Monday, July 10, 2017

The day I went to the ER.... and it wasn't cos of the kids

I went to the ER yesterday. And no it wasn't because of the kids. It was 100% cos of me.

You know how you look forward to your date night, cos it's been forever since you last had one-on-one time with your husband? And you decide to go the Hamburg Fishmarkt because you can actually go through the crowds easily without having to maneuver a stroller?

That was exactly what I thought. What a beautiful warm summer evening. Let's sit outdoors and just enjoy the warm breeze and have some fresh fish!!

I had an accident which involved me swallowing a fish bone when I was 12. And I tell ya, I never forgot that experience! That piercing pain when you swallow. The futile attempts to gulp water down to get that damn horrible fish bone through your throat but it refused to bulge.

I was at my school "graduate" camp for 12-year olds and I was so happy to be able to stay overnight somewhere else! I remember talking to a friend while eating my Nasi Lemak fish and the next thing I knew, something sharp and thin went through my throat and never got through.

I waited 24 hours before telling any teacher because I was scared of being scolded! When I finally did, my parents picked me up and brought me to the hospital. We waited for ages before I went for an X-ray only for the doctor to say that he couldn't see any fish bone and the bone had probably got down my throat but it was still sore.

Since then, I swore off Nasi Lemak fish and I've always been very vigilant whenever I ate fish.

All the time except yesterday!

I ate a piece of seemingly harmless salmon, which is usually boneless and somehow the EXACT.SAME.THING happened! And it happened so quickly! I felt the same disgusting piercing pain while swallowing. I tried to puke. I tried to drink. I tried to swallow small chunks of banana.

Literally everything. Hub told me to wait it out, cos most fish bones dislodges itself in hours. But I was in pain! I couldn't wait.

So we went straight to the hospital. Can I just say I'm so glad we did?

German medical care is SOOO efficient! This was a Sunday evening. There was no queue. The only waiting time we had was to wait for the doctor to come back from her break (maybe 20mins?)

There was no X-ray. The doc just wore something on her head with a lamp, peered into my throat and saw the bone. She sprayed something to numb my throat and went on to stick something inside my throat to remove the bone.

I remember being sooo scared that it would hurt. But while I was sitting there, I told myself, "Pris, you gave birth to 2 out of 3 children naturally, this is no big deal!!"

And before I knew it, the whole ordeal was over! I didn't feel anything! Like ZERO!

I saw the fish bone! That horrid thing!

I was so relieved that I gave the doctor a hug! I was so so so relieved! No more pain! No more stuck feeling. Like I felt sooo free!

And I was sooo thankful that I didn't have to pay anything for that! Just passed them my health insurance card and that was it!

Healthcare premiums may be expensive here, but nothing beats having the peace of mind knowing that you will always be given the healthcare you need.

All happy before the incident


It wasn't this fish
It was this smoked salmon!!

Monday, July 03, 2017

Dear Gabriel - 4 years old

Dear Gabriel!

You, my sweet middle child, have turned the big 4! We decided to have a small celebration with family and Godparents because we're going to a have a proper huge children's party for you and your brother in August!

What can I say? Here are some firsts for your past year.

- You've completed one full year at kindergarten and you certainly look forward to going to school!

- You're so confident on your balancing bicycle these days and we think you will make the transition to the big boy's bike this summer!

- You've become more vocal and are able to express your emotions better compared to one year ago.

- You love being a big brother. On one hand, you can be so sweet to your little brother, Liam. On the other, you struggle with sharing your toys with him claiming that the toys only belong to you and Sam.

It's hard explaining to you that if Liam does not share toys with you, he won't have any toys to play with! But we're hoping that it's a question of time before you start to enjoy playing with Liam. Right now, you're going through the phase that you're so frustrated when Liam destroys your "stau" - German word for traffic jam. You still enjoy building traffic jams all over the house by lining up your toy cars really close together. You're so proud of your Staus and have proudly told Mummy, "Look Mummy! Look what I built for you!" "Oh yeah!!! I see you've build a huge, long traffic jam! Wow! How cool!"

