Thursday, December 25, 2014

Starting our first family Christmas tradition

This year, we decided that we would spend Christmas in Singapore. More importantly, we decided that it is time to start our own family traditions.  In years passed, we usually spend Christmas in France with my in laws.  However, we feel that maybe it would make better sense for us to travel back to France when we do have longer breaks like in summer. 

So this year, we planned for a Christmas at home! To be honest, I am really looking forward to it! 

As part of our Christmas, we decided to do a little family mission trip (I will post about this separately) which we did last weekend. 

For the actual Christmas event, for the French, Christmas Eve is really a family bonding time.  So planning for Christmas Eve was exciting as it is the significant celebration. Following the years of what we had enjoyed, I planned a whole list food items which I thought would be great but the husband reminded me that it was too much for our little family. I finally scaled it down to these main items for our aperitif. 

There were foie gras on toaste with walnut, smoked salmon on jalapeƱo hummus, saucisson and comte cheese. On the sides were some cheesy sticks and crackers.  We served the kids sparkling juice and champagne for the adults. This is very much what we would eat in France too. 

Dinner was a simple roast chicken with potatoes and a side of buttered asparagus with baby corn. We finished the meal with a log cake and chocolate fondue for the little ones. 

After dinner, we commence a new tradition for the family whereby we all cozy up and watched a Christmas movie. For our inaugural family Christmas movie, we chose ELF after watching the trailers of a few options.  It was a nice movie to finish off the night. And since it was such a feel good movie, the boy was all eager to prep for Santa's visit!

So we worked to put aside some cookies (which I happened to baked just this afternoon) and milk. He wrote a note to let Santa know those were for him. 

Finally we managed to put the kids to bed and realized that Santa came by, ate some cookies and left presents for the kids! 

So excited to see my two darling when they woke up on Christmas morning! 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Jingle Bell Rock by the little boy!

We are definitely getting into the spirit of Christmas.

The little boy just finished his school's Christmas Choral Concert last week and came home singing and singing. Since he was in such a good spirit, I got him to sing a song for everyone!

Sorry about the whooshing sounds made by the fan.... I didn't even realise it until it was up!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Baking baking and more baking!

In an effort to make healthier snacks for the children, I finally attempted bread making! I do not have a bread maker but I do have a Kitchen Aid mixer.  After someone on a particular facebook group I'm in posted a picture of the bread she made, I decided to bite the bullet and give it a try.  I was recommended recipes from using the tangzhong method.

The recipe seems easy enough so after buying all the necessary ingredients, I set off to work! 

And that was when I learnt how long it takes to make bread! The finished product was ready only FOUR hours after I started!!!  But what a sense of achievement taking the bread come out of the oven.

This was the end result, three loaves of ham and cheese bread for the children's tea time. All ready for them when they got home from school. 

I'll admit that break making is not as easy as cake making.  It took a lot of time and yielded very little.  I only had three small loaves of the above bread and two small little brioche to show after all that effort. 

Thankfully, while I was waiting for the bread to proof (about 40 minutes), I decided to make a chocolate chocolate chip sponge cake at the same time! 

However as I was juggling between two different things, my sponge cake ended up being a little flat.  It tasted great though and my little ones loved it, especially the boy. 

So, it was considered a rather productive day in The Across 2 Cultures bakery ! :) 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ballet Barre Exercises at Singapore Ballet Academy

The girl has been attending the Junior Youth Performing Group (JYPG) classes at Singapore Ballet Academy for the entire year and finally the parents are allowed into one of the classes (the last class of the year) to see what the girls are up to week after week.  It was the last class of 2014 and we caught a glimpse of the hard work the girls go through week after week.

The JYPG class is different from the twice weekly RAD grade classes where the students learn fixed exercises and character dances in preparation for the yearly exam.  In the JYPG sessions, the girls get exposed to more types of exercises and steps that would increase their knowledge of ballet moves and stage presence. 

Most of the 90 mins lesson is spent at the barre doing exercises, some totally new to them.

Here's a short clip of one of the exercises. 

I am really impressed with all the young girls.  They had worked very hard during the year to bring themselves to a higher standard.  Looking forward to the girl's involvement with the JYPG next year and seeing her take her passion to greater heights!  I just have to remind her to relax and smile a little more when she is dancing.  :)