Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Rizq's Marvel Avengers Birthday!

Rizq - Aiden's best friend (well one of his best friends, cos he seems to be proclaiming every male school friend as his best friend!), turned 6 last weekend. Maid-less or not, this was one birthday party we simply could not miss!

Marvel Avengers seems to be a hot theme for boys this year. I was more than happy to recycle Aiden's Iron Man costume for the party. Have you noticed how hard it is to get decent character costumes for kids, in Malaysia?

Love the party decorations!

Rizq's mummy sure went all out with the party decorations. Rizq had life sized figurines, a huge backdrop, balloon sculptures, giant posters, helium balloons, personalized placemats and a very cute mini dining area just for the kids. And the lucky boy has a very sporting family too - almost all of his family members, young and old, came dressed in costumes!

See what I mean? We had Iron Man, Captain America, Wonder Woman and Hulk! Check out Aiden showing his palm, Iron Man style!
Oh, Spider-man too! And two absolutely adorable mini Iron Man!

It was a good thing that we were somewhat punctual that day, because as soon as we arrived, it was time to cut the cake! I guess with a huge play area (JKids) by the side, it was imperative that the cake gets cut and the kids get fed before they run off and play (leaving the parents with the aftermath cum gossip session).

They even had Ultron on the cake!

Aiden and the birthday boy.

Funky looking cookies - Hulk with a sulky face and Captain America's shield.

Ian is on a pasta/udon phase nowadays.

Right after cake cutting and shoving two, probably three mouthfuls down - as expected, Aiden immediately requested to play with his friends. I gladly left him to do his own thing. Six year olds are so independent, aren't they?

Thankfully, I have one more cheeky monkey to keep me company. Ian was overjoyed at seeing the sea of balls in the ball play area. He insisted on climbing up the structures, and I had to follow lah of course. (Lepas tuh dok takut sorang sorang, boleh ke the structure hold my weight? What if it breaks and everything falls apart? Alamak there is a rope bridge ahead. Is it made for adults?? Stress!!)

There was also a 'sand' pit play area. Instead of filling it with sand, it was filled with something that looked like beans... or something. By the time they finished playing, their socks, shoes and pant pockets were filled with these beans.. and the boys even brought that mess home! *uurrgghh*

Probably the only decent shot I got of Ian that day.

Won't bother looking at the camera too!

While the kiddos played, we mummies kept ourselves occupied by taking selfies.

Group shot without the host.

The Real Kids mummies, albeit missing two.

After we left, the party must have left quite an impact on Aiden because he immediately said, "That was a cool party! Can I have my birthday party there too?" *chuckles*

Thanks for having us, Rizq. Happy 6th birthday!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Chronicles of a Maid-less Mum

*This post was written my first week maid-less - which was about two weeks ago. Sorry, can't even find the time to click the publish button nowadays!!

And so I survived my first week. Barely survived I must say though. Soooo freaking tired! By the time I heave my body onto the bed, usually I can no longer feel my feet. Not only that, I landed myself a bad sore throat, flu and fever by the end of the week. Must be the shock from all the drama and additional workload throughout the week. Let me elaborate:

Day 1: Saturday
Slept at 130am, woke up at 330am. Drove my maid to KLIA2 and saw her to the gate at 530am. My maid playfully tried to bring Ian with her and surprisingly, he gleefully waved bye at us! *cheeky* Drove back home and caught up with our sleep only to have to wake up at 9am for brunch with the Real Kids mummies. After that we headed to BMW for a short car check up and car wash, then to a fireman birthday party at Jelatek. It was a great birthday party; kids had a blast going on the fire truck and Aiden even tried sliding down the fireman pole. Must remember to upload pictures. Needless to say, by the time we got home we were beyond pooped!

Bomba cilik was what they called the boys that day!

Day 2: Sunday
Woke up early for Ian's weekly morning class at Beebop Circus. After that, rushed for our dentist appointment at noon. Aiden refused to sit on the dentist chair, but the dentist was so accommodating that she agreed to check his teeth while he stood beside her. Hubby and I had our periodic scaling done and after that we headed to the new PappaRich in BJ for a banana split! Clean sparkly teeth and ice-cream. Hmm... I'm sure our dentist wouldn't quite approve! Stayed home in the afternoon and got ourselves mentally prepared for our first working day without a maid.

Pearly smiles, with a missing tooth!