You're very observant of your surroundings and you pay attention to how people feel. There's been a few times when we noticed that you would say, "Awww, is everything ok?" And you would put your protective arm around Liam. It's great seeing that older brother aspect of you developing.

One thing I realise you don't do anymore? - You don't crawl into my bed in the middle of the night anymore. I remember there was a time when we would complain everytime you did that, because it would mean that all of us would sleep badly (no space for all of us in one bed!) But now that you haven't done it in a long time, I suddenly feel a bit sad! Just a bit! Come over and join us in our bed every now and then ok? Lol.

We love you sweet one. We know that it's hard being the sandwiched kid. Neither the oldest, nor the youngest. Mummy was also a sandwiched kid. You'll be fine baby. You'll just have to figure out your role in the family. We believe with all our heart that God has placed you as a middle child for a reason and purpose. You'll develop skills and talents that you wouldn't have been able to otherwise.

We pray that you'll discover your own interests and be comfortable in your own skin, out of the shadow of your older brother. Sam will start school in Fall so you would have to go to kindergarten alone. That would be another transition for you. We know you'll feel sad about it, but we pray that it means that you would find friends of your own and build your own social circle outside that of your brother's.

We love you so much. We're sorry for the many times when we have fallen short. We pray that God will give us and you the grace as we continue on this parenting journey with you.

I need to say one more thing that happened today.

Mummy: Who destroyed my metal plate for steaming? .

You: Not me. I don't know

(Repeat conversation 1000 times. Same response)

Mummy: That's ok. Mummy forgives you. But God sees and Jesus sees. God knows who did it.

You: God cannot see. God doesn't have a phone! And he doesn't have a camera!

Mummy: (Does not know whether to laugh or continue with her stern face) Of course God knows. God is everywhere! He sees everything.

You: (thought for a while). Ok, I did a little bit. Sam did too.

That's how we communicate these days. You're really developing into a little teenager. It's so cute listening to you though!

All our love
Mummy & Daddy

Finally one photo where he's all by himself!

I love my family! Gabe requested for a strawberry cake!



He got some Lego and a water nerf gun!

Gabe's Godparents. He looks so proud to have his nerf gun!

A very manageable-size children party!



I made tomato bruschetta, fried Vietnamese nems and heated up some pizza bread

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Dear Liam - 14 months

My dear beloved Liam

You have hit your biggest milestone the past month.

You've started walking! Seriously, it's such a beautiful thing to witness you go from all-fours to only-twos! You've been so patient with yourself. You would observe how we walk and try to take your first few steps. And one day, when you were alone, you started walking!

I still remember the moment! I was pottering in the kitchen and I distinctly remember hearing the pitter-patter of your tiny feet! It sounded so different compared to your usual shuffling while crawling. I peeked out of the kitchen and saw that you were walking around the hallway!

It was such a beautiful moment! I cherished it in my heart, while resisting the urge to take the camera to capture it on a video. My baby has grown!





My sweet, gentle Liam has started developing a personality of his own!  You usually eat SO well. But somehow over the past few days, you have gone from food-lover to food-hater! Ahhh...

This has been sooo tough for all of us. Previously, you'd have no problems finishing one entire portion of seafood pasta on your own. But these days, we would barely be able to stuff 5 spoonfuls into your mouth. That would usually result in you crying until tears stream down your face, you tilting your head back to refuse the food, gag on whatever food is in your mouth and you spitting it out all over your clothes!

I don't know how often we've sat at the dining table trying literally everything to  make you swallow some food. We are totally clueless. :(

The good thing is that you continue to eat your bread for breakfast and your baby cereals for dinner. But lunchtime is a huge pandora box now.

Eating aside, you're still the happy-go-lucky baby. We're so thankful that summer is finally here. We would go cycling over the fields quite often and you would sit behind me and kick my back with your chubby legs. I'm still hoping that we would get to pluck some strawberries before the season is over! I've not gone strawberry plucking with a 14-month old yet, so we'll see!

