Google SketchUp

Han recently recommended Google SketchUp to me, and to my pleasant surprise, it comes with a library of items contributed by people globally. After our discussion with Blum on our urbanKitchen purchase, I decided to do up this diagram so that we can roughly gauge that the kitchen plan is able to fit into the space available, and also to gauge the size of furniture we need to buy. I spent some time setting up this diagram; first night was mainly spent doing up a rough replica of the floor plan. Then I kinda went a bit overboard putting in the furniture after that, since so many things were available in the library. The IKEA furniture models are created by the community, I only imported the models we wanted to buy, or already own. If anything is a black box, it’s because the model is not available in the library, so I just placed a black box with the required dimensions.

Through this exercise, I learnt a whole bunch of things:

  • Our downstairs toilet is so bloody small
  • The washing machine seems really small after I placed it in the diagram (the box is based on dimensions of the model we are planning to buy)
  • How to create and scale items in the floor plan
  • I’m going to need a renovation loan to make all this a reality lol
  • I don’t know how tall or big our windows are, and we need to get them measured when we go for the site visit. Same goes for doors. So whatever I have put in this diagram for doors and windows are an estimate.
  • Created some custom items using textures I downloaded over the internet. You can see I re-created Ardan’s playmat there.

I can’t wait to get started on the second floor diagram. It’s like playing The Sims all over again. 🙂

Update: Here’s the first draft of the second floor.

2nd-floor

Google Pixel

Bought myself a Google Pixel (Silver, 128GB) for my birthday this year. 😀 Everybody’s been quite excited and asking for a review, so here’s my perspective of the device. Samsung S4 was the last Android phone I have used before switching to iPhones. My S4 battery would heat up while charging and also randomly while I’m out. I was uncomfortable with that symptom, so I switched to iPhone. But I’ve missed my S3 experience so much that I’ve been watching out for an Android phone since. I wanted to buy this phone the moment it was announced.

First Impressions

Google Pixel Box
I chuckled when I saw the box

The hardware feels like an iPhone, key difference being there’s no button at the bottom of the front of the phone, the fingerprint reader is on the back of the phone, which poses no issues for me, I swipe it with either of my index fingers just fine. There’s a tiny pokey thing in the box to help you remove your SIM card from your iPhone and insert it into the Pixel. The Pixel SIM card drawer works exactly the same way as the SIM card drawer on the iPhone.

The phone powers up like any other phone, with an animation sequence and some jingle.

What comes in the box:

  • The phone itself
  • That pokey thing for the SIM card drawer
  • Charger adapter, I got the UK one so the plug is compatible here
  • One USB C to USB C cable for use with the official plug
  • One USB A to USB C cable, so you can still use your old iPhone charger to charge this phone, if you want
  • One female USB A to USB C adapter, in case you want to convert any of your other existing cables to USB C on one end
  • Some starter kit cards a la Razer products

And then I started going through this list, you should check it out if you just got yours.

What I Love About It

Stories on Google Now
Articles I’ll Actually Read
  • The keyboard can be swiped by default (can only have that with third party keyboards on iPhone)
  • I get lesser weird auto correct errors with keyboard
  • There’s a DND profile option (great for driving! I hated when friends WhatsApp me while I was driving)
  • Google Now recommending articles I actually want to read (my personal Google account was configured as the main account in the phone)
  • Having my work schedule on a full page panel, that I can swipe to anytime, without launching my calendar app (my work account is configured in the Outlook app)

Bits That Irritated Me

  • I have 3 virtual keyboards set up (English, Chinese and Japanese), and I have to go into them individually to turn off key press sounds and vibration. Shouldn’t keyboard settings be across the board?!
  • Similarly, I have to go into individual apps to turn off in app sounds
  • Sometimes I tap on a hot spot multiple times and I still don’t select it. Most times it’s because I’m tapping slightly lower than the phone expects it
  • Battery life seems a bit suspect. I spent 10% just surfing Facebook and Google Now for 45 minutes when I wake up

Dabbling in Aromatherapy

Recently there’s been some essential oils (EO) craze amongst the members of various Facebook groups I’m in so I started getting interested in them as well.

