Friday, 31 May 2013

Giveaway - Win an Ergo Travel Baby Carrier for Dad

Father's Day.

It comes once a year and if you have not been doing much to honour your father for what he has done for you, fret not, you've still got time.

June 16, 2013 will be the day mummy and her children would usually cook up a storm in the kitchen and whip up a hearty meal for the man of the house. To top it up, a gift wouldn't hurt too.

To celebrate this occasion, there is a fantastic giveaway for dads with babies. A very stylish but manly Ergo Baby Carrier for Dad's on the go by B&G is up for grabs. It is compact, convenient and portable (value:  US$139)

So what are you waiting for, hurry up and grab this wonderful gift. There is only one prize. Good luck to all and to the winner, don't forget to post a picture with the carrier.

The contest details:

To win it click here



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This contest has ended

Thursday, 30 May 2013

My sanctuary, the little pauses in life

My Sanctuary... My Family


Bliss...That's what I felt today evening while jogging at this park. The sound of water shooting high up in the sky and an occasional cheer of joy by the young eager souls for being victorious in catching a fish, manage to draw a big smile on my face despite doing what I least enjoy-jogging.
Today evening is, exceptional, out of the norm and different. For once, I am sitting all by myself enjoying this view while writing this. 


I just finished an hour of uninterrupted jog around this gorgeous lake, smiling at each passer by, infecting them with my glee.


Today, my dearest husband decided to skip his football and have a nice active evening out with all of us. So while he is busy getting the kids from their tennis lesson, I decided to stick around and enjoy some serenity before my boisterous, energetic and full of life kids return to pump up my world up with laughter and non-stop chatter.

Don't get me wrong, I love them dearly and would go to the world's end to protect and provide for them, but a little time away is always good, for all of us.





My daily dose of sanctuary (the little pauses I take to recharge) usually takes place in my trusted vault-my shower. Everyone, except for the youngest one of course, knows that when mummy's in the shower, she is a very busy queen (cue Game of Thrones theme music). Concocting her day with ideas how to keep everyone preoccupied, entertained and most importantly, free of any grievous harm.

Another crucial little pause (which is a MUST) is my coffee break. I would forgo my sleep for this very brief break and it is imperative, that I am all by myself. This is the time I try not to think about anything! It's just me and a warm cup of coffee in my Cheeky Monkey coffee mug (which I received from Jamie Oliver).

I would go through many lengths to ensure my evening coffee break is all mine. I strive to have it while my sidekicks are napping, and at most times I succeed because I have perfected the art of slithering out of my bed, moving stealthily without a single noise (except for the occasional squeaking of my bed).   

This break (an hour in the park) has been rejuvenating. In fact this feels so much like the day I was out with some stars (Babywearing Awareness Campaign).
I hope to find more days like today.




Time for my cold shower and nice simple dinner.



featured in the local daily

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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Recipe: Wrap your food

After a hearty and successful meal which was prepared by my girls yesterday, I decided to go at it again.
Today's menu is something much simpler and lighter on the hips compared to what we had yesterday.

The ingredients:

Wheat wraps (or whichever you fancy)
4 fish fillets (deboned & skinned)
1 aubergeine (diced & fried)
2 large plump tomatoes (diced)
1 onion (diced)
1 cucumber (diced)
1 yellow capsicum (diced)
Half lemon
Some lettuce (cut into bite size)
Shaved parmesan cheese
1 tsp dill
1 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste.

The method:

Season the fish with salt, pepper and dill. Rub it gently onto the fish and put it back into the fridge for a couple of hours.
In a large bowl, combine all remaining ingredients and season with salt, pepper and squeeze the lemon (if you want you could serve this as a side dish, its known as kachumba).

Heat the hot pan or gridle pan over medium-high heat and dribble with olive oil. Cook the fish for 4 to 5 minutes, each side or until browned and cooked through. Set aside.

To assemble:

Spread shaved parmesan cheese (if you like you may heat the wraps in the oven for a couple of minutes). Divide the kachumba between 4 wraps and place the fish on top. Spread mayonnaise (optional-weight watchers should not do this), roll up to enclose filling and serve.
I like to cut the wrap into quarters so it's easier for my girls to handle it when eating.


