Happy New Year! Bye, 2018, hello 2019! Hopefully everyone will have a good year, or at the very least, one you can bear. I’m sharing my recipe of coffee jelly, which we had as part of the New Year celebration food. Really though, it’s such an easy dessert (just takes time, as jellies do) that there is no reason why you couldn’t have it more often than that!Continue reading
So I recently started having a rather peculiar potato craving (and no, I’m not pregnant!) that I acquired from surfing Pinterest recipes while taking care of the baby (usually while holding up her syringe of milk; she’s currently on a nasal-gastric tube only feed.)
Anyway, I ran across a recipe for latkes that struck me as super easy, even though I don’t have a cheesecloth to squeeze the shredded potatoes with. I figured I could use the food processor to make my life easier too, so I’ve been wanting to try make this since I saw the recipe for the things about a month ago.
So the other day, I found myself with time to try it; Jaenelle was having a very comfortable sleep in her cot in my work area, and I didn’t think this would take much time to prep and would make a nice side dish with the honey mustard chicken bake I was doing. I had plenty I thought… and ended up with a couple of unexpected but welcome dinner guests, who gave me a big thumbs up and rave reviews about the meal.
I made these with a bit more flour than I should’ve, but they turned out wonderfully – more like a latke-fritter than a proper latke, and still yummy and filling. Next time I’ll use less flour and egg. The onions, which were pre-diced and frozen, ended up meltingly soft and sweet with the potato shreds. Yuuuuum~
I wonder if one could make these as just onion pancakes. =9
Jaenelle is home! We’ve been home since Monday, and we’re all settling in and adjusting to her various medical needs (Mostly her feeding and medicines schedule.)
She had a tube change this morning, and since the NG tube was out for a little while, I took the opportunity to take a photo of her in a pretty dress she was meant to have on for her uncle’s wedding (we couldn’t go, sadly, because Jaenelle was still in hospital) and combine it with an idea I had while admiring the Christmas tree at the cardiac ward that we were staying in: bundle up all the cute babies, put ribbons around them and put them down with the gifts, because they were the most precious gifts of all.
Things are improving, and I think everything will be smoother once things are better set up. I am recovering from the hospital stay, and reckon my back and hip muscles will eventually loosen up again one day.
There aren’t as many presents under the tree because I didn’t get the opportunity to really do shopping; and the older children being older, preferred to have the ability to choose what they got (either money, or books. I’m happy that they went for books; though this means that they weren’t getting them on the day. I’ve been told it’s no problem.) I’m hoping that I can at least bake a cake for Christmas…
As always, we endure, adapt and survive, but when she smiles, it really is worth it! (Apparently she finds Uncle Aff’s voice very ticklish and smiles a LOT when he talks to her.)
Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year to everyone!
Last Sunday was Father’s Day; and there was a surprise waiting for us at Jaenelle’s crib – a Father’s Day card! ‘From Jaenelle’, as it were. Of course, since she is still little, she got some help in making it. Rhys, of course, loves it to bits.
Vincent usually uses a bit of his saved up money (or an unused gift card) to get his Dad a bottle of his favourite liquor with my help – ergo, the boyo gives me the money to pay for the pressie after he picks out what he thinks is the best option. But since I’m still in hospital fighting off infection (which is why I haven’t been ‘around’ per se), I couldn’t help him this time around. I gave a couple of suggestions (albeit a bit late) of options that Eldest Son can get from the grocery. It’s a wee bit of help, but at least he didn’t forget it at all.
Jaenelle is growing well; she’s in positive birth weight now and has been moved to the special care ward and has been getting a mix of bottle feeds and tube feeds. She’s still a bit too little though to really breastfeed, though she gives it a good try, she gets tired too easily and does what they call tongue thrust – ergo the baby’s tongue gets in the way and pushes out something that is put in the mouth, a normally good survival instinct, but gets in her way in this case. I might be able to help her a bit more but for the cannula in my arm preventing me from bending the limb properly.
On other good news – Congratulations to the winners and nominees of the Dragon Awards!
Our daughter, Jaenelle, was born last week via a medically necessary c-section, early at 34 weeks, 4 days. She is thriving and perpetually hungry, since she has a lot of growing to catch up to. While she is in the NICU as she is prematurely born, I’ve been informed that she does not suffer from things like apnea or breathing issues, and just needs to feed and sleep enough to catch up to growing to her term size. Looks like the corticosteroids worked a treat on her lungs!
The surgery was required as I had placenta previa and a front-lying placenta. I learned something new: you can have a c-section where you cut through the placenta! I was put under general anaesthesia for it, so I didn’t see that, but Rhys was allowed in to take pictures of our baby after she’d been taken out of the womb and cut the cord. Already all that was more than we had hoped for! After finding out that Rhys had worked with sheep slaughtering, the surgeon allowed him to peek at the sewing-me-up procedure (since Rhys was being sensible and staying out of the way) and gave permission to take a couple of pics for me to see. I’m sure that we’ve made an impression as That Weird Couple.
