Friday, February 26, 2016

Weigh In Friday - It's a wrap!

It's the last Friday of the month. Time is really whizzing past. Why, not so long ago, we were celebrating Chinese New Year.

I have some news. A while ago, it came to my attention that my stomach thingy (gastritis/bloating/headaches) has improved tremendously. Don't get too excited. I'm not 100% cured. But I rarely get headaches and my bloating has decreased in volume and frequency. When I realised that headaches were no longer the norm for me, I starting really enjoying myself. It's so good to go to sleep and not wake up with a headache. It's so good to eat and not worry about headaches or stomach aches. Is this what it's like for you guys? It's so wonderful. I hope I continue to improve.

I've been following my new doctor's advice. I take one capsule of low acid medication once a day. I don't avoid any food other than my known triggers. I also try to re-introduce food I had been avoiding back into my diet to see if I can eat them again. Guess what? I can eat bread and noodles again. Let me repeat. I can eat bread and noodles again.

This was the first burger I tried. Because it was the first burger since July 2015, I decided to be careful and ordered a petite burger from The Union. It's smaller than my fist. I think it's chicken with avocado. It was so delicious I almost fainted.

Because I loved the burger so much I went back to The Union to try the regular size version. It was a bit too much for me. Hubs had to finish it for me. Still tastes good.

I tried MacDonald's breaded salmon burger as well. The first time I ate it, I thought it tasted really good. Then I made the mistake of eating it again. I don't know what happened but the second one tasted horrible. Anyway, I'm over the breaded salmon.

So I went from zero burgers since last July to 5 burgers in February. I can't even remember what was the fifth burger I ate. It was that forgettable. Anyway, I think I got over the thrill of eating burgers again.

Eating out is so much easier now. I can go to a food court and get a bowl of noodles. I no longer have to stand at the entrance of restaurants and scan the menu for something I can eat.

This was signature noodles from Xin Wang cafe. Eating this plate of noodles was a wake-up call for me. It was loaded with msg and I did get a small headache. I still need to be smart about my choices.

This is minced meat noodles from Eat. It didn't give me any trouble. To be honest, I'm not so crazy about noodles. I love bread more than noodles.

I still can't eat rice. My stomach cannot stomach rice. I no longer question why I can't eat rice. I'm just grateful I can eat bread and noodles. I'm still avoiding coffee/tea and dairy. The doctor actually told me to specifically avoid coffee and tea. So I'm listening to her. I really miss my morning lipton sweet tea.

Now the bad news. My appetite has increased 100 times. I rarely feel hungry(because I keep eating). Now that I can eat so many things, I have trouble controlling myself. My weight has gone up again. My shorts and pants don't feel loose anymore. I stare at my porky tummy everyday but it won't get smaller. Despite my twice a week 5km run and once a week Pilates, I continue to balloon. Very soon I will gain back most of the weight I have lost.

My current weight is 58kg. Mind you, this was taken after a 5km run, a pee and a poop. I don't dare to weigh myself after a meal.

I want to say this is a happy problem. After all, I'm a lot better. That's the most important thing for me. Once I get used to having the freedom to eat most food, I hope I will be able to control my diet better.

I am still drinking my oat milk and I wanted to record down these two new brands I tried so I'll remember in future. Pacific oat has this weird sweet taste. It grew on me though. 

NaturGreen choco oat is horrible. I must remember never to buy it again.

By the way, I wonder if any of you guys are into wraps? Before I could eat burgers and noodles, I was able to eat wraps. Sometimes we make our own wraps. My girl who hates to eat rice finds wraps agreeable.

We get the wrap from the supermarket and my girl pan fries it. Then we add some lettuce, tomatoes,  stir fried chicken and mushrooms.

Wraps sold at kiosks or cafes are ridiculously priced. Where I live there's chicken kebab which costs $5.30! This one above, I can't remember where I had it, maybe Skinny Market, or the price but I know it's expensive. But it's quite large and I saved one for another meal.