Bon appetite



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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Erase & Rewind


How to make learning fun was the recent discussion on a parenting board. I scoffed at it because in my mind (old school thinking) learning has to be sitting at the a table with lots of books and undivided attention.
In my current state, it is a little tough, achieving that "ideal" learning process.

I kept searching for a SAHM's KPIs. I needed these because it's hard to do something when there are no tangible goals or targets.
I was fresh out of a hectic working lifestyle and found adjusting to my new found "freedom" a little intimidating.

Guess God too realised that  I was a loose canon, so he decided I needed a company to ground me.
Along came another beautiful princess in 2012. Suddenly, I was not so free.

The first year was the toughest because I was breastfeeding and she was constantly attached to me.
Finding time to sit and guide them with school work was a challenge, let alone making it fun.
I admire my sister who dedicates all her time with the kids. Every waking moment is for her children, ensuring they will not lag in their school work.

Here I am, a SAHM who supposedly to have all the time, can't even dedicate a few minutes packing my 6 year old girl's school bag and I feel awful

Lets break it down
Stay-at-home-mother. See the word home comes before mother, and that's what I am doing.
I only realised this when I had a heart to heart chat with my girls while driving back from school.

My eldest had tears in her eyes while telling me that I am not present. I am around but not available. The only time I am available, is when I have something negative to say or nagging at them for trivial matters. 

I was shell shocked listening to what she had to say but remained solemn because there was so much truth and wisdom in what she said. 

I had been dedicating every ounce of my energy in building a "house" instead of a happy home. I had forgotten the reasons for my brave plunge from a steady and safe income earning working mom to a staying at home, mother. 

I wanted my children to grow up in a happy, healthy and holy home and I just realised, I am not doing that. If this was an employment, I am pretty sure my children would have fired me.



Time for some soul searching so I can erase and rewind.



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Monday, 27 May 2013

Recipe: School holiday project - Food


During school holiday everything moves at snail pace. Everything is so lucid and screaming doesn't seem necessary.
It's not just me, even the kids metamorph into angelic being, as if all their mischief had  been beamed out of them.
All that's left is, shrugged shoulders, blanket dragging, droopy eyed and no care for a thing children, who will agree to anything you say as long as long the cartoon network and the tv remote is in their possession.
Even the youngest and not-school-going comrade joins them and takes a break from her daily chant "mamma, mamma, mamma".
School holiday is a break for the kids and I.
Going out during school holiday is not a brilliant idea (for me) because everywhere you look, you'd see tons of kids with their hard working and big bucks  earning parents, splurging on them in an effort to make up for time robbed by their demanding careers. I was one of them before I took a plunge off the employment diving board.
Another reason I opt to keep them at home and don't shove them into any "school holiday" program is because that's just another fancy synonym for school.
Today, since no rushing and beating the clock was required, I got them to help me prepare lunch. They chose the ingredients from the fridge and the pantry.
They even did the washing and cutting.
So without a proper recipe (which lately has been the case because I don't have the leisure of sitting and browsing through my recipe books) we decided to do what seemed right. To my amazement, the girls were pretty good
The result, amazing mushroom & tomato lasagna.


The recipe:

9 lasagna sheet (soak it in tepid water)
200gm portobello mushrooms or any fresh mushrooms you favour (cleaned and sliced using a fruit knife by my 6 years old)
1 cup homemade tomato puree (or you can use canned puree)
1 cup cheese pasta white sauce (from a jar)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 large onion chopped.
3 garlic clove
1 tsp chilies paste
Salt to taste

The method:

Fry onions, garlic and chilies paste in hot oil till fragrant. Add mushrooms and cook till they absorb all moisture (if you pay close attention, you'll see that in the beginning the mushrooms would ooze out liquid but would suck it right back in and that's when they are done). Add tomato puree and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Finally, add the cream sauce and season to taste.

To assemble:

Start of with lasagna sauce followed by some lasagna sheet and topped with cheese. Repeat this pattern until all sauce and lasagna sheets are used.
Put into oven at 200'C for 20 minutes or till the top layer turns lusciously golden brown.

Let it sit on your counter top for 10 minutes or for as long as you can safeguard it from young eager chefs waiting to devour their masterpiece.

