Friday, 31 January 2014

Gratitude: Tradition, Food and Drinks

Today I am thankful for tradition.

It is believed that part of celebrating the Spring Festival and ushering in of the new lunar year, is to eat well. If there is one single CNY tradition that I keep with my little family, it is to have our meals together. A family who eats together, stays together.

As such, we are thankful to all the chefs who worked hard to put food on our table today, forsaking their own time with family and friends. Hampshire Mummy kitchen is close, save for making Bean his meals, breakfast and tea for the rest. 

Ultimately, we are thankful to Allah s.w.t. For his Blessings of food and drinks to us. Although we start every meal with "bismillah" and end every meal with "alhamdulillah", I just want to note how thankful we are for receiving His Provisions. 

What are you thankful for today? Do share!
Thursday, 30 January 2014

Gratitude: Family

Today I am thankful for my family.

It is just the four of us, and we are family. I pray no one will ever or can take that away from us. Amin!

I am also thankful for my in-laws and The Lloyds who help us in so many ways.

Gong Hey Fatt Choy to those who are celebrating. Stay safe to those who are travelling. Happy holidays to those who are enjoying the congestion-free traffic in the city.

May health, happiness and contentment come your way.
Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Note To Self

Pretty good lighthouse beacon, wouldn't you agree? Certainly is, for me. Hope that you will find this useful too.

Teething Gel

A pea size, rubbed on red, angry, sore gums with more teeth about to erupt any day begets a calmer baby with no broken sleep. Bliss!

What do you use to ease your little bub's gums? Please do share!

Chinese New Year

Gong Hey Fatt Choy!

As a Muslim revert, Chinese New Year is a cultural keepsake for me, as rememberance of my ethnic background and not much else. It would have been so different if my parents were still around, or if I had any siblings.

Firstly, we will be dressing the two kids in traditional costume on the first day. Qibao for The Little Girl, and SamFoo for Bean. These costumes will be worn again during open house at The Playschool. The Playschool runs an awesome culturally correct syllabus so I am having it really easy, apart from having to look for a peony motif peach or dusty pink headscarf for myself this year.

A small gift of Ang Pow will also be handed over on the first day of Spring Festival to my children. It is just a gift, and perhaps sadaqah if we happen to meet other children celebrating. We have no Chinese relatives, no reunion dinners and no traditional ushering in of the lunar new year.

The Little Girl enjoys watching lion dance, acrobatic troupes and traditional bands perform at shopping malls. Her annual highlight!

Yes, we have some mandarin and tangerine at home. But of course! Part of our fruit intake. No store bought cookies this year as we are watching gluten intake of The Little Girl, and may have to bake some ourselves.

Reunion dinner will be the usual simple dinner we eat at home, or perhaps a treat of Japanese meal at the hotel next door, children permitting. My in-laws have not suggested reunion dinner either so it will just be quite ordinary.

No, I am not obsessed over the luck predictions/ year and elements as all those are plainly syiriq to me. All I can do is pray for safety, health and happiness.

Really simple, yes? Do share how Spring Festival is celebrated in your household.
Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Eating Properly

Do you eat properly?

We have been eating mostly clean, raw, organic and/or minimally processed food lately. It is a trying process initially but once your taste buds adjusts, you will start to recognise the myriad of tastes of fruits and vegetables.

Most meals are home prepared or cooked. When eating out, we choose salads with lean meat that comes with the usual request of dressing on the side.

Admittedly, this is hard work. But like any other pact or commitment, some hard work and self-discipline are required. I was going to say self-respect, but that may seem too harsh!

The shock it does to the system! After a few days of such food and drinks, The Other Half and I are feeling less sluggish. Drop in body weight from cutting down sugar is a good consequence too. I was 52kg but now stand at 49kg. Just 1 more kg to pre-pregnancy weight.

The plan is to rebuild my stamina and muscles, tightening all those post-2-pregnancies flubber around the abs.

Are you with me? Let's do this for the sake of our little ones and family, beyond self-vanity.

Yes, that also means less cookies/arrow root chips binge come this Chinese New Year.
Saturday, 25 January 2014

Sanity Preservation

Do you have days when you just want to turn yourself off, go into a hibernation mode and be free from all forms of negativity?