In Singapore we have a local wrap called poh piah. The skin is quite thin and breaks easily. It's filled with cooked turnip, carrots, bean sprouts, egg, grated peanuts and a black sauce. Some versions have prawns/Chinese sausage. My mother used to make poh piah during qing ming festival which falls in early April. I always thought it was part of the tradition to make and eat poh piah during qing ming. I mean, my mother never made poh piah except during qing ming. As it turned out, no one else I knew did this. I discovered this when I was 18. I was a student then and back then on school days, me and my bff took turns to provide lunch for each other. On poh piah making day, I asked my friend to let me try her version of poh piah and I would make one for her. After much confusion, my bff realised my mistake. She told me poh piah had nothing to do with qing ming and her family has never made poh piah before. It was a revelation. Anyway, my mother doesn't make poh piah anymore. It's too much work. If I ever feel the desire to eat one, there's a cafe near my home where I can get it. It's nowhere near as good as my mother's. The turnip is machine grated and often tastes mushy. My mother would cut the turnip by hand.

All these talk has made me hungry for wraps. Maybe this Sunday, I'll make some for dinner.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

I love you

Hello. Happy Valentine's Day!

This year I didn't pay much attention to Valentine's Day. The only thing I did was tell hubs not to buy me any flowers. Last year I got myself tested for allergies and I am allergic to pollen. So no flowers for me. Ever. Didn't hubs hit the jackpot when he has a doctor's note never to buy his wife flowers?

I didn't ask hubs for any present either because honestly, both of us own a lot of stuff. Dolls, clothes, fabric, accessories, shoes. We have too much. My home is bursting. We'll need a bigger home if we continue to gift each other stuff.

Still this morning, when I woke up I searched my flat for surprise presents. Because you know sometimes hubs springs a surprise on me. I looked and looked. There were none. I'm not disappointed at all. I don't know if hubs wanted to make up for it because he took me to a late lunch at Jack's Place before he went to work. The restaurant had a Valentine's Day special which cost over 40 dollars per person. They must be kidding. Nothing in Jack's Place is worth over 40 dollars. We opted for the cheaper lunch special.

I had sirloin. I'm not a big beef eater. In the past if I have steak, I would order it well done. Usually it's more like over done. Recently, my daughter introduced me to the idea of eating steak medium rare. So I ordered it medium rare, I think 70% done. Man, it tasted really good. Like amazing good. I'm starting to enjoy beef after decades of barely tolerating it.

I ate everything that came with the meal. Bread which I usually avoid, dessert (mousse I think) and the forbidden tea! I decided to just go for it and not care about the consequences. I'll probably get a tummy ache later on but having not had any tea for so long, it tasted so yummy.

Last year I didn't even write a Valentine's Day post. The year before, in 2014, I wrote a post 10 Songs to avoid on Valentine's Day. This year I'm in a much better place, feeling positive and lots of good vibes. So I thought it appropriate to do a 10 Love Songs list. I don't always like the original singer of a song so the singers listed are the ones I prefer. Also, the singers aren't always the composer. With that, I present you...

1. I want you by James Luke (listen here) is freaking fabulous. I feel like I fall in love everytime I hear this song.

2. You belong to me by Bob Dylan (listen here). I'm not a fan of Bob Dylan's voice. But this song, I like. This is a good song to play for your guy/gal when both of you are at the same place in a relationship.

3. Yo Te Voy A Amar - NSync (listen here). To me, the English version is not as good. I love the spanish version. It is so romantic.

4. Truly Madly Deeply - Savage Garden (listen here). I don't know why I love this song. Just do.

5. Lay down beside me - Alison Krauss with John Waite (listen here). This duo really grows on me. Since Missing You, I've always thought both belong together.

6. Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton (listen here). Seriously, who hasn't heard of this song? When I was in my early 20's, me and my bff went to this pub a lot and the band always played this song. Back then, I thought that if my future husband has not heard of this song, I cannot possibly marry him. Oh, hubs? He knows waaaay more songs than me. He used to "test" me on my knowledge of songs.

7. Make you feel my love - Adele (listen here) To me, this song could go either way. A person declaring her love or a person in love desperately clinging on to a love that is one sided.

8. You decorated my life - Kenny Rogers (listen here) Kenny Rogers, despite his facial changes is still one of my favourite singers. He has such a beautiful voice. Just can't look at his face no more.

9. Love is all around - Wet wet wet (listen here). Hubs hate it that I prefer Wet Wet Wet's version instead of the Troggs'.

10. Touch me when we're dancing - Carpenters (listen here). I'm not exactly a Carpenters fan but this song "touches" me. What a beautiful silky voice.