Bon appetit 

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Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Recipe: Easy does it

Hash browns creamy lasagna

Preparation time : 10 mins,     Cooking time : 30 mins,      Serves 2 adult (generously)

The ingredients: (suitable for vegetarian)
1 packet Simplot Mini hashbrowns


1 cup Leggo's Alfredo Creamy Pasta Sauce
1 can cream of mushrooms soup
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese.
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
2 large onions
4 garlic clove
1 tbs dried basil & oregano
(no salt or seasoning is required when using mozzarella cheese and creamy pasta sauce)

This is the easiest & quickest lasagna because most of the work is done by the lovely  and ingenious oven.
You could also prepare this in advance and pop it into the refrigerator. When you are ready, just toss it into the oven and dinner will be served in 30 minutes. 

This dish would definitely qualify for Jamie's 30 minutes meal but he may not approve of the pasta sauce in a jar. For that, we will have to turn to Nigella, who has no problems with shortcuts. She's my kinda gal.


Let's get it started now (by Black eyed peas)

In a large pot, add oil and heat.
Chop onions and garlic, saute till fragrant and golden brown. Add the mushrooms soup, dried herbs, the Leggo's creamy pasta sauce and frozen peas. Stir on low heat for a couple of minutes or until everything has combined well and remove from heat.

Arrange the contents of Simplot Mini hashbrowns in an oven proof casserole dish and then pour half of the sauce over it. Arrange the remainder Simplot Mini hashbrowns and repeat with the sauce. Keep doing this till all hash browns and sauce has been used.
In a separate bowl, mix mozzarella and panko. Spread it over the creamy hash browns, evenly.

Transfer this prepared dish into the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes at 220'c. If you notice it turning brown, bring it down to 170'c (after the first 20 minute) for another 10 minutes.

The results, golden brown, simple yet delicious food for the whole family to feast upon.
You have now, in your possession a dish that has everything you need, to satisfy a growing baby, toddler and an adult.
After my fiasco with my many failed attempts in making the best, baby friendly food, I have learnt and it has been embedded in my memory, to keep it simple.

I share with you a simple to follow, picture guide.
Have a fun while you at it and get your little ones to help too.
Time saver; garlic mincer from IKEA
Saute garlic & onions
Adding Leggo's creamy pasta sauce & mushroom soup while babywearing
My lasagna sauce after adding dried herbs
Frozen peas, direct from the freezer (can you see some ice?)
My sous chef , working hard & safe
Mix panko & mozzarella
Arrange like you would assemble lasagna
Ready for the oven (or cling wrap it and toss into the refrigerator for later use)
Baking deliciously in the oven while emitting tempting aroma
Dinner is served!
My worst food critic approves of it.





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Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Germans do it better

Babywearing

During my working years, I had a short stint with a construction division. There were many expatriates in this group from across the globe and one particular man stood out. He was a hard knuckle to crack because he had his own ways of doing things and would hardly agree to doing a project in any other way but his own. Any suggestions would be shot down with him saying, "we, Germans do it better," but his passion for the environment was admirable. The Germans really take environmental conditions to heart and try their best to have a green attitude.

When I received a baby carrier from Manduca Asia, I got into investigative mode to see if this German-made baby carrier would live up to what I have seen and experienced. No surprise, it proved to be just that.
The material used to make Manducas is 100% organic. Not only is it natural and environmentally-friendly, it is also very gentle on the skin since no pesticides were used to grow the fibres. I am using NewStyle Petrol, which is from their basic colours range. It is of 45% cotton and 55% hemp (this is the most breatheable, summer fabric for humid weather).

My main criteria when searching for a baby carrier is comfort but since I live in an unforgivingly hot and humid country, it must also be very breatheable.
Gone are the days when I allowed myself to be a fashion victim-painful high heels, skin biting boots and poorly acclimatized clothing).

