A Beginner’s Guide to Baking: The essential basics

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

I only started baking last year. Prior to that, I didn't even want to try because I was convinced that I simply could not bake.

During the pre-internet days, we could only rely on books and recipes to guide us on a lot of things. When the first two cakes I attempted to bake in my teens fell flat and remained watery even after the required baking time, I was so discouraged because despite following the recipe stated to the letter, the end results looked nothing like the accompanying photo in the book. I don't even want to start on the taste, because I couldn't bring myself to sample the mushy mess.

Little did I know, back then, that baking involved a lot of other factors. It is almost a science, and ingredients mixed in the wrong sequence can result in a failed bake. Oven temperature, substitution of, the adding and subtracting of components also plays a part. There is a method in the madness, so to speak, and there are things like the way to beat eggs and butter, folding in egg whites and sifting the dry ingredients - that recipe books usually don't mention.

In May last year, I decided that I have to get over the 'cannot-bake' business, and try again. I owe this entirely to my good friend Diana, who can not only keep house and look after her kids, but cook and bake in her sleep. She maintains her award winning blog, The Domestic Goddess Wannabe, where she posts recipes with the accompanying method listed step by step in pictures, and always makes things look too easy!

So I tried. The first successful dessert I ever baked from scratch, without any help, was this.


Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies from Diana's blog. It was a triumphant moment for me when I took them out of the oven. They were crispy on the edges, and chewy in the middle, just the way Caden likes it. With encouragement from the way the little one's eyes lit up when he first savoured that cookie, I was determined to bake, and bake well.

Prior to being hit by the baking bug, I didn't know where to start even if I wanted to bake. Like me, many people usually get discouraged when they read the list of ingredients required, and the unfamiliar methods used to bake a cake, Then they totally write off baking completely when they find out the list of tools required in order to prepare a baked good.

So because I really, really wanted to get over the fear of baking (and prove to myself that I can!) I went on to build my modest baking collection with a lot of help from Diana.

There are so many choices and different tools that it can be overwhelming, so I've shortlisted a few items that you would need if you're a beginner baker. Once you have these basic things, you can go on to make simple cakes and desserts, and when you get the hang of things - experience will tell you exactly what are the other enhancing items which will simplify and assist in baking more complicated cakes.

Trust me - you don't need that many stuff to produce drool-worthy bakes. Once you've started baking, you won't ever want to buy a muffin or a tea cake from anywhere else again.

The Baking Pantry

Essential Ingredients

Dry Ingredients
  • All purpose flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Brown Sugar
  • Caster Sugar
  • Chocolate Chips (Semi-sweet)
  • Cocoa Powder, unsweetened
  • Salt
Wet Ingredients
  • Butter (unsalted)
  • Buttermilk (not essential, but does wonders in baking moist cakes!)
  • Eggs
  • Milk (whole)
  • Oil (Non-flavoured, vegetable is best)
  • Vanilla Extract (NOT essence!)

Once you have these in your arsenal, you're all set to bake! You'd be surprised that the base ingredients of most cakes, even the complicated ones, are listed here. Perhaps you may even have all these in the cupboard already.