Do you have any favourite love song?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Who's afraid of the serger?


Do you own a serger/overlocker? Is it in the storeroom? Is it still in the box?

When I bought my serger a while ago, I pictured myself serging up a storm. Like every day. Or every week. Or every month.

None of that happened.

A serger is like the most complicated piece of machinery invented. Probably by a sadist. I want to say it's almost like rocket science but I won't. (because we all know rocket science is way easier) Have you tried threading a serger? Yes, just threading. Because without the thread, you can't serge. And if you can't serge, the machine is just freaking useless sitting there on the table, month after month after month.

The first time I threaded my machine was also the last time I threaded my machine. There are FOUR spools of thread to thread from. I "heard" you can use three spools but that's just too complicated for me at the moment.

My serger came with a video that teaches you everything you need to know. Mind you, I had a teacher come teach me everything I needed to know. Of course I completely forgot every single thing she taught me the minute she left. But she had set up the machine properly for me so I could use it right away. Unfortunately the machine came with poor quality thread and the teacher strongly advised me to buy better quality thread to sew with.

I went to Spotlight and bought 4 spools of white thread. I'm just thankful each spool is like a gigantic size so it's going to take a long time to run out. It took me one whole day to thread the serger successfully. Well, the whole operation was maybe an hour. But watching the video put me to sleep a couple of times. Also, the video was the stupid kind which doesn't come with a menu so if you want to re-watch anything or go to a specific topic, you have to do the forward/backward thing. Eventually, after watching the video a hundred times, I managed to thread everything successfully and the machine worked.

I forgot what were the first few things I serged. Possibly something for hubs, like shorten his jeans or something. Ugh, why can't he have longer legs? I was thinking of making myself a dress or some outfit but you know what happened to me last year right? I was practically dying. So I never got to use the serger. I even forgot I owned one.

Last Sunday, I suddenly had to use my serger. My girl who started school at a junior college recently had bought school uniforms and asked me to shorten her skirts. She asked for 4" off! Being the good mother, I said no problem. I left the alteration until Sunday when I realised I had better get it done because Monday and Tuesday we had Chinese New Year and you're not supposed to sew during Chinese New Year. I forgot why but I remember one of my primary school friend telling me this many times. Let's assume it's bad luck. Wednesday my girl needs to wear her shortened uniform to school.

I found all the parts of my serger and plugged them in. It still worked! Then I realised the white thread on my serger would clash with my girl's grey skirt. But I have 4 spools of grey serger thread. I cannot remember why I have them but since I have them, I should swap the white thread with the grey thread. Right? Right?

I watched the stupid video again. It put me to sleep a couple of times. Finally I managed to watch the whole video. Oh my god. I must be a genius or something because the threading is so complicated. I have no idea how I managed it the first time. I considered jumping in eyes closed and change the thread but I had limited time. On Sunday I had to attend the very important reunion dinner at my mother-in-laws. We were also going early to play mahjong. I had at most 2 hours to do everything. If I screw up the threading, I would have to shorten the skirt without serging and that would be so dumb since I own a very expensive serger. I considered asking hubs how angry his mother would be if I do not show up for the reunion dinner. But that's like poking the bear so I did the next best thing. I presented the problem to my daughter and it's a good thing she's not into sewing or anything because once she understood that the white serging would not be visible on the outside, she did not care what colour thread I used.

Problem solved. And I managed to alter all three of her skirts in under 2 hours. Still, I should really learn how to change the thread on my serger without watching the video.

This was me on the first day of Chinese New Year. I dare say this year I made the least effort for my outfit. For one thing, I did not buy new clothes for Chinese New Year. This year, we decided to wear whatever new clothing we already own. What? You thought I was going to wear old clothes? My MIL gave me a desigual blouse last year. Although it is a little big for me and isn't really flattering, I decided to wear it. It's a free blouse! My adidas track pants I had bought last year on a whim because we needed to buy x number of items to get a 30% discount. My red slippers I had bought a year ago when I was going through a low mood period. (I think I bought at least 8 pairs of footwear 2 of which have not been worn yet)  My MK bag was also gifted by my MIL. I have a generous MIL!

Honestly although I don't look super hot, in fact I'll even admit I look a little old-lady, I was happy with my outfit because it's soooo comfortable. Well, until I got on the train and my girl saw a hole in my brand new track pants! Luckily it was not at a awkward position. It was somewhere on the inner thigh and two of my fingers could go through the hole. Thankfully, I don't think anyone noticed the hole.

