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Thursday, 31 December 2015

BeansTalk: The Other Side

Bean is 30 months old now and we have yet to work out a win-win weaning programme.

The last time we tried giving him some formula milk, he vehemently protested with screams and tears. Project formula has been a total failure, so far. We give ourselves another 5 months to equalise the duration I had breastfed Girl who scored 35 months.

After he empties one side, he pops out to announce "the other side" and comfortably tucks himself into round 2. 

Sometimes he goes into this mode on repeat and of course, I feel all dehydrated -sleepy-tired-needwaternow-cranky.

Terrible twos are not just for the toddler, now I know *grin*

BeansTalk: One More Time

Bean absolutely loves the charity train ride at Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur. It is RM5 per person, so the 4 of us donated RM20 every time.

He loves it so much, that he throws a tantrum every time the ride comes to an end. He would be coaxed off the train, carried away by yours truly whilst he screams at the top of his lungs, "one more time!".

So annoyingly cute! 

Goodbye, 2015

It has been a tough year for my little family and I. The highs, the lows. The super-lows.

We were blessed with many little pockets of blessings, but there were also days and nights when we wondered how would we pull through these challenges thrown our way, together. 

Stand united. Remain loving. Agree to disagree. Accept His Will. Growing together.

Allah swt is our constant, our anchor.  Syukur alhamdulillah.

May our 2016 be better in every way. Amin.

~~~

Thank you for following our blog posts here. Have a very blessed start to 2016, my lovelies!


Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Road To Recovery: Reinfected Root Canal Part II

10 December 2015

The second appointment to remove the temporary fillings and have the permanent fillings put in place, at the Endodontist's clinic.

After 4 LA injections, we could not proceed because my jaw muscles ached too much. It was so painful that tears rolled down by themselves. It was not an area where LA can be injected into, alas.

That, was my loser moment. My entire left gums, cheeks and side of tongue felt numb but my jaw muscles still ached. Ouch!

Dr. Jac Lam was fast to identify exactly which muscles ached and shared tips on how I can relax them before my next treatment. He thought I was too tensed and stressed out, which was true!

Simple steps:

1. Warm towel massage, after shower.

2. Go out for coffee with a good friend, without the children and husband (unfortunately for me this was not possible given the long school holiday).

3. Go window-shopping, online shopping or year end sale shopping (How honest!)

4. Rest and relax. Watch a movie, read a book, do something I like. I, being the operative word here. I. 

5. Get myself a new mouthguard for sleeping so I can lessen the muscle fatigue from grinding and clenching.

The very understanding and generous Endodontist did not charge me the "failed" appointment. So I went home that day, with a lot of numbness and a new appointment to see my general dentist. Prayed so hard the reinfection will not recur in the meantime, between appointments.

I tried doing some of the relaxation steps diligently. 
How did the appointment with my general dentist go? Stay tuned!



Friday, 25 December 2015

Blessed Christmas!


Have a good one, my lovelies! 


Thursday, 24 December 2015

Year End Holidays

Salam Maulidur Rasul, my lovelies!

How are your year end holidays going? Seeing some of your awesome photo updates and check-ins have left me with a joyous sense of vicarious holiday. Thank you and please keep those newsfeed filled with so many picturesque shots and videos!

~~~

We had our plans and tickets for Legoland Malaysia booked and paid for since early this year but Allah swt has His Will and better plans for us. Definitely an affirmation of lesson well learnt on "inshaAllah".

We were out for a casual Thai food dinner at Absolute Thai, Level 3 at The Gardens on 12.12.2015, an ordinary Saturday evening. Girl and Bean usually eat fairly well there, and food preparation waiting time is tolerable as they browse at Brickboy, Borders and Art Friend. 

So we sat down for our chow down. One of our dishes, Pandan leaves chicken, was a tad slow at arriving. When it did arrive, it was slightly harder than usual. We did not send it back, since it was a busy night with long queue outside.

Bean drank some of his favourite fresh watermelon juice and I sipped mine. It tasted "unfresh". Like it was pressed then left on the kitchen counter for a wee bit too long before it was served. Bean did not finish his juice and for once, I did not coax him to drink more.

We came home that night, ready for a restful night. The aim was to zip up the packed luggages and call it a night.

What transpired was far from our vision of tucking the kids into bed after shower, supper, story and surah!

Bean threw up. We had him cleaned, changed and the sheets reeked of vomit. Poor boy. He nursed, he threw up. He cried. Repeat. All. Night. Long.

The following day, was our usual Sunday at The House with The Grandparents. This time, both Bean and Girl threw up their home-cooked lunch. They did another round upon return to The Flat and by then, I was so sure our year end getaway just had to be cancelled.

