One Fine Day

Sometimes God arranges things so that I can be alone on a Saturday morning. When most families are eating brunch or driving together, I cherished this moment by myself.
I was able to hear Mass and afterwards spend a holy hour in church.
My body was craving for coffee so I tried this new cafe, One Fine Day, @ Beaconsfield. I’ve always wanted to try it but as usual with young kids, its hard to get those wishes come true instantly.
But now that I have that time, this moment never felt so good. What a delicious reward for a long week.
Thank you Mama Mary.
I know this treat was arranged by you on your Feast Day (Our Lady of Lourdes), no less.

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Oxtail Served With Caramelized Sweet Potatoes

I have to confess that oxtail and sweet potatoes are two of my favorite ingredients. So when I found these recipes from my favorite cook book, Falling Cloudberries, I knew at some point I had to give it a try.

I didn’t try it earlier because the kids and the Captain are not fans of oxtail. It’s hard to cook a dish which only a couple of people will eat it in my big family.

So that Sunday, I felt like rewarding myself and I finally pushed the button.

Melt-in-my-mouth oxtail served with sweet potatoes.

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The Captain was asking me if I wanted to go out for lunch. I never said NO until this meal.

I felt absolutely compensated.

Emerald: a Great Family-Friendly Place

We’ve been at Emerald once or twice. Remember Forget About Monday?

I thought it was gorgeous.

Until Tash told us about Emerald Lake Park.

Now I think we should move there.

If only there’s a church like what we have now where there’s  daily Mass and is open all the time, I wouldn’t think twice.

Emerald Lake Park is a gem for families. You can take the paddle boats at Lake Treganowan or swim at the free, nearby wading pool.

Anton preferred to play at the playground.

The Captain went for a walk around the Nobelius Loop Track.

Everything is delightful to my eyes.

This time around, I found a great cafe. The General Food Store. It was too good, I asked the Captain to go back there the next day for our Valentine’s date.

Yay!

And the best part was discovering Resale Therapy. This shop sells refurbished second-hand furnitures at reasonable prices. I wanted to buy most of the pieces. The only thing hindering me is that I don’t have that much money!

Right.

But I brought this baby home. The Captains buys me furnitures instead of roses.

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I love it.

I love Emerald.

I love the Captain.

 

Lost For a While

Some time back, my Harkies (i.e. Luis and Nina) started school. After being at home for almost 6 weeks, they are leaving the fort again. I always get separation anxiety whenever they leave for school. I’m just so used to them being all around that you don’t want to change that anymore. Our house is full and the dynamics is at it’s peak.
I was so lost that we ended up at Little by Little Cafe to find my orientation back.
When we reached home, the activities mellowed down. The typical noise wasn’t there. Suddenly, life became easier. Just two kids out and our house became lethargic. I was able to accomplish more in terms of homeschooling, housework and prayer though.
I can tell that Luis and Nina were missed by their siblings.
When the two Harkies reached home, the house turned alive again. They said they always miss me when they’re in school.
I miss them more.
Baked brownies to pick us all up.
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Why Did We Miss That? Melbourne Museum

It’s one of those places where you scratch your head and ask yourself, “Why didn’t we go here before?”

We’ve passed by Melbourne Museum gazillion times. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of museum. I always think of paintings and sculptures attached to it. I’m not really an art lover. I’m just pretending to be!

So when the Captain suggested we give it a try, I was a bit apprehensive. Actually I was interiorly reluctant. The clincher was that kids go free. You know how many kids we have right?

So GO!

Now, I’m a big FAN!

You can spend the whole day there. Well, as for us, we only spent about 3 hours. That’s how much my back can take from walking before my joints completely disintegrate and before my mind gives up from answering multi-layered questions from ten thousand kids. But my children can live there if I give them that choice.

There’s a children gallery for kids 0-5 yo.

There’s a dinosaur walk. A wild animal section.

The World War I exhibit broke my heart.

My favorite one is the section on human body and how the brain works. Fits a geek like me.

There is the Forest Secret which is a forest in the middle of the city. Reminded me of the Dandenong Ranges. Sort of.

The thing I enjoyed the most were hanging out and sitting at the beach seats. Alfresco.

I think we should make it a yearly thing to check out the museum. It’s actually suitable for a scientist like me rather than for an artist.

Fantastic.

Couldn’t Be Better: Five Years in Melbourne

Allow me to be nostalgic.

It’s been five years today since we took that flight off Singapore to Melbourne with four kids under 4 on tow and heaps of luggages.

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It was a one way ticket. I was determined to give it all up:- my banking career, my helpers, my structured life, my immaculate house, my overseas holidays with the Captain, my branded make-ups, my spas and pedicures. My father said that the move was suicidal.

I know. That’s how stubborn I am.

Anyway.

Little did I know that this job I signed up for is irrevocable, unconditional and will never earn me a cent!

