Unbeknownst to most, it was actually our decision to let the helper go after 8 years of being a great help to us.

With the boys all grown up, it’s high time for the boys to learn the ropes of housekeeping and the concept of sharing responsibilities and to just be responsible. However, like i mentioned earlier on Twitter, it wasn’t the boys’ fault to begin with. For most parts, the responsibility was mine and i am to be blamed for what they are today. Ever since the helper arrived 8 years ago, i’ve been taking the back seat for most of the house chores except for cooking and baking + running endless errands. I closed both of my eyes when it comes to organizing the house and keeping things in order.

To begin with, i’m not that a fussy person to live with. As long as the house is cleaned and tidied daily, i don’t mind the rest. I was so comfortable with our daily arrangement that i sorta slipped into the back up parent role. I didn’t quite care if the boys didn’t make their beds in the morning, i didn’t care when they didn’t know how to do proper toys keeping after playing because very often, the boys will get shoo-ed by the helper just so she’ll help them to keep and i certainly didn’t give a damn when the boys changed a few sets of clothing daily.

Because..

She was there to take care of everything. :x

It wasn’t planned this way at all before we got the helper. Things just got very comfortable and given how good and reliable the helper was, everything just slipped into auto pilot mode without us realizing. Sigh.

But what i really minded was how well the boys are taught, behaved and conduct themselves. I’m absolutely a tigress when it comes to disciplining educating (new word learned). I accept no brats in the house. I have zero tolerance to children who whine, throw tantrums, cry anyhow and scream their lungs out be it for fun or for requesting for something. That, i took care of it pretty well. Oh, and the part of being independent too. Seeking help oh so often will certainly get me roaring out loud. So yeah, they are pretty ok, to the point where friends get rather impressed with the things they do for themselves.

So now the $1 question.

Why let the maid go when everything seems OK?

Well, to us and their grandparents, the boys are not doing good enough. Basic chores eg, floor cleaning has not been mastered etc. And what made the grandfather really ticked was when the boys left their clothes on the floor every time they shower/ change because the grandfather saw that as an irresponsible act. As their mom, i got the blame mostly.

As time passes, i realized things were not getting any better despite countless warnings and punishments. Something gotta give, we thought, and so the helper must go because we were simply too reliable on her.

Apart from above, it was largely because we were living a too comfortable life (need not do house chores!) as well. The grandpop thought we ish no setting good example to the boys, which was quite true to certain extent. Haha! Also, the thought of having strawberry children never fails to send shudders to my spine. EWWww! I like my boys tough but kind and can rough it out sort especially during bad times, not the opposites. Hence, our decision.

So what happens now that the helper is gone?

It has been almost 3 weeks since the helper left us.

So i cried for 2 days. Not because of anything, but for our friendship. We had lived pretty well together. I saw her more than i saw Darcy. I laughed with her more than i laughed with Darcy. We ate countless meals together. We get excited over food i cooked/baked. No one, no one else shares my passion for food (be it eating/cooking/baking) as much as her. Geez, we even squatted down together in front of the oven many times oohing and aahing over my bakes! If she were a man, i dare say she was the perfect man for me. I once had this prolong crazy thought that i could live with the boys with her without Darcy but i cannot live with the boys with Darcy without her. Heh. Insane right? But she was that important to me, not too long ago.

8 years… 24/7… heck, even some marriages don’t last this long!

As of this second, i’m quite loving the time i spend with the family and on the house. :)

If you read my previous posts 3-4 months back, i was complaining quite a bit on how busy i was with the mini makeover i did for the house. I basically upgraded the house to somewhat liveable. I spring cleaned the entire house, re-arranged stuff my way and labeling almost everything for both the boys and my convenience. I even painted the whole house just so i don’t get frustrated seeing the ugly walls on daily basis after she leaves. In short, the house is now a home. Cleaning it daily ain’t so bad anymore, compare to last time whenever the helper went back for home leave – it was a total mess. I cursed and swore everyday! Haha.

Till today, i haven’t quite swept/mopped the floor, let alone washing the bathrooms.The boys have been doing it for me. ;)

Every Saturday morning is our house cleaning day but sweeping is a daily affair for the boys. Apart for sweeping, they have their own tasks to complete on daily basis. Of course, nagging is inevitable but on the bright side, they will execute it at once when i ask. Not too shabby eh? But usually, i won’t take the nagging path if possible (i condemn nagging and i dislike to be nagged at) because pretending to be the damsel in distress works much better. Hahahaaa!

What really takes the cake is how much love they have for me now.

Seeing how hard i work daily, they will volunteer themselves to help with my tasks, massage my shoulders without asking, demand that i go to bed at certain timing even though i’ve not completed some chores, helping me to sound each other out when they are found dirtying/messying up the house etc. In a nutshell, they are extremely protective of me now and highly sensitive towards my moods and feelings. They can emphatize, symphatize and they care.

Despite the hectic and tough life i have now, i feel very complete. I feel good. I feel accomplished. I ermm.. finally feel like a mother. *hide*

As for the in laws and Darcy, they dote on me/us so much more than before. Now i get a full day off even without asking! ;)

The downside?