The reservation cut-off time was midnight but by 6pm, we had our cancellation confirmed by Doubletree by Hilton Johor Bahru. The kids were sent to bed, and I unpacked all our bags for supply of clean clothes. It was a sad thing to have to cancel the holiday, but I kept reminding myself that Allah swt has better plans for us all.

The Other Half kindly offered to make us a hot cup of Milo for a much deserved break of endless cleaning and laundry. A few minutes after drinking his, he threw up. Then the shivers and fever started. He continued to throw up a few times during the night.

I had a little discomfort in my stomach but that was all. Can you believe it? I am usually the first one down!

It was an exhausting week, with no holidays to go to. In hindsight, we are so lucky we made that cancellation instead of pushing it through just because Legoland tickets had been paid for. It would have been such a miserable drive to Johor Bahru and back with clean basins and towels on stand by. 

Next time, I am just going to persuade the rest of my little family to learn the last minute travel method and wing it. Shall we?

InshaAllah! 



Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Road To Recovery: Reinfected Root Canal Part III

My appointment with my general dentist on 22 December 2015 was free too.

Why?

We discussed my teeth and jaw structure; how the mouthguard placed at my lower jaw in its near perfect U-row would be more comfortable when I am sleeping.

Versus placing the mouthguard on my top row, which now sports a front left incisor moved out of its normal placing in the last 6 years. The mouthguard will not be in perfect U-shape and as long as my front incisor keeps moving, the mouthguard will be an uncomfortable fit.

Pesky, right? One incisor which has given me horrible photo angle every time the camera clicks. Vain pot. I know! 

That may seem like a minor situation to most people but it has changed my bite and chew. If you look closely, it has altered my resting lips. 

So, we could not proceed to get the new mouthguard for my lower row of teeth. because it is where the root canal work is on-going.

Back to square one.

Free appointment. No charge for chit-chat. Sigh.

The root cause? 

I did not find out until 29 December 2015. 

I had gone to see my Endodontist for a new, might I add - brave, attempt at root canal permanent filling.

This time, my muscles were quite relaxed and we managed the 1 hour procedure without much drama. 

The X-Ray comparison showed no more infection or abcess, good healing overall with improved bone density.

Dr. Jac Lam also told me this: 
My tongue thrust. It has been resting just fractionally forward. pushed my front top row of teeth outward, resulting in an open bite.

It is the culprit to my grinding and clenching at night! *gasp* my lower row of teeth are trying to match the top and so they auto-correct. *gasp* 

The advice?

1. Braces. Top row only.

2. Permanent retainer, behind top row only.

3. Learn to park my tongue properly before sleeping *LOL*

4. Go and hire myself a good orthodontist. 

Free consultation, on this part, alhamdulillah! My appointment for review with Endodontist before crown replacement is in 6 months. 

Saturday, 19 December 2015

The Highs, The Lows

One of my lovely childhood friend's mum is recovering from thyroid carcinoma. Post surgery stage now. It is a long way to battle cancer. Please keep her in your prayers. She needs every support and good vibes for healing and health. Thank you.

Recently, as I was sharing my road to recovery stories, more friends have opened up with their own stories too. It is  like a new chapter of our friendship, from crayons (at 7 years old) to cancer (at 40 years old).

My heart goes out to them, really. So many of us silently fight our own diseases and illnesses. Some have full medical insurance, some don't. Some have taken good care, some have abused and/or neglected their bodies. Some care, some plainly don't. C'est la vie.

My daily high is when I see loved ones feel better and able to be more comfortable in their skin. The "nikmat" of exiting ICU, getting off drips, discharging from ward, going home, taking care of self again.  Presence of love in their homes. Syukur alhamdulillah.

My daily low is experiencing and seeing first hand how life can be so short and painful for some. How quality of life is co-related to access of better medical healthcare, facilities, support system, great products and continued hospice. It is a rude awakening for me because I have pretty much led a sheltered life; and now I see how that co-relation is tied to availability of funds (be it cash or insurance) and charity. 

My wish? My dream? 

It really is not that coveted arm candy or SUV anymore. 

Something has changed inside me and I cannot quite put my finger on it. 

On another note, the year end school reports have been submitted to The Trust. Our intention and objective is to financially aid students from poor families so they have a fighting chance at exiting hard core poor status via education. 

My high is when I see straight As and improved results from those beneficiaries, who now stand a real chance at making it in life. So happy for them. Syukur alhamdulillah.

My low is when I know some probably have not realised how education is the real ticket out of their misery. 

"Teach a man how to fish, and he fishes for life. Give a man a fish, he eats for a day." ~ Lao Tzu.

My prayer is that weak beneficiaries will soon awaken from slumber and continue to put in more effort. Amin.

What is your high and low this year, my lovelies? Please do share!




Thursday, 3 December 2015

In Loving Memory

3 December. 

Thank you for everything, and please forgive me my sins. I have long forgiven and forgotten yours. It did hurt, but it got better and healed over time.