Mummy has become more confident bringing all 3 of you out on my own. Our latest visit to Sonnenhof was sooo amazing! All 3 of you cooperated really well, the weather was sunny but not humid and we all managed to enjoy a beautiful day outdoors!

You've started saying "Mama" and understand the words "lean" and "up". That's what I tell you whenever I'd like you to lean on my shoulder, which you still love to do! You've also developed a penchant for your brothers' cars and it's so great that we have SO many cars anyway!

Although my blog posts are getting so infrequent, I'm still taking many photos and videos of your growing-up journey on my Instagram! We love you our sweet little 3rd boy! You're such an wonderful addition to our family! We pray that you'll experience the love of Christ in your life at a young age and you'll learn to hear God's voice!

Love
Mummy & Daddy


Love how Gabriel was so loving to Liam here!

My 3 Tews boys

Having his first picnic with his fellow friend, M!

How cute is this?

Enjoying their farm ride
This is what I look like with my kids!
That tortured look when it comes to eating

Monday, May 15, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

We took a spontaneous trip to Strasbourg, France last Saturday.

I was complaining to the hub that I was so bored out of my mind! Stuttgart is a small city and the foodie in me was so "sian" (bored) of the restaurant options here. The rainy and unpredictable weather has had us stuck at home way too often and I simply needed a change in scenery.

Seeing that it was my hub's birthday on the 9th of May and Mother's Day the next day, we decided to just whinge it and lug 3 kids with us for a daytrip to France!

And oh boy! Were we SO happy we did it! Our maiden road trip as a family of 5! It turned out much better than we had feared. 3 out of 5 of us slept on the way there, so the journey felt much shorter!

We managed to make it for our usual salmon sashimi and grilled yakitori lunch, walk around the old city centre, indulge in the ever-famous Gelato ice-cream aaaaannnd.....

I did some retail therapy at NAF NAF!

Honestly guys, my eyes almost popped out of its sockets when I entered that store! I felt like Alice in Wonderland! All those spring colours! All those floral dresses! All that French fashion! Gosh!

Even Gabriel asked me, "Wow Mummy, are you a Princess?"

I felt bad making my 4 guys wait for me while I tried on dress after dress and outfit after outfit! But, I so needed it!

I think it's an occupational hazard when you have 3 boys. You end up shopping only for boys' clothes. And as a woman, its hard for your eyes to only shop for guys' clothes. I felt starved of beautiful fashion, you know what I mean? I won't consider myself fashion-conscious but I didn't realize how much I missed women fashion until I started shopping for myself again!

There is just sooo much more variety! And ohhhh the colours! And all those floral prints that you'd never see on boys' clothes.

Funnily-enough, as if to make me feel better, the heavens opened and it poured like crazy while we were at Naf Naf. I kid you not. It rained cats and dogs! So we were stuck at the store anyway!

I could actually shop in peace without feeling too guilty! The baby was pretty cooperative too. The poor hub had to carry the baby for the most part of the hour during which I was in that store shopping.

I was actually the last one to leave the store when it closed at 7pm! We rushed to the huge shopping mall where we grabbed the famous chocolate waffle from the Waffle Factory, I stocked up on French madeleines and fresh shrimps! Don't ask me why, but even French shrimps taste better. haha.

The two older kids fell asleep ín the car after only having the chocolate waffle for dinner. I was feeding the baby some home-cooked spaghetti bolognaise in the car when I told the hub, "Wow, I think we had a pretty successful day."

Immediately after that, the baby puked all over himself! He was coughing and somehow couldn't get rid of his blocked throat and we had spaghetti spewed all over the carseat. Yikes! We had to pull over, change him, clean him up before continuing on our journey.

Still, it was such a nice breath of fresh air to do something out of the ordinary. I feel that whenever you have a new addition to the family, it always feel like its hard to get out of the house or even go on longer trips.

