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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Joyeux Anniversaire

A family that eats together stays together.  Well, my family, at least.

My SIL is back for a short visit with my eldest nephew and naturally the focus has become what my SIL wishes to eat, KL being full of halal options nearly 90% of the time (or at least where we frequent).

Yesterday, we celebrated my MIL's birthday. It was breakfast at home, lunch at Bosphorus, birthday cupcakes from Bisou to have with tea at home, dinner at Celadon and supper at home. I cope by eating smaller portions, and losing my appetite easily from having to take turns feeding my 2 little ones, as they get distracted seeing a cousin around.

Today is no different. Breakfast at home, lunch at Tony Roma's, tea cakes from Nyonya Colours and dinner at Komura. The plan when eating out at Japanese restaurants is for me to keep my order simple and fast to eat - salmon sashimi. I can never go wrong with this because it takes about 2 minutes for me to finish my meal. It needs no cooling down time, not as much chewing, 5 lifts using chopsticks at most and clean! After that, I can just sip my green tea and nibble at the fruit platter. Read: feed my toddler and persuade my pre-schooler to finish her meal and not to be distracted. 

Wrong! We ended up ordering and eating a bit too much because it was the year end buffet! Luckily the short walk home helped metabolise some excess. Alhamdulillah.

How do you celebrate your MIL's birthday, my lovelies? Do you have a special routine or take a holiday? I'd love to hear!








Who Reads My Blog

1. My Husband.
 
2. The Little Girl.
 
3. My PIL.
 
4. Some of my childhood friends.
 
5. Random fellow mums whom I have not been formally introduced to face to face but I know sure could use the fellowship here.
 
6. Readers who googled "red date tea for breastfeeding" or "car seat reviews" or "how to wear hijab" and stumbled upon my old posts and then khatam the entire site - thank you!
 
7. Silent readers (please don't judge me!).

Sure are good enough reasons for me to continue typing and uploading my journey here. May 2015 be a year that my own Right Angel be busier than my Left Angel, Amin!

Happy new year, and thank you for all the  blog feeds, links, comments and keeping me company. May your 2015 be special and full of love!

Back to Work Wardrobe

*Caution: this is a fluffy post*

In preparation of my mission to return to gainful employment, I am rebuilding my work clothes and essential pieces. I still believe in capsule wardrobe which enables easy mix and match while saving precious minutes every morning.

Of course, I also believe in having the right niat, people skills, brains, experience, support system, technical know-how, talent, passion and *cue for fluff*... looks. I must look the role. It is part of grooming, and marketing oneself properly, representing the brand one works with.


Also, different people achieve different goals with their bonus and year end rewards. Zakat, first and foremost, for Muslims. It is only 2.5%, folks. Come on! Then, please set aside some for savings and financial commitments etc. 
 
In order to "really" reward myself, I *cue for more fluff* buy shoes and bags. My closet has purses, clutch bags, work bags, diaper bags etc which all tell a backstory of how hard I had worked for each piece of them. Same with my shoes! When I put them on, I feel confident about myself. I feel like I have a piece of my own "behind the scene" stories which can power me on in the board room. It reminds me of how Allah swt blesses me. 

Needless to say, The Other Half is very lucky I have yet to reward myself with Chopard and exquisite time pieces. I can hear that sigh of relief!

So, if you see someone resembling me trying on office-y clothes, and carting home replacement pairs of 6.5D Vara, in the next few days, do stop me in my tracks and say "Happy New Year!"

P/S: impeccable service at Salvatore Ferragamo, The Gardens. So glad to know Salvatore Ferragamo Italy has terminated the franchise and is now running the boutiques directly. Bravo!


Monday, 29 December 2014

Our Only Girl

The Little Girl is 4 year and 9 months today. I spent some time reading with her then laid down next to her to lull her to sleep in her own room this evening. 

She has had a momentous 2014. Commedably, she went cold turkey when she quit her bottle with teat. It was 1L of Delamere's Goats Milk per day costing us RM18 per litre, so the dent in our groceries bill was relatively deep. Lately, she drinks from a glass bottle using a straw and feels full after 250 ml before going to brush her teeth for the night. On some nights, she would be happy with just some water. 

Her breathing and snoring gently snapped me out of my gratitude counting . I gingerly stepped away to the home office and flipped through her books for The Big School. 

Looks like I may have to wrap the books up, write her name on them and consider washing her canvas shoes before January creeps up on me. We haven't even purchased her school bag owing to a disagreement between her and The Other Half. She wants a Frozen design while he prefers anything but Frozen. It can be cute when they argue like this. 

She is our only girl (and strangely I only just come to realise that I am her only mum, who deserves being with her to nurture and give her the best of me).

Time flies. May The Little Girl continue to receive all His Blessings, Protection and Guidance. Amin!

An update: 


The Little Girl 1: The Other Half 0



Sunday, 28 December 2014

Equilibrium

Answers and revelations come not when we expect, but at His Time and Will.
 
Such, is His Perfect Plan.
 
Syukur alhamdulillah for His Perfect Answers.
 
The pendulum has stopped, and my heart is full, content and assured once again. He really wants to know if I Trust Him whole-heartedly...

*Image credit to Google*

To those who have been praying for me to find my equilibrium, thank you as well. You know who you are, and your supplications are very precious to me. Yes, I went from "apply" to "withdraw" , and back to "apply" after a "self-inflection due diligence" and endless discussions with The Other Half.

No, I was not fickle, and will admit to over-analysing the situation. I even re-read my own blog posts from the first trimester of my first pregnancy to remind myself why I had chosen to be SAHM/WAHM and let my dream job go.

Note to self:

Indeed, a mother is the pillar of unity at home. What is this is my ticket to Jannah?