My prayers has always and will always include you, although it is not to be Al-Fatihah or Surah Yassin.

~~~

I have recently come across articles and surah that advise on prohibition of Al-Fatihah and Yassin from being said for deceased non-Muslims. I guess I have been mistaken in offering Al-Fatihah to my deceased non-Muslim parents all along. Live and learn. It hurts a bit that I am not to say the Al-Fatihah and Yassin for them because those are powerful prayers.

Girl has also learnt about her maternal ancestors of Thai and Chinese origins and wants to learn her limitations. What we can do is to offer supplications and although we know not exactly what to pray for, our intentions are for their departed souls to be blessed by Allah swt because None Other Than Allah swt can bless such souls.

*loss for words*

If you know the right supplication to pray for in my case, please do share. Thank you. 

Monday, 30 November 2015

Road To Recovery: Reinfected Root Canal Part I

(Recount of 28 November 2015)

The much-awaited appointment to see Dr. Jac Lam finally arrived. There was a countdown - yes, it was that bad!

His consult was precise and fast, which I like. I described my pain and he agreed that the old root canal was worth taking a look at, both physical check and X-Ray.

He was right. All that pain and agony were from referred pain. The top two second molars were fine. The hind bottom second molar also looked fine.

The culprit showed up on X-Ray.

An old root canal of mine, first of my second molar on the left side of my mouth (if you are dentist and are reading this, please tell me the code number, teehee) had a hairline crack to its crown.

Many people think their root canal site is dead and done for, and that crown will last forever. Well, now I know it is not entirely true. Dr. Jac Lam has seen enough patients with similar case to know that reinfection of root canal is probable (largely caused by cracked crown) - and his profession is to fix them!

Never underestimate anything tiny. That microscopic crack had unfortunately allowed some bacteria in. 

Some bacteria is more than enough to wreck havoc to me existence and happiness, obviously! It was so painful I thought I had terminal gum cancer (note to self: do not read too many health and medicine articles online when sick).

The pain, referred pain and fever that rendered me helpless was soon put to a stop. 

Dr. Jac Lam quickly explained the treatment plan and I was "fine" after 3 injections of LA, an "oil rig platform", drilling, upstream of abscess, cleaning, redo of root canal and just about RM1200.00 poorer after an hour.

He was marvelous enough to explain that healing crisis will also cause some pain and discomfort in diminishing rate. I am sorry to testify that after the LA wore off, the pain was like 8.5/10!

My next appointment for permanent filling of root canal will be in about 2 weeks. I know I am looking forward to healing this completely.

If you have ever had a reinfection of root canal with abscess, I know you understand the pain too well. The promise of Allah swt that with hardship comes ease has helped me through this ordeal. 

Take good care, my lovelies. I am on my road to recovery, so wish me luck and thank you for keeping me in your prayers

Friday, 27 November 2015



Salam, my lovelies!


In the last few days, I have learnt an important lesson about never taking the blessings of Allah for granted. You know the saying, "health is wealth"? 


On Monday, Girl came home with a pair of swollen eyes, cheeks and sported insect bite marks all over her back, arms and face. She was taken in to ER at PCMC and referred to Dr. Anthony James Mansul, her usual paed, on Tuesday morning.


Dr. Anthony James Mansul prescribed her with an antihistamine and cream for itch control. Instead of issuing a Medical Certificate for missing school that day, he positively wrote a fit to return to school note so she could return without further questions. She took the antihistamine syrup like a champ using a syringe, but we never used the cream because it contains a low percentage of steroid.


Girl had missed a day of school that Tuesday. The load of homework just for one day is proof of how much she learns is a day at school, a topic worthy of its own post. 


I am suffering as I type this because my gums have acted up, and 4 of my molars  on my left side are all hurting and throbbing from referred pain. Neck, left ear and entire left side of my head all pulsing and pounding. Sometimes, tears just roll down by reflex. 


Yesterday evening, The Other Half had sent me to ER at PCMC to get some pain relief/pain management/pain intervention until I see my Endodontist, Dr. Jac Lam, tomorrow. How bad was the pain to warrant a trip to ER? It was 9.5/10. If there were an epidural for teeth/gum/head/neck/ear pain, I would have signed the consent form. It was THAT bad.


The bad news is none of the painkillers are working. Celebrex, ibuprofen, Panadol all have failed me. The Diflam Throat Anti-Inflammation spray works for short relief, which is great. The pain level went down to 8/10. Who would have thought of that? Thank you, Dr. Sharmini. 


I haven't been able to chew, or swallow solid food. So, luckily for me, I love juices. La Juiceria to the stop-gap nourishment rescue at least for today. I absolutely do not need to lose any more weight! Flab control with exercise, yes. Detox, yes. Some nourishment in absence of food, YES!