I am still in hospital with post-natal complications (pulmonary embolism, infection), which are being handled. I do not mind the extended stay in the hospital (I’d already been here a good 3 weeks before the surgery due to pregnancy complications regarding blood pressure) as if anything goes wrong, I’m at the best place for that.
There’s a restaurant who has a small ‘fast food’ version of their pub food at our local mall. I love the place. They make delicious steak, and it’s got a mushroom sauce that they have with the thick sliced chips… oh, heaven. I love the stuff.
They’re local to the state I’m in though, so I figured I’d try to reverse…uhm… engineer? their sauce. I probably should have chopped up the mushrooms into much smaller pieces, to better get a mushroom flavor throughout. I am not too far off, mostly because I’m erring on the side of caution on the saltiness (I’m kind of aware at the moment that my sense of taste is a bit off thanks to a recent cold) but that’s not too bad, all considered.
The amount of butter is essential though, as is the cream, because you want a creamy, smooth sauce.
So, my son Vincent decided that he was tired of playing the XBox One, XBox 360, the PS2 and the Nintendo 64 and the DreamCast, … and he had a Christmas gift card he hadn’t used yet. He decided on a new game console, suitable for 2018 gaming.
That’s what he came home with.
The family all visited the Philippines for the first time in 6 years; for my youngest brother’s wedding. It was a short visit, hectic – but ultimately fun and wonderful. I sadly didn’t have time to interview my Mom for stories as I would have liked (so I can start writing those family stories), but she had fun being Lola to her (currently only) grandchildren, and ‘spoiling her baby daughter’ – so I have a load of daster dresses (yay!) and having Rhys and I eat with her at her new favourite food places. I went home with the intention of being able to eat some of the foods I seriously missed while overseas, and while that ambition was partly fulfilled, I feel rather sad that I didn’t get to sample more of the smorgasbord that is Filipino food and restaurant variety.
(To our amusement, the kids simply adored Jolibee, though Vincent found the burgers ‘too small’, and Rhys could eat three Filipino-sized servings of food by himself.) I didn’t get a chance to eat fishballs, or Goldilock’s Cathedral Windows, but I did manage to have some Red Ribbon (and introduced Vincent to the joys of mamon, that fluffy Filipino angel food-sponge.)
I did bring home lots of powdered juice mixes and Mom, upon finding out that Nescafe Berry Coffee was something Rhys – the consumate tea drinker – deeply enjoyed, made it a point to ensure that her only son-in-law had a package of single-serves to bring back to Australia. Note to self: next time, bring even LESS clothes, and bigger suitcases for the children, because while I sent home two balikbayan (return to homeland) boxes full of pasalubong (‘welcoming’ gifts) we got given so much there’s a huge plastic chest of stuff we couldn’t fit on our baggage allowance (30kg per person) that Mom says she’ll send in parcels – with more food things that we liked, but didn’t get a chance to bring home more of. (Waah, I realised just now I left behind my little cookies with the little drop of hard icing on top. I wanted to nibble on those while on the plane ride home!) The pasalubong will mostly go to folks my Mom knows; as they’re mostly ‘thank you for taking care of my Mom for me’ appreciation gifts.
I will have to learn to make taho myself though. =/
Nestled deep in the forest, all is as it should be in the village of Blessed Hope – and that’s how chief hunter Dari Finbarr likes it. Then one stormy night the embodiment of death for Humans stumbles into their home: a Szari girl.
The Szari! A race of powerful beings who sought the extinction of Humankind, and were only stopped by the Tzaro people in a brutal war that is still whispered about in hushed voices. A sole Szari warrior is capable of wiping out entire Human settlements by themselves.
The strange, silent Szari is nothing like how the tales describe however; and though it risks his life, Dari is given the task of guarding her until the wise Tzaro are brought to decide her fate. Until then many questions arise, but no answers can be found in the girl’s sad green eyes.
Without knowing it, the Humans of Blessed Hope have found themselves on a path that will change the future of all the races on their world…
After much blood, sweat and tears, and delays brought about by multiple truly life-altering circumstances, we have finally – FINALLY! – got Aff’s Diary: Blessed Hope published! Available from Lulu in paperback and ebook (epub). Distribution will have it available through other retailers in a few weeks, and when it happens I’ll write about it!
Despite the preview image on the paperback’s page, the actual cover image on print looks very good – here’s the proof copy:
This series is set before the Seda’s Diary series of books. Blessed Hope is our thickest book to date at 427 pages (plus supplementary content). I hope everyone who reads this book enjoys the story!
BIG thank you to the beta readers who have stuck with us through the hard work in getting this story out!
Eldest son had his birthday recently, and of course, got presents. He’s older now, and it’s actually easier to buy him things, given his recent introduction to manga – he blew through the various ones I have that we parents deemed okay for him. He loves Card Captor Sakura – we pushed to get the 4 omnibus set; and is excited to learn that CCS: Clear Card is currently ongoing. His response when he found out that Skip Beat! isn’t over yet: “NOOOOOO!!! I have to wait!” Sometime recently he asked me if there were going to be any more books in Dave Freer’s Dragon Ring series (I don’t know.) and soon he’ll be old enough to be introduced to Monster Hunter International, and later, The Dresden Files.