Indeed, a mother is the first school for her children. It is never a waste for a highly-educated mother to nurture her children. In fact, a highly-educated mother is the most suitable nanny, tutor and companion. I would hire me! What if this is my ticket to Jannah?

Indeed, the niat of being a SAHM/WAHM must constantly be a reminder to self and focus so as not to waver. What if this is my ticket to Jannah?

Indeed, rezeki comes in various forms and not just measured in terms of bank balances, high reserves in EPF, closet full of designer arm candies and gold bars. Health, precious moments with my children, sufficient sleep and still enjoying some peppering of small luxuries are rezeki too. What if sacrificing Dunya is my ticket to Jannah?

Indeed, my dreams can be kept alive, legal skills honed and contribute positively in other ways. even in ways that I am already doing, but improved or better delivered. What if serving more diligently on the education trust of which I am already a Director be my ticket to Jannah?

*alright, I will stop saying ticket to Jannah as you may already be completely annoyed by now*

Indeed, seeing is believing. The tight daily timeline, chores and tasks to complete to care for a family with 4+ and 1+ year old children with no helper is exhausting. It will not be feasible to be in gainful employment and not able to conquer the world deliver as the position so requires. I do not want to be unfair to my beloved PETRONAS. In sya Allah, my time will be better managed/settled by September 2015 and I can then revisit my dreams. Right job, not so perfect timing. May Allah swt keep this rezeki open to me when the time is right, Amin! Even my PIL now agree that September 2015 would be much better timing.

Indeed, the cost of living and inflation coupled with looming GST are stress factors. Which dutiful wife would not want to contribute positively towards betterment of home economics? If I am not able to bring in extra dough at the present moment, perhaps I can look for ways to save by cooking more meals at home, cut down on artisan brew coffee and not shop as much? I should count my blessings of not being burdened by any loans and debts. 

Indeed, I must believe in all of the above. The only demon is myself. I must really watch my thoughts when I am alone! A true Believer does not moan but count blessings *knocks self on forehead*

In closing, may the short remainder of 2014 be smooth sailing, sweet and seamlessly transition into 2015. AirAsia light went missing this morning. My heart sank. No fireworks, please. No  Mat Rempit honking to usher the new year in, please. 

Happy New Better Year, my lovelies. I promise to be more cheerful next year.

 

Friday, 26 December 2014

Pendulum

Be still, my heart!

I swing from "yes, go back to work" to "no, the kids need you at home". It never has been this strong before so I now realise the real conflict of desire versus duty. 

Praying for answers is the best I can do, while updating my LinkedIn and CV. This time, I will not take opportunities for granted. I also pray that I won't have to pay the "diaper penalty" for having sat out for 5 years.

In coping, or in preparation, we are writing a home operations manual in SOP style, together with timelines for each child, accounting for school runs, after-school worksheets, piano practice, dinner rotation and just about 1001 other tasks.

Besides, perusing the pros and cons list certainly help my feet to stay grounded. That appears to be my "hujah-hujah bertulis" when asking for blessings from my PIL.

Just when I am being content as a work from home mum, this new test/opportunity is presented to me. Allah swt never stops making us stronger and challenge us to the best version of ourselves, in my humble opinion.


*Note to self poster*

How do you working mums balance this? How do you ace it all? Please share, my lovelies! You really, really have my utmost respect!!

P/S: Pendulum will stop in the middle, as gravity dictates. Hopefully, that represents the balanced answer to questions I am seeking.
Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Dreams

It has been some time since I wanted something this badly. 

This time, my pulse races, I feel spiders under my skin just like the very first time I set my eyes upon it in 2009. 

In fact, I had it in 2009 but I had to let it go.

However, circumstances have changed and everyone has grown over the years. My support system has somewhat changed too, and this is key. 

Is this a calling for me to return and accomplish my dream? I would be eternally grateful for a crawling chance back into it.

Only He knows.

Let Him decide.

Oh, but strive I must. If I do get it this time, I promise to hang on to it with my dear life. Second chances are rare.

Let's start by clicking that "apply" button. Wish me luck, my lovelies. I am so going to need every prayer on this. Thank you. So. Very. Much.
Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Winter Solstice

Yesterday marked the winter solstice for 2014. We celebrated with a simple dinner at Umaiya.
2014 had been somewhat tough for my little family and we hope Allah swt will send us some ease, stamina and courage for 2015. Amin to this little supplication!
Sure, we have a lot to be thankful for in 2014 and yet some external impact like MH370 and MH17, have touched us more deeply than we thought possible. The heart feels what it feels.
We still have a week plus to end 2014 and mentally, I am already in 2015 zone; so you can guess how much I want 2014 to be over and done with. Yes, denial mode to blind me over the remaining few days.
Distraction works too. Well, I started by spring cleaning. 3 years worth of arts and crafts, doodle scraps, half-finished projects, bits and bobs were either thrown, recycled or donated. 
 
It is difficult to decide which piece of art is to stay and which is to go, of course, until you meet my "inner domestic diva". She is one efficient cleaning machine with a bit of heart (heart that says let's snap a photo of this masterpiece then discard it!). If I had more time on my hand, I would have scanned all the flat A4 scribbles before recycling them. 
 
After this, the store room may be restored to working order. 

Next up, toys and clothes! We have already separated them into bags to be handed over to different friends, so going-a-calling we will.

Sure feels like I am braver to take on 2015 now *sigh of relief*
 
Goodbye, 2014!


Sunday, 21 December 2014

TATT

Tired all the time.

So it turns out that my prolonged disturbed sleep pattern may be the possible cause of this condition. It is a huge relief to know there are no other serious medical conditions, such as diabetes (because I also feel thirsty all the time, thanks to breastfeeding).

I have not slept through the night since 28 March 2010, the night before The Little Girl was born. If you count the broken sleep to include pregnancy days, then I can tell you it is since August 2009. 

