Sunday 6th January 2013

38 today. Happy birthday to me. :)

Friday, March 01, 2013

Umrah Prep

Excited. I'm beyond excited actually. Been looking forward to this trip for a while now so I guess that is expected right?

I have been physically preparing myself for umrah trip with my parents mid march. It's gonna be quite a big group, my uncles and aunties mad cousins included. So psyched.

Today, me and my besties Kynne and Mira went to Sri Munawwarah one stop Haji and umrah prep shop to get some of the essentials. Lemme share my lunchtime loot with ya. ;)

Extreme love.

-dillz blogging out-





Thursday, February 07, 2013

Tabung Oren, Hijau Dan 50sen

I was scrolling my instagram timeline 2 days back and was inspired by a posting by @phatdivamom She was sharing the fact that she has just started saving RM5 notes.She intended to use the saved up money to travel. So I thought to myself, "What a brilliant idea" So, our family had started saving up RM20 notes, RM5 notes as well as 50sen coins. 


The rules are simple. Everytime you chance upon the denomination of choice, set it aside and keep them. By then end of the year, count it up and use it for whatever you desire - a simple family dinner or outing, to a full-blown vacation, presents for each member of the family, etc.

Why RM20 and RM5 did you ask? I hardly get them. As change, I mean. If I had opted for RM50, that would automatically rule out cash withdrawals from ATM. hihihihi. Not saving RM1 either, because that is the denomination used for the kids' school allowance. 

Started to collect 50sen as well as I wanted the kids to be part of this as well. A friend of mine was just relating her own experience on saving 50sen coin - she got about RM573 at the end of the year. Pretty impressive, right? 

So, yeah. We are hopeful. Wanted to start this good habit of saving and hopefully nurture my kids to do the same. Why don't you jump on the bandwagon too?

-dillz blogging out-

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

#anythingbutnasi

Me? I've always tried to be on the Health track. Be it my stints at the gymnasium, cutting down on my food intake - sugar, condensed milk and the likes, drinking lots and lots of water etc. Just to add to that, lately I have been on a NO RICE diet. Been going on for a while now, I think around 2 plus months already. The rule is simple, eat whatever whenever as long as it is NOT rice. #anythingbutnasi if you may.

It is not too much to ask from me, I think because the alternatives are aplenty. I get my carbohydrates from eating pasta, bread, potatoes and the likes. It has also made me frequent my kitchen more. As my kids would normally have rice for dinner, so I end up fixing my own dinner after work. It's been quite a creative adventure in the kitchen too. Trying to come up with something that is supported by my pantry and fridge content as well as the NO rice policy. But, because of this I have tried and made:

Aglio olio spaghetti. 
Chicken and mushroom baked spaghetti 
 
Roast chicken salad
 
Midnight breakfast pan
 
Roast chicken sandwich 
Pasta bake
 
It gets a little harder when attending functions or when there's a makan-makan do at the office sometimes. As much as I could, I would opt for just the lauk-pauk sans the rice. As I would when having lunch at the office cafetaria at times. Other times, I could opt for the variety of mee / meehun and kueytiew soup / curry / Bandung / tomyam / goreng.
There was even one occasion when they had nasi lemak as the main dish. So I went down to MyNews and bought a loaf of Gardenia bread. Roti cicah sambal ikan bilis lah kittew.  Yummeh!

As a reward, I do allow myself some cheat meals. For example, I have cheated for Hassan Ayam Kampung and Nasi Ayam Chee Ming. Another that I would cheat for is nasi kandar hameediyah in Penang. I mean, I don't want to deny myself totally. Just trying to cut down on rice and stay as far away from it as I can for now.

It has shown some results, I guess. People have commented that I looked "kurus sikit" but it doesn't show on the weighing scale. Hewhewhew. Takpe la, but I do feel healthier and not as bloated. And that is a good thing!

-dillz blogging out-

Monday, January 21, 2013

Legoland Here We Come (again)



Have you been to Legoland Malaysia? Isn't it just A.W.E.S.O.M.E? It is just so awesome that we decided that each member of our family had to get an Annual Pass into Legoland, valid one whole year from 13th November 2012. 

(P/S: Please note the poses for the girls in the family. Hewhewhew)


We got quite a good deal on it, actually. Bought sometime in September last year when they had a joint promotion with Maybank Mastercard Credit Cards. Each adult annual pass was going at a price of only RM190 per pax. A quick check onto Legoland website just now, the price is now RM325 for Adults (12-59years) and RM225 for Kids (3-11years) and Seniors (60years above). The price is now effective from 15 December 2012 onwards. For daily passes, it's going at RM140 for Adults and RM110 for Kids and Seniors.