Well, after Chinese New Year, I decided to mend the hole in my track pants. On careful examination, I realised that whoever had sewn the pants had not aligned the two pieces of fabric properly which was why there was a gap. If I were to sew the hole up, it would be really weird, maybe even end up with a bulk. So I unpicked the serging threads until I could align both pieces of fabric properly. With that, I created an even larger gap, like 3 to 4 inches wide. I brought out my serger and stared once more at the 4 spools of white thread on the machine. I definitely couldn't get away with using white thread on my track pants. I loosely considered changing the thread but abandoned the plan immediately. What stopped me was that I might have to change the needles as well. My track pants are made of a lycra-like material. I have no idea what would happen if I send my track pants through the serger. Would it get shredded to pieces or get all scrunched up?

Finally, I decided it was best to close the hole by hand. I used backstitch and finished off with blanket stitches. It kinda looks like serging, doesn't it?

Yes, I know it's rather embarrassing not to be able to master my serger. I will put this down on my to-do list for 2016. I've always wanted to make myself a dress because it's hard to find dresses that will fit me in stores. So maybe I will sew me a dress and I will make it a grey dress or a black dress just to force myself to change the serger thread. What do you think?

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Year of the Monkey


Today (Sunday) is the last day of the Year of the Goat. From Monday 8th Feb 2016 to 27th Jan 2017, it will be the Year of the Monkey. Anyone born in the Year of the Monkey?

In Singapore, Chinese New Year is a two-day public holiday from 8th to 9th Feb. The celebration really starts today on the eve when we have our reunion dinner. (Yes, there's going to be mahjong too.) This reunion dinner is pretty big deal. If you have family, you're bound to be obligated to attend it. My family has our reunion dinner at my MIL's. The first two years I was married, I would make it a point to have reunion lunch with my mother followed by reunion dinner at my MIL's. Then I had kids and my mother sold her flat... Hubs and I, we're not traditional. If it were up to us, we would have no idea what to prepare for a reunion dinner. I would probably cook something we usually eat instead of the auspicious food.

This year I almost forgot to buy Mandarin oranges. We need these when we go visiting during Chinese New Year. The supermarket was super crowded yesterday and while I was queueing up, I realised I had forgotten to get 4 mandarin oranges. I didn't want to give up my place in the queue so I decided I would forget about mandarin oranges this year. Certainly the elders would have something to say when we show up visiting empty handed but the queue was INSANE. Later in the day, I became aware I needed seamless panty which I did not own but needed desperately for Monday. (it's too long a story to tell) The lack of seamless panty gnawed at me and eventually I braved the crowd again. This time I travelled to a larger shopping mall and I struck gold the first place I went to. 3 seamless panties for $18! Having settled my most pressing problem, I turned my attention back to  mandarin oranges. I peeked into the supermarket to see how crowded it was. It wasn't too bad. Mandarin oranges were going for a song. 8 for $2.99!

Another task I have is to get the ang pows (red packet) ready. When we go visiting, we have to give unmarried kids or grown ups ang pows. Our kids receive ang pows in return. Hub's job is to get the new notes. Usually hubs has to go queue up at the bank to get new notes. It's a real hassle. This year, the community club near our home has special cash machines dispensing new notes. One day last week, hubs came back from his run and handed me a bunch of new $2 notes. He had specifically worked in the community club into his running route. I put the new notes in my cabinet. Last night, I took them out to stuff them into the ang pows. Guess what? The new notes still have hub's sweat and grime from his run. I tried wiping away the sweat but there was a lot. A lot!  Some of the notes were stuck together! Finally I gave up. My son helped me stuff the cash in the envelopes. I hope the recipients of the ang pows won't notice the stickiness and beads of sweat.

What I am most apprehensive about is food. As I will be eating at other people's homes, eating food I usually don't eat, I may end up getting sick. I hope my stomach will be obedient and not explode. I will stay positive and not stress over it. Honestly, if I could go through Chinese New Year without a single headache, I will consider it a success.

Happy Chinese New Year everyone! I wish you a prosperous Year of the Monkey.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

My Bag Pattern Shop

My Applique Patterns

My Embroidery Patterns