But spontaneity and doing something just because its FUN, is sooo necessary for a healthy family / couple life! It injects fire into your daily life! And it gives you the confidence that yes, even with yet another baby, you can continue to live life the way you want to live. The kids love it. The baby loved it. And we loved it most of all!

Was it tiring? You bet it was
Would I do it again? In a heartbeat!

Happy Mother's Day all you lovely ladies!
Yummy Japanese food!



Meeting Charlie Chaplin! Sam was quite scared!

 The lovely sights in Strasbourg

Patiently waiting for their Gelato!

Look! My floral Gelato! Trust the Italians to even know how to decorate an ice-cream cone!

Couldn't wait to tuck into our chocolate waffles! This was SO good!

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

My life 3 months in as a work-at-home Mom

I've been working for about 3 months now, excluding the one month vacation I took in February this year.

I'm so sorry that this blog has taken a backseat! I've been trying to use my Instagram to reach out to my cold market and I link most of my Instagram posts to my Facebook.

For the uninitiated, I've turned my online social media interest into my business. I stumbled upon a business opportunity, felt that it suited me and decided to plunge into it! It's been a really steep learning curve! I've got so many thoughts about my new job that I thought I would share this experience with you guys, my faithful blog readers.

1. How do I want to work my business?

An online business does not have the brick-and-mortar presence of a regular business. We don't need to rent a place, hire someone to renovate it, conceptualize the entire theme or even design a corporate logo. We work our business... well, online.

What does that mean?

I call myself a lady boss from home. But what I really am, is an owner of a franchise. ItWorks does not pay millions of dollars in advertising. It pays people like myself to advertise for the company. And in return, we earn commissions on sales we make and on our team's.

Sounds simple enough right? Yah, not really!

There's SO many types of online media these days. I could choose to build a website, work on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Facebook, set up a Facebook business page, set up a business blog. Seriously everything is possible these days. The question is, which media do I want to focus my time and attention on?

Seeing that I don't have any Snapchat or Twitter account and I'm almost non-existent on my Pinterest account (I hardly know how that works), it was the question of Instagram or Facebook for me.

I've always been more active on Facebook, so I thought I would work my business on Facebook more.

ItWorks is international BUT it is not operational in all countries. While I have a larger network in Asia, it is currently not a market for me. And while I live in Germany where ItWorks operates, many of my friends here don't use social media much.

That's why I decide to expand my presence on Instagram. And oh boy, did you know there are 1 billion Instagram users! Doesn't that blow your mind?

There's also the issue of how to expand your presence on Instagram / Facebook. Do you maintain a private or public account? How do you target your potential customers? What do you write about? How often do you want to post? When do you want to post? Do you know there's a lot of algorithms about social media marketing? I need to go for courses on this topic alone!

2. Learning about pull rather than push marketing

I knew that I should have learnt marketing at University rather than Accountancy.

To be honest, it was hard for me to change my personal Instagram and Facebook account from private to business purposes. I mean, who likes seeing advertisements? Nobody right? Me neither!

But guess what?

Advertising is ALL around!

You go on holiday and what photos do you take? Those in the hotel! The swimming pool. The rooms.

Mariott Courtyard in Bali, view from our room


With the pool bar
Our room in Krabi

You go to a restaurant and what photos appear on your FB? The food! The interior deco! The people.

Sushi Tei in Singapore

You buy a new pair of shoes and you post a photo of your happy feet with your new buy.

My shoes!

So people advertise naturally! It's just that most are not paid to advertise or endorse brands. I don't get paid to pose with my Michael Kors sling bag! But in this job with ItWorks, it is MY JOB to be PAID for advertising for the company.

And THIS reason was what pushed me out of my comfort zone. That if I'm going to be spending time on social media, I might as well get paid for doing so.

3. Learning to adapt this business to the Germans / people here

Since I live in Germany, I need to work my business in Germany. The beauty of the business is that I can get customers from any country where ItWorks operates in. But my strength is still face-to-face communication, so I need to reach the people here. Since many of my close friends don't use social media often and even less would shop online, I decided to organise my first wrap party last week!



We had champagne, some snacks and just talked and talked and talked until close to midnight!