Truth be told, I think you'd need more than a day to explore the whole park. The park is divided into The Beginning, LEGO Technic, LEGO Kingdoms, Imagination, LEGO City, Land of Adventure and Miniland. Each one of them have activities for kids and kids-at-heart to enjoy. When we were there, there was a LOT of people around. So the main strategy for you to consider is when to come to Legoland. I know of some people (whom shall not be named. Ahem. Ahem. read: Not us, but may or may not be related to us) who'd come on a weekday, a school day at that, to avoid the queue and have the park all to themselves. Bliss. Weekends and public holidays are of course peak times for the park. There was even one incident when a friend and his family were refused entry due to the park reaching the maximum number of clintele they could cater at any one time. They had to wait in line for some time before allowed entry eventhough they already had an annual pass. Gasp! I do understand the logic behind it though, it's for everyone to have an enjoyable experience while in the park, so yeah, do take that into considerations when deciding when to come. Our strategy now (since we already have an annual pass) is to come later in the evening, when the crowd has died down a little. Please also check what time the park closes as it varies between 6pm (weekdays) or 8pm (weekends, public holidays) daily. Also the park closes on most Wednesdays. When in doubt, check the park's website.

Okay, now what did we find most interesting??? For the roller-coaster and adrenaline junkies, these are definitely the must tries. The queue is always long but oh so worth it. 

PROJECT X at LEGO Technics. Simply awesome!!!! To date (after 4 visits to Legoland), Khadra and Khaleeda have already been on it 9 times. Yes, you read that right. Khaleeda only just made the height requirement of 110cm but she needed to ride with an adult on it. Khaleeq has been on Project X 3 times. He does't fancy rollercoasters all that much.


The best is when we got to view the picture they snapped at the first steep incline down the tracks. We already know where the camera is located, I look forward to the poses the girls would make each time they ride. hewhewhew. You could even get the copy to bring home and you are allowed to download the softcopy within a month of the ride date. The pictures are quite steeply priced though - I mean, it is expected lah. About RM30 for the small size and RM50 for the bigger picture. sometimes they'd have promotions - buy the big picture and get the small picture for free or something. I think for the past 4 visits to Legoland, we have about enough to last us a lifetime now. ;)

Other rides worth a mention at LEGO Technic are the Aquaracer (you'll get a little bit splashed here) and the Technic Twister (almost no queing time, it's the sort of twisting cup ride, the more you turn the central wheel, the more you will spin). There is also the water feature between Project X and the Aquaracer. My kids enjoyed getting wet. So remember to bring a change of clothes if your kids are keen too. There is also a human dryer that cost RM5 per pop if you fancy some drying action. We have also decided that it is actually best to wear their swimwear underneath the park clothes. They dry faster and your kids won't catch a cold from running around in wet clothes all day. (This idea came after our fourth visit to the park. D-uh!)
At LEGO Kingdoms, check out The Dragon. Not as scary as Project X, but almost as thrilling. If you are not keen, then try The Dragon Apprentice first, to condition yourself. Suffice to say that The Dragon was also a current favourite for Khadra and Khaleeda. ;P

We also found the line for Royal Joust and Merlin's Challenge shorter than most. Good variety to slip in after a long queue. If kids are too tired to que, just let them lose at one of the many playgrounds in the park - The Forestmen's Hideout. 

At The Land of Adventure, we absolutely adored the Dino Island. It's a wet ride, with minimum height requirement of 120cm, so Khaleeda had to sit this one out. First the whole log went up the conveyor to the tippy top of the castle before we plunge down into the waters. So cool, so fun, so scary! hahahahahahaha That was truly enjoyable!

Kids enjoyed the Beetle Bounce very much - very short que. There's also the Lost Kingdom, where we get to go in a cart, shooting at targets as the vehicle moves about. Also, there's a kids' ball playground called the Pharaoh's Revenge.

In LEGO City, we first went on to the Driving school for the elder Khas, while Khaleeda went to the Junior Driving School. Then we got their licences done. Absolutely no function what so ever, just as a momento for the kids.

The family had the most fun at the Rescue Academy. If you are coming with other families, an inter family battle would be fun here!!! The line for the LEGO City Airport was rather decent too.