I have many hours to go before the appointment tomorrow. 

The countdown till I see Dr. Jac Lam has started. I have a fever 37.4C and the pain level is at 9.5/10 again. I suspect there is something seriously wrong with my root canal from many years ago. The gums around it is very swollen and painful. Pray all will work out well, Amin!


Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Bean'sTalk: I Was Thinking About It

One morning whilst I was rushing to get Girl out the door in time for The Big School, Bean cried for my attention at the breakfast table.

The Other Half sensed he had to offer something highly entertaining and engaging so as to free me from the koala grip of this very strong-willed chap.

The Other Half: Bean, would you like breakfast and the iPad? You can watch Cars 2 if you like.

Bean: I was thinking about it.

I was gasping from disbelief and stopped to count the number of words he said in that phrase he uttered. The Other Half was so proud too. Even Girl was taken aback.

"5! Wow, Bean! You speak English now!"

I drove Girl to The Big School that day, just almost late, but did I grin from ear to ear?

Syukur alhamdulillah for such a great start! May Allah swt send my son His endless blessings. Amin.


Bean'sTalk: Must Say Please

Ms. T related to me how she had caught Bean picking up cornflakes from the basin containing food waste at The Playschool last week.

She had caught him just in time, before he did eat anything! Promptly, she gently pulled this young chap aside to have a word with him. 

Ms. T: If you are still hungry, you must ask one of the teachers to give you more food or drink, ok?

Bean: Must say please! 

Ms. T: Yes, must say "please". Good boy.

Bean: More cornflakes, please!

Ms. T: Yes. Good boy.

Bean then continued eating until he was full and finished his portion of water.




Saturday, 21 November 2015

Snippets: Ambition

During Maal Hijrah, Girl had to go to The Big School to participate in World Education Games (World Mathematics, Science and Literacy Day). While waiting for her to complete her turn, Mrs. L and I had a chat in the classroom.

Mrs. L teaches Girl History subject at The Big School and in one of their class discussion about life phases and timelines, each of the 16 students were asked about their respective ambitions.

Some said run-of-the-mill "lawyer", "doctor" and/or "engineer" whilst others mentioned whatever profession their parents are honing them for, in preparation of inheriting their respective business empires. "CEO", "CFO" and "COO" were also rolling off the tongues of these young guns!

When it came to Girl's turn, she said one word which rendered Mrs. L speechless, because it is her first time hearing such an earnest ambition never before heard at such a competitive school. 

Girl had said, "Mother". 

Mrs. L asked if Girl wanted to change her answer, and Girl was resolute in keeping her answer.

Mrs. L then complimented her on her original idea and explained that being a mother is tough work. One has to be very talented, strong (body, mind and soul) and loving at the same time. The payment is in kind and the benefits are also in kind. A mother has to be a leader, chef, teacher, nurse, friend, driver, singer, actress, painter, tailor etc. and the students had a lot of fun discovering the many hats a mother wears!

It is heart-warming to know that Mrs. L did not shoot down Girl's ambition. I am so thankful she believes in nurturing young minds and not just plainly forcing them into pigeon holes created by society at large.

Thank you, Mrs. L. May Girl grow up to be a great mother, and more! Amin.
Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Buzz Buzz Busy Bees

So much has happened since my last post and now when I try to post a summary, this comes out...please pardon my strangely unworthy and borderline ungrateful sounding bullet points:

• Packed weekends (it was and will always be awesome!)

• Topical Tests preparations for Girl (which tests my patience, until this week is over)

• Charity Bazaar at The Playschool (which we hope will be fun with a good cause like always)

• Holiday Programme decision to be made (Girl is unsure about spending RM600 for a 5-days programme versus spending it on whatever other activities  she likes, such as Petrosains and Kidzania with her good friend, Stonor Mummy's D)

• Thunderstorms and flash floods at home time with Girl (I need a Range Rover, although a motorboat may be a clever gift too)

• Jalan Tun Razak traffic dispersal system (which results in more congestion for me to sit on)

• ASEAN summit and related summits (which will result in even more road closures and diversions for me to experience)

• Sewing with Brother machine (I hope to learn a new skill every year so this is my 2016 bucket list item, inshaAllah. Paid for the basic beginners class, one stitch at a time, ok?)

• Resume cooking dinner at home (I declared the kitchen shut for dinner for a week during Deepavali, just because I was uninspired and tired)

• Baking (been itching to put together a no-bake strawberry cheesecake, have all necessary ingredients but no discipline to set aside 40 minutes of uninterrupted time to do so. I have unfollowed Tip Hero because the recipes all use too much sugar for my health)

• Juicing (I have been cheating on my juicer by going to juice bars, to save time)