Did it feel like work?

Not.At.All!

I got myself 2 customers out of 2 friends who came by! 2 were sick and the rest couldn't make it. The Germans have a saying, "Klein aber fein" - meaning small but fine. That was definitely my first party for sure!

4. Learning to be patient with myself

I'm Asian. The typical Asian upbringing is, "Find something to do that earns you good money." I once asked my Dad if he was passionate about his job. His reply was, "It doesn't matter. Once you do it long enough, you'll develop a passion for it. Hobbies and job are two very separate things. You can use the money you earn to do your hobby in your free time."

I wanted to study Psychology at University. But my late Mom told me to study something "professional" because its "more stable". I decided to go into Accountancy because I didn't want to study 6 years to be a doctor and my older sister had already gone into law school so I didn't want to go to law school and be under her shadows again -- the second child syndrome.

Anyway, one year into Accountancy, Arthur Anderson collapses. Remember A.A? No, its not a brand of batteries. It used to be one of the top five accountancy giants in the world. And the entire company collapsed. And there I was stuck studying Accountancy because it was supposed to be "stable".

Oh boy.

What I'm saying is, if you follow your heart, you know that even if all things fail, you still have developed your God-given talents and skills.

If you DON'T follow your heart, you'll just be dragging your feet to work everyday and wonder and wonder and wonder "what if" you made a different decision.

http://jameslsy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Drag_My_Feet_Along_The_Floor__by_XX_moo_XX.jpg


You see this blog? I've been blogging for 10 years. It's my passion. I enjoy this. I would blog until the day I die cos this is how I express myself and sort out my thoughts. And yes, I would blog even if nobody read my blog. That's a bit sad, but it doesn't bother me.

So working on social media on Instagram / Facebook is just an extension of my interest in blogging. Will I make money from working with ItWorks?

I already have! Right from the beginning!

My Dream!

All my income from ItWorks will be stored up in an account which I will cash out for Christmas! My dream is to earn enough money such that we, as a family of 5 can go on vacations without having to deplete our annual savings. We only go back to Singapore, my home country once in two years because it's just not cost efficient as a family of 5 to fly long-haul anymore. I want to earn so that we have money to give to others in need. I don't want to always be the one to hold back with our donations and giving because we are being prudent as a single-income family. My hub earns well but Sam our oldest is going to a private Christian school in Fall and our other 2 kids will follow suit. I would just love to be able to contribute to the family income so we don't stretch ourselves too thin.

Love you guys! Follow me on Instagram: PrisSteph or Facebook: Priscilla Tews for more regular updates!
I promise to blog more!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Dear Liam - 1 year old!

My dear precious beloved baby of the family

You have officially entered into toddlerhood. Why do I feel so sad typing this? I think its because you might very well be my last baby and today might be the very last 1st birthday party we'll ever celebrate!

We had such a cozy family affair. Only your grandparents, your Aunt and your cousin came for your party. You got 2 presents, a cute little musical car and a Cars cutlery set from WMF. We had home-baked New York cheesecake for tea and salmon teriyaki with Mediterranean rice for dinner (recipe here).

In comparison to the huge fancy-schmancy party we had for your oldest brother Samuel, yours was really a very relaxing and meaningful celebration.

I think the more children we have, the less we are able to organise the huge kids' birthday parties. But honestly, it's all good! We all treasure the memories and you won't be able to remember your first birthday party anyway!

It was so relaxing that we could sing your birthday song, take some photos, cut your cake and you went down for your nap! For two hours! While you slept, your grandparents and us hung out on the balcony and talked! It felt like the weekend on a Thursday.

When you woke up, we opened your presents, had dinner and you absolutely loved Mummy's teriyaki salmon! So proud of you!

You've started walking with the toddler walker! You're able to get down from the sofa by yourself. You love to express your wishes by going "uh uh!" and you've started to resist your brother's strong clutches whenever they try to grab away your toys. Your favourite fruit is orange. You can finish one whole orange by yourself! You learnt how to suck through a straw the past week! Grandma says that you're skipping all the milestones and just doing the big-boy stuff. No sippy cups, just proper cups for you.