Essential Tools and Equipment

Electrics

  • Oven
Different brands of oven differ from one another in many ways. Have you ever wondered why ovens can sell for between $80 - $3000, apart from the difference in capacity? Why is it that some people swear by a certain brand, while others are happy with an off the shelf basic model? 
Heat distribution, preheating, baking time and oven temperature are different from one model to the next. There is the fan assisted oven, and conventional ones. There are steam ovens, microwave ovens, and water ovens. Do read up about the type of oven which will suit your family's needs, because you wouldn't want to get a model which may be cheap but is not versatile enough to be used apart from baking desserts. A few hundred dollars can mean the difference between getting two appliances for the kitchen, and one which will serve two purposes. 
Whether you are new to the world of baking or adept at it, do remember that the more you use your oven, the more familiar you are with it. No oven is perfect, but after awhile, if you know your oven's temperament well enough, you can adjust baking temperatures or avoid areas of uneven heating so that you can produce that perfect bake. 
My oven is a Sharp Healsio. It can bake, grill, steam and roast effectively - and I have no complaints about it apart from its small interior, which has made it rather difficult for me to find muffin pans and cookie sheets off the shelf. Oh well... more excuse to shop online! :)
  • Mixer
I use a KitchenAid stand mixer, which was an early Christmas gift last year from the ever supportive husband. It's in a limited edition Raspberry Ice colour, and I love that it was produced by Meyer in support of Breast Cancer awareness.  
Having said that, you do NOT need a stand mixer to be a successful home baker. A simple handheld mixer will do, and will yield the same results. In fact, I prefer to use a hand held mixer for better batter control, especially when mixing icing and buttercreams. 
Most basic and simple cakes do not even need a mixer to begin with. Electric mixers are a muffin's worst enemy, because overmixing can cause the dry ingredients to react too much with the wet ones and produce gluten, which will render the muffins hard, doughy and dry.



Equipment

Pans

You will go broke and run out of storage space if you were to buy the entire range of baking tins and pans available. Most recipes call for some standard sizes, and here is a general guide of some of the pan sizes useful to have on hand.

I like to use stainless steel ones (all of the dark coloured pans I have were gifts or handed down) because I find that cakes baked in them tend to brown and cook more evenly.

  • 9 x 5-inch loaf pan
  • 8 x 8-inch square pan (or a 9 x 9-inch, or both!)
  • 9 x 3-inch round pans (you need at least 2 if you intend to bake layer cakes)
  • 10 x 10-inch sheet pan (2 of these, so they can be used as a cookie sheet)
  • 10-inch bundt pan
  • 12-cup standard muffin pan
The Wiltshire loaf pan is 20 odd years old. It belonged to my Mum!

Some 'burn' marks are inevitable with stainless steel pans. I love that it looks 'rustic' after repeated usage, though.
I LOVE this set of muffin pans from Nordic Ware. Due to the high sides, it gives me straight sided, fluffy, bakery style muffins!

Tools

There are some tools that will not only assist you in baking, but are essential to ensure even mixing and uniform ingredient distribution. These items are what I had when I first started baking, and the collection hasn't expanded all that much, apart from a rolling pin, a pretty spatula (which I won!)a microplane zester and measuring cup and spoon set which an indulgent friend (thanks, D!) gifted me last Christmas!

  • Cooling Rack
I use a large cooling rack for cakes and muffins, and a Wilton three tier condo cooling rack (thanks again, D!!) for cookies. It's important that muffins and cakes get cooled all round, otherwise you'd end up with soggy cake bottoms due to the moisture released as it cools.

  • Digital Scale
A Digital scale is a worthwhile investment, especially in baking where every ingredient needs to be in precise quantities. Get a mid-range scale which measures in grams and ounces. Most recipes state the measures either in metrics or in cups (which you can easily convert to grams if you do a Google search)
  • Liquid Measuring Cup
A liquid measuring cup measures wet ingredients effectively. I use a Pyrex measuring cup, but this angled set from OxO is on my wish list!
  • Measuring Cups
Most American recipes call for the dry ingredients measured in cups. A set comes in 1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/4 cup and 1/3 cup measurements. Just be sure to scoop the dry ingredient into the cup and level it off with a knife or a spatula for optimum results and to ensure accuracy.
  • Measuring Spoons
A set of these range from 1/8 of a teaspoon (tsp) to 1 tablespoon (tbs). These are used to apportion out things like baking powder, soda, salt, flavourings and colourings. I have two sets which I use concurrently, one for measuring dry ingredients, and the other for liquids. Only because I'm too lazy to wash and dry and reuse while I'm in the baking process.

I love the spoons and cups from Farberware. My digital scale is from IKEA and it's well worth the price I paid because it measures in grams and ounces!
  • Mixing bowls
Stainless steel bowls are the most versatile, because they warm up and cool down quite quickly, especially useful when you are using them to melt chocolates over simmering water, or whipping up buttercreams over ice, bain marie style. Have a few different sizes on hand - nested bowls sold in a set of 3 is great if you're starting out.