Ordered a Basic Plus Starter Kit from Young Living last weekend, and it arrived on Wednesday.

I received the Dewdrop™ diffuser, 5ml bottles of Lavender, Lemon and Stress Away and a bunch of samples in the Starter Kit. Gave the Slique samples to Han and kept all the EO samples for myself.

I wanted to try diffusing Lavender at night to see if it’ll reduce the frequency of Ardan’s nightmares. And also to help him with his afternoon naps on the weekends. I’ve noticed recently that he only naps for an hour on weekends afternoon, that can’t be good for his age! He’s only 25 months old!

I started diffusing Lavender at night since Wednesday, and I’m pleased to report that it does seem to help him sleep deeper and also we managed to get him to sleep for 2.5-3 hours during his weekend afternoon naps yesterday and today. I am now considering getting some Peace and Calming to help everybody in our family get even better quality sleep.

If you are keen to get some Young Living products, you can check out Essential Oils Singapore on Facebook, or sign up as a Young Living member. There are two options you can choose when you sign up:

  1. Enroll with an Essential Rewards Order and get a Free Starter Kit
  2. Young Living Enrollment Option 1

  3. Buy a Starter Kit on Standard Order
  4. Young Living Enrollment Option 2

Penang Day 2

Breakfast: Roti Canai, Jalan Transfer

Roti Canai Transfer Road
Roti Canai Transfer Road
Bunch of Us
Bunch of Us
Mutton Curry, Chicken Curry, Kosong and Egg
Mutton Curry, Chicken Curry, Kosong and Egg

Second Breakfast: Tai Wah Cafe, 84 Jalan Argyle, 10050

Tai Wah Cafe
Tai Wah Cafe
Wanton Mee
Wanton Mee

极乐寺 Kek Lok Si Temple, Jalan Balik Pulau

Poor Terrapins had nothing to eat, I bought a whole bunch of kang kong and fed them.

Terrapins
Terrapins

Lighted a medium sized lamp for Han and I, and a mini lamp for Ardan.

Prayed for Han and I, and Our Families
Prayed for Han and I, and Our Families
Prayed for Ardan
Prayed for Ardan

They had these wish ribbons going for RM1 each that you could get. The wishes were the usual ones for wealth, health, harmony and whatnot. There were also ones you could get for kids/babies and wish that your kid is beautiful/handsome, listens to you, listens to your spouse, grow up faster, is smart, stay safe and be healthy etc. I asked Ling to get the beautiful and handsome one haha.

In the Souvenir Shop
In the Souvenir Shop

We then took a lift up to see the huge Guanyin statue at the top. I prayed for Yang and Ling.

In The Lift Up to Guanyin Statue
In The Lift Up to Guanyin Statue
Guanyin Statue
Guanyin Statue
Dharma Protector Heng
Dharma Protector Heng
Dharma Protector Ha
Dharma Protector Ha
On Our Way Down
On Our Way Down

Lunch: Air Itam Assam Laksa, Air Itam Market (Jalan Pasar)

Air Itam Pasar Assam Laksa
Air Itam Pasar Assam Laksa
Assam Laksa
Assam Laksa

Lam Heng Cafe, 185 Macalister Road

The char koay teow and prawn noodle aren’t anything to rave about. The lor mee is nice. The otah isn’t too bad.

Otah, Char Koay Teow, Lor Mee and Prawn Noodle
Otah, Char Koay Teow, Lor Mee and Prawn Noodle

Street Art

Cannon Street
Cannon Street
Street Art
Street Art
Ice Balls Seller
Ice Balls Seller

Clan Jetties

Chew Jetty
Chew Jetty
Chew Jetty
Chew Jetty

Village Fish Head Bee Hoon, Pengkalan Weld

You can choose fish soup base or tomyum soup base, noodles, bee hoon or Maggie noodles and fresh or fried fish. The fried fish is very good. There’s a special drink called Pink Lady which tastes like Cendol.