No wonder I look forward to the day Bean is fully-weaned and possibly, in sha Allah, I can regain proper sleep cycle.

TATT it is for now. Oh, bottles of water at my bedside, but of course.

Good night!

P/S: Please ask for a blood test to screen for diabetes, coeliac disease, anaemia, under-active thyroid if you feel TATT. It can save you, or improve quality of your life!
Friday, 19 December 2014

Johor Premium Outlets

This is our first trip to Johor Premium Outlet.

Firstly, bravo on the fly traps! Pesky flies are hardly seen.


Secondly, the trees have grown more shady, thus protecting shoppers from the blazing heat. We noted that the landscape management company and/or proprietor could have selected even more shady greens, like the tiered types you see at The Gardens and along Mahameru (who remembers the new road name?).

Thirdly, we are so glad to see eateries other than the food court. Options like Absolute Thai and Kampachi are helping us to extend our leg hours beyond dinner rush hour. The dinner service and food at Kampachi was excellent. The lunch service and food at Dome's left much room for improvement. Crispy Crepe provided us with good snacks, and we especially enjoyed the peanut butter with banana as well as chocolate with banana crepes. 

You guessed it, we were there twice! Every premium/designer outlet begets multiple visits from us, old habits die hard! We would usually mark what we would like to buy and think it over, preventing impulse purchase. As a result of this, we bought almost nothing! The Other Half credits this to The Flat being too close to boutiques at KLCC that we are already immune to the word "Sales",
"Markdown" and "70% off". I concur.

Although we were not thrilled about the limited brands present, we were glad to see the usual suspects on discount. Surprisingly, supermarket and high street mall labels make up 75% of the shops there. Our haul this time is comparatively much smaller than last summer at York Designer Outlets.

If you are a big fan of Burberry, Aigner, Oroton, Furla, Sacoor Bros, Kate Spade, DVF, Salvatore Ferragamo, Coach, Michael Kors and Polo Ralph Lauren then there are some gems waiting for you to mine. We spotted DKNY, Armani Exchange and Boss too.
 
My best purchase was Akemi Super King Silk Sateen Fitted Sheets. Very makcik good purchase. In fact, I would be silly enough to return just for this sole purpose.

The playground area is not shaded/covered. Let's hope that is room for improvement too. During our first visit, the playground was wet from the rain. The sun was scorching hot on the second day. My kids were disappointed on both days, regrettably. The grass must find a way to grow too.

On the bright side, baby change rooms and family toilets are available. Let's hope they will add some nursing rooms in future, as I personally do not feed inside bathrooms (simple hygiene logic - would you eat inside a toilet?). Thank you for taking this into account when you are looking for ways to improve your property, Genting Simon Sdn. Bhd. 

In conclusion, this place is worth a look-see. See you again next time, Johor Premium Outlets!

The Little Red Cube at Puteri Harbour


1. Hello Kitty Town

2. The Little Big Club hosted the following:
PinguBob The Builder
Angelina Ballerina
Thomas The Train
Barney And Friends

We purchased the Two Clubs Entry tickets. The Little Girl and I had both watched enough episodes (between 2010 and 2013) of those characters above to appreciate what Little Big Club has to offer. 

The Other Half and Bean were less excited, and I do not blame them. I was a big fan of Hello Kitty during my primary school days and it was exclusive back then because I could only purchase them from Melbourne and everything was "Made in Japan". 

Surprisingly, my excitement level during this visit was zero. I wonder what had gotten into me? Overdose of Hello Kitty from Akemi and Isetan KLCC? The Little Girl enjoyed the spinning tea cups ride though, while I got dizzy from all that loud music and spinning. Let's admit it: I am aging!

The Little Big Club felt like a fun-fair/indoor playground within an office block, in my humble opinion. We were offered a 10% discount for the entrance fees by showing our Legoland tickets from the previous day. Luckily for us, I only had to give the Legoland reference numbers as per email as I had not brought along the used and discarded printed tickets. 

I found the Hello Kitty Town displays a little too crowded, as Hello Kitty fans were quite kiasu that day. Some of the adults were oblivious to younger persons around and in the queue, so quite a few handbags and elbows were accidentally shoved into The Little Girl's face. Luckily there was no injuries (otherwise enraged mum would have made it to headlines albeit not for good reason!).

However, The Little Girl, being 4 going on 5, loved the rides on the top floor where Thomas and Friends are featured to bits! Bean is too young to play in most areas and spent majority of his time squirming to be set free or waving at The Other Half who had taken The Little Girl on one of the rides.

The Barney and Friends musical made The Little Girl's day. We ended the visit with lunch at Trader's Hotel. The walk along the promenade outdoors felt a little like walking along Publika on a weekend. 

We did not redeem our free drink offer from Lat's Place as The Other Half was not keen on spending another minute there (he was bored silly and super exhausted from having to wrestle Bean, who prefers to toddle and turns 360 degrees to be let loose). 


Our Garmin charted only the pre-construction routes so we had a minor detour when arriving and departing. Other than that, the Doubletree JB-The Puteri Harbour-Johor Premium Outlet-Doubletree JB drives were smooth, syukur alhamdulillah!



Legoland Malaysia Resort

shall not write a review of Legoland Malaysia Resort as there are countless great reviews already blogged about.

Suffice to note this was the highlight of this short getaway for the kids. We had arrived the night before, checked-in late at Doubletree JB and even had to wait for our connecting room (it was a good wait by eating dinner at Makan Kitchen). By the time we unpacked, showered and settled down, it was late. 

The Little Girl was super excited the following day as we were visiting Legoland. We had purchased the single entry one day pass for theme park only so she knew it was going to be "precious". We drove from JB to Nusajaya guided by Garmin without issues.

The parts The Little Girl loved best were Driving School, Boating School, fire truck mission, Santa Got Stuck in the Chimney musical, train ride, Bug, pony ride and playground. She queued patiently and understood to return later if a particular queue was going to be more than 15 minutes.