Small, Medium, and Large mixing bowls. 
  • Parchment (Baking) Paper
Parchment paper is necessary for lining tins and trays if you want a mess free, non-oily baked product. It's especially useful for cookies because it saves you the trouble of having to scrape cookies off the tray and risk breaking them in the process. Get a good quality one - I swear by Glad Bake - because the cheaper ones aren't lined with silicone and are not grease-proof.
Similarly, do get good quality, grease proof muffin liners. They make a difference between muffins and cupcakes encased in cups with greasy blotches and pretty bakes! In addition to that, cheaper ones can impart a 'burnt paper' smell onto the muffins and cupcakes.
  • Scoops (Ice-cream)
I don't know how I survived the first two months baking without my ice cream scoops! I use them to apportion out batters so that I get an equal amount in each muffin liner, and to ensure that cookies are of a uniform size (yes, I'm OCD that way). A spoon or a ladle works fine, but it's much easier to use a scoop with a mechanical bail that easily slides the batter out from the scoop to the cases or trays. I have three sizes - a small one for cookies, a medium one for cupcakes, and a large one for sky high muffins!
  • Spatula / Spoonula
A spatula is used for folding ingredients and / or scraping batters off the sides of bowls. I personally prefer silicone ones which are pliant and scrapes easily, yet remains firm enough to fold batters. My set of three is from Oxo, and I use them for practically everything! The spoon shaped silicon scraper (spoonula) is especially useful for folding in egg whites in batters, while the small sized one is great for scraping contents from odd shaped jars with narrow necks.
  • Sieve
A sieve is necessary for sifting flour and cocoa powder (which tends to get lumpy in storage). Get a fine meshed one, so that air is incorporated evenly and particles get effectively siphoned out.
  • Whisk
You will most probably need two. A long handled narrow whisk (also called a French whisk) and a balloon whisk. The narrow whisk is great for sauces as you mix it over a stove top, while the balloon whisk is used for whipping creams and egg whites (things which need to be creamed and frothy, with as much air introduced in as possible).
  • Wooden Spoon
Useful, but not necessary if you have a spoonula. It's used to mix batters lightly, especially for muffins.

These are always within reach in the kitchen!

Get sturdy, grease proof liners. The thinner ones do not hold their shape very well and does not peel off muffins and cakes easily!

That's it! You don't need more than what's listed for simple bakes. There will come a time, however, when you have baked often enough to know what other items will simplify the process, and invest in other items which will suit your purpose. That's when you build your "I'm a baker, I've earned these" collection!

Baking is not as daunting as it looks. The most important thing is to believe that you CAN, because that's when you would have won half the baking battle. Always, always read through a recipe before deciding on baking a particular product - you would not want to be caught in the process missing an ingredient. Along the same vein, do your misc en place (preparations), measure and lay out your ingredients before you start the mixing, because it's no fun to have a cake in the oven and the required eggs or sugar still on the counter!

Point to note: NEVER start a baking process believing that you would fail, because that's when you WILL fail. Baking, like cooking, is best done with heart and soul - people can always tell when your passion goes into even the simplest product you've baked.

***

When I first started baking, my Mum-in-law lent me her Philips hand held mixer, and I've had countless of successful bakes with its help. Even now (yep, she's given it to me!) I use the mixer for simple butter and sugar creaming, because it's extremely handy and easy to clean.

The start to a baking journey begins with a simple step - so if you're thinking of starting to bake, here's a little motivation to help you along!

TWO lucky readers stand a chance to win this Philips Hand held mixer! (model HR 1459)


I'm also holding a joint giveaway with Diana of The Domestic Goddess Wannabe, and if you hop over to her blog, you will also stand a chance to win a set of bakeware!

Please click on the picture to be directed to the giveaway post
There's also a recipe for a banana cake when you follow the link, It's so simple to do, but will yield the most perfectly moist banana cake ever. It's the perfect cake to bake to not only impress your friends and family, but will also get them begging for seconds! If you're hoping to win one of the mixers up for grabs, this is a cake you can bake in the meantime because you do not need a mixer to prepare it!