Manduca is a Soft Structured Carrier which looks a lot like a backpack but used to carry your baby. There are many other types of carrier available in the market, all made with one aim in mind, to help parents to deal with their day to day chores while caring for their babies, simultaneously.
Mr. Moose snug as a bug
Manduca comes with an ingenious in-built infant seat  so you are able to carry an infant, a toddler and even a pre-schooler (up to 20kg) with just one carrier without having the need to purchase a separate infant insert. The seat is made of the same material as the carrier, which is very breatheable and can be rolled up and secured into the elastic band when not in use.
It snug and not bulky, allowing close body contact with baby

You can front carry, back carry your baby with an option of crossing the straps, and hip carry too with Manduca. I find that carrying my precious cargo in the front carry position with the cross-strap' gives a lot of support and my baby feels almost weightless thanks to even distribution of weight off my shoulders and onto my back and hips, where it rightfully should be. So no more aching shoulders or back ache.

Comfy back carry but she's unamused because unable to look over my shoulder
Manduca comes with a extendable body panel which allows you to zip and unzip the panel according to your needs. I am impressed with the well padded waist belt which covers almost your entire waist so no chances of having the buckle pin into your body. Even the body panel is is aptly designed because only the lower end of it is padded to ensure the seat will not dig into your baby's thighs while the upper end is much thinner making it very airy, almost like a wrap.
She enjoys her unobstructed view in hip carry

I have been wearing my baby since 2005 and my first carrier was a soft carrier, which I bought from another mother. Little did I know then, that there was a movement on babywearing. I didn't even know that carrying my baby in a carrier was called babywearing. It has become a fashion statement but with so many benefits. To know what's the fuzz all about visit, babywearing
Priced at RM700

Some helpful links:
1. Correct Positioning of newborn click here
2. Safe babywearing click here

I received a Manduca NS Petrol for review purpose and all opinions are my own. If you are impressed and would like to acquire one for yourself, visit their official website. It's highly recommended that you purchase from authorized dealers to ensure you receive a genuine and safe baby carrier.


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Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Sustainable living

My mom has been cloth diapering for over 40 years. She advocates it very strongly to all her children. She may have not been doing it consciously to save the earth, nevertheless her efforts have contributed big time.
With more than a dozen grandchildren, she has easily saved more than 60,000 disposable diapers from being tossed out to the landfills and these diapers take a very long time to fully biodegrade.

Cloth diapers 

The revolutionary diapering system has made life so much simpler for people like my mom who laboured over tons of white muslin cloth also known (here) as napkin or 'kain lampin'.
How to fold the white muslin cloth

I remember helping her wash (by hand, mind you) these white napkins and line drying them. Her whole porch and backyard would look like a cloth factory, with lines of white square napkins.

After drying, comes the task of folding each napkin into its special fold. It was a little tricky in the beginning but once you have mastered it, you'd be able to fold it without looking and while enjoying your daily dose of Hindi drama (which, by the way is in abundance!).

Thanks to the revolutionary cloth diapering system, I get to cloth diaper my baby with less hassle.
No more changing her each time she peed because these new cloth diapers can be used for a few hours depending on their absorbency.


With my baby, it's safe to say, on average I change her diaper every 4 hours or earlier (unless when baby poos, you must change it immediately).

Interestingly, after receiving my bumGenius 4.0, I managed to stretch the hours and even used it in the night. The results, her bum did not feel wet or cold the next morning.


Trim cut yet absorbent (hook & loop)
Perhaps, the quick dry soft lining inside the diaper made sure her bottom stayed dry the whole night and waterproof outer cover ensured my bed sheets didn't get wet. It basically works exactly like a disposable diaper but you don't throw away your bumGenius. 

It comes with 2 inserts (1 one-size and 1 newborn size) and I decided to use both of these inserts. Despite that, bumGenius is so much trimmer compared to my other pocket cloth diaper.
It gave her a very snug fit and looked comfortable on her while sitting down or standing. The side panels too are good and didn't cut into her thighs.


These diapers come in 2 style, snap and hook & loop. My personal favourite is the snap because my darling bubba can easily unfastened the other (hook & loop).
Hook & loop, is a better option for younger babies.
To view more colours and features of bumGenius go to this link Pocket Style Cloth Diaper. 
Top diaper-bumGenius (snap), so much trimmer than 
another brand pocket diaper, bottom

A lesson on washing.