Village Fish Head Bee Hoon
Village Fish Head Bee Hoon
Ngoh Hiang
Ngoh Hiang
Tom Yum Maggie with Fresh Fish
Tom Yum Maggie with Fresh Fish

Supper: Wanton Mee, Lebuh Chulia

Wanton Mee
Wanton Mee

Penang Day 1

First Stop: Hon Kei Food Corner, 45 Kampung Malabar

First stop was to have some lunch at Hon Kei Food Corner. It was a modern looking coffee shop which sells Bak Kut Teh on one side and Lor Bak on the other side. The side that sells Bak Kut Teh sells butter kaya toast as well. Yang ordered some to try and it was the best item we tried at this place.

Hon Kei Food Corner
Hon Kei Food Corner
Hon Kei Food Corner
Hon Kei Food Corner
Pig's Intestines in Bitter Gourd Soup
Pig’s Intestines in Bitter Gourd Soup
Kaya Butter Toast
Kaya Butter Toast (Best Buy!)
Lor Bak
Lor Bak

Second Stop: Pinang Peranakan Mansion

Pinang Peranakan Mansion
Entrance to the Pinang Peranakan Mansion and some intricate tile designs
Entrance Courtyard
Door Details
Door Details
Game Room
Living Room
Dining Room for Entertaining Western Guests
Pretty Sure This Was The Room Where People Sit Around and Bitch in 小娘惹
High Level Beadwork

It is said that men would pick their brides based on their handiwork, and not based on looks. The girls were trained from young in beading and embroidery and it was a very stressful environment for them to ensure they could sew well.

I felt very conflicted while I was there. A part of me wished I was able to learn how to make such intricate handicraft, while at the same time was thankful I was not borned in such a stressful environment. Ling assured me that I would have one of the best husbands around if I were born in that time. Lol.

Details
阳掌柜
阳掌柜
Kitchen Stove
Baby Chair, Baby Pram and Playpen
Baby Chair, Baby Pram and Playpen

People would put their babies in the rattan baby chair, and to prevent them from moving about, tie their hands and legs to the chair as well. Sounds kinda inhumane though.

Third Stop: 三条路888福建面, 67-A Lebuh Presgrave

Our third stop was for dinner. The soup in the prawn noodle was pretty authentic. I had roast pork added to my prawn noodle, and they were really good. If you want, you could choose to have bee hoon only, noodles only, Maggie mee, or mix the kind of noodles.

Wanton mee, Prawn Noodle, Orh Jian and Hor Fun
Wanton mee, Prawn Noodle, Orh Jian and Hor Fun

The orh jian was a disappointment, so don’t get that if you’re there. I didn’t manage to take a photo, but our best buy was the Cendol, followed by the prawn noodles, then the wanton mee.

Fourth Stop: Durians

We went for some durians after dinner, I didn’t manage to get the address, but here are some photos.

Butter and Red Prawn
Butter and Red Prawn
Happily Eating
Happily Eating

Paleo Cookies

Han got this recipe for Paleo Friendly Cookies from his gym instructor, and he’s already made me make 4 batches of these cookies so far. They’re not my thing, but Han loves them.

2.5 cups almond flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
10 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp vanilla essence
3 tbsp raw honey
1/2 cup 60% dark chocolate chips

  1. Mix dry ingredients
  2. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients
  3. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until completely covered
  4. Roll into 1 inch balls and flatten on baking tray with grease-proof paper
  5. Bake at 350 F for 10-12 minutes

Banana Cake

So I tried making the same banana cake again, this time making two loaves of cakes instead of cup cakes. The bottom turned out to be very dense, so I’m going to try making them again tomorrow.

I made slight tweaks to the recipe.