Other than that, there's also the LEGO City Stage where they have scheduled performances / shows through out the day and a playground for the kids called The Shipyard.  Even after 4 visits, we have yet to try the LEGOLAND Express nor The Boating School. hewhewhew

In IMAGINATION, the have-to-sees are LEGO Studios 4D for some 4D movie screening and the Observations Tower - a short scenic overview of the theme park. Fully air-conditioned, you get to appreciate the ride as it slowly ascends the monopole and spins for a 360 degree view of the park. The Kids Power Tower was also fun, but needed a little more muscle power on our side. There's also a junior playground for kids 5 years and under called the DUPLO Playtown and there's a mini train that goes around the track. We have yet tried the Build & Test area for kids to build their own LEGO creation and test them. 

The Miniland is basically a LEGO wonderland showcasing grand architectures in Malaysia, as well as other countries. This provides for a lot of photo opportunities.

Basically, go have a see for yourself what the fuss is all about. We are trying to slot maybe another 3-4 trips there in 2013 to make the annual pass worthwhile. One trip per quarter? That soulds about right for my planning.

-dillz blogging out-

Monday, January 14, 2013

Brown banana pecan muffin

One of my husband's favourite, this. We made it on Sunday, Khaleeda and I. She insisted that the mashing of bananas was indeed her job and nobody else's. Hihihihi

 
I got this recipe from the sweet @ms_tinaz over the trusted Instagram and tried it the first time 6 weeks ago. Since, I have made 2 more batches of these yummies as it proved to be popular in our household. The instructions are simple.

Ingredients:
3 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 large bananas, very ripe, mashed (about 2 cups)
3/4 cups buttermilk/milk/sour cream/ yogurt
Vanilla extract
3/4 butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1 cup pecans/walnuts, toasted and chopped coarsely

Instructions:
Whisk together dry ingredients in a bowl (I just sift the flour and add on the baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. whirl a bit with a hand whisk.)
Whisk together milk, bananas, vanilla in separate bowl. ( I mash the banana first. then add in the other ingredients into the banana bowl.)
In another bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until light. (Make sure to cut the butter block into smaller rectangels. Just lump everything in your freestand mixer)
Add eggs. (One by one, of course)
Add flour mixture alternately with milk mixture in two batches. (Essentially, mentally divide flour mixture into 3- about one cup each time. Divide the milk mixture, mentally, in 2. First put in the flour mix. Wait for it to blend , then the milk mix. Wait again slightly, then the flour mix again. Wait a little more, then add the milk mix and wait. Finally add the flour mix and you should get a nice batter)
Stir in pecan. (Make sure your mixer has ben switched off here. Just use a spatula to stir)

This batter makes 12 muffin sized banana cakes and a loaf. I prefer it to be muffin sized so I get around 18 pieces from this mixture. Sometimes, I fill it up a little closer to the top so the effect is a spilled over muffin. So utterly awesome. Yummers.

For baking time - the normal 12-cupcake pan takes about 20 minutes in 180Celcius and a loaf around 40-50 minutes in the same temperature. Don't forget to preheat your oven for about 10-15 minutes prior to baking. If in doubt, check with a "Cake tester" or toothpick. Prick it and it will come out clean. Take them out of the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then leave them to coll off on a wire rack. It has been said that the loaf would taste best 36 hours after baking. Wallahualam. hihihihihi. It has been said, I say. So you try it and tell me, ok?

Do enjoy them! Have a happy Monday and a great week ahead!

-dillz blogging out-

Friday, January 11, 2013

Thou-Shalt-Not-iGadget on weekdays

Almost ending the second week of the new schooling term now. We have just started on a new rule for the household on Wednesday night. 

Thou-Shalt-Not-iGadget on a weekday. 

That means no iPads, no iPods and no iPhones. Kids are expected to use their time to concentrate more on school tasks - homework, preparing the bag/book and uniform for school, doing their revision, finish their Eye Level homework etc.  If they happen to have free time, then they can utilize this time for leisurely reading, cooking, making arts and crafts, outdoor activities such as biking, running, swimming or play with their physical toys - e.g. pretend play, Baby Alive, Play Doh, Lego etc. Absolutely no gadgets allowed.  

The ruling starts on Sunday night from 8pm and ends at Friday at 1pm. So on Wednesday night at around

OK kan?
 