Bravos to all other parents and children that day. Stellar rating for queuing patiently and orderly. Not a single incident of queue cutting *5 stars*

Bean fell asleep at Miniland so The Other Half and I took turns carrying him while he slept. Every time I leave his Ergobaby Carrier in the car, he sleeps! On me! I am very puzzled as to the how and why. It was hot and humid so I stayed in the shaded pavilion under the fans while waiting for The Little Girl and The Other Half.

The second half of our day was after a popcorn break to wait out a slight drizzle. We then discovered a semi-covered playground! It is a good idea to have built one for days with showers; but humidity issues are not addressed so it felt like sauna under the canopy. We skipped this after seeing flushed cheeks on all 4 of us.





We proceeded to The Castle for a look-see without taking the roller-coaster rides, queued for Star Wars and finally got ready for leaving. We waited for our PhotoAir package by browsing the shops for souvenir. The final snack we ate was to fill our tummies and quench our thirst before driving back to Doubletree JB (with room service for dinner in mind!).

The walk back was a little sad for The Little Girl who had predictably refused to leave. We consoled her with promise of Bob the Builder and followed by shopping at Johor Premium Outlets the following day, and she reluctantly agreed. 

Once we arrived at the open air car park where we had parked our family car earlier, we could feel the heat rising from the ground. There were trees planted, supposedly to provide shade, but unfortunately the trees were not thriving. I suspect it is due to buried rocks and hard soil, making it difficult to root and grow properly. The trees looked like bonsai.

Let's hope that the trees at the car park would have grown taller and shadier by out next visit in a couple of years, in sha Allah. We bet Bean would enjoy Legoland Resort Malaysia a lot more once he is tall enough for the rides. 

The Other Half and I now know to plan and book ahead for a two day multiple entry pass so that we can walk across to Medini Mall for meals and breaks. We may even consider booking into the theme rooms at the hotel itself. In sha Allah, next time.

Thank you for having us, Legoland Malaysia Resort. Bravo for selling apples and mandarin oranges, we especially loved that!
Monday, 15 December 2014

Milestones: Communication

Bean has been saying "Dada", "Mama", "Chair Chair" when referring to The Little Girl, "Kakak" to waitresses, "Ganma" and "Ganpa".

Cutely, all 4 legged animals are "Baa Baa" and all 2 legged animals are "Duck Duck". 

During singing and signing times, he happily signs itsy bitsy spider, twinkle stars and wheels of the bus etc accompanied by his own lyrics. 

He does not sign very much except for diaper change, usually just before he urinates so if we are fast enough, we can bring him to the water closet in time!

Sadly, he wouldn't say any other word despite understanding a lot for his age of young 17 months going-on 18. We know this because 2 actions instructions are correctly carried out. His favourite is,"Take this school bag and hand it to Che Che at the door." He would even throw in a "bye bye", without us asking him, how sweet.

On another positive note, he sure can point at the correct corresponding pictures in almost all sorts of books. We read to him, with him and have NEVER used flash cards. In fact, this is the same method we have used with The Little Girl (who is now a confident reader and I rush to file documents before she asks questions like "what is a restrictive injunction, Mummy?").

When she was his age, she could already say quite a few words: purple, yellow, bird, flower, fish, car and plane were some of the distinct ones she uttered (oh gosh, I AM COMPARING my children and will stop now!).

Coming back to Bean - The one gesture I love the most is when I ask for a kiss, he usually obliges. Makes my heart melt, this boy. Syukur alhamdulillah

As for his milestones, I am just letting him take his time and allow him to be himself. It is beautiful to just watch him grow, one day at a time.

What about you, my lovelies? Do you prefer Tiger Mum/Asian kiasu mum approach to this "lepak" /relaxed approach of mine?

If I Were My Own Bibik

...I would have quit!

Here are the reasons why:
1. Dust
The amount of dust in this city is ridiculous. Windows and curtains have to cleaned so often, not your typical once weekly. An hour after wiping down the piano, you can see a layer of dust again.

2. Open Windows
No open windows, no fresh air. See above.

3. Dryer 
Emits more fine particles of No. 1 indoors. In spite of filters! Bibik just wishes for a lawn with lines, pegs and sunshine to dry the laundry and save on electricity bills.

4. Kitchen Sinks
The sinks are too small, and are always full. The original interior designers have not accounted for real cooking, juicing and baking so space is really tight and the small kitchen sinks are not helping. The dishwasher is often full and operating.

5. Ironing
Must everything be ironed, especially kitchen linen? Tea towels? Luckily, there is no need to iron socks!

6. 4 Bathrooms
Means 4 Bathrooms to scrub on weekly basis, on top of the daily "someone is visiting us in 10 minutes" panic-cleaning-mode. Grout filled with dirt is sure to send Ma'am bonkers. She can be seen reading Wikihow on topics like "how to clean grout" and "how to whiten grout", shamelessly.

7. Post-holiday laundry
Not just of clothes but change of sheets, blankets, floor mats, towels etc upon return. The laundry area looks like a launderette doing great business!

Note: Bibik may quit, but Ma'am/Wife/Mum isn't able to, so she, the latter, soldiers on and tries her best and lovingly on a daily basis to keep The Flat in clean, working order. Motto: one day at a time. 

(Our search for a suitable Bibik has been called off on humanitarian grounds. The Flat has no inhabitable space left, and renovation is not possible at present moment).

 



Thursday, 11 December 2014

Last Minute Plans

The week is whizzing past a tad too quickly, my lovelies.

Well, it looks like Allah swt is blessing us with a short getaway to the southern tip of our country where more interlocking plastic bricks and discounted/end of season/especially-produced-for-premium-outlets goods can be purchased.