The Philips mixer giveaway is only open to readers residing in Singapore, and prize has to be self collected from VivoCity. To participate, leave me a comment detailing what's your worst fear when it comes to baking, along with your name and email address. Do carry out the rest of the options in the Rafflecopter to increase your chances of winning!


Good Luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


*Contest ends on Friday, 10 October 2014, at 2359hrs. Winners will be selected via Rafflecopter, and notified via email. They have up to Tuesday, 14 October 2014 to respond to the notification email. Should there be no response, the winning entry will be rendered null and void, and another winner will be chosen.

Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post. I'd like to share how happy baking has made me, and hope that you will find the same simple joys in baking for the ones you love - as I have!

It's a 'Total Turtle Takeover' at City Square Mall!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

I grew up watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I thought it was pretty cool how the turtles became 'humanoids' and were each trained in the ancient Japanese art of Ninjitsu. They were also the cause of my Mum's headache when my brother and I pestered her for our own pet turtles after that! We didn't want the action figures (they have absolutely no chance of becoming mutants) and I painted our pet turtles' shells Red, Orange, Purple and Blue. No prizes for guessing what their names were.

Caden's favourite TV channels these days are Nickelodeon and Toonami. He has 'graduated' from the toddler stuff, and are more into action packed cartoons these days. When he first watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on TV, he was transfixed... and declared that 'Turtle Power is absolutely Awh-Some!' We caught the movie when it was screened recently, and after that, there was no turning back.

When we were given the opportunity to be part of an action-packed Live show featuring the Turtles at City Square Mall, I didn't hesitate as it was something which I know Caden will absolutely love. A chance to 'Meet and Greet' his heroes in a half shell?

"Ooooh Yeah!"



This show is all about audience participation. There are no songs and dance, just battle cries and awesome ninja moves. It opened with some bongo drums action to call the Turtles out of the sewers.


... and they hit the stage with some seriously loud cheers from the enthusiastic audience!





I think every kid there (and some adults!) wanted to possess the ninjutsu moves that the Turtles have mastered, and when they were called upon to be 'trained' - they enthusiastically participated!



 Guess who had fun?


I couldn't stop laughing because the moves reminded me so much of The Great Singapore Workout. Anyone remember that?! :D

Leonardo (Leo), Donatello (Donny), Raphael (Raph), and Michelangelo (Mikey) entertained the young and old alike during the short time that they were on stage. Kids were happy because of the non stop action, and for us old fogeys - it was a chance to quietly reminisce.


After the show, we were able to get up close and personal with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on-stage, and the boy was totally and utterly awed.

I guess if I could harbour thoughts of my pet turtles mutating back then, I can just imagine the thoughts running through his mind at this precise moment.

Cowabunga, dude!


More info here:


Apart from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Live Show, there is a host of activities for the entire family at City Square Mall.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ‘Live’ On Stage
Date: 6 to 14 September (daily)
Time: Mon - Fri at 2pm & 7pm; Sat & Sun at 1pm, 4pm & 7pm
Venue: L1 Atrium

An exclusive Meet & Greet pass can be redeemed with a minimum spending of $50*. 

* A maximum of 3 same-day combined receipts. 50 passes will be given out 1 hour prior to each show, strictly on a first come first-served basis. Other Terms & Conditions apply.

3D Turtles Floor Art: Snap & Win!
Date: 21 August to 14 September
Venue: L1 Atrium

Snap a photo with the unique Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3D Floor Art, shown for the first time 
and exclusively at City Square Mall. Strike a pose and share your photo on Instagram with the 
hashtag #TurtlesAtCitySqMall and stand to win $50 worth of Metro vouchers! Only 20 winners will 
be selected, based on the creativity of your photo and the number of likes garnered.

* Instagram accounts have to be public to qualify. Other Terms & Conditions apply.


Turtles TV Nights
Date: 5 to 14 September
Time: 8pm - 9pm
Venue: B1 Fountain Square

Catch two episodes from the second season of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series on a large
screen with your family for free!

