Friday, 30 August 2013

Water Disruption (Code Red)

Code red has been activated and we are already feeling some disruption in water supply.
I hope it this will be over soon.
Please read:

Dear media friends, SYABAS has activated its emergency response plan at Code Red today following spillage of diesel 10km away from the intake area. This has caused closure of sungai Selangor phase 1,2,3 and rantau panjang. This affects 7 districts which include at least 1million consumers. The treatment operators Have informed Syabas that they are unable to determine how long the Recovery period would take. Lembaga Urus Air Selangor has been notified and is in the midst of clearing the affected area. The federal n state govt have both been informed. SYABAS wish to inform consumers to use water prudently as we are very much dependent on the existing water storage in the balancing reservoirs at present. I have sent a press statement with details to you. Pls help circulate the news. You may quote me as I m assigned to speak on behalf of the company. TQ for your help. Regards, Priscilla Alfred, Asst General Manager, Corp Comm & Public Affairs, Syabas.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Where is Superwoman when you need her?

It's back to school!

Usually it's the kids who would complain of tummy ache, feeling nausea, lack of sleep and lethargy on their first day of school, after a long break. In fact, it is expected of them to do this charade but they didn't.

Instead, it was I who had these symptoms. 
It was I, who was struggling to keep my eyes open by 4pm and wishing I could be morphed back to the time when school was out and fun was in.

To make my day even worst, I had to put up with some renovation in the house (to fix a leaky bathroom).

Day 1, back to school was a disaster (at least for me).
Breakfast was definitely not what I had planned the night before and I felt like I was nursing a terrible hangover. All I wanted to do was go back to bed. Truth be told, I did just that!
Once the kids were out of the house I jumped right back in to bed. Snuggled up next to my baby and prayed very hard that she would remain asleep.

Luckily for me, Monday didn't last as long as it usually does. Looking at my "condition" my husband decided to eat out which is very unusual on Monday evening. 
Yay! More time for me to sit back and enjoy my TV series and no more dirty dishes for the day.

I know it will get better and I would be able to handle the rigidness of back to school regime (as long as I can outlive Monday!)
  • The waking early and sleeping late.
  • The scratching my head to come up with interesting menu for 3 picky eaters.
  • Having different roles and job scope i.e. the driver, tutor and time keeper. All these in a day!

I never knew I could miss school break this much. I think my kids have got their Monday under control, unlike mummy.

So how has your Monday been?

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To find out more Mischievous Monday


Wednesday, 14 August 2013

School's out! Fun is in.

Each time it's school break, my kids metamorph.

The drill

My flamboyant K (#2) would start her countdown to school break. It usually starts from the moment she gets wind of school break being around the corner. Every morning she will check in with me to make sure she got her count down right and would have her travel bags packed and ready even if we are not travelling.

My eldest (the culprit who lets the cat out of the bag on school break) would start making calls, asking her cousins what they've got planned and start working on a game plan to get herself included.
She would take every necessary step to ensure her holiday is worry free. Usually this involves her homework (they are usually given homework during school break) getting completed even before the school holiday starts. She would skip her mid-morning breaks and use up her free periods in school to do as much as she can. School holidays means time spent away from home (does she need a break from me? I wonder), even if it is staying over at their cousins whom they meet every week.

I was nothing like my eldest when in school. I used to procrastinate and push all my work to the night before school starts. So I feel rather guilty when reprimanding #2. She is so like me. Without fail almost each school break I end up sitting with teary eyed K, trying frantically to finish her homework.

The glorious break

This August school break coincided with Ramadan holidays. Which means both working adults and school kids will have a long weekend together! So much has been planned by them that I fear ask because it's definitely a tall order for me and I don't like disappointing them.

The first week was glorious and glitch free. The kids got more than they bargained for and I felt like a superwoman for being able to do it without my better half by my side calming me down, every now and then.

Day #1

After travelling more than a hundred km with 4 girls and a boy, we safely arrived at my sister's place which by the way is a heaven-on-earth.

They managed to coax her into letting them tag along to her hair saloon appointment. One thing lead to another and a half hour visit turned into 2 hours. This happened to be their first time getting a hair wash in a saloon and they LIKED IT! Papa bear isn't going to be thrilled finding about this because it means one more thing added to their list of  'I Want'.

Day #2

Just next door to the hair saloon was a nails bar. Little K had made an appointment to get her nails done right under my nose. Her "Oh mama, I am only going to check out the nails bar" was a far cry from the real reason visiting it. I only became aware of this appointment the next day, when the nail's bar owner called me to remind me of 'my' appointment, for all FOUR of them!