You must already know how much my little family loves designer outlets from reading about our 3x visits in York last summer? Alhamdulillah children are growing and outgrowing their stash of "stock". I hope JPO has enough rides and playground to occupy them while I get to "work".

This mini getaway is a last minute decision. We were pleasantly surprised that The Big School has complete sets of books, uniforms and sports attire so after the visit on Wednesday this week, we need not visit until next year when the academic year starts for The Little Girl. Alhamdulillah for this ease! We have canvas shoes, liquid chalk to whiten canvas shoes and socks too. All that is left to hunt down is a few pairs of black tights.

As usual, our hotel bookings and theme park tickets were completed online (what isn't these days? I wonder if agents still have much to do?). 

I still wish The Other Half would agree to bring along the car registration card and our passports so that we can drive across the Second Link. I have between now and our departure time to convince him. Impromptu drives? Knowing that shops are aplenty along Orchard? The Other Half smells a rat! He would rather spend RM than SGD considering how weak the RM is at the moment. Such loyal subjects we are.

Having said that, I know he has a good head on his shoulders. After all he appointed me as the chief holiday planner and chief luggage packer (I am not printing a list this time, just to try packing for 4D3N by memory). This is a lifetime irrevocable designation. I have my job cut out for me *unless I forget to pack stuff due to laziness and not printing the packing list*

Happy blessed holidays, my lovelies! 

Gratitude: Detour

Today, I am thankful for detour (in my life, especially but that is story for long sleepless nights).

This morning can be described with one word: detour.

Traffic was quite heavy as it was public holiday in Selangor. 

Despite that, The Other Half was determined to "restock" my Vara from The Gardens but on our way there, I thought it would make more sense to refill our groceries at The Village Grocer. Priorities! 36.5 C can wait if we are meant to be. 

So, instead of taking the ramp to The Gardens, we turned right at Jalan Bangsar with Bangsar Village in mind after I told The Other Half about my guilt-conscience of spending so much of his money on a pair of shoes so early in the morning. I wouldn't have bat my eyelids 5 years or even 15 years ago but times and conditions have changed (my love for Vara and Varina stays true, nevertheless).

At Bangsar Village right turn lane after the  mosque, The Other Half mentioned that Bean needs a few more pairs of new pyjamas as he has outgrown his sleep-in onesies and pyjama pants. The car was then standing at the red lights.

As soon as he finished his sentence, I decided on going to Mothercare at BSC to address Bean's wardrobe deficiency. Again, priorities! 

So, instead of taking the right turn, we changed lane and drove to BSC via Jalan Penaga.

Once we arrived at BSC, I bought Bean his pyjamas before ordering lunch at Madam Kwan's while The Boys went to browse at Time's Bookstore. I did not want to lose focus as the clock was ticking closer to the end of holiday programme for The Little Girl.

Our standard operating procedure is for The Other Half to browse at shops with Bean while I sit, order and call them when food arrives. Yes, I sacrifice my window-shopping and browsing opportunities! How silly, but it works for us because if I were to browse with Bean, he would just pull all books off the shelves (which he doesn't dare do around The Other Half!).

After a speedy lunch, we managed to grab some groceries at Jason's Food Hall before rushing back into the city to pick The Little Girl up from The Playschool.

In conclusion, I am thankful for today's detour because in spite of that, we managed to get some tasks done. It just goes to reaffirm that man can plan all they want but His will precedes because He knows better. Oh, and Bean now has new and well-fitting pyjamas, syukur alhamdulillah!

Vara, please wait for me! Amin!


Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Coconut Ladoo

The Little Girl brought home this simple no-bake recipe from Playschool the week preceding Deepavali and had wished to "bake" this with me. However, we couldn't find the simple ingredients until today!

Armed with a can of condensed milk and dessicated coconut, we set to work this evening.


1 can of condensed milk (not creamer, not evaporated milk!).

1.5 can of dessicated coconut (I used the empty condensed milk can to measure, to get the correct ratio and cut down items to wash up).

Mix well and heat over low heat for 2 minutes. 




Roll into ball when cool, coating with some dessicated coconut. We used about 0.5 can of dessicated coconut for coating.




Voila

Stores for about 2 days in the fridge, but I doubt it will last that long. Yields about 30 coconut ladoo balls. Tastes like...a non-chewy version of Turkish Delights. I think I will introduce some cashew nut flour into the next batch for a nutty twist.

Washing up was relatively easy, and guarantees a happy pre-schooler, in my household at least.

Bon appetit!







Monday, 8 December 2014

Banana Chocolate Chips Cookies

The holiday baking season with The Little Girl has started. That is why my post here is getting sluggish as we tend to spend a lot of time together without any device. Sometimes, we do not turn the TV on for days!


Preheat oven to 170C.

Part A
1 ripe banana
8 tsp virgin coconut oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Mix well.

Part B
3/4 cup self raising flour/coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Mix to Part A, adding chocolate chips at the end.

Line baking tray with baking sheet.

Scoop 1 tbsp of batter and be sure to space well. We had only 6 blobs per tray, and the above yields about 18 cookies.

Bake at 170C for 12 minutes.

Cool on wire to set.

No storage this time, as we devoured them all amongst the 4 of us during tea time.

Bon appetit!



Section 7, Shah Alam

I was in Muslimah clothing heaven last Sunday. SubhanAllah!

The Other Half had agreed to drop me off at Sugarscarf to pick up some Innara Classic Inners for my MIL. The mission was simple but me being me, I complicated it for myself by having visual overload syndrome when I turned my head left and right to look at the other shops around.


Honestly, I was overwhelmed by the rows and rows of shops filled with myriad of shariah-compliant fashion options. Bank account permitting, in sha Allah, I hope to be back on my own to "reap the racks". 

*drafting a Muslimah's must have items for my closet*
Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Gratitude: Shoes

Today, I am thankful for a new pair of stacked wedges in nude. 