Day 3: Monday
Pre-planned to work from home to try and get myself used to the whole getting kids to school routine. Aiden refused to wake up! He missed his school van. Showered Aiden quickly, prepared breakfast, woke Ian up and placed him in the car seat to send Aiden to school. Just before we drove out, hubby called to say that there was a chemical spill on the highway causing a massive traffic jam. Carried Ian back inside and told Aiden to skip school! (Such a bad mummy!!) Attempted to tackle the mountain of laundry that somehow magically appeared as soon as the maid left. Hung the freshly laundered clothes outside. For lunch, brought both kids to BJ for nasi campur but Aiden specifically wanted nasi goreng pattaya which unfortunately wasn't available anywhere! Pujuk punya pujuk finally he settled for kuey teow goreng at PappaRich (his favourite place to eat nowadays). That night, packed Ian's bag for his first day at day care!

Day 4: Tuesday
Super important meeting at the Pullman Hotel for me, with a spillover to the next day (Hari Malaysia) so we made plans to sleepover at the hotel. That morning, Hubby took over and sent the kids to day care. We made the executive decision to excuse Aiden from school so that he could keep an eye on his little brother for his first day at day care (we later found out school was closed due to haze anyway). I was extremely relieved when Hubby reported that Ian walked in excitedly to day care. Unfortunately that was short lived when at 10am, the day care called saying Ian was crying at the top of his lungs, struggling to open the door (I could actually hear him in the background). Even Aiden couldn't calm Ian down. After an agonizing hour (for me and him!) they texted to say that he had fallen asleep. Finally I could concentrate again in my meeting. Barely half hour after that, he woke up and cried again! In the end I called a neighbour who went over to pick him up. She said, the minute Ian saw her, he immediately walked out and wore his shoes. His eyes were swollen, I guess he had been crying for ages. Kesian sangat. *sigh* So Aiden and Ian both stayed with her until Hubby picked them up in the evening and drove to the hotel. I felt so sad when I saw Ian that night. He must have felt so abandoned that he barely ate anything earlier. We had a great buffet dinner at the hotel, with a chocolate fountain and ice cream cones encrusted with chocolate sprinkles. He was so happy to see me and apparently quite famished that he ate with so much gusto, my heart broke into a million pieces. Seriously, I actually contemplated sending my resignation letter that night!

Our beautiful room (and bathtub!) at Pullman Bangsar.

Remnants of a puffy eyes, from (what must have been) a lot of crying.

Day 5: Wednesday
Great buffet breakfast at the hotel then we spent the morning at the pool. Thanks to the Friso floats, Ian had a great time, confidently walking into one pool to the other. Stuffed from breakfast, we decided to skip lunch until we got a text saying that lunch was included! Lunch was a grand affair too, and the kids revisited the chocolate fountain and ice-cream parlour. Left for home and my in laws visited that evening. Ended the night with a long discussion with Hubby about what we were going to do with the kids for the remainder two weeks. I just couldn't bear the thought of leaving Ian crying at daycare again!

Love the Friso Gold floats. I've collected at least 4 so far!

Day 6: Thursday
Dropped Ian off at a neighbour (same neighbour as Tuesday) who had graciously offered to babysit Ian again. I was quite nervous about leaving Ian, especially without Aiden. But surprisingly Ian said "Hi" to her and whimpered a bit when I said bye, but did not cry at all! Apparently he watched TV for a bit, had a bottle of milk then fell asleep well until 11am. Meanwhile I dropped Aiden at school, got stuck in a massive traffic jam and had meetings up until after lunch. Drove home, picked the boys up and continued working from home. Thank god for flexi hours, great telecon network and accommodating bosses!

Day 7: Friday
Decided to work from home the entire day. And since I had a telecon at 9am, I didn't want to disrupt Ian's sleep by sending Aiden to school, so it meant getting Aiden up early to catch the school van. Getting him showered and dressed that morning was a disastrous affair, with raised voices plus tears. The van arrived earlier than usual! While hubby helped him with his socks and shoes, I quickly slapped some kaya on a piece of bread and handed it to Aiden for breakfast. It was a pitiful sight, one hand holding the bread and the other clutching his spelling list for the day, wiping tears with the back of his hand. It was so heartbreaking, I felt like my heart broke into a million pieces again. *sigh* By the time I was done with my telecon, it was nearly lunch. Quickly showered Ian (discovered he had flu!) and hung the laundry. Popped another load in the washing machine. During the long lunch break, Ian and I drove to Titiwangsa to teman my aunt for her doctor's check up. After that I drove home, picked Aiden up from day care and continued working from home (including jemur kainlipat kain, kemas rumah, preparing meals, watering the plants and such). Thank god it's Friday! Ended the day with dinner with my siblings as my brother was flying back to US the next day.

Have a safe journey, Abang!