• Running (my knees! I scare myself into thinking that I may have symptoms of osteoporosis, so I load up on my broccoli/celery green juice)

• Marie-France (too expensive at 12k that was quoted to me. Zumba classes are way more reasonable)

• Weaning Bean off the breasts (he wisely detests bottles and formula of any kind and I am hunting for straw cups featuring his favourite Disney characters to entice him to some UHT milk. He is 2 years and 5 months so, tick tock tick tock I have a few more months to work something out for us both, hopefully not traumatic or emotionally detrimental)

• Bean's own room + the new home office cum study + the new laundry room (if you know of a reliable and decently OCD interior designer, please drop me an email/comment. I am having "IKEA hackertitis" and "Pinterest fatigue syndrome". Thank you!)

• LaundryMonster (syukur alhamdulillah we have enough clothes to get by!)

• December get-away, birthdays and visits from overseas relatives (December is coming so soon?!)

Phew! That's a whole load off my chest.
Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Snippets: Single Ingle

Girl has been trying to rhyme, increasingly more frequent now.

Sometimes, she rearranges music scores of tunes she has already learnt at Yamaha JMC and tries to fit in her own lyrics/prose. Quite often, she changes the pace (every adagio becomes staccato) or worse, the loudness (piano becomes forte with a grand crescendo).

As her mum, I can only encourage her growth (confidence!) and secretly tell myself not to dream of her becoming the next Taylor Swift just yet. Join the performing arts company at The Bog School, maybe. Baby steps.

Coming back to rhymes, "Easy peasy lemon squeezey" is the most common mantra I get from her, whenever she is asked if she can manage some simple tasks on her own, like cleaning up her toys after playtime. She had learnt the phrase from one of the cleverest girls in her reception class, C.

Well, sometimes she says something original. "Single ingle" - I admit this took me by surprise because it does not make grammatical sense, just phonetically pleasant (to us).

I would give her 5/5 for being creative and original, and hope she keeps the spirit of learning up!

Snippets: Omega

"Mummy, we have been so busy at school. So much so that T2 and I have no time to play Omega. We just high-5 or smile at each other during break time."

Omega is a rhyming/clapping game the girls play at The Big School, passed down by T1 to T2, and now a few of them can play that game quite smoothly.

Do you remember "Assalamualaikum" and "Set Set Set Bom Bom Bom" games?

Omega is a notch up in complexity as the topics can be random, from names of capital cities to names of characters in My Little Ponies. The winner chooses the new topic, so I have been told by Mamapumpkin.

Perhaps T2 can teach Drama Queen's H so that they can all clap Omega while the mums sip juice and catch up?

Zoo Negara Malaysia






We spent our Deepavali this year with The Grandparents, at our national zoo. It was a bright and early start at 9 am; and it was just as well that we did.

The male panda was fast asleep when we were there. We hope to visit again when the female and cub pandas are out of confinement. InshaAllah

The little ones enjoyed the walk, ice-cream treats and tram ride on a gorgeously sunny and hot day on 10 November 2015. Actually, I was also prepared with extra set of clothes for the little ones which proved to be a smart move because Girl spilled Milo at the entrance. A Ziplock bag kept all our rubbish in during our walk until the next bin came to sight (we realized they were painted in camouflage and they were so well hidden!). Fold-up brollies shaded the young and old alike from the scorching sun.


This zoo visit ended with a heavy downpour. Fortunately, I was prepared with the fold-up brollies in my supplies' bag. During our previous visit, we were blessed with the same downpour just at noon; and it had also drizzled at the end of our day out at The London Zoo. What a coincidence!

Our family day ended with a quick lunch at Great Eastern Mall before we headed for home, exhausted but happy. Syukur alhamdulillah.




Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Spelling

Girl has trouble spelling the word "friends".

My solution? 

Find a way for her to memorise and connect easily. Using the traditional:
1. say
2. spell
3. say
steps work too but sometimes, a little extra effort goes a long way. Learning is not just a process, it is an experience akin to a journey (says me, the tutor with low patience threshold, ha!).

This Google image hopefully will help:


"Not Lego, dear. Friends. F R I E N D S. friends."

"Not Chandler Bing and Jennifer Aniston Friends, that was my era. This. Is yours."

All the best, Girl!

Out In The Yard







Lovely Sunday it was, our own grand welcome to November just by being able to potter around outside. Could not have asked for more. Syukur alhamdulillah.





Saturday, 31 October 2015

Outdoors



Syukur alhamdulillah. Thank you for your kind prayers.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Bean'sTalk: Little Rhino Says No!

Bean is now 2 years and 4 months young. One of his favourite hallmark words to say is "no".

Anecdotes:
Mummy: Please come with me. Let's shower you.
Bean: No!