Day #3

After spending a big sum on their 'I feel so pretty' adventure, it was time for some backyard science and food project. Since K hadn't start on her school break homework, I managed to get the girls involved in helping K out with her science project (operation kill two birds with one stone). It was fun watching them be awed experimenting what liquid soap can do (in a bowl of milk, add few drops of food colouring and then some dish drop in the middle). This kept them busy and they managed to learn a lot about colours and what happens when you mix two different colours.

They had just watched Ratatouille the night before and were quite eager to be little chefs like Remy. They mixed berries with yogurt to see what flavours and colours they would get. They even made overnight oats for all of us which was very tasty that even the youngest enjoyed eating it.

Dish drop (green) causes the milk to bubble and move

 strawberry and cherry mix was appealing and tasty too

overnight oats topped with fresh fruits and some jam

Day #7

My niece had been asking to pierce her ears since the last school break. With nothing planned for the weekend, on Sunday we headed off to the nearest shop to get her ears pierced. All the bravery and determination which she had shown me fluttered away the moment she saw the gun. Little K came to her rescue by going first and proving to her that it wasn't as bad as it looked. Watching how quick and easy it was, my niece sat on the dreaded stool and allowed two young ladies to 'shoot' her.

K piercing her ears

Not letting you feel left out

Since this was their first holiday away from their dad, they would call and share with him all the exciting things they had done. However,  it was hard to do because my youngest wouldn't let anyone else speak to him. The moment I took out my laptop, she would jump on my laps and cry out "Papa!" She would hold onto the laptop with dear life and not let anyone come near. 

Writing this post has been a challenge because to her this devise is only meant for talking to her dad. Thank god she still naps or this would have never happened.

How has your holiday been?

Lets get connected:

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Linking up with Greta

Friday, 9 August 2013

Child vs. Adult

There is a reason why we call those precious things running around 'CHILDREN'.
Bear with me.

A sex abuse case involving a 41 year old man and a 13 year old girl has caused dysphoria in cyberspace. Meltdown in Twitterdom.
It's not so much about the sex abuse case though, but the verdict.
Now I'm no barrister by any means but I am baffled at how the judge came about labelling the 13-year-old victim as "predatory". Mind boggling.
Reasons such as looking and acting much older than her age, in my opinion, are not good enough to label or stereotype a person, let alone not a teen.

My arguments : (Let's play some court room drama, shall we?)

Child vs. Adult

According to Erik Ericsson's psychosocial chart, the victim is in a transition stage, between childhood and adulthood (adolescences). She is neither a child nor an adult, which to me, is really a confusing place to be. Trust me, I've seen enough when I was teaching in a primary school, not long ago.

The definition of child in most dictionaries, a person not yet of age or a young person especially between infancy and youth. So please expect childlike or childish behaviour.
Let that sink in.
Surely the judge, in all his wisdom and knowledge of the law, would've interpreted it the same as my simple understanding. Surely?
Expect childlike or childish behavior. Not the matured measured controlled one from typical grown adults.

Definition of adult, fully developed and matured. Having the capability of making a sound and experienced judgement.
If someone, irrelevant of age or background, comes and offers you something that's legally, morally and obviously wrong, aren't you suppose to turn it away?
When at a slippery slope, aren't you suppose to be careful climbing down (better still, avoid it and take another route)? For those who like taking risks, you can't blame the slope if you fall.

So take a long look at yourself in the mirror if you're one of those who are saying it takes two to tango or she asked for it. It is clearly off the mark because you are comparing apples to oranges.


Teen Turmoil

Teenage years are the hardest because so much is happening and changing with and within them. Coupled with PMS, it's a recipe for disaster if you're expecting rationality from them. I wish I could stay clear of this but that's wishful thinking because I've got three growing pre-teen girls. To say that I'll be going through a lengthy roller coaster ride would be a somewhat understatement. Fingers crossed, I hope I would be sane enough to handle whatever it is, these teenagers of mine, throw at me. To expect them to be sane and angelic, is akin to sighting a mermaid perhaps.
I guess it is payback time for all the nonsense I made my mother go through. 
It is a confusing stage I know, because I've been there! It's a black hole, full of uncertainties and doubt. It's the stage in life where hormones take over the thinking capabilities and everything seems OK. 