A Reel Treat For You
With every $150* spent ($200 if inclusive of NTUC FairPrice receipts), stand to redeem a Golden
Village weekday movie voucher
.
* A maximum of 3 same-day combined receipts. Redemption is while stocks last. Other Terms &
Conditions apply.

Shell-ebration of Toys
Date: 8 to 14 September
Venue: L1 Atrium

Toys R' Us merchandise fair.

For more details on the activities and promotions, visit City Square Mall's website or check out City
Square Mall’s Facebook page.


DISCLAIMER: We were invited for a Total Turtle Takeover Live show. No monetary compensation was received, and all opinions are 100% my own.

The Polliwogs @ Suntec City

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Way back in November 2013, I spotted a very familiar logo featured on a hoarding while I was passing by the roundabout at Suntec City. At that time, the entire place was undergoing major renovations without any specific date of completion, so it was a classic case of keeping me in suspense while I looked forward to the opening of The Polliwogs at Suntec City.

As the renovations were completed in phases, every time a section reopened, I scanned through the shop listing for our favourite playground to no avail, until finally - almost ten months after I saw that logo - the latest addition to the playgrounds in The Polliwogs group opened at Suntec City's Tower 4.

Our family have always been fans of The Polliwogs' playgrounds because they are well maintained, clean, and there is crowd control. Furthermore, I do believe that safety is always their priority because even at the oldest playground (East Coast branch), the equipment is cared for despite heavy usage. There are no exposed metals, stray ropes or torn mats, which is a very common sight in many other indoor playgrounds due to wear and tear. It is also important that there is ample space for kids to run about with minimal risk of hurting one another, and for this reason alone, I love the layouts at all Polliwogs playgrounds.

I kept my fingers crossed that the new play space at Suntec City kept to the Polliwogs' standards that we are used to, and decided to keep any expectations that I have to the barest minimum.


When I walked though the entrance, I took a moment to take it all in.

Just when you think that they've continuously made improvements to enhance the entire playground experience with the opening of every new outlet, they've gone and made The Polliwogs at Suntec City not only bigger - but much, much better.


There is ample room to keep shoes and belongings.



A changing / nursing room complete with a wash basin and basic amenities, but there are no restrooms within the area. The nearest ones are quite a distance away, so do make sure that your kids go before they enter!


The Polliwogs is not only a place for the kids to burn excess energy, it's also a place where parents can take a breather in comfort while the kids are at play.


Refreshments:

I'm not sure if the extended cafe menu has been introduced to its other outlets, but at the Suntec City outlet, you can have a substantial meal for lunch or dinner, instead of only finger foods and drinks.


There is complimentary free flow of coffee and tea for Value Play Pass holders. Other snacks can be purchased at the counter.



The Polliwogs' Parties

Spacious room(s) for a party where you need not worry about food, drinks or entertainment for the kids. What's not to love?

Complete info on party packages here.



Toddler Area
(for kids below 3 years old)

The Toddler play area, near the entrance, is kept far away from the main play area, thereby minimising the risk of older kids straying into the space. I like that things like this are taken into account when designing the place, because as parents, we know how accidents between kids can happen even with the most stringent supervision provided.



A bouncy rink thingy (it's not a castle nor does it have a shape - pray tell should you find a word best to describe it!) kept Caden amused for a long time... and Daddy joined in, too - on the pretext of looking after him. 

I'm not sure how safe it will be when there are a lot of kids bouncing about in it, though... I do hope that there will be at least a staff who will monitor the maximum number of kids allowed on it at one time on busy days.



Kids Area
(for kids above 3 years old)

Moving on, the Kids' Play area is a delight. I'm sure the kids will have a blast anyway - but I'm speaking more for the adults! When you have a kid who still needs minimal supervision, indoor playgrounds can be a back breaking experience, especially since the hubs and I aren't exactly of average height. Thankfully, we didn't need koyoks (medicated plasters) after today's play - because the tunnels and play spaces are actually high enough for us to walk through by just bending our heads forwards slightly, and in some places, walk upright! YAY!!