Day 8: Saturday
Stayed at home the whole day to supervise the daily maid. Started to feel feverish and flu-ish. Seafood dinner with the SPK girls. Discovered that we lost our stroller! Both kids were extremely cranky that night, Ian especially with his blocked nose and all. I barely slept a wink.

Day 9: Sunday
Woke up with a fever. Dragged myself to Ian's class but told Hubby to take charge of Ian (while I visited the Mattel warehouse sale downstairs hahaha sempat lagi tuh)! After brunch, we headed to the clinic then found our stroller in PappaRich (of all places). Went home and I qada' tido while the boys (Hubby included) played 'War' using their new toys from the sale. Managed to get two hours of good uninterrupted sleep, bless those boys! Woke up and packed our things for an overnight at my in laws. Cos guess what... It's the school holidays so my in laws are going to take care of the boys during the week!

Aiden all decked in his Boom Co. warzone gear.

So that was how my maid-less week went. Lots of tears, heartache and some regrets. But I learned a lot. Without a work environment that is so understanding and flexible, where work life balance is appreciated, I would have resigned in a heart beat (and probably regretted it later)! Family will always come first.

Wish me luck with my second week. Selamat Eid Adha everyone!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Of Being Maid-less with Nutella Pods

Hello peeps!

I haven't had the time to blog about anything this week. But I simply couldn't resist this short and sweet (pun intended) post.

I swear, these little pots of sweet goodness have been keeping me sane this entire week. Not sure whether I'll be too happy going on the weighing scale anytime soon, as I seem to have gone through one and a half trays of these babies.

Ordered them from a dear neighbour, for Eid Adha. Unfortunately for my guests, I kept finishing them off before they could actually make it to the serving table! 

Chocolate chip dough baked into cups, filled with Nutella and topped with chopped dark chocolate.

See, even the cups are made with chocolate chips!

Due to the ingredients used to make these Nutella Pods, they are quite pricey. RM25 for 16 pieces. Must learn how to make this pronto, before I become pokai broke from purchasing them non-stop.

Hope you guys had a great Eid Adha. Till I find the time to blog again, take care!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Aiden at 6 Years Old

After all those milestone posts for Ian, I really should be drafting one for my first born - who is now six!

Aiden has matured much this year. He is a thoughtful big brother, and loves Ian to bits. He protects Ian, reports to me whenever Ian is up to some mischief (which is quite often!!!), loves to gomol his brother, and takes to heart whenever Ian protests or refuses to listen to him (soooo funny)!

Sometimes, I have to make an extra effort to make him feel that Ian loves him. It sounds funny but it is so true. Once Ian came to join me on the bed but when Aiden joined us, Ian protested. Aiden sadly commented "Why does Ian love you, but not me?" *sigh*

Also, with Ian getting more boisterous and bossy, I need to be mindful about how I handle the two boys. For instance, once we were at a clinic and Ian was crying out for some thing that Aiden was holding (which belongs to Aiden)... but like clockwork I immediately told Aiden to give it to his brother (especially as I was quite conscious of people looking at us). Aiden handed it to Ian but commented, "You're only good to Ian..." Oh my heart broke into a million pieces!

My little heartbreaker.

School wise, he can write all letters A-Z, identify vowels and spell one to ten in Malay - no problem. Still struggling with spelling eight, though. (How the heck do you spell eight using phonics???) His reading has also improved significantly. He can read in Malay reasonably well, although he gives up on the more complicated words especially since his Malay vocab is so limited. His writing has also improved, but he gets frustrated whenever he has to copy sentences and his writing becomes longer than the printed sentences. I tried to explain to him that the computer printing is obviously smaller, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with writing big if it is neat. But it still frustrates him to no end.

A picture from earlier this year. Look at that young face!

School forces him to write sentences now, so his spelling has improved tremendously too. Just last week he got all correct for his weekly spelling bee - so proud of my boy! But recently he came home and said "Mummy, teacher told us to write about the moon and I wanted to say the moon is big and bright but I didn't know how to spell bright so I just wrote the moon is big!" I cracked up laughing... well good enough that at least dia ade niat nak tulis complicated sentences. *grin*  He also has the habit of not leaving a space in between words when writing. Counting wise, he can add and subtract numbers above ten. However, he came home one day after a Maths exam, and exclaimed "Mummy, you didn't teach me even and odd numbers!" Ooopppsss sorry baby!

Another picture from early in the year - counting with the help of Reese chocolates!

His fear of water has somewhat improved. At least he can put his head underwater for brief periods and swim without floats from the edge of the pool to his Daddy. But he still protests whenever I offer to send him for swimming classes. Maybe next year, eh baby?