The stage where you think you are invincible and have no two hoots for anyone else but yourself.
The stage where it's cool to be obnoxious, loud, experimentative and sometimes stupid.
The stage where you believe if you don't get the latest shoes, you'd be an outcast and your social life is ruined, FOREVER! 
The stage where what your mom says is bogus but what friends say holds a lot of truth.
I wish I could fast forward this stage or build a bubble for my kids which will safeguard them, but that would be wrong. It will rob them of their best years in life. So much happens when you are a teenager.

All the first things;

first memorable kiss
 first love
 first heartbreak
 first time living own on your own
first health care decision
first rental agreement
first time being fully responsible of your laundry

first bills

first checking account

first flu without the comfort of mother's hot chicken soup

first time driving a car

first time cooking for someone

first flight alone

first holiday without parents

first hangover

first walk alone in the dark

first meet-up with an online "friend"

first paper qualification

first job

first salary

first debt
first interview

Some of these may leave a profound memory or scar on your soul. I have yet to meet anyone who speaks of their teenage life without life and enthusiasm. A lot is learnt and some of it may have helped shape the me, I am today. These experiences I would cherish forever, both good and the bad ones.

All I hope is that I will be able to equip my little angels with enough confidence and strength so that they are able to swim with sharks, hunt with wolves and return home, stronger and experienced.

She's a Tween, close to a confused teen

"These are the years a man changes into the man he is going to become, for the rest of his life". 
Uncle Ben from Spiderman  

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Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Adults are complicated

If you having a crappy day, visit the playground.

Adults are full of worries. It's very difficult to find an adult who is smiling and is happy ALL THE TIME (like a child in the playground).
Even if you do find one, I bet you would think something is not right with him.
However, this is an exception when you are at the playground. Here, everyone is smiling and happily chatting over every milestone achieved by their offspring, like climbing up the stairs and sliding down the slide, successfully swinging without falling off and attempting to make new friends. If you look carefully, you'd notice a smile arched on the faces of almost every adult in the playground and it is very genuine.

I sat on a see-saw while watching my kids having a ball,  a young girl walks over and sits on the opposite bench. My initial reaction was to get up and vacate the seat so another child or her parents could play with her, but she insisted I stayed and play with her. She didn't say it out loud but it was expected of me, as if it was some sort of playground code or rule these young kids practised.

Immediately, I found myself smiling and guffawing encouraging words in hopes that I was being a wonderful playmate. I even exchanged friendly smiles with other adults there. Next thing I knew, I had forgotten about my crappy day and felt so much better.

Laughter is a magical act that can uplift ones spirit and do wondrous healing for your soul. So, if you think you are tired and want to be left alone (which is NOT an option with kids),
go to the park instead. Take your kids along and play a game of hide-and-seek or just chase them around the field. This sudden burst of energy and adrenaline pumping through your body will do you a lot of good, as shared by Prof. Robert Provine (It's a long and lengthy article but the gist of it, laughter can reduce anxiety and help reduce blood pressure)! "Come play with us. It could be the most important work you've ever done". 

So what you waiting for? Put down your Iphones, Androids or your laptops and go play with your children.

Lets get connected:

Now you can follow me by email (fill email address here) to get new post notifications delivered directly into your mailbox or you could follow my Facebook page Life Simplified to get more recipes and tips in making life a little more laid back or we can connect via twitter.

Thank you for stopping by at A cuppa for my thoughts

Linking up with Greta

Friday, 2 August 2013

My beach companions

A much needed beach break!

I am very lucky to have found the ultimate beach companion -my husband and my kids. I am glad, that even the little one enjoys getting her feet and hands dirty in the beach sand.

Our beach trip always involved a lot of lounging by the beach and the pool, almost the whole day. After breakfast, we would find ourselves a couple of nice pool benches and park our bums on it. The kids are usually the first to jump into the pool, as early as 9 am (on holiday, 9 am is considered too early). Mummy and daddy would just smile and give some sort of guffaw at their tricks performed in the pool, while sitting on the bench with a long forgotten and dust covered book.

"How is this possible?" you may wonder, especially with a very young toddler who needs her routine nap so she doesn't get cranky.
I too didn't anticipate this because on our previous beach breaks, the kids were quite old. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was, spending my days with my baby at the beach and letting my elder two, who by the way, have inexhaustible energy. Forewarning, children would never throw in the towel and admit they are tired or had enough of the beach.

Necessary essential for a toddler when hitting the beach

I'm glad I did my homework and packed all the necessary stuff (packing is a big deal when you are travelling with a toddler).

A towel that stays.

The cuddledry swim poncho (designed for little ones from 1 to 3) is truly an ingenious towel. It's a cross between a bath robe and a towel but is better than both of the above, put together.
First of all, it's light and folds into a small neat fold, so not much space is taken in your suitcase. It's very absorbent and dries up quickly too. So far I have washed it twice in my washing machine and it's still fluffy and very soft to touch (must be because it uses a blend of pure cotton & bamboo).