I get pretty lonely at times, especially when Darcy stays out at night due to work / volleyball commitment. During the daytime, i long for another adult’s company and conversation (yeahhh, that’s why i’ve been more active on the social media these days!). But! I reckon i’ll survive. I’m probably not used to it yet… AHEM. But being alone without the kiddos is another story altogether ok? That, i LIKE!
(this is why you must not stop dating me okay? you will help to keep me.. sane. grin. me busy? yes of course, but housework can always wait!)

So yupyupyup, one door in our lives has closed and another has opened up… We are definitely on the right track this year! *fingers crossed*

ps : the helper wishes to work for me again, as soon as next month. sigh. i don’t quite know how to reject her yet. hopefully i can find someone nice for her before the 2 weeks’ up!

pps : hopefully when i’m more or less settled down, i can swing by to say hello more often at your blogs. but for now, ermm…. there’s this Chinese saying, wanna poop also no time ah! LOL!

I know this is not my usual style/food post but this recipe is too awesome not to be posted up for my future reference! (yup, it’s for myself again :P)

Having just returned from India then, i was all in the mood for anything Indian.. Indian food, Indian-inspired outfits, Indian-looking earrings — okaay, this one is authentic since i bought them from New Delhi itself. Then, some of the *ahem* thick skin friends (but you know i like you like this right? right?! Heeee!) requested for a guinea pig session after i posted some food pictures from India on Instagram (my ID : maameemoomoo) which i said i was gonna try cooking them. And i thought, why not?

I love hosting, i enjoy cooking/baking and i cherish these friends’ companies, so within a day or two, a Christmas lunch was arranged.

If you have hosted before, you’ll know how crazy it is in the kitchen. What more, an Indian theme Christmas lunch. It was OH EM GEE. SooOOOOOOoooo much work i tell ya!

For the first time, i actually spent the whole day preparing in the kitchen. Yeah, my first time. I’m usually a very fast worker. For me, most food preparation take only a couple of hours max but NOT Indian food, especially this insanely delicious Nihari Ghost.

Nihari Ghost (Lamb or mutton shanks infused with garlic)

1kg boneless lamb/mutton leg
16 tsp garlic paste, ground very fine*

For the masala

10-12 tbsp ghee
4 tsp red chili powder
16 tsp coriander seed powder
12 tsp ginger paste*
salt to taste
2 1/2 cup water
6 tsp flour (maida)
1 cup milk
1/3 cup chili paste, blended from dried chili (optional)

For the baghar (flavouring)

12 tbsp ghee
1 cup onion, finely diced
12 cloves, powdered
12 green cardamoms, powdered
20 peppercorns, powdered
4 cinnamon sticks, 2″
1 tsp lemon juice

Method

1. Boil the lamb in 1 cup of water for 15 minutes. Drain the meat pieces and keep aside, reserving the stock. Add the finely ground garlic paste to stock and stir well. Use later to bhunao.
2. For the masala : Heat ghee, add the red chili powder, coriander seed powder and ginger paste. Add salt and bhunao, adding the garlic stock a little at a time. Continue until the stock is consumed. Add the meat pieces and 2 1/2 cups of water. Dilute the flour in milk and add to meat. Cook on very low heat, stirring regularly until the meat becomes tender. Remove from heat and keep aside.
3. For the baghar : In a separate pan, heat ghee, add onions and saute until golden brown. Remove with slotted spoon to make paste (yes, you have to make paste with this). Add the onion paste to the meat and stir well. Reduce heat to low and in the same ghee, add the clove powder, cardamom powder, peppercorn powder and cinnamon sticks. Immediately add to the meat. Stir. Add the lemon juice, stirring regularly until meat is tender. (i took 2.5 hours to cook till the meat is tender)

(adapted from Art of Indian Cuisine, Rocky Mohan)

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What we had -

Starter

Keropok Special from Malaysia
Stollen

Mains

Nihari Ghost
Matar Paneer
Cucumber Raita
Basmati Rice

Dessert

Apple Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream
Yogurt with honey (but everyone was too stuffed to try this. Teeheee!)

And of course, wines from the friends!

After slaving in the kitchen one whole day preparing all the above, i was totally knocked out to do any decent photo taking. The next morning before the friends arrived, it was flower buying time. I went to 3 different locations just for the roses. I’m mad, am i not? Hahaaaa! But you know, it was worth the 1.5 hours trip. To me, hosting = good food + flowers. ;) So again, no photo taking. All i did then was to chill with the friends over food and wine, but not before i snapped this one precious picture (above), just to remember how Nihari Ghost looked like. :)

So why this very specific Nihari Ghost despite its laborious work?

On our last day in India at the airport, after roaming around almost the whole floor of eateries, this was what we had – Nihari Ghost. It was so good that i actually walked back to the stall and asked for the dish’s name.

Never mind i got laughed at by the girl behind the counter for my pronunciation, i mean, how else will you pronounce ghost (?!?!)  other than ghost?

Never mind i got stared at in a very strange way by other customers, for asking the dishes’ names and writing them down at the same time.

Importantly, i got the names of the dishes that i wanted to know. ;)

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