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bits + pieces

personal project\two people twelve times\September 2011


This is our favourite spot in the house because so many good times have been shared with family and friends over the dining table. Truth be told, I used to bemoan about how we don’t have a separate dining and living area. Yet, almost every first-time visitor to our house often exclaimed how it exudes a ‘cosy and intimate’ feel. And I’ve learned in the grander scheme of things, contentment, is indeed, a great gain.

it’s the small stuff…

like having hand-cut heart-shaped strawberries in my breakfast on Saturday…xoxo…

personal project\two people twelve times\July 2011


The highlight of this month had to be the KitchenAid surprise. Never in my wildest dream would I imagine that CS would surprise me with this gift. Not because he isn’t good at throwing surprises; in fact, he is way better than me in this! But because he is usually the practical and cautious sort so I’d have thought he would want to make sure that was what I really wanted before buying it.

Plus, there was no occasion or reason for me to expect a present. And when I learned about the effort he’d put in to get the KitchenAid for me as a surprise, my heart melted. The best surprise has got to be just because…

cake, anyone?

How can anyone not fall in love with this rainbow cake, made famous (she was even invited to the Martha Stewart show for it!) by Kaitlin on her blog which is all about her baking adventure. Now, all I need is one good reason to do it! Anyone?

between us…

At work – realising I had a missed call from CS when I returned from a meeting…

Me: Hey, you called? Sorry I missed your call. What’s up?

CS: I just wanted to tell you I am very proud of you!

Me: Huh? Why?

CS: I saw your recipe book in the kitchen this morning and realised that the apple-pear cake you baked last night looked exactly like it does in the book. Well done!

Currently reading Donald Miller’s book, A million miles in a Thousand Years where he talked about life seems to be made up of ‘random experiences’, and trying to make sense of what it all means so we could make a story out of those encounters, this conversation strikes me as one ‘random experience’ I’d like to remember and savour for a while to come.

lazy sunday

Sunday started with us hitting the pool by 7am for a swim. I am learning how to swim from a generous colleague (former swimming coach) who’s volunteered her time to teach me. It really is different having a professional coach who’s able to show me and pinpoint exactly what I am doing wrong and how can I be doing better. I think I am going to enjoy swimming!

After the swim, we headed home to have breakfast with the neighbour at the farmers market near our place before going to church. This is where I usually try and do my weekly veggies and fruit shopping. I like the fact that I am supporting local farmers directly instead of buying my produce from large impersonal supermarkets.

In the evening, I headed out for a farewell drinks with a mature-aged student at Uni who’s since became a dear friend. He’s returning to Melbourne after graduating. This makes him the third person I’ve known this month who is leaving for Melbourne. Sad, but I am glad that the next time we go visit Melbourne, there are more people to catch up with!

Christmas camping trip

Over the Christmas period, we went on a mini roadtrip to a seaside town with some friends. And it was memorable for many reasons:

1) It was my maiden camping trip – that’s right, I’ve never done camping ever. The closest experience to that would be those campus crusade camps I’d attended during uni days where we would sleep in classrooms.

2) I don’t survive well under heat so thankfully the extreme heat only happened during the first afternoon we were there. All it does is make me want to drink Coke, Coke and more Coke…

3) Travelling with a dog. The story of how Missy was adopted by Jay was a touching one and the bond between them is definitely noticeable.

4) Eating freshly cooked fish that we caught from the sea ourselves.

5) Sunset fishing – for a non-fisherman like me, the gorgeous sunset is enough to take my breath away.

6) Going for an ‘off-road’ driving – since we drove up in two four-wheel drive vehicles, we decided to venture into a national park for a little adventure. And it was certainly well-worth it. We saw many wild kangaroos (in fact, they were known as the Big Red cos of their massive size).

This camping trip had whetted my appetite for more. And I definitely look forward to the next one!

Summer loving!

One of the best things about summer is having friends over and enjoying a meal over the the barbie. Yesterday, we had 2 couples who were foodies like us over for dinner. And here’s what we had:

For starter, Gillian/Ciaran made an Asian-style salad which was all crunchiness and refreshing to taste. And look at the colours!

As for us, we bought some gourmet sausages (think spinach-ricotta-chicken, hot-and-spicy, Moroccan lamb) from the butcher and also experimented with new recipes. The prawns were marinated with olive oil, lemon grass, garlic, chilli, salt and pepper.

Then our piece-de-resistance – field mushrooms with mascarpone and crumbled blue cheese topped with basil. It’s nothing to look at honestly but it was everyone’s favourite!

For dessert, Nico/Zoe brought a summer fruit salad served with raspberry coulis which was the perfect dessert given the heavy meal we had.

After that, it was some mucking around with the kids. Or rather, Kezia playing with CS. Right from the start since we knew Kezia, this little guy has always had a soft spot with  CS and would often initiate play with him. There is something magical about CS I must say, ‘cos I ended up marrying him!

And then the kids couldn’t wait to find their presents underneath the tree…and of course, they got what they wanted!

What wasn’t captured in the pictures was the after-dinner part. Gillian and Ciaran stayed on to play mahjong with us – something we had been doing with them. Last night, however, we learnt a new style of mahjong which was pretty competitive because of the scoring system! And I won 6 out of all 6 rounds! Now if only real money was at stake….

P/s: I still haven’t been able to capture a nice picture of our Christmas tree for this year. Am going to keep trying till I snapped a favourite so stay tuned…

friday surprise!

I received a call this morning from the Finance Office and sighed inwardly: oh no, did I get the paperwork wrong? I was told to show up at their office when I could spare the time. And I was pleasantly surprised when I showed up to be presented with an amazing display of cupcakes on a beautiful cupcake stand! Turned out they had wanted to thank me for all the baking goodies I had showered them since I started baking this year. So one of them decided to make me some cupcakes and everyone chipped in to buy me the cupcake stand. I had always wanted a cupcake stand but never bought it for myself so what a great gift!

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