Eating wise, he is a true Melayu boy. He prefers Asian cuisine above pasta, burgers and such. His favourite food are nasi goreng, kuey teow goreng, fried chicken, maggi goreng and even ayam masak kalio. He enjoys spicy food, and can eat rice with his hand (although slightly messy). Loves drinking milk - he knows where the cups are and can help himself to the UHT milk in the fridge. We have reduced milk bottle drinking to maximum one per day, will probably wean him off completely by the end of the year.

Berselera sungguh makan nasi with telur masak lemak.

Posing with his favourite maggi goreng.

At a healthy 27kg, we are now resorting to afternoon sports to keep his weight in check. Even after a hearty lunch of rice and some sort of protein, he would complain of being hungry at around tea-time; hence the maid would prepare his favourite sandwich - bread with egg, cheese and salad drizzled with tomato sauce and soy sauce. Oh, Aiden is definitely at a phase when he's enjoying food!

Enjoying cendol before Friday prayers.

Aiden is now very independent, which is a good thing since he is going to big boy school next year. He is able to go to the toilet by himself, wash up and dress up. He is also super vain. He loves combing his hair and insists on putting on hair gel (with Daddy's help) when dressing up. Sometimes, he would even go into the toilet to wet his hair... gives him the wet hair gel look katanya! *chuckles* Recently we gave him a school boy haircut, and teached him how to make his hair all spiky. Oh, he enjoyed all the compliments he received from his new hair style! However, he doesn't have a preference for clothes - he's contented to just wear whatever matching clothes that I buy for Ian.

While everyone was busy watching television, vain boy was caught looking at a mirror, combing his hair and admiring himself.

Caught this boy doing a selfie too!

He is not shy to show his love. He constantly says "I love you Mummy!" and gives me cuddles and kisses. Sometimes when he is playing outside, he would even pluck a flower and give it to me. I love it when he hugs me tight and refuses to let go. Oh, I hope he doesn't grow out of this phase soon....

A 'daisy' for Mummy.

After all of those years of watching Disney Junior, I finally relented and allowed him to graduate to Disney Channel and Disney XD. (Poor Ian only gets to watch Disney Junior when Aiden is at school). Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network are still banned at home, and he knows he's not allowed to watch those channels. He's currently on a Bdaman craze, thanks to Disney XD, and recently he went on a Bdaman shopping spree with his duit raya. He's phased out of Hot Wheels and prefer more boyish themes such as Lego Ninjago and Star Wars. Other than that, he enjoys watching movies with me. Just last week we watched It Takes Two, and I was pleasantly surprised to note that he could actually follow the character conversations and the story line.

Buying his latest Bdaman!

Still a Star Wars fan.

Here's to wrapping up your six year old milestones. We love you Aiden - you will always be the apple of our eyes. *sniff sniff*

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Pretty Pink Princess Party

I've always dreamed of having a girl. Well until that dream comes true, it looks like I'll have to continue creating princess parties for someone else's daughter!

Dafiya recently turned 2 and the agreed theme for the party was 'pretty princess in pink'. She also wanted a cake in the shape of a princess doll with a fairy tale dress. I gladly acceded to her request. It's not very often that I get to use pink in my parties!

Baking the cake was surprisingly very easy. I baked two cakes in two different sized bowls then stacked them together for the height. Rolled out the fondant and simply 'draped' then over the cake for the ruffled effect. Cut the skirt to size, attach the doll body to the top, minor decorations on the skirt and tadaaaaa I was done.

Pretty princess in a majestic floral dress.

The crown butter cookies were slightly more leceh. Good thing I had help, so between us two ladies armed with cookie cutters, we managed to cut the cookie batter and fondant in record time.

Found the crown with long holder (far right) cookie cutter in Ikea, going on clearance for RM1!

I found a really simple but fitting free princess printable here. I put my basic editing skills to good use (snipping tool, word art) and managed to create a matching poster, table signages, chocolate wrappers, food tags and favour tags.

Anyway, here are pictures of the entire dessert table:

The pretty dessert table, especially for a pretty princess!

Table layout.

Painstakingly chose these biskut gula in specifically pink and white. Spent nearly ten minutes sifting through the pile at the shop! Placed them in a clear bag, topped with a favour tag.  

Chocolate wrapped in matching wrappers.

Pink cupcakes with pink buttercream, topped with pink princess cupcake toppers! (So much pink in one sentence!)

Pink buttermilk panna cotta in adorable mini containers, with a matching bouquet of flowers by the side.

Table signage. Each guest table had a similar table signage too. Marshmallow and jelly in the background.

Pink macarons with chocolate nutella filling.

Mini mineral water bottles with matching water tags.