Our first year in Australia turned me from a banker to a homemaker. I had to learn what I had to learn fast. I had to learn to cook, to drive, to look after 4 young kids while going through morning sickness, to clean the house. You name it, I learned it.

I almost lost my mind.

Then I learned that I can homeschool my own kids. Why homeschool?

I had some brains left. I can’t go to work to earn some money for a cuppa because I can’t take leaving my babyccinos behind.

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I would rather be the one left behind than the one who leaves to work. I even wrote a Letter About it to My Bestfriend, Tanya.

Might as well teach my own.

It was liberating to say the least. I still love it and will always do.

Of our 7 babyccinos, three were born here. Three boys in a row.

My comedic relief, Anton.

Whooping baby Kiko.

 The Seventh Wonder of the Yus, Jose.

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Last year, we finally decided to put Luis and Nina to Harkaway Hills College. We’ve been blessed with knowing incredibly beautiful and generous families from this PARED school. Truly inspiring.

@ the Family Picnic

I am certain that my life will never be easy. I’ve embraced that reality. It is how God wants it to be. Let it be. I am convinced that it’s the best thing I can ever have. Loving God’s will gave me a profound peace. Contentment and gratitude prevail.

After all, it is worthwhile-quitting my job to stay at home.

I finally found happiness @ home.

It’s been 3 months now since Jose was born. Dusts have finally settled. We’re all back to a routine. I’m getting about 7 hours of sleep at night. (It’s like winning a lottery if I get this much rest.) My own kids are helping me run the house now. I see them grow in virtue as I try to improve in mine.

I’ve never felt better, happier.

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The Captain and I are going to celebrate our 11th anniversary this May. Our lives Beyond I Do  just keeps on getting better. Thanks be to God.

Lately, I often catch myself thinking that truly, motherhood is the best job ever. Love is reciprocated. My babyccinos think that I am the greatest woman in the world.

For all that I have given up, I was blessed a hundredfolds back. Hopefully, one day, the payback will reflect in our bank account too.

Seriously, I don’t feel like I’m working anymore. I’m just loving every part of it.

Healthy Greek Yogurt Cake

I had about half a litre of greek yogurt left. No one usually likes to finish it in my sweet-tooth family because it doesn’t taste sweet at all. I don’t want to throw it or leave it unnoticed until expiry date so I searched for a recipe which uses it.
Viola!!!
With not much to do that afternoon and with Anton not wanting to leave my side, we whipped this Italian Greek Yogurt Cake.
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It was delicious and moist.I assume its healthier than my other cakes. Everyone liked it.
I’ve already bookmarked this recipe.
I added icing sugar on top.

I Don’t Want it to End

The best time of our day, the Captain and I, is after we’ve finally put the kids to bed.

Then silence ensues.

That ever elusive stillness suddenly engulfs our mind, our home.

It is so rewarding. It is so good. I don’t even want to turn on the music less it will disturb the silence.

I find it so hard to say goodbye to our peaceful evenings so I end up staying up too late.

Well…

Here are some of the things I look forward to at night.

Coffee without interruption.

Chocolate which cures most moods.

Writing with ease.

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Reading cook books.

Stargazing.

Baking without anyone fighting for the bowl or the mixer.

Putting my feet up.

Wine and cheese with the Captain.

Praying without distractions.

It’s a Beautiful Day

When we moved here about five years ago, I went through a major adjustment. Big time. From a life where I can just leave my kids behind with their yayas to have a good time with my girlfriends and have dates with the Captain to one which was almost totally isolating.

I used to soak myself in tears because I found it hard to accept the changes.

One time, I was crying so much that Sasha (just 5 years old then) hugged me tightly. I told her that I don’t have friends here. I missed my friends.

She was sobbing when she said “Mommy, we are your friends now.”

I should have seen the wisdom in her words.

Yesterday, I brought them to the pool. I didn’t want to swim until they started jumping in deep water. I had no choice but to join in.

I found myself having a swimming lesson with them.

They were happy. I was happy.

I can touch excitement in their voices.

I promised them we’ll go back more regularly.

We ended the afternoon with babyccinos at my favorite local cafe.

I can’t believe they’ve grown so much that it is getting more enjoyable to go out with them every time.

They get me and I get them.

 

 

Long Week

Last week was particularly LONG. The Captain was out of town most of it.

I usually get very anxious when he’s not around. This time, I’m a bit better. Maybe the kids are also behaving better. Although the work load is not easing out, I managed well. It must be the level of help each child is giving me now.

Girls helped a lot with the meal preparations and in feeding the baby. Boys helped in vacuuming the house and in keeping Kiko busy. Anton remains to be my comic relief.

These they did on top of their usual jobs and homeschool work.

Of course the quality of their work is not commensurate to mine. But I’m happy that they’re helping me more. It will take time for them to refine their skills. But you know what?  Time is what I have now. I’m privileged to be home with them and see them grow little by little everyday.