These photos were taken while I was standing upright. I went on the blue and white roller slide numerous times... the smooth (and fast!) roll down was a trip!


What's Polliwogs without the ball cannons? They have become synonymous with every Polliwogs outlet!



The boy had so much fun - with the added bonus of having almost the entire (brand new place) all to himself. He exhausted himself after almost 3 hours, but it was an afternoon filled with happy grins and laughter!




He was totally drained of energy, and yet refused to admit that he's tired.


When he couldn't even manage a smile for the camera, I decided that it was time to leave - which was met with an almost inaudible protest and plea to stay.


We leave you with my favourite shot of the day. We'll see you at The Polliwogs soon!


To celebrate the opening of their new playground, entrance to The Polliwogs @ Suntec City is FREE or AS-YOU-WISH this Friday, 29th August 2014 between 10am and 6pm.

All collected entrance proceeds will be donated to the MAKE-A-WISH FOUNDATION of Singapore.

See you there!

The Polliwogs @ Suntec City

3 Temasek Blvd, Tower 4
#02-724 Suntec City Mall
(Level 2 of Tower 4, diagonally across McDonalds and to the left of Cold Storage)

If driving, park at the Red Zone and take the escalator next to Giant, up to the main atrium. Take another escalator up to the 2nd level.

Tel: 6887 4860

Operating Hours:

Sun - Thur: 10am - 8.30pm
Fri - Sat: 10am - 9pm

Admission charges

below 24 months

Monday - Friday: $13.00 (unlimited play)
Saturday & Sunday: $13.00 (2 hours)

2 years old - 12 years old

Monday - Friday: $20.00 (unlimited play)
Saturday & Sunday: $25.00 (2 hours)

Subsequent half an hour (or part thereof) at $5.

Drop off (for kids age 4 - 12)

$15 per hour charges apply in addition to existing entrance fees. Subject to limited vacancies.

Value Play Pass

below 24 months

$65.00 for 7 visits, over a course of 6 months

2 years old - 12 years old

$125.00 for 7 visits, over a course of 6 months, inclusive of weekends, public holidays and school holidays.

Email: ContactUs@thepolliwogs.com

Disclaimer: Caden thanks the very nice people at The Polliwogs for the chance to be one of the first (very fortunate) kids to experience their newest playground at Suntec City. Mummy thanks Maxine of The Polliwogs for making the boy supremely happy - and for exhausting him enough to sleep at 8.00pm!

LBTK - Life before The Kid(s)

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Children are a blessing, but as any parent will tell you - they are apt to change your life in more ways than you ever thought possible. More than just simply knowing that we have to accommodate them in our lives, our very existence will inevitably revolve around them in one way or another. It's a serious lifestyle overhaul, and while there are some parents who can seamlessly continue their lifestyle habits and practices before the kids, the majority of us make changes because we want to. The transition is almost effortless, because when a little being depends on us and looks up to us for guidance, we make a conscientious effort to always, always be there for them.

I love my son to bits, more than life itself - but there are times when a certain song, place or a face will trigger a memory. A time when I only had to worry about and be accountable to myself. What do I miss most about life, pre-Caden?


The freedom to only think of myself, and for myself. Doing things on a whim, and spending all my hard earned money on myself. I miss worrying for myself, wondering if I look presentable, and choosing shoes. I miss tottering about in heels, mini skirts, and not needing to carry anything but a card, some emergency cash, mobile and keys.

I miss me, sometimes, but the feeling is fleeting, almost - and fades to nothingness when I am greeted with a huge smile, a fierce hug, and a warm, loud "Hai-ooooh Marmee!!"

I'd like to think that I'm not the only one who sometimes think about LBTK (life before the kids). Parenthood is a big deal - don't let anyone tell you otherwise - because nothing, absolutely nothing in life will ever prepare you for it. It's a huge responsibility, perhaps the biggest thing (after marriage) that one will have to deal with in life. It's a roller coaster ride involving a gamut of emotions, and there isn't a stop button anywhere in sight. Nor a rewind button, for that matter.

Sometimes it's nice to reminisce and think about what we really miss doing. Things that we used to do, and habits that we used to have before the kids came along. Even if only for awhile.