Reading boy = happy parents.
He also loves video games, of course, but we don’t go out of the way to get the latest and the newest consoles (our house has a Sega Dreamcast, a Nintendo 64, Xbox 360/1, I thiiink we have a PS2, but that thing isn’t hooked up and is somewhere… maybe a PS3 now, inherited from my brother-in-law) because we tend to play on PC for the most part (insert PC Master Race joke here), but it’s the holidays.
Well, this was his big pressie – a full scale display model (ergo, it’s purely decorative and not sharp) of Frostmourne, the sword of Arthas the Lich King. Aff got him a small Arthas figure and some awesome tech swag – a desk-mat, a Genji themed mouse, and Heroes of the Storm Turtle Beach headsets – sort of a mix of birthday and Christmas pressies, really.
The sword replica is almost as big as he is too, and he had problems lifting it, remarking repeatedly that it was heavy and huge and he couldn’t imagine how Arthas would swing it around… then his father picked it up one handed, to his glee and delight.
We’ll have a ‘proper’ party for when some friends will be around (School holidays = kiddies go off to Grandparents to visit, usually.)
I loooove coffee walnut cake. Luckily for me our grocery chain Coles has them for less than 10 AUD and it is omg scrumptious. I loooove coffee walnut cake. Luckily for me our grocery chain Coles has them for less than 10 AUD and it is omg scrumptious.
But for my birthday, I wanted a bit more Ferrero Rocher-ey taste; more chocolatey, maybe a bit of Nutella… I still wanted the coffee buttercream though. But for my birthday, I wanted a bit more Ferrero Rocher-ey taste; more chocolatey, maybe a bit of Nutella… I still wanted the coffee buttercream though.
I made this cake for both my birthday and again for Easter, which is why the above cake has mini Cadbury Creme eggs nested in the middle. I made this cake for both my birthday and again for Easter, which is why the above cake has mini Cadbury Creme eggs nested in the middle.
Maybe someday I’ll remember to take a photo of a cake slice instead of going ‘om nom nom’ right away.
Until then, have a recipe!
Instead of an April Fool’s joke, I figure, I play up on one of the joking-not-joking things that is associated with living in Van Diemen’s Land.
Since I live in Australia, it was inevitable that we would one day encounter one of it’s deadly inhabitants, for which the Land Downunder is known, and indeed, famous for. While working in the back yard, we found, in a knothole, the Australian cousin of the Black Widow, the Redback Spider.
That’s all she did, by the way; just sit there, as still as could be, and in fact we called the children over so they could have a look and identify her, and recognise her for what it was. Afterward, my handsome, manly Aussie hubby very gently caught the spider and released her under the fence, where her would surely find a nice place to hide and lots of other bugs, and spiders like Sydney Funnelwebs to eat.
I am extremely unfond of Sydney Funnelwebs, by the way. They’re freaking aggressive little bastards, who meet with crunchy stompy death and spray o’ bugger off. Or fire.
Speaking of spiders, my hubby has had lots of experience with the things, including the massive golden orb weaver spiders. He’s told me stories of walking through the bush, and finding one as big as his wristwatch… well, clinging to his wrist, where his wristwatch is, probably as surprised to be on him as well, hubby’s co-workers are to see the thing on him. Rhys just brushes them off onto the nearest tree branch, saying that he already has something ornamenting his wrist. He also recounted how he was talking to someone while walking through the bush, and in the same conversational tone of voice tell the other fellow, “oh, and you have a massive spider on your arm,” and keep going with the rest of the conversation.
“Wait? What?!” cue screaming and flailing
He told me that he saw a huuuuuge hairy wolf spider run across the floor of the place where he works recently too. “Oh crap, the humans are back! Run awaaaay~!”
Today my baby Brandon would’ve been two years old. I think he would have been having a fun time today; though perhaps his birthday would’ve been much quieter than Vincent’s party a few days ago.
We gave him his presents – a toy tank and a toy helicopter, and his Grammy and Grampy sent a hand made card.
Rhys and I spent a little time reminiscing fondly about his birth, and a few delightful memories. I wonder about how he and Damien would’ve been like now, but that happens a lot. Perhaps his hair would have been gently curling, like his eldest brother’s was. We still can’t imagine him smiling, however, as he was a baby with a rather impressive scowl. I think Damien would have been the plague to him at the same time being a favourite playmate.
What could have been…
I’ve been busy RL with things; one of them is making my son Vincent a Minecraft themed cake. It’s not Pinterest worthy; but eh, he was happy with it and considering that I’ve never worked with fondant before, or done anything with fondant other than eat it, I’m okay with the way it turned out. The cake itself was yummy and fluffy and the children were greatly entertained by the fact that the sparklers were set into the TNT block’s ‘fuses’.
The other thing I did was to rearrange my workspace again. I’m rather pleased with how it looks so I took pictures.