page here.