lost in the big maze

washington dc 2014 washington dc 2014 washington dc 2014 washington dc 2014 washington dc 2014 I’m a little late in sharing this, but if you were in the D.C. area this summer, they had this cool BIG maze exhibit at the National Building Museum. It was a little pricey, especially since most D.C.museum things are free, but it looked like a lot of fun, so in we went. Ben did put up a slight hissy fit about how expensive it was, though I think the fun was well worth it. We got a little lost inside, and it feels a bit dizzying and claustrophobic to be lost in there. Ben was the first to spot the way out, so we let him lead the way. The girls were loving it so much they went through it again, but I stayed out and went up to try and get an aerial view of them going through it. If you live near there or were visiting this past summer, did any of you get a chance to go through it?

 

 

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all the food we ate in singapore

19 Warning: this is the longest food post of life. Seriously. When we went to Singapore, we wanted to dive into as much of the culture as possible, and one of the best ways is through food, right?! So we tried everything and anything! Stingray, cockles, mutton (you’re probably saying, “Say what?!”), and the list goes on and on. I’m going to share with you what we tried and some of what we thought. I couldn’t remember what I thought exactly about every dish, but if I didn’t like it, it sticks out, and I mention it below. Otherwise, I liked it! If you ever happen to find yourself on that sunny little island, this should help you navigate what to fill your tummy with, but like we tell our girls, don’t ever knock it until you’ve tried it.

1 Masala Thosai (Dosai) from the Tekka Market in Little India.

2 Wonton Noodle Soup from the Golden Mile Food Centre.

3 Bak Chor Mee from People’s Park Food Centre.

4 Clay Pot Chicken Rice from Golden Mile Food Centre.

5 Wanton Mee from Golden Mile Food Centre. Another delicious noodle dish.

6 Chwee Kueh from Tiong Bahru Market. This was the one dish we weren’t fond of. We had a bite and that was all we needed.

7 Soon Kueh from Tiong Bahru Market. My friend Abby brought us some for breakfast and I devoured it!

8 Chendol Cupcake from 40 Hands Cafe. It was different, not moist, but still tasty. There aren’t many desserts I don’t like though.

9 Tom Yum Seafood Soup from Golden Mile Food Centre.

10 Carrot Cake from People’s Park Food Centre. It’s not your American carrot cake, this is a vegetable dish, not a dessert. Ben and I both liked it and I’d like to try and recreate it at home, probably with a little less oil though.

11 Durian Ice Kachang, Cheng Tng, and Bo Bo Cha Cha from People’s Park Food Centre. They all tasted good, but my favorite might have been the durian one. Durian is strong, but after the initial taste, you get used to it. The burps that ensue afterwards isn’t as nice though, fair warning.

12 Teh Halia and Teh Masala from Tekka Market in Little India. It was hot as heck, but it didn’t stop of us from having these warm drinks. I loved the spices in them!

13 Otak Otak from Katong Laksa. Yes, this was delicious! It has a little bit of spice, and yes it looks a bit like spam; it is made from fish (a sort of fish cake) and has a totally different flavor from spam.

14 Roti John from People’s Park Food Centre.

15 Halwa from Tekka Market in Little India. Interesting flavor and texture, but I found it a little too sweet, and I love sweet, so this tells you this was really sweet.

16 Mee Goreng from Tekka Market in Little India. I pretty much loved all the noodle dishes we had in Singapore. This wasn’t saucy, but it was very flavorful.

17 Fish Nasi Briyani from Tekka Market in Little India.

18 Kambing Soup from Tekka Market in Little India.

food in singapore Pulut Hitam from Island Creamery. Even ice cream in Singapore is so good!

food in singapore food in singapore Satay from People’s Park Food Centre. I love satay! But I guess you can already tell from this post, that I love a lot of food.

food in singapore Laksa from Katong Laksa. We actually had this twice, so I can’t remember if this was from the first place or second, but both were so good. This was by far my favorite dish in Singapore. Well, it was tied with the Singaporean Ramen from Noodle Story. I have a couple packets of boxed laksa, so I can try to recreate it at home.