My backyard doesn't look like a cloth factory because I don't need many diapers, as opposed to the cloth napkins (not true when I wash my babywearing gear), and I don't wash these diapers daily.
I wash every third day (it's recommended to wash every 48 hours due to our humid weather), but make sure to rinse your soiled diapers in cold running water and soak it for a couple of hours in a pail, before wringing it and tossing it into the diaper pail (which is just an ordinary pail with lid-RM28). If you can't stand the smell it omits, sprinkle a tablespoon of baking powder into the diaper pail.

Even after 72 hours, I usually don't have enough cloth diapers to make up a full load in my washing machine. So I would mix these diapers with some of my towels, napkins, pillow covers and other clothes which would benefit a warm (40'C) wash cycle. This is good for the environment & my electricity bill, because I am making full use of the energy used to wash these diapers.

Line drying in the sun (direct/indirect) is the best option to dry your cloth diapers, compared to tumble drying it on low/medium heat. Not only will this extend the life of your diaper, it is eco-friendly too. The sun can naturally bleach and deodorise your wet cloth diapers (stains and odour will magically disappear).

When laundering cloth diapers (and baby apparel), it is important to choose detergent that are free of dyes, fragrances, softeners, enzymes, bleach and phosphate. Some of these can irritate baby's skin and phosphate is a major cause that pollutes our streams and lakes.

Here is a list of do's & don'ts for cloth diapers.



One good habit I picked up from cloth diapering is to dispose baby's poo into the toilet bowl (where it rightfully belongs) and not into the dustbin (as I had been doing when I was using disposable diapers).  In doing so, I have become a diaper decoder, being able to tell so much by looking at her stool. 
My efforts to save ecosystem may be small in scale, but an accumulated effect of this, can be wondrous. Every little step counts.

"With great power comes great responsibility".

Disclosure: I received these cloth nappies for review. All opinions are mine






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Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Recipe: Jamie Oliver in the house...Clammmmm

It's been a while since I had coffee with Jamie. Having a new baby in the house, spare time is hard to come by and almost impossible at times.

Today is a special day because I know for certain my little bubba whom I lovingly call Mera Lal is going to take a long nap.

With fresh clams in the fridge and time on my hands, I turned to my fair-haired Naked Chef. Holding him firm, I slowly espy at him, searching for an answer. Luckily for me, he had what I wanted so today I'm making spaghetti-vongole.

The process:

Time-management is not my forte. I always spend way too much time planning for a plan, but today is special. I took my time and enjoyed my coffee. I even managed to clean the clams and made sure I had everything I need for this dish.

The ingredients:


1kg fresh clam, it needs to be thoroughly brushed and then soaked in a bowl of water with corn starch. Leave it in the refrigerator.



4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 small onion, diced
    10 cherry tomatoes
    150 ml cream
    400 g dried spaghetti
    sea salt
    freshly ground black pepper
    extra virgin olive oil
    1 tbs basil (dried herbs)


It is very quick and easy to prepare this dish, warranted that you have all the ingredients ready. As the kids were merrily showering after their school and my Lal ensconced in front of my babysitter (TV), I whipped up this dish with no trouble at all. I started off by boiling the pasta in a large pot of salted water. In another large pan, fry the onions and garlic in olive oil till fragrant. Add the clams and let it simmer in the pot, with the lid on for 5-10 minutes. Discard any unopened clams and add all other ingredients. Cook for another couple of minutes and add the pasta to the pot, mix well and serve immediately. It took me approximately 20 minutes, including washing up too.

It was a hearty meal which we all enjoyed, even my Lal approved of it and had more than she usually does.

Today is a special day.

I even managed to prepare some fresh fruit juice too. My fridge has been well stocked ever since I joined a local Raw Eat group. I ventured further and took part in their group buys (GB). Oh what pleasure, discovering this group. Nowadays, my kids look forward to eating fruits. Even my husband and I feel the same.
These fruits are so much juicier and fresher than the ones I have been buying from my local fruiterer.

They look forward to these fruit juices which I would pack into tiny bottles for them to consume on their way back home from school. So far, the only vegetable they allowed me to juice is the carrot.
My spinach, beet root, carrot, apple, orange and lime concoction was not a big hit with the girls but daddy, tayi ji, taya ji and my Lal seemed to enjoy it.
Looks like I've got to find new recipes to introduce more vegetables in my juice.


Scrap the coffee. It's time for some juice!




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