Today was one such day. I am glad it is coming to an end and alhamdulillah Allah s.w.t. Is the best Listener. To Him I give all my thanks. For another chance to make tomorrow a better day, to be a better person.

*DND mode on*
Wednesday, 22 January 2014


The Little Girl can independently read now *hip hip hurrah!*

Come bed time, she still wants me to read her the same few stories though. 

I suspect she just wants to bond, to the exclusion of Bean.

Sunday, 19 January 2014


Giving and not expecting anything in return.

The Avent old and new breast pump, Avent steriliser, Avent and Bean warmers, Avent VIA cups, Beaba food cube tray, Kid+Co food cube trays, Avent bottles and some baby knick knacks. Packed! Donated!

Reason being we are fine with feeding directly since Bean was 44 days old. Those 7 large bags can be so much better utilised by someone else in need. Not that we could sell them on eBay anyways.

When someone told me that she can come and pick it up today and pass them on to someone else in need, I knew my prayers have been answered. Alhamdulillah!

Slow down, Bean. You are growing a little  too quickly for Mummy. Happy 7th month, love! May Allah s.w.t. watch over you always.
Friday, 17 January 2014


Often times, I feel down-trodden and overloaded as a work from home full time mother. It is a mouthful to even verbalise my primary function as a mother to two kids under 5.

Then, some working single person(s) with no kids comes along and assumes that I have all the time in the world to myself and asks questions like "What do you do all day?" Or "Have you read any intelligent books lately?". 


So, once in a while, posters like this cheers me up...

Someone else (working father with SAHM wife) also wrote about the true value being much higher, like USD500k plus per annum. Bless that soul.

Feeling consoled already...Off I march to tackle those never-ending tasks.

Good night, peeps!

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Swimming Lessons

Finally, after 2 years, we have found a swimming instructress who lives at the next block in the same compound! 

No driving around town just to learn up this vital life skill! I am as pleased as a peach, can you tell from all those exclamation mark overuse?!

The lessons are conducted bilingually in Japanese and English. The Little Girl and her swimming buddy both love their lessons, alhamdulillah.

Time to purchase new suit, goggles and cap considering this is going to be an enjoyable weekly after Playschool programme. Mummy needs the cat woman coveralls!

One down, two to go! (The other two being archery and horse riding skills).
Wednesday, 15 January 2014


The summary of my life as a work from home mother:

1. Bean has started crawling with his belly mopping the playmat and cold marble floor: so any long silence is suspicious.

2. The Little Girl has discovered herself. Even more suspicious, alright?!

Oh, the little things that make me nervous...


What good is all the knowledge in the world if one is not educated? 

Reminder to self, and also on what to rub off onto my children...and if that fails, send them to Penny Choong at Money Tree!
Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Maulidur Rasul

What a joyous day! Happy blessed holidays to all. Greetings of peace, love and joy to our beloved Prophet Muhammad saw.

We spent our day at One Utama hunting down qibao and samfoo for The Little Girl and Bean respectively. The Spring Festival celebrations are coming up and we have been invited to the annual party at the The Playschool. The stalls peddling CNY goodies have been set up and we bought the new clothing at the Cherilee booth.

Happy with our success, The Little Girl had her "Mummy Time" extended for another 20 minutes as we decided on the spur of the moment to pay a visit to The Secret Garden.

MasyaAllah, the weather was gloriously comfortable and blooms of the entire garden greeted us. It has been some time since we walked two by two holding hands, silently. The joys of quiet company is rare! 

Water features, pond, buzzing bees. The light scent of garden with such refreshing aroma, tantalised our senses and renewed our bonding. Honestly, we even completely forgot we were on the rooftop of a large shopping mall!

If you are free on a weekend or public holiday, do head to this free rooftop garden. Access from the lift near New Wing Secret Recipe and press The Secret Garden button.

Have a great walkabout!

Bouncing Baby Boy

Holding Bean under his arms is sure to invite a round of bounce from this joyful soul! Well, if it tickles, he rewards me with a hearty laugh every single time. 

Looks like he is really prepping up for crawling. He has been pivoting on his tummy to turn and scoots in his tummy to get places.

Note to Mummy: babyproofing, safe proofing here we come (again!) have to find creative ideas on how to keep those little doll house toys away from he who scoots, grabs and samples...