I approached a few Mums (and Dads) with kids spanning from 7 weeks to 14 years of age, and asked them what it is that they miss most about life before the kid(s). Here are their thoughts:

Adeline Oon:


Alicia Tan: "I know that we can all do with more sleep and I definitely miss that. But what I miss most is being able to be 'irresponsible' doing something totally free spirited once in a while. Such as just packing up your bags for a diving trip or just heading off to discover Phomn Penh, just because. I definitely do not have any regrets being a mum (and one with superhero multi tasking and super hearing powers!) but as Uncle Ben says 'with great power comes great responsibilities'"

Angeline Sim: "I do miss the uninterrupted sleep; the ability to order my fav dish at the food court without considering if it's too spicy to share with my kid; the lazy Sunday mornings where I can enjoy my Sunday read without being harried. I miss our Baliness-inspired furniture which has made way for more kids-friendly ones. I miss the evenings when we can go for late night movies as a couple without the parent guilt. Even though these 'luxuries' are long gone, I would not trade the pitter-patter of the kids' footsteps, their endless, joyful chatter and boundless energy for anything in the world. I remembered how deafening quiet the home used to be, how empty our hearts felt and how fervently we prayed and waited just to have a child in our arms. Life pre-kids was liberating; life with kids? Blessed beyond measure."

Diana Gale:

Eddie Yii: "I miss vacations to places unknown with my wife, where we walk for the whole day and change cities frequently, which is just not possible after Noah arrived."

Evelyn Tan-Rogers:

Sandra Tan:

"What I miss most pre-kids, or what I refer to as my pre-Jayvonian days (my eldest), are the simple things: sleeping in on weekends, being able to go out shopping without lugging a suitcase-worth of baby stuff, watching midnight movies with friends - to name a few!"






Uh huh.

***

... and then, we are reminded how beautiful life is, post-kids.


Adeline is mum to 14 year old Brandon and 12 year old Megan.
Alicia is mum to an almost 6 year old preschooler, otherwise known fondly as Dumpling.
Angeline is mum to 6 year old Dana, and 7 week-old Alexander.
Diana is mum to 4 year old Aden and 2 year old Jadelyn.
Eddie is dad to 2 year old Noah.
Evelyn is mum to 8 year old Layla and 3 year old Zion.
Klessis, mum to 8 year old Joey and 5 year old Jayne.
Magdalene is mum to 3 year old twins, Charlotte and Daniel.
Natasha is mum to 2 year old Liam and is expecting her 2nd child any day now!
Sandra is mum to 6 year old Jayvon, 3 year old Xavier, and 1 year old Zoie.
Shereen has 7 year old twins, Jordan and Evan, and 4 year old Dylan.
Summer is mum to 4.5 year old Angel, and 19 month old Ariel.
Winston is married to Liza, and they are parents to 6 year old Xander and 6 month old Yvie.
Caden is 3.5 years old, and that's 3 and a half years of *not* missing my life, pre-kid! (well, sometimes I do, like now!) 
***

No matter whether we have one, two, three or more kids - life takes on a whole new meaning. Children affect every part of our lives. From dining out, going out, travelling, to becoming really clever at telling white lies as a shut up tactic, once we bring that little tiny person home, life will never, ever be the same again. It's a crazy tospy turvy world from there on, and there are days when you lose your cool, and moments you miss the times when you can have a cup of coffee, curled up on a couch, and read a good book without any interruptions. You think about the clothes you're able to wear (and oh, the places you'd go!) on the pre-baby body. You grab the paracetamol when the whinings hit fever pitch and you're already nursing a bad headache from work.

You ask yourself time and time again: Is it worth it?
Are they worth every sleepless night, every new opportunity foregone, and every sacrifice made?

Why yes, they are, and they always will be.

***

Share with us what is it YOU miss about your life, pre-kids!


N.B. Thanks to all the Mums and Dads featured here, for gamely sharing with me what they missed most about life, sans kids. Click on their names to read about their musings, post kids - in their respective blogs!
 

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