We love you baby Liam. Mummy's never going to stop you calling "baby". Grow well little one. We pray that you'll know the Lord at a young age and you'll be a true disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ. We're so blessed by your sweet and gentle nature. We pray that you'll always retain that childhood innocence that is such a gift!

Love
Mummy & Daddy

You were about 10 days old


Look at how small you were!


Latest family portrait!


 I love my family of 4 boys!


Sam insisted on making a smiley face with grapes!
That's all the presents we had! Just enough for a 1-year old!

Chilling on the balcony with lovely warm weather and his music toy car!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tomato seafood pasta with rocket



Our family eats pasta pretty often. That's because somehow, anything with a tomato-based sauce for children always goes. Like always. I can really just cook plain pasta with tomato sauce and cheese and they would think I'm the best Mom in the world. Super.NOT.kidding!

Since coming back to Germany, I feel like I've lost my cooking mojo. It's a lot of work to plan daily meals and ensure the toddlers have a nutritious diet to support their growth spurts, food is baby-friendly enough for a 11-month old baby and the whole cooking process does not take longer than 20 to 30 minutes.

And have I mentioned how evening time at the Tews household can look like a madhouse? The hub tries to come home at 7pm, but when he's late - by late I mean anytime between 5 to 15 mins late, I feel like I'm holding a time bomb that is waiting to explode.

Picture this. Baby crying because he's hungry. Kids are dirty from their kids' gym (every Tuesday) so they need to go take a shower, but of course they want either me or the Dad to shower them. I'm hungry and tired too, but I still have to prepare a meal to feed a family of 5. I'm barely holding it all together and when the hub rings the doorbell, it's like I really. REALLY. heave a huge sigh of relief!

Sometimes this sigh of relief translates to a "why are you so late?" grumble. You get the idea. The poor hubby. This is real life though. I'm not mincing words. I enjoy being a Mom a LOT but there are times when I so do wish I have an extra pair of hands to help me out.

This is why recipes like this one has saved me countless times from hungry kids. I posted this photo on my Instagram and Facebook and since quite a few of you asked me for the recipe, I figured I'm going to blog about it rather than give you sloppy instructions.

Ingredients:-

- 3 to 4 cloves Garlic (chopped)
- 1 large Onion (sliced)
- 250 grams fresh Brown mushrooms (sliced)
- 200 grams mini Cherry Tomatoes (washed and cut into half)
- 3 to 4 large Tomatoes (chopped)
- 750 grams Tilapia fillet
- 250 gram Shrimps
- 300 grams Pasta
- Handful of Scallops
- 500 grams Tomato sauce
- Rocket (washed and cut for garnish)


1. Prepare the ingredients. Chop the garlic, slice the onion and brown mushrooms.

2. Cut the cherry tomatoes into half and chop up the large tomatoes

2. Cut up the tilapia fillet. You want to cut it into big chunks because fish breaks up quickly in the heat and you want your fish to be intact

3. Start cooking your pasta according to how much time it takes to cook

4. Heat up some olive oil in the pan. Pan-fry the garlic until fragrant (about 1 min) before adding in the large onion. Make sure your heat is medium because you don't want to burn the garlic

5. Add in the fresh brown mushrooms, fry until it starts to wilt.

6. Add in the tilapia, shrimps and scallops altogether. Fry for a few minutes.

7. Add in chopped tomatoes with the packet of tomato sauce.

8. Season generously with Italian herbs, Krauter De Provence, salt and pepper

9. Cover for a couple of minutes to let the sauce simmer

10. Serve with pasta and garnish with rocket salad. I like my pasta with some chilli flakes, which I obviously leave it out for the kids.

Let me know how your pasta goes! I'm excited to see how it works out for you! Of course you're welcome to use other ingredients too! I'm not a fan of mussels so I never use that, but the Italians use mussels in their pasta dishes ever so often!

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