Mummy: Please come with me. Let's change your diaper. 
Bean: No!



Being cheeky parents, we turn the table sometimes, just to see his priceless reaction.

Anecdotes:

At supper time:
Bean: Peace give me chocky I scream. (read as "Please give me chocolate ice-cream.")
Mummy: No.
Bean: Say yes, Mummy! Say yes!
Mummy: No.
*Bean cries*

As we were leaving home for a busy day out:
Bean: Peace play Teh-Row (Bean was referring to Toy Stories Terror DVD)
Mummy: No.
Bean: Say yes, Mummy! Say yes!
Mummy: No.
*Bean cries*

Mind you, he cries to get things in his favor or his way, not because we let him or enjoy seeing him cry. It is a mock cry, with no tears, mouth wide open for me to count his 20 pearlies. Mock cry to the tune of the baby crying in "Wheels of the bus" ever looping melodious song.



Such a little drama king. 
Friday, 23 October 2015

Budget Friday

Have a blessed Friday, my lovelies! Will you be following the updates on Budget 2016?

I first tuned in to Budget Friday in 1992 but that does not count because it was not until 1998 that I truly understood its impact on my prospect and career.

1998. It was the year I graduated with my first degree and felt grown up enough to follow what the then Finance Minister and EPU had planned for financial crisis recovery and onward prosperity towards Vision 2020.

Now, Budget 2016 is about to be announced and the optimism I used to have in me has dwindled. I love Malaysia but it is beginning to feel like unrequited love.

Let's give it the benefit of the doubt and tune in after zuhur prayers. This will be the first time The Other Half is genuinely interested in what is in store for us all.

Bismillah hirrahmah nirrahim. Please let it be a good Budget 2016.
Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The Incidental Homeschoolers

How are you, my lovelies?

Please pardon my rant of frustration here over the polluted environment blanketing over Malaysia at the moment. I am sorry my sentences start to rhyme, I have been coaching lessons for 5 and 2 year olds for about a week now. Occupation hazard.

The haze has turned our little family into, amongst others, incidental homeschoolers, as both kids are kept indoors. Their worksheets and lessons have been pouring in over the week and it would seem to head for gusto/presto speed now onwards.

Yes, I am now also an official "teacher".

It has been...exhausting. Both of the little ones are happy to have their parents 24/7 but they occasionally go bonkers from being kept indoors for too long. Gosh, even The Other Half and I are getting anxious and claustrophobic from being sealed in.

Further updates as of 22 October 2015:

On top of that, my patience is wearing thin trying to sit Girl down to complete her work when Bean is having his own party playing with toys or watching DVD. This may be premature to conclude, but I can safely assume that I do not make a very suitable candidate as a homeschool teacher. If it weren't for a kind mother of Girl's classmate making the homework checklist today, we would have missed out a few worksheets.

Thankfully, school resumes tomorrow. Alas, not all our worksheets have been perfected. Good news is, Girl is getting her first MacBook Pro because I simply cannot afford to have her hogging my work horse! Double trouble for me as I am back to bento duty too, and Bean decides to stay up late.

I am going to end this vent with a prayer for myself, my family and everyone in general.

May Allah swt deliver us from this misery of haze. Thank You for this opportunity to turn to You for everything. For everything that is going wrong, we acknowledge Your innumerable blessings upon us. Please forgive us our wrongs and sins. May your Hidayah be upon those with the power and authority to do the right thing.

Amin.


Sunday, 18 October 2015

Sunday Blues Redefined

We dread Sunday evenings that come with announcement of school closure due to haze. 

No,  it is not the stop-go pace with the syllabus and activities. 
Many students have their important exams right around the corner and could really use the extra revision time at home.

No, it is not the inconvenience of having to postpone my appointments and meetings. 
Thousands of other working mums (like myself) have it worse than I do (because I have the freedom and flexibility to plan around raising my family duty first before my job) and I feel for them (so tough!).

No, it is not the hassle of finding suitable indoor activities for 5+ and 2+ year olds. Nearly every single week, we bake and cook using simple recipes from Tip Hero and Just One Cookbook you would think our full-time job is to verify those recipes! Our other full time job is to play, read, sing and craft. Everything except the great outdoors for swimming, playground and just run.

It is this: 
The irresponsible act of destructing the environment solely for profits.

In the end, environmental, social, economic, political cost do not justify meagre profits, does it? 

Are the stakeholders really proud of their achievements and dividend? 

How do they sleep easy? 
Thursday, 15 October 2015

Snippets: Shahadah

The most beautiful recitation before Girl goes to sleep now includes the Shahadah. 

The first and most important pillars in Islam, and we have been discussing it at her level so she can understand and appreciate its meaning.

"AshaduAllah Ilaha illAllah, wa ashadu anna Muhammadar rasullulah."