Apart from it's fluffiness, this towel stays on even if the toddler is running, thanks to the handy underarm poppers. Gone are my days trying to keep my child wrapped up in a huge pool towel.

Each time she got tired and needed a break, I would strip her off her swim suit and simply put on the swim poncho. It covered her well and no one knew she was butt naked underneath! She was very comfortable and it felt like, she was wearing a long t-shirt- it was light and not too thick for the tropical weather. 
Full coverage, safe from UV rays

It was so good that she even managed to nap in it. It is a wonderful towel to keep the chills at bay and cuddle her while reading a book, on the pool bench.
It's truly something worth having even if you don't head to the beach or the pool often, because it could be used as a blanket or a soft pillow. We had to travel very early in the morning and she used this poncho as a blanket in the car. It's truly cuddly.

This towel originates from the UK but you can easily get it here, thanks to Bloom & Grow, bringing the best for your baby to Asia. They recently launched their Spring/Summer 2013 Catalogue which showcased some of their products.

A kip with the waves as background music
This has become one item I would not leave home without, each time I travel.

I received this swim poncho from Bloom andGrow for review purpose.
No monetary compensation was given and all opinions are my own.

Watch this space for Read my next review, Squids sunglasses

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Now you can follow me by email (fill email address here) to get new post notifications delivered directly into your mailbox or you could follow my Facebook page Life Simplified to get more recipes and tips in making life a little more laid back or we can connect via twitter.

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Thursday, 1 August 2013

Coffee or juice?

When I was young, I was very envious of my cousins. They lived in town while I was in the suburbs and they had access to so many fun things. Things, a tween like me would want to have. It was a case of the  'grass is greener on the other side' syndrome.

My first visit to McDonald's was when I was 10 years old! I didn't know what to order, I had seen burgers on the TV but standing in the queue and looking up at the menu board, was overwhelming. I refused to let this ineptness strike me out as an awkward and inexperienced cousin (I am much older than my cousins), so I ordered whatever the person standing in front of me ordered!

"1 large set of McChicken meal please." I said proudly to my uncle when he asked what I would like to have. The burger had me at first bite (You had me at hello, from Jerry Maguire). There was no turning back after that.

The other thing I looked forward to, while at my cousin's was fresh juice in the morning. Their breakfast used to be like that from American sitcoms - The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Mr. Belvedere and Who's the Boss? (That's how much television can influence a child!). That was a bowl of cereal with cold milk and a big glass of fresh juice.

So much has changed now. I still live in the suburbs but my kids are aware of a lot of stuff (much more than I was). This can be good and bad, depending how you help them perceive the information they gather from electronic media and from friends at school.

Knowing the good and the bad, I try to minimize my family visits to McDonald's. Eating out only happens when things get a little crazy at home and I am unable to prepare lunch or dinner.
Sadly, these (crazy) days have outnumbered my sane ones and eating out is fast becoming an accepted habit.

Luckily for me, I stumbled upon a fantastic group that teaches how to cheat when preparing food. I tend to feel guilty whenever I don't see vegetables on my dining table so to make up for it, I make sure they get their daily dosage of fruits and vegetables in the form of juice in a jar!

They get their juice presented to them in baby food jars (just the right serving before their lunch). I have found the perfect window to feed them these (on the way back from school) and they would take almost anything, at this hour because they are hungry, exhausted and thirsty.

I have Basic Betty juicer, which is their most basic from the vertical juicer range.
This juicer suits my lifestyle because I usually juice in the morning or when my little one is asleep. Compared to my previous loud juicer, she never got up from her sleep when I am juicing.
It also easy to use and does not come with many tiny parts (easy to assemble, dissemble and wash).
There are only two tiny parts on this juicer, the silicone attachments but these need not be washed on daily basis if you are juicing every day (once a week would suffice).

With an additional RM99, you get to purchase their mincer too. I use it to make popsicle or freeze pop. There is a lot more you can do with this mincer. Check out their video and be mesmerized.
No sugar & colouring, but still yummy

Using frozen fruits to make popsicle with the mincer

Compared to my previous loud and high speed juicer, I get more juice from Betty. Even the pulp or the residue is much drier. So no need for me to repeatedly juice the fruit pulp or squeeze it over a sieve to salvage every last drop of juice.
No juice can be squeezed out of the pulp from Basic Betty

A jar of juice

It's not easy to get my