I just wanted the kids to try to concentrate more on their schooling and realize that the holidays are over. With the gadgets around they tend to be very anti-social, jompletely engrossed in their own world. Tak berapa nak dengan cakap because they are concentrating on whatever it was on the YouTube channel, Instagram-ing or what have yous. As a result, homework pun tak buat, baju tak siapkan, buku tak prepare for the next day's timetable, buat kerja lain pun distracted - termasuklah nak pakai baju, makan dan sebagainya. Impact would include leaving for school much later than I'd like to in the morning and menyebabkan darah Ibunya naik sampai ke kepala. Stress pagi-pagi noks. Adoiiii. And so we implemented the rule and that same Wednwsday night I collected all gadgets and kept it in my room.

Come Thursday afternoon, look what I saw on my Instagram news?



My little Khaleeda was liking my photos on Instagram. Adik main iPod kah? Kantoiii!!!! I immediately called home and asked her why she was playing with her iPod. She was surprised that I knew. Ya lah, she's at home and I was at work. How could I have possibly known. Terkejut sat member. She told me her reason was because "Atuk was watching tv" so she didn't know what else to do with her free time. Kakak Abang pun belum balik from various activities. This she is bored. Alololololo.

Here's hoping that the rule works and would improve their weekday to be more productive and focused. I'm still looking to fine tune it. May have to add not watching Plex as well. Very distracting, that. I have yet to decide on the games too - PS3, XBOX and the likes. May even want to reward them some Gadget time if they are doing well on a limited time basis. Will see as the day progresses lah.

-dillz blogging out-

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sawan Masak

I have always loved to cook. A few years back in 2006, a long long time ago now it feels, I lobbied my husband to get me my first oven - a Zanussi ZOE535 Electric Oven/ Grill. Then on, I tried experimenting with recipes especially from the trusted Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson cook books. My family and close friends can vouch for our tried and tested Roast Chicken and how successful that dish is. I have even imparted my knowledge to the rest of the family. Khadra can cook it and just last week, Azrul cooked three birds for my birthday dinner celebrations with the nucleus family. 

Just recently, I had a reason to expand my culinary repertoire. It came in the form of a Kitchen Aid freestanding mixer. I is love. It was on an irresistible promotion, buy the KA mixer at retail price and get the KA heavy duty 4-slice toaster for free. How can one resist?

With that came more experiment. With the help of more Mr. Google, cook books (Nigella lawson's Domestic Goddess is an example) and a lot of tags and recipe hunting on instagram I am proud to share with you some of my success stories. Featured here are the Victoria Sponge cake, Mixed berry pavlova (you better believe it, girlfriend!), Blueberry yogurt cake and Banana pecan muffin (and loaf). Yummers...

Instant gratification. Baking is not as hard as it seems, really. I have a lot to share in this respect too. All fueled up by the instant feedback that I get from posting it on Instagram and also looking at my timeline. hihihihihi. Hoping that this won't end up to be one of my HHTA (Hangat-Hangat-Tahi-Ayam) projects though. 

-dillz blogging out-  

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Tazkirah Ibu

I recently received an e-mail from my mom with the subject title "Please print hard copies all the notes I fwded to all of you and file them up. Most important teach your children. I have made it easier for you, doing the research since I understand you are all busy with work etc."

So, I immediately got into action. A direct instruction on the subject field of an e-mail. Who am I to disobey, right? Mom had been sending us interesting articles and stuff that she found on the Internet for some time already. I think probably when she first got her iPad2. You know stuff like "Carrots, Eggs & Coffee", "VitaminD revealed to be miracle anti-cancer drug with astonishing chemical properties", "Hidden health plusses in tea and coffee", various do'as and the likes. It was around October 2012 that she sent all her kids an email entitled "Belajar Dan Amalkan Ilmu AlQuran" and wrote a heartfelt note for us all as a reminder. This was the point when she decided to send us notes on what she has learnt as the days go by. She calls it "Tazkirah Ibu". I have shared a photo of some of her notes over in Instagram and some of my friends are interested to know what it says. 


  So I thought, yeah, why not. I'm starting a series of Tazkirah Ibu here on my blog. Gives me the material to start blogging too. Hihihihihihi.

So, here's my official comeback to the blogging world. (Oh how I have forsaken thee) and I will leave you with my mummy's note. A reminder for you and also for me.
"To All Our Offsprings,
Please take time to read this and share with your spouses and offsprings. Ibu ,on behalf of Encik ,will try to extend to you everyweek, please compile so you can transfer this treasure to your own children.