There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His Messager.

She is coming to terms with monotheism concept and is curious as to the character of our beloved Prophet Muhammad saw, as well as Angels and other known Prophets.

SubhanAllah I have to refresh my knowledge and present them in an engaging manner without getting her too excited at bedtime. Some of the books we have in storage will make their way to her as soon as her bedroom lights are fixed, inshaAllah. May Allah swt increase me in every way so that I can raise her (and Bean) well. Amin.

Syukur alhamdulillah. May her (and Bean's) path remain straight and guided by His Mercy. Amin.
Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Easy Peasy Recipe: Chocolate Fudge


1 cup condensed milk: 3 cups chocolate chips. 

Microwave for 2 minutes on high.

Mix until well combined.

Chill for 2-3 hours.

Slice to preferred size.


Syukur alhamdulillah, this batch was shared with our neighbour and Kia Peng Mummy. Both women are running their respective households full time, with husband(s) travelling 90% of the time. The haze has kept them indoors with their active offsprings with nowhere to burn all that energy. Certainly took a toll on the health, sanity and happiness of these 2 wonderful ladies.

If a few slices of chocolate fudge can put a smile on their faces, I would present them with this little treat again, in a heartbeat.

(This is our mini chocolate fudge in tin foil sprinkled with sugar rice, better portion control.)


May Allah swt send them His blessings to see them through this tough period and bring ease into their lives. Amin

Bean'sTalk: Peace & Ta

"Peace give Bean Chocky I scream."
Bean was politely requesting for ice-cream. For breakfast. With chocolate sprinkles. 

That sounds like an extortion to you? No, it was not. It is just Bean trying to convey his wish.

Upon seeing a bowlful of this super delicious treat, he smiled sweetly. Almost a cheeky grin.

"Ta."
Thanks, he meant.

Then he dug right in, finished every single bit.

Oh, toddlerhood is such fun.


Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Snippets: Secret Message

"Mummy, I feel like crying!", followed by an early morning sob at breakfast table on Monday.

It was not Monday blues.

It was that touching?

To cheer Girl up again, and be ready for school run after breakfast, some emergency chocolate sprinkles came to the rescue.

Et voilà!


Problem solved! 

*teehee*

Stonor Mummy cautioned me for an emotional roller coaster in the tween years to come! She is right. I had better be ready when it comes.



Bean'sTalk: Oraight, Sow Wee, No!

Bean has yet to say "alright" eloquently but he has his Manglish version picked up from The Playschool.

It is quite fun to relive this phase (Girl had her star'H' phase) and I love conversing with him just to hear his cute voice.

Anecdotes:
Please put the toy cars back into its box.
Oraight.

Please wash your hands.
Oraight.

Please brush your teeth.
Oraight.

Please say "sorry". (After he has committed toddler crime of snatching objects of affection from others).
Oraight. Saw wee.

Please go to sleep.
No!

Bean deserves a bear hug and tickle in his tum just for being himself! 
Monday, 12 October 2015

Snippets: Bento Amateur

"Mummy, I never bother looking at school food menu anymore." 

She said that to seal the deal. I now have a new career that calls for assembling breakfast and lunch into kawaii bento after subuh

Unfortunately for her, she forgot her lunch bag (transition from classroom-gym-lunch-vocal studio-home) but she ate most of it on her way home. She was lucky to enjoy the delicious, improved school lunch earlier too!

Here are some of the lessons I have learnt:

1. Whatever items I can prepare the night before, I would. 
This saves me precious time in the morning to have fruits and vegetables all ready in containers and ready to be placed into the lunch bag.

2. If I can load the dishwasher before sending Girl to school, I would. 
Coming home to a clean and empty sink with washed dishes ready to be put away feels productive, and sets me in a good mood for the rest of the day.

3. If I can make a larger portion of her breakfast and lunch so The Other Half and I can have it for our lunch, I would.
Saves effort and time (expenses too!).

4. If I can find and purchase some perfectly matching food containers, I would.
They pack so neatly and do not move much when being carried, resulting in tidy food that is pretty to eat. Presentation is key. 

5. If I can get away with a cold meal, I would.
It is much easier to pack a cold sandwich with fruits and vegetables into a lunch bag with ice-pack than mixing it with a thermos of hot food. Food safety issues is a high priority.

Well, it is akin to preparing sahur meals, I started to console myself. After the trial run last week, I seek for sincerity within my heart and find that it is what motivates me.





Bon appetit, my love. May every bite deliver you His Baraqah. Amin!

P/S: The Other Half recalls all the bento boxes I used to pack for him during our dating days. Egg mayo sandwiches wrapped with hidden love notes and sometimes tied up with big red bow as if it were Valentine's or Christmas. Sweet memories indeed.
Friday, 9 October 2015

Snippets: Bento Trial Week Finalé

"I feel full in my tummy, Mummy!"