250g unsalted butter
1 cup caster sugar
4 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla essence
4 tablespoon Milk
2 mashed Bananas
220g plain flour sifted with 1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of soda and 1 teaspoon Baking powder

Annabel Karmel’s Salmon with Carrots and Tomato

Ardan turns 8 months old today, and he can get started on fish. I decided to try making Salmon with Carrots and Tomato based on a recipe from my Annabel Karmel book. This is my first foray into cooking (home ed classes don’t count, the teacher gave us tips along the way) while following a recipe. Totally didn’t realise I had to defrost the meat before cooking. In my defense, I cook frozen peas, straight from the freezer into the boiling water! Lol. So we went out for dinner with the Huatians while letting the fish defrost at home.

Here’s the recipe in entirety, reposted from netmums.com. I used Option 2 and cooked the fish in milk rather than microwaved it.

Annabel Karmel Salmon with Carrots and Tomato

225g carrots (peeled and sliced)
150g salmon fillet
½ tsp milk (or enough to cover the salmon, see method for details)
30g butter
2 tomatoes (ripe, skinned and desseded), chopped
40g cheddar cheese, grated

  1. Put the carrots in a steamer set over a pan of boiling water and cook for 15–20 minutes or until tender
  2. Option 1:
    1. Meanwhile, place the fish in a microwave dish, add the milk, dot with half the butter and cover, leaving an air vent
    2. Microwave on High for 1½ –2 minutes
  3. Option 2:
    1. Alternatively, put the salmon in a pan, pour over enough milk to just cover and simmer for about 4 minutes or until cooked
  4. Melt the remaining butter in a saucepan, add the tomatoes and sauté until softened and slightly mushy
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese until melted – blend the cooked carrots with the tomato mixture
  6. Drain the cooking liquor from the fish, remove the skin and check there are no bones
  7. Flake the fish and mix it with the carrots and tomatoes
  8. For younger babies you can blend the fish together with the carrots and tomato for a smoother texture

If you are interested in other recipes from Annabel Karmel, you can get them here.

On Weaning and Nutrition

We started Ardan on solids the week he turned 6 months in early February. That’s a video of him taking solids for the first time. I’m introducing new foods without testing, i.e. Not waiting 3 days after introducing new foods, and have had no problems so far.

 Annabel Karmel's New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner  

I am referring to Annabel Karmel’s New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner. At the same time also referring to this image to stagger the introduction of variety. 

  

Even though I can’t cook, the initial chapters of the book are real easy. I found it manageable to wash and chop fruits and vegetables, and then steaming and puree-ing them with my Philips AVENT Combined Steamer and Blender. However it had a max capacity so I had to cook batches sequentially. 

But as I went through the book, I found that I have no time and interest in learning how to cook. So what I’ve been doing so far is continuing to introduce new food by steaming and puree-ing them. I hope that later on as he gets older, I could get Sheila to cook his meals for him. 

Hands-free

Ardan in his play pen

There are nights when I come home from work and I want to work on some things – sell some dog clothes, pay my bills, craft a little, surf a little Internet etc. But most nights I found that I couldn’t do these things, as it would be 9 plus in the evening after I’ve had my dinner and showered after work, and it would be time to put Ardan to bed. We co-sleep, so it means I have to be in bed with him at 9 plus as well. Or I could be done earlier, but neither Han nor Sheila are free to help mind him. 

So recently I’ve started putting Ardan in his playpen in our room again, and to my surprise, he’s experiencing new found enjoyment in it. I was using the playpen heavily when I was on maternity leave, but in recent weeks it just hasn’t been used that often. 

He would cry if we put him on our bed and we went off to do our stuff, but he seems plenty happy rolling about in his playpen alone, and would entertain himself for an hour sometimes. Which equates to an hour I could use to do some mindless Internet surfing, for example. 🙂

We use the Nuna SENA in red, which Han bought from a baby fair last year.