I guess that's enough pink for one blogpost. Happy 2nd birthday Dafiya. May you and Ian grow up to be the best of friends (and neighbours)!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Behind Every Successful Woman...

We all know the saying, "Behind every successful man, is a woman (and a surprised mother-in-law)." *grin*

A wise woman I know once said something similar, and it goes, "Behind every successful woman, is a maid." Well... my very hardworking maid left us yesterday. Although only for three weeks, it was an emotional goodbye for her, as she has grown very attached to Ian. As for me, I am just hopeful that our promise of a pay raise, is sufficient to convince her to return.

Aromatherapy stress relief.

Since her departure, I have been lathering this on lavishly onto myself. Have you tried the Bath and Body Works Stress-Relief range? There are two types available - Eucalyptus Tea (purple) and Eucalyptus Spearmint (blue). I strongly recommend the Eucalyptus Tea. I purchased mine at JPO recently, as there was a buy 3 free 1 promotion going on. The aromatherapy smell is soooo soothing, helps calm my feelings and promotes stress relief.

Lie down, breathe in deeply, and your stress magically melts away. 

Yeah... if I ever find the time to lie down, that is! I'm positive that for the next three weeks there will never be a dull moment; there will always be something to do, some dishes to wash, some food to cook, some clothes to wash, some toys to keep.  *sigh*

Wish me luck, peeps!

Friday, September 11, 2015

My Thriving Backyard Kebun!

In this post, I dreamt about having my own herb garden.

Well, my backyard is no longer a herb garden... it is actually a full blown kebun! My family and neighbours have been constantly contributing to the patch, hence we now have quite a diverse variety of plants. Before I delve into the various plants, let me explain how my backyard kebun looks like.

Here's a super old post about my love-hate relationship with the pencawang elektrik, affectionately known as the PE. My house was meant to be a corner semi-d, but I guess the PE 'bungalow' ruined the whole idea. So instead of being the last house on the street, the PE beat us to it. However, we decided to look at the bright side of things - technically the land behind the PE (beside our house) becomes ours, lah kan?

So here's how our adopted land currently looks like:

We lined every wall/fence available with plants.

Even the walkway wasn't spared - we planted pokok buah on this patch. Also we divided our pokok buluh (from before we revamped our garden) into small shrubs and planted them all along the walkway to provide shade to the house.

From left to right - petai, nanas, kelapa, pucuk ubi, daun kunyit, serai, limau kasturi, belimbing buluh, daun limat purut, kari, cili, daun kaduk. As for the fence on the right (not seen in picture) - daun kesum, kuchai, pegaga, daun ketumbar, daun pandan and pisang.

Let's start with my pride and joy, courtesy of my aunt's garden. When I first planted this pucuk ubi (with red stems), it was just an inch tall.

Look at how it is thriving... even taller than Ian now! Endless supply for my favourite tempoyak daun kayu! The daun kunyit looks good too!

Another key ingredient for tempoyak daun kayudaun kaduk! On the left was when we first started. On the right was about a month ago.

Now's it's starting to spread out!

When we first bought the bendi plant, it was small and then attacked by bugs. But surprisingly, we've managed to reap three rounds of bendi so far! Usually they end up in my curry dishes. Picture on the right is the latest picture, check out that cute baby bendi hiding beside the fully grown one!

On the left, freshly planted pokok cili. On the right - we now have at least 10 biji cili, just waiting to be picked.

A close up - here's a stupid question. How do you know if it's pokok cili merah or hijau??

On the left, leftover kepala nanas from the sweetest pineapples I have ever tasted, courtesy of my in-laws. On the right, look at how big they have grown. In the right corner of the picture, is my petite pokok petai. Berapa tahun lagi la nak dapat hasil tuh...

Limau kasturi. On the right, fresh new leaves have began to emerge. By its side, more pucuk ubi... but this one has white stems (instead of the earlier red stems). Anyone knows the difference?

Pokok belimbing buluh, my daun limau purut that keeps being attacked by belalang, and my legendary pokok kari.

See how much our daun kesum and pegaga have grown? I actually had to plant the daun pegaga in the flower bed to prevent it from taking over the ground. However, the daun ketumbar had to be moved into the garden shade cos it was too hot outside.

Pretty kuchai flowers. But these things are taking ages to grow!

Daun pandan and pokok pisang, from before we revamped our garden.

Our fruit trees - ciku and mangga.

Anyway, I am still looking for bunga kantan, ulam raja and pucuk pegaga (the one that can be eaten... the one I currently have is for making juice). Anyone knows where I can get these?

My barefoot mini gardener, who loves to accompany me while I tend to my kebun.

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