How do you babyproof your play area that is shared with an older sibling? Please share!
Sunday, 12 January 2014

Calcium Propionate

Google it and you may be shocked to read about how this commonly used mould inhibitor as a baking ingredient has crept into our daily bread; and its effect on our brains and behaviour. Especially in young children.

Just exercise caution as a consumer. Better yet, bake your own loaf. With a breadmaker, it really is quite simple!

I have nothing against the said bread producer, or High 5 for that matter. I am merely noting this down for my tracking of my daughter's behavioural progress/change in our quest to eat as cleanly as possible.

When I am too busy to bake our own loaf, we buy Gardenia (raisin juice extract and vinegar are used as natural preservatives) or Adventist (sprouted seeds are really good for you).

In the meantime, a note has been sent to The Playschool for change of bread. Interim measure would be to pack a breakfast bento box for The Little Girl (read as even more work for me).

I shouldn't be complaining. It is part of my job to ensure my family eats healthily and in sha Allah, remain strong and healthy.

Rite of Passage

The Little Girl started ballet at The Play school today.

Pink tights, pink short sleeved leotard, pink leather dance shoes and pink tutu. Sweetness overload.

I peeped behind the glass screen with happy memories/my own childhood flashbacks. Of pirouettes and pointy toes, posture and poise.

Now excuse me while I try to pry off the layers of pink from her and persuade her to change into non-ballet outfit at home, hours after the class had been dismissed.

*sweat time for Mummy. Turn on creative ideas and increase patience level*

The Lazy Mum's Breakfast Menu

As much as I would love to serve "take it, or leave it", I can't. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day - I was raised to eat breakfast like a king and supper like a pauper.

What do I do to cope with the morning rush, school run and baby all at the same time? 

I rotate our breakfast on a menu. That way, we only ever eat the same things once or twice per month.

Of course there are days when The Little Girl just wants bananas and nothing else. I indulge her intake of fruits and vegetables, never her sugar cravings (I just don't purchase any Koko Krunch, she can get that from The Grandparents if we ever sleep over once a year!).

No, we are not food snobs. We are trying to eat as cleanly as possible. It is a lifestyle, and I would encourage my children to maintain this when they grow up and eventually have families of their own.

Some friends have noted that our sugar content is high in Cheerios, dumplings and such, so I am looking for ways to substitute those items without depriving the family of some "fun". Perhaps just fresh fruits with yoghurt will be suitable. By yoghurt, I mean those plain low fat version/Greek!

I am sharing my rotation menu here but please suggest more (I always welcome new, simple to prepare food ideas!)

Breakfast Rotation Menu:

1. Oats with walnuts, blueberries/bananas/strawberries.

2. Pancakes with maple syrup/honey/fruits.

3. Toast with honey/boysenberry compote/peanut butter/cheese spread/butter.

4. Scrambled eggs, baked beans with multigrain toast.

5. Cheerios/cereals with milk.

6. Rice porridge with condiment.

7. Roti prata with lentil purée, store bought once a month.

8. Red bean/lotus paste dumpling.

9. Muesli with plain yoghurt.

10. Fruits with yoghurt.

11. Nasi lemak, store bought once a month. 

12. Nyonya kueh, store bought once a month.

13. Caramelised bananas with French toast.

14. Poached eggs on toast with smoked salmon and spinach.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Resume Playschool

How is your new year going so far?

The first day of Playschool resumed on 6th of January and I was pleased with regaining some "me time", as well as "Bean time".

No guilt whatsoever. 

December had never felt like such a long month...

I drove The Little Girl to school and back on the first day. Just us two. Me behind the wheels, her in her Recaro all belted in. Only the sound of BFM filled the morning air as she anticipated her new class and new teacher along with some new friends to be made.

During the drive home in the afternoon, her cheerful banter recounting her first day back at Playschool confirmed that a good morning had been had with some friends from her previous class/level.

We chit chat about everything random that crosses her mind, making for refreshing topics every single time.

"Why are the clouds not coming down as rain yet? Why is the cement mixer wet? Where is this taxi going? Why do people have to go somewhere all the time? Where are my cousins? Why is Grandma and Grandad on holiday when it is a school day? Why, Mummy, why?"

I do not know which question to answer first. Perhaps she doesn't need an answer, just by my listening to her question is sufficiently validating?