So glad she did not feel any hunger during schooling hours. Her diet is now better/more balanced and the best part is her mood has improved too. 

The amount of food she consumes after school during car ride home is reducing, a good indicator!

Today, I managed to snoop on her during her breakfast, and seeing how proud she was of carrying her lunch bag, cutlery case and water bottle just made my heart swell inside. She washed her hands, sat down and tucked right in. Her discretion to decide which is for breakfast and which is lunch to be eaten later is perfect. No notes, no reminders required although I will throw in a love note here and there for surprise sake.

Syukur alhamdulillah.

I guess I am going to purchase a few more food containers and cooler bags since this is for real. A new career, for me. Almost.

Stonor Mummy and I were just saying we had not imagined in our wildest dreams when we were growing up to be here at the brink of 40, bento-ing for our little ones. At 6 am!!

Life does have a trick or two up its sleeve *wink*
Thursday, 8 October 2015

Snippets: Bento Novice

Day 2 is not too bad since the kitchen efficiency at 6 am had more or less been figured out.

Now let's wait for her verdict for seaweed egg rolls, shell pasta, steamed vegetables and fruits.





"Mummy! I love it, except the seaweed egg rolls."

Verdict: Maintain the fruits and vegetables, pasta is a winner. Ditch the seaweed egg rolls.

Wish me luck for Day 3. I am almost giving up from the fatigue!


Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Snippets: Bento Virgin

"Mummy! I ate all my breakfast and lunch from my bento box! It was so delicious!"

3 containers were polished clean and she did not share her food this time. Good job!

I should be so grateful. But. But. But.
May I sigh? 

I do not like creating the kawaii ones at 6am! It would be so nice if I have someone else to delegate this arduous task to. Wishful thinking, I know.

At 6 am, my creative self is still asleep!!


There were 2 teddy bear-shaped cheese sandwiches at the back, and even they were still lying down fast asleep.

There was another container with cute carrots, baby corn and broccoli but I was running late, gulped my coffee down just as Bean was waking up crying and looking for me. Then a quick feed and I rushed out the door to send Girl to The Big School. The Other Half sent Bean to his Playschool. That explains the absence of photograph of the second container.

The third container stored a dozen almond nuts. Also not photographed. 

Wish me bento luck for Day 2.

*yawn*

Can you believe I have to jot all these down so that I can start the rotating bento menu?

*pengsan*


Saturday, 3 October 2015

Snippets: Bento Box

Girl put up with "bad" school catering since January 2015. We had asked her to try new tastes (spicy) and textures (oily) but she often just ate plain rice, fruits and not much else. On days when the food is not that spicy, she eats more.

Every car ride on her way home from school will be filled with her witty remarks about her day. Coupled with soft smacking of lips and chewing sounds as she devours her "second lunch" usually consisting of cucumber maki, cut fruits, assorted nuts, sandwiches and a drink. By and by, this 2.10 pm mini meal replaced her school lunch, I suspect.

Last Thursday, she politely requested for bento box with breakfast and lunch from home to be brought to school next week onwards. I guess the rigours of Year 1 demands more food and drinks of her, as 3/5 days of the school week has a sport element to the timetable.

I have seen many kawai bento boxes but never had to create one. Necessity calls for resourcefulness/desperation. Luckily for me, many mothers have posted their experience and skills online for me to emulate.

Lunch boxes, checked!

Accessories, checked! 


Food preparation and packing skills, errrrr. Let's work on this as we go along, OK? Be prepared to witness "failed" bento boxes in weeks to come. I dare not imagine the 6 am disasters I am capable of, just yet.

Rehearsal/food tasting:


Stay tuned, my lovelies! Wish me luck, I will be needing lots of it.


Snippets: Pancake

"Mummy, I remember the kitty cat pancake you made for me when I was a little girl."

She was referring to this:

Check out the time and date stamp!

3 plus years ago back when it was just the 2 of us at home and The Other Half was working from his office...we spent so many hours perfecting our pancakes for teatime. We finally settled on the simplest  recipe of 1 cup flour/1 cup milk/1 egg/1 pinch of salt/1 tsp vanilla extract. Mix well and 1/2 ladleful onto non-stick frying pan.  Flip over when bubbles appear. It is so easy Girl can almost do this under supervision nowadays.

Since I had donated all our Teflon non-stick frying pans and cookware away, I had to purchase a new Green Pan 10" non-stick frying pan (just for this project of love and devotion). Thank goodness for the Isetan sale!

I worked on granting her wish while she was completing her homework on Friday. Lo and behold! Was she was thrilled beyond words or was that a joyful gasp when she saw her kitty cat pancake.


An "upset" cat for her. Side note: Her favourite character from Inside Out is Sadness, because once you have felt sadness you can better appreciate joy. 


And an almost-Gruffalo for Bean. We will use dried apricots for orange eyes next time, inshaAllah.

They both polished their plates clean. 

Syukur alhamdulillah!