food in singapore Ondeh Ondeh from Maxwell Centre. I wish I could have brought boxes of this dessert home with me! It’s type of a rice flour cake (I think) covered in coconut flakes.  I just love how Asian desserts aren’t overwhelmingly sweet like American desserts tend to be.

food in singapore Fresh Coconut from Chinatown. This was so refreshing to drink while walking around in the sweltering heat.

food in singapore Ah Balling Soup from Golden Mile Food Centre. This was so good! I loved it so much that I now go to the local Asian market to stock up on frozen peanut balls to have it when I get the craving. My friend Abby shared a recipe here and I want to try it!

food in singapore Chili Crab from Jumbo Seafood in the East Coast Lagoon (I think). I love crab. Give me crab, rice, and butter, and I’m in the zone, so this dish hit the right spot.

food in singapore food in singapore Singaporean Ramen from A Noodle Story at the Amoy Food Centre. The presentation and the flavors totally won me. I really miss this dish so much. If I ever find myself in Singapore again, I would head to the Amoy Centre as soon as I was able and get another bowl of this delicious dish. We wanted to go back on our last day there, but they were closed that day.

food in singapore Dim Sum from Tim Ho Wan. We went to Tim Ho Wan for lunch this day after walking all over the place, and we were starving. I texted my friend Abby our location to see what would be the best place to eat, and this is what she suggested. I love dim sum and this did not disappoint!

food in singapore Chicken Rice from Maxwell Food Centre. This was Ben’s favorite dish. I think he had it two more times when he went off by himself as I taught classes.

food in singapore Sambal Sting Ray from Makansutra Gluttons by Bay. It’s similar to fish, but denser, and we love the flavors of the paste on top.

food in singapore Hokkien Mee from Makansutra Gluttons by Bay. I thought it was good, but Ben didn’t like this so much.

food in singapore Roti Prata from Chinatown. I would love to try and make this at home.

coconut ice cream Fresh Coconut Ice Cream from Co Nut Ink outside of Esplanade. I enjoyed this treat as we watched the light show from Marina Bay Sands.

Obviously, we ate a lot. Looking at the pictures again, I notice there were some other dishes we ate that I didn’t get pictures of. We had 7 full days in Singapore and  we enjoyed every bit of it. Ben, who is really picky with food because he likes to make sure he eats healthy (all the time), was totally game for anything, and he tried everything too! There’s only one dish above that we really didn’t like, but everything else was pretty good. We came home craving some of the food, so I immediately started recreating some of the dishes (with a healthier slant of course).

We were lucky enough to have the Bloesem team to get us started on our food quests, and our friend, Abby, was our personal tour guide 90% of the time, and she took us all over the place. When we did venture off on our own, we used this blog helped guide us (along with some tips a few of you shared too!). Oh Singapore, how we miss your diverse and delicious dishes! 

Dear Singaporean friends,
If I got any of the dishes wrong (or spelled wrong), please correct me.
Love, Ruby

 

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from recent adventures

Glow's 3rd birthday Glow's 3rd birthday Glow's 3rd birthday Glow's 3rd birthday Glow's 3rd birthday Glow's 3rd birthday Glow's 3rd birthday Glow's 3rd birthday We’ve been busy filling our weekends with adventures of late. They usually involve a trip down south to San Diego, and there are always pit stops to plant nurseries involved. Ben bought two more citrus trees (and he still wants more!), and we picked up some Reed avocados. Oh my guacamole… those things are huge and so creamy! A Reed avocado tree is on our tree wish list, but we haven’t readied the space for any avocado trees yet. Ben’s itching to do so, but he’s always itching to add this or that to the garden all the time. The project list for the backyard never ends, and since we really haven’t spent any weekends at home, that list keeps getting longer and longer.

 

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our date with glow

glow's date with mommy and papi glow's date with mommy and papi glow's date with mommy and papi glow's date with mommy and papi glow's date with mommy and papi glow's date with mommy and papi glow's date with mommy and papi glow's date with mommy and papi glow's date with mommy and papi glow's date with mommy and papi glow's date with mommy and papi glow's date with mommy and papi The big three recently went on a sleepover, so Ben and I used that time to take Glow on a special date to go fruit picking. Obviously, the location was clearly chosen by Ben, but this baby of ours couldn’t care less where it was as she had us all to herself. Actually, Ben was vacillating back and forth between us, the fruit, and our tour guide, but compared to having to vie for our attention with the other girls, she was the main star.