Why be thankful for something that costs only RM399 per pair? 

Because The Other Half bought it as a present to me.

After a 3 month search.

After comparing quality.

After comparing prices.

After comparing brands.

My size is 6.5 so not all brands carry my size. Even if they do, my choice pair is usually out of stock. That was why I ended up buying designer shoes when I was working full time in an office, largely due to lack of time/opportunity to try on shoes or wait for a sale. Back then, I bought what I needed and often in three colours all at once (black, navy, cream being the usual suspects) from duty free stores en route meetings/seminars.

Admittedly, working from home and earning less alters my budget - but not my style (if I have any to begin with!).

Syukur alhamdulillah for little thoughtful gifts. 

Syukur alhamdulillah for another pending offer from The Other Half to replace my standard issue black court shoes. I shall think it over for another night before purchasing a pair. If it is meant to be, it will still be there. Maybe The Other Half is right, buy before GST sets in. 

What are your favourite shoes like, my lovelies? Do you wait for the sale? Do you buy them online? Please do share!


Monday, 1 December 2014

Speedy Indeedy Egg Muffins


We tried a simple egg muffin recipe as a dinner side dish tonight. I preheated the oven to 170C and did the following in the meantime:

1. 6 eggs, 1/2 cup of milk, whisk until well mixed in a mixing bowl that comes with a spout.

2. Place chopped vegetables, shrimp, chicken sausages, bacon bits etc. of choice (celery for us today) evenly into non-stick muffin tray. If you are using a notmal muffin tray, be sure to grease lightly beforehand. The choice of topping is limitless so I am already looking forward to future experiments!

3. Pour mixture up to 3/4 level. It is easy to pour if you have a mixing bowl with a spout (or use a funnel). You can even scoop with a ladle. 

4. Bake at 170C for 12 minutes or golden brown. Clean prick test for confirmation.

5. Cool and use a clean spatula to turn egg muffin out.

6. Garnish as you wish (plating is a skill I need to learn, obviously!).

We love how flexible this simple side dish is, we can easily customise each egg muffin for every member of family without too much hassle. Washing up is a breeze too.



Bon appetit!
Saturday, 29 November 2014

Gratitude: Fixing and Healing

Today, I am thankful for an awakening.

An awakening to be a better Muslim. The Little Girl had recently started "agama" classes at The Playschool and her "Ustazah" taught her the names of the 5 obligatory prayers. She can now recite Subuh, Zuhur, Asar, Maghrib and Isyak. Her favourite "sound" is Maghrib. Bless!

Well, a huge portion of my 2014 has been about fixing my outer shell as a Muslimah. Fixing my hijab, as an obvious example. Fasting steadfastly and properly during Ramadhan is another but I wish I had been more "pure in thoughts" and "pure in thoughts when idle". Zakat has been settled, and Hajj may still wait for now. Syukur alhamdulillah for those baby steps.

For the rest of 2014, I am going to try to heal my inner self and fix everything that is broken from within. There is only December left to 2014, so the clock is really ticking loudly for me. You may already guess by now which pillar in Islam I am going to strive for.

Yes, solat. In sha Allah. I have always felt happiest/most calm/most at peace when "ranting" it all to Him because He is The Best Listener. Lately, I feel the compulsion is observing the 5 prayers, and the guilt when missing prayers is strong. He had blessed my family with so much and yet I am so lacking as His servant. The "agama" class awakening is so timely, jazakAllah

I must make that change for myself because solat will be the first account on Judgment Day.

I must strive to be a stronger and practising Muslimah.

The biggest journey starts with the first step. May Allah swt remove my stumbling blocks, obstacles and hardship, Amin! May Allah swt also grant me sufficient living and healthy days for me to make good to Him and repent my sins, Amin!


Innara Classic Inner by Sugarscarf


*This is NOT a sponsored post*

My search for the perfect cotton inner has ended and I would like to thank a very kind reader who left a fantastic suggestion in the comment box the other day. Thank you!

Knowing me, no static electricity is already a big win but here are other reasons why I am going to purchase these gems in all colours:

The cotton material is soft and keeps me cool. 


The neck cover can be tucked under shirts for total cover.

The elastic gather at the back approximately where the hair bun ends allows for stretch and easy wearing; and removal without causing the hair bun to unravel. Goodbye ripped inners without elastic bands!

The choice of colours available is a dream come true. If only my favourite colours aren't already sold out. 

The cotton material washes well without too much wrinkling so light ironing is an option.

I feel a little bit like a girl let loose in a candy store. Hang on, Sugarscarf is a candy store! 

*thumbs up!*

To be fair, there is only one small feature that I do not like so much and that is the RM7 Poslaju cost. In this day and age of online shopping, postage is nearly always free, so I was quite surprised. Oh well, what choice do I have? RM7 for convenience! Still, it would be nice for the store to eventually offer free delivery, may I say Amin to this wish?

Happy shopping, my lovelies! Or rather, happy shopping to me. I bet I am the last person to discover this lovely product and brand. 
Friday, 28 November 2014

Butter Cookies


The Little Girl and I shared a little project yesterday after dinner and that was to bake a small batch of cookies for tea time today. Honestly, I was totally spent after cooking and cleaning up after dinner but her wild yet innocent enthusiasm got the better of me.

At tea time today, we enjoyed some butter cookies topped with chocolate chip, served with Korean strawberries and Chilean blueberries. Syukur alhamdulillah it was a delicious treat with a cup of tea (goats milk for the kids).

Here is the "no brainer recipe" (The Little Girl had fun and baked this with some assistance, guidance and supervision):

Preheat oven to 160C.

Part A:
227g of soft unsalted butter 
1 cup of castor sugar (really sweet!!)
1 tsp of vanilla essence

Part B:
1 1/2 cup of self raising flour
1 tsp of baking powder
Pinch of salt

Mix Part A well until well-combined but not stiff.