Her latest request is that those school run is "our thing, Mummy".

Yes, baby, it will be.

It will be.

I miss her just as much. I miss her "just you and I" self so very much.

This is love, right?
Thursday, 2 January 2014

Health Is Wealth

How corny and cliché is the title. Yet, so true.
This little family of 4 is poorer already and it is only the second day into the new year. The seasonal flu has gotten to us all.
PCMC is full of other sickly patients. With the central registration moved to the lobby, there is no escaping "other people's sickness". It has been a couple of month since we were able to walk directly into specialists' clinic for registration, consultation and payment. Only the women and child wing on level 6 remain convenient, but the traffic in there is a real put off. I don't mean to be snobbish but I miss the good old days when there were just fewer patients!
Bean did not even get to his paed. Instead we had to take him to a GP at Twin Towers Medical Centre today (the paed at TTMC is only available on Tuesday). Thankfully, his appetite remain good despite his watery eyes, cough, sneeze and runny nose. We could have put him through the ER at PCMC but the queue was madding too! Triage for young one who is not bleeding or knocked out cold is low priority.
The Little Girl was the first to catch this flu and passed it to me (she still sleeps on my pillow breathing into my face and holds my hands nightly). The Other Half then caught it from her as well (endless rounds of grocery shopping, holding hands, coughing into his face) and he passed it on to Bean (they share a room, little one in the cot and big man on the super single bed). One big happy family of mutated flu strain.
Round of antibiotics, paracetamol, cough syrup and lozenges for everyone except Bean (he gets only the paracetamol, lucky/unlucky him!). Treating only the symptoms. The flu just has to run its course. The Little Girl has yet to start on her antibiotics. She just isn't the best patient when it comes to taking her medicine so we can't start something we know she won't finish.
Everyone shares the same diet for now. Puree, much to the delight of this sickly chef! We added some cous cous and fruits on the side. You wouldn't believe how gloriously golden a 200g slice of pumpkin, 2 sweet potatoes, 3 large potatoes, and 4 carrots worth of soup can turn into. After blending it with a cup of milk, it tastes like fluffy cream instead of soup. Very, very filling too. Maybe we can all just have this for dinner and be healthier for good (will update on success/failure with purple carrot with purple beet for purple soup and green broccoli, green spinach, green whatever else green soup adventures next time).
The point is, health is wealth. Wealth not just in terms of monetary sense, but wealth of life. The ability to enjoy everything that life has to offer. This flu has certainly been a wake up call to our complacency.
1. Always wash hands.
2. Always keep nasal passage clear (Nasal saltwater spray once daily especially for the little ones).  
3. Drink sufficient water/juice/soup - fluids in general (tea and coffee do not count).
In sha Allah, we will recover soon and be on our merry way again.
Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year 2014

The Little Girl went to bed last night at about 9.30 pm. A little past midnight when the KLCC fireworks started, she woke up smiling, crept up next to The Other Half and together they watched the dark skies fill with blooms after blooms of myriad of colours. I will remember the sight of them both staring out of the large glass windows for a long time yet.

The Chinese invented gun powder and fireworks, inter alia. I wanted The Little Girl to be proud of her Chinese genes and legacy too. However, explaining details would be TMI at midnight and I did want her to return to sleep. Maybe next time, at day time. Alert, let's learn everything up time.

Alhamdulillah she did resume her sleep. As soon as the glorious fireworks were over, she complained about not getting more. After some coaxing, she did fall asleep again. The beauty of my sleeping 45 month old.

Bean was fed just before midnight so he was still in my arms the entire time. He slept through it all. The loud explosions and shaking tempered glass windows roused him a little but he was so content and secure to just be held in my arms. His breath, so precious. 

At breathtakingly beautiful moments such as that, I forgive The Flat for being so expensive to maintain. I forgive the lack of laundry space, inefficient wet and dry kitchen design, high power consumption and lack of green lung. But I do not forget my goal of moving someplace more sustainable, efficient and green.

This year had better be a better year than  all the years prior. We have to work hard to make at least 4 lives happy, healthy and worthwhile. May Allah s.w.t. shower us with His Mercy and Compassion.

Happy New Year 2014. May all your resolutions be kept and wishes come true.