Oh she’s such a little ham, but especially when she’s by herself, and she does so much more talking. I think it’s nice to be able to get these one on one times with each of the girls. Ben and I have discussed doing weekly one-on-one dates with the kids; we are hoping to put it into action soon. Time is flying by and we’re trying to do what we can to treasure these moments while we have them.

We spent the evening walking through Adams Acres and Glow was so excited to try all the fruit Mr. Adams was offering us. She was taking charge in leading me through the orchards and was just having the time of her life roaming (and jumping) through this new place. Of course, we were intrigued with all the different things that are grown there, and as proof we came home with bags of fruit, and 5 watermelons (yellow and orange varieties). This just furthered our dreams of having our own u-pick farm one day. It was such an enjoyable evening and I’m so thankful that we were able to give the baby some undivided attention. I think special dates like these are necessary to give each of our children, and I’m hoping we get consistent at carving out time for times like this.

 

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an ode to summer

brave 7th birthday brave 7th birthday brave 7th birthday brave 7th birthday brave 7th birthday brave 7th birthday brave 7th birthday brave 7th birthday brave 7th birthday brave 7th birthday brave 7th birthday brave 7th birthday These photos are from Brave’s birthday weekend, and I still haven’t finished recapping all the fun we had this summer, but we are back into the swing of things with school. Well, at least for a few weeks, until the girls are off with their grandparents on another vacation (I guess that means Ben and I get a sort of vacation too). Thus, we have a lot of work to do to make sure their school work is done before they go adventuring.

And while Southern California sort of lives in a perpetual back and forth between spring and summer, gone are the lazy days of play, no agendas, and meeting up with friends. Days are much more structured and homeschooling takes up most of it. I love the carefree days of summer, but I relish structure and can’t wait for the cozy warmth fall and winter bring (even if it is still about 90 degrees where we live).

If you’re stateside, Happy Labor Day friends. Have fun bidding summer farewell with one last hurrah!

 

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the hawker food culture of singapore

food in singapore food in singapore food in singapore food in singapore food in singapore food in singapore food in singapore food in singapore food in singapore food in singapore food in singapore food in singapore food in singapore

We ate so much in Singapore! There are hawker centers all over the city, which are outdoor food courts of sorts, and they are filled with a wide array of food. Singapore’s cuisine is very diverse, a good mirror of the people and culture in Singapore. There’s a lot of Malay, Chinese, Indian influences (and plenty more cultural influences) in the cuisine and out of all the food we tried, there was just one dish we couldn’t go past one bite.

Each day in Singapore was basically a food tour of the various hawker centers. For one of our lunches there, we even hit up two different hawker centers! Of course, we did other tourist things (see here and here), but the highlight of it all was the food (and the people we became friends with). We went to hawker center after hawker center, and even within one hawker center, we would try a few dishes from one aisle, then move over and try more from the next aisle. I’m thankful that the ladies at Bloesem gave us good tips, and my friend Abby took us to all the best places to experience all the delicious dishes Singapore has to offer.

We learned about “chopping” that would happen at the food centers. “Chopping” is when people would leave a tissue (or a pack of tissue), and I’ve even seen someone leave their work badge, on the table to signify that the seat was taken, and people would respect that. It looked like this… you would enter the food center, find an open table or spot, place your tissue, then walk away to go order your food, and once you have your food, you come back to your tissue and sit down. Everyone knew that seat was spoken for and it was respected. By day 2 of our time at the food centers, we were participating in the seat “chopping” too.

Another thing we learned are meals are more of a community thing among friends. We’re used to each ordering our own dish, and eating our own dish, and maybe sharing a bite or two with each other if we ask. In Singapore, if you’re there with a group of friends, it’s more common to put the food in the middle and just share everything, no asking necessary. It’s not a “this is mine that is yours” kind of deal, but we all share the dishes together. Again, by day 2, we were totally participating in community meals with our friend Abby.

I have so much more to share about the food there, so there will be an entire post (and it will be really long!) dedicated to all the foods we ate there. Seriously, ever since Singapore, I’ve had a deeper appreciation and love for Asian food.

 

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