Sieve Part B then mix in to Part A in small portions until well-combined.

Scoop a teaspoonful onto baking tray lined with baking paper. Be sure to leave enough space for the cookie to "spread out" when baking.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

Cool on wire rack before eating/storing.

Our backstory:
Top with a favourite topping of choice for some frivolity and fun. We have previously topped with cashew nuts, hundreds and thousands sprinkles and chocolate sprinkles. This batch was chocolate chips! I find that topping choice is limitless which is why I allow The Little Girl to suggest or choose one that she likes. In this process, she has observed and learnt that dry fruits like raisins, cranberries and apricots get burnt while wet fruit like cherries for baking would turn out perfect. Of course, the "whys" darts were shot at me to Google up the answers for her.

Oh, we chilled this dough in the fridge for 15 minutes before rolling and cutting into shapes if not using the teaspoonful drop onto baking tray lazy method. The chilling helps stiffen the dough as we find it much easier to work with a slightly firmer texture. Evidently, I prefer the lazy method with lesser time consumed and lesser washing of rolling pin/cookie cutter/what begins to look like a PlayDoh session. But I don't always get my way, hah! I pray The Little Girl will cherish memories of our baking sessions...

Crumbly tasty and diabetic-inducing good times, have fun my lovelies! Be sure to have an active outdoor play activity planned for after those treats for the little ones to burn all that sugar off. 

Bon appetit!
Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Gratitude: Name Change

Today, I am thankful for my Islam name.

When I reverted to Islam, I was advised to pick a suitable and meaningful first name, and to keep the rest of my name as it is. I have been told that on Judgment Day, I will be called by my Muslim name, so it would make a lot of sense to choose a beautiful and meaningful name to last me, literally, forever.

Consequentially, after much thought, my name consists of my Islam name + my birth name. It did not look "Islam enough" although those who know me would know that my Islam name is the Arabic version of my previous Christian name. Essentially, I have the same name and it did not cause me any discomfort or major adjustment. It is beautiful and meaningful.

The paperwork and procedures were relatively easy although slightly time consuming. Over the years, only one foreign bank refuses to this day to effect my name change and I still wonder why. 

Well, "Abdullah" portion to a Muslim revert's name is not compulsory, as some have been ill-informed. There is no compulsion in Islam and that is why Islam is beautiful to me. 

More than five years have passed and I have grown more and more accustomed to this way life. It has not magically happened overnight, but one that is slow and gradually faith increasing. One of the things I have discovered is the meaning of "Abdullah", The pure and simple meaning of "servant of Allah" is so captivatingly wholesome and meaningful I now wish I had added that to my name. 

However, joy does come in unexpected forms. There is one person who has always addressed me on letters with "Abdullah" and she is a cousin of The Other Half. She is so gorgeous inside out, a wonderful and devoted wife, a loving and dedicated mother to three boys and every single of her status update or sharing on Facebook is dakwah related. I am so blessed to have her as my walking and talking Ustazah, always one message or phone call away.

Kakak, thank you! May Allah swt bless you abundantly and increase your vitality for always spreading and doing good deeds, Amin!

Gratitude: Home Sweet Home

Today, I am thankful for The Flat.

It keeps us all safe, sheltered, comfortable and I will always remember some of our best memories created here.

The euphoric moment when we first took vacant possession in September 2012 as we were greeted by an awesome view of the city centre's 50 acre of green lungs and pretty skyline. The clouds were so white, the skies were so blue! Syukur alhamdulillah.

The wow factor when we first dipped The Little Girl into her wading pool with an equally breathtaking view of Genting skyline. She was the only 18 month old toddler in the entire property then, so the pool was all hers! Syukur alhamdulillah.

The satisfaction in finding every single gym equipment in working order, clean and available. I wish I had been more diligent at using it so this will be one of my resolutions for 2015, in sha Allah.

The giddiness and excitement as we strolled to nearby malls on our feet without having to incur carbon footprints and hefty parking fees. The Little Girl had enjoyed street view, learnt to walk on the pavement in the opposite direction of traffic, learnt to stay on the inside while holding my hands, learnt to look for pedestrian crossing and interpreting the lights for pedestrian crossing and 1001 other details. Impossible to enumerate all those big and little lessons, simply impossible. Syukur alhamdulillah.

The convenience of having local, tasty and affordable albeit slightly unhealthy breakfast across the street. The camaraderie of eating with family, next to other families, after a morning of sweating it out at the local playground. The crazy smell of insect repellent, kids' sweat, iced Milo and roti banana...syukur alhamdulillah.

The joy of finding halal Japanese food at hotel restaurants within walking distance to satiate my pregnancy cravings! The 3pm stroll to buy laksa asam downed with three layer tea! The random 4pm craving for sambal petai udang with white rice! Syukur alhamdulillah.

The contentment in knowing that school run only takes 5 to 10 minutes. Especially when we run late. Syukur alhamdulillah.

The security in knowing that in case of emergency, the best private hospital in the country, in our humble opinion, is only within 5 to 10 minutes. The nose bleeds (mine), the mycoplasma infection (The Little Girl's), the jigsaw puzzle sharp corner stab into an eye (The Other Half's) and the arrival of Bean. Syukur alhamdulillah.

Counting His shower of blessings upon us has certainly made us His ever grateful servants. This helps in overcoming days when we feel stressed over inner city living, cost and style. It is not always rosy, but we are mostly blessed and grateful.

Thank You, for all Your Blessings.

May You keep us all ever safe, ever sheltered, ever protected, ever guided in our home sweet home, Amin!
Monday, 24 November 2014

Happy Monday!

Hello, my lovelies!