For your info,Mak Itam and her surau committee is conducting Kelas Tafsir Alquran every Wednesday and I will try to attend whenever possible at the surau near Mak Itam's house. I will also extend these notes to you so you can compile them for your own family. Maybe we could also forward to you notes from otner majlis ilmu that we attend.

I decided to do this because both Encik and I have been trying to talk to you all about the importance of acquiring knowledge (menuntut Ilmu) specifically the knowledge of Islam.

For people of your age group ,since you are so busy with work and kids,it is not easy to juggle your time so start with the habit by attending majls2 ilmu to top up our amalan yang sangat sedikit ini. Actually it is the easiest and smartest way to kumpul pahala, you just need to make the effort to attend. Insyaallah jika di panjangkan umur,boleh lah terus belajar secara lebih aktif selepas pencen, Amin.

You can practise "smart ibadat" eg listening to radio ,cd ceramah and bacaan alquran (eg radio Ikim) in the car, watching tv programmes eg tv9, tv3, tv1 ,astro there is plenty of such programmes.Train your children same way, make them hafal all the important doas as I did to you all on way to Sri Petaling, Sri Aman, remember? This is the best age to lentur the buluh ie masa rebung.Kalau dah keras susah nak ajar,nanti mereka akan melawan, buat maksiat ,tak mahu solat, you are the ones who will suffer. Fyi at my age I am still hafaling surah2 penting in the car while driving.

Jangan terlalu ghairah cari harta dan kemasyhuran dunia sampai jauhkan diri dari Allah walhal Allah yang beri kita semua rezeki. Allah can withdraw anything at anytime from us if he decides to do so. Of course usaha untuk harta dunia mesti di teruskan juga tapi jangan sampai lupa Allah. There are so many young people who die due to heartattacks etc. Nothing can help them except amal jariah, ilmu yang bermenafaat and doa anak 2 yang soleh.Those without all these bekalan die Muflis, nothing can help them. Kesian mereka. Nauzubillah.

It is not too late for you my beloved children to tingkatkan your keimanan to Allah. Of course start minta ampun dari Allah, banyak2 istighfar, Allah maha pengampun. Minta ampun dosa2 lepas dan start afresh. It is never too late.Kita boleh taubat sebelum nyawa di cabut. Jaga dan lengkapkan solat dan amalkan rukun Islam, rukun Iman dan jangan buat yang dilarang. As simple as that!

Teach the kids doa2 harian, Start everything with Bismillah and bersyukur with Alhamdulillah. Make it a habit so Syaitan will not get inside them and easily astray them. I don't want you to regret later for not bringing up your children mengikut ajaran Islam sebenar.

Ibu and Encik do not want you all to regret later, when we are di alam barzakh(kubur) (remember all humans will die) , nothing else can help us to reduce the azab seksa and seterusnya masuk syorga except amal/sedekah jariah yg di buat semasa hidup, ilmu yang dimanafaatan oleh orang yang masih hidup dan doa anak2 yang soleh. Just imagine kalau kita sendiri hidup tak pernah bersedekah, beramal, baca AlQuran, doa dan buat baik kepada ibu bapa, would you expect your children to do the same to you? Kalau anak tak solat cukup macam mana doanya nak sampai, kalau tak pernah baca quran macam mana ayat2 Quran nak datang tolong kita dikubur semasa nak kena gigit ular dan sesengkala etc? This the kind of Ilmu that I want my children and my menantus and my cucu cicit to pelajari dan amalkan. They must know this so that they appreciate and practise.These knowledge does not come in one manual that you can buy from the bookshops like MPH, Popular Book Store etc. They have to be acquired from majlis2 ilmu, tazkirah, ceramah. Because ibu and encik know you are too busy to attend majls ilmu that is why we are trying to find best way to share with you all.

Also please try to get your children to hafal AlQuran. Tak semestinya 30 juzuk. Now is the time kalau boleh mulai umur 4 tahun dah boleh hantar kelas AlQuran. Start from Tadika Islam.At least one in the family should be a tahfiz.

I have decided to write this note since both Encik and I don't seem tobe able to get us together for our own mini majlis ilmu / baca Quran.Actually we have so much to transfer to you all but we never seem tobe able to be together full quorum long enough at any one session. Maybe you all discuss to solve this issue and put forward your suggestions to us."
Just an honest sharing and reminder from a mom. Thank you mom, we all need reminders some time. Me heart you long time.

-dillz blogging out-