I finally got the hang of wearing my inner with Onulaa headscarf using pins and a small brooch. Big bonus: no static electricity with the chiffon material. Proviso: hand wash with Woolite and hang to dry with no ironing. This "success formula" has given me a new zest to rebuild my headscarf collection and bring out my brooch collection. 

However, sheer convenience of button headscarf when in a rush to head out the door must not be underestimated. My favourite is this:



The Neda is so comfortable I feel like buying in my usual black and navy in addition to my gray as pictured above.

Up ahead this week are some work related meetings outside of home and I feel like wearing this:



Do you also plan out wardrobe for the week like I do to save some precious morning minutes? I am all for increasing effectiveness and efficiency to reduce morning school run stress, so I arrange outfit for the week by Saturday evening, leaving my Sunday blue-free.

In order to achieve that and kickstart that, we need to organise ourselves better don't we? To help us all achieve that, I am sharing my discount code at Zalora with you! Please type this 15% discount code upon checkout: ZBAPQA21 for your first purchase as a new customer!



Thank you for supporting vendors that help make Daily Supplications possible. Happy shopping and have a productive week, in sha Allah!
Thursday, 20 November 2014

Onulaa

Syukur alhamdulillah for such a lovely gift.  Thank you, JC. I am truly blessed by your warm heart and hand in friendship through all these years. May God bless you and your growing family with much love, happiness and health always!


You can find Onulaa scarfs on Instagram and Facebook, if interested. I have compiled a wish list in the short time that I have learnt about these gorgeous pieces! So timely too, considering that I am in the mode and mood for "revitalising" my head scarf collection. All I need now is the "static test drive" after reading a simple supplication and thanksgiving for this new clothing.
 
"All praises and thanks be to Allah who has clothed me with this (garment) and provided it for me, with no power nor might from myself, Amin!"

Suzanne Pins & Petals were scouted at the concourse level at KLCC outside M&S. I have another pair to look for, to match the reddish/purplish scarf. You can buy these at RM10 for 3 pieces, what a bargain!

Just adore how enterprising this work from home mother is, toiling and building her own brand, SubhanAllah. May Allah swt bless her and her family abundantly for her noble effort, Amin!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Goodbye, S. Hello, M


Part of my wardrobe hijrah is parting with 3/4 sleeved tops. These organic cotton Zara tops were my transition from sleeveless and short sleeves to 3/4 sleeves. After about 2.5 years, I am ready to move a step closer to where I want to be.

I am now ready to part with them, and move to full length sleeves. Hope this pile of 9 will find a good owner soon. 

Also, I am moving to looser tops. Hello, M. Here I come.
Monday, 17 November 2014

Segregate

Monk, has anyone watched this American series before?

One tiresome/quirky trait the character that Monk has is OCD, and how he would segregate his food into neat piles by type and colour to eat. It was cute to watch on screen.

I was given the task to serve a neat bowl of udon for dinner. Not as cute as an episode of Monk...

The Little Girl is going through a phase of "eating neatly", I feel she is taking it too literally. She has a favourite dinner plate/canteen in which I can put different food in each segregated space and I use that if I were in a hurry.


The broth was underneath the pile "but not drowning" her food. She then ate it type by type, systematically. Well, I was thankful she did!

I am going to count how many times she chews each mouthful tomorrow just to up the anté! Add no talking and no singing. The toughest part is preventing her from distracting Bean during meals. 

Wish me luck!

(I wonder how she eats her nasi campur at Playschool).

Sleep Tight, Baby


Bean's cot at The House has been handed down to a dear friend's soon-to-arrive second son, alhamdulillah. Time has really flown by since we were told of their happy news. 

Is it true that another woman's 40 weeks always seem faster than own pregnancy? Illusion? My first pregnancy felt like forever even though The Little Girl arrived at 36 weeks. Bean stayed for 37 weeks 3 days but it felt as quick as a flash! I guess it had to do with not knowing what to expect during my first pregnancy, and then being more comfortable and somewhat more experienced the second time.

Anyway, we pass on love, comfort and friendship through this cot. Sleep tight, the bed bugs won't bite (there aren't any bed bugs!!). We feel the tradition of passing down and sharing baby products  and furniture is a fine one as our sentimental stuff from The Little Girl went to this same friend's first son, and now Bean is keeping our little tradition alive with her second son. The timing is perfect.


We wish you a very safe delivery, hopefully VBAC, and speedy recovery with enjoyable confinement and traditional massages, JC!


Friday, 14 November 2014

Speedy Indeedy Meal: Aglio Olio


We were pressed for time to serve dinner on time tonight. That meant falling back on this classic favourite; quick preparation, fast to cook, good to eat *humming Maggi commercial jingle*

I replaced spaghetti with spagettini as thinner pasta boils to al dente texture much faster.  No genius there! 

The chopped garlic, chopped onions, calamari rings, peeled shrimps, broccoli were stir fried briefly with just olive oil. 

I then tossed drained spagettini with some extra virgin olive oil and added "topping" of choice before serving "customised" platters.

Bean's portion did not have calamari rings, chilli flakes and pepper in them (see photo). He tasted his sweet basil garnish and spat it after a chew cud expression, too cute! I have always admired his courage to try new tastes.

The Little Girl had hers with calamari without shrimp, chilli flakes and pepper. Her verdict of her sweet basil garnish is "leave it aside next time". Very honest!

The Other Half and I had ours with the whole lot, garnished with fresh sweet basil, as we are relatively easy to please folks.

Bonus: longer evening routine for the kids as the dishwasher took care of the pots and pans, dishes and cutlery. 

Ultra bonus: we ate a simple home-cooked meal on a Friday evening watching the traffic outside crawl in a sea of brake red lights in the rain. I wish everyone a safe journey home, and a huge part of me was so grateful for being home with my family.

Burp, alhamdulillah!

Note: I know broccoli is not an aglio olio ingredient. I was just being too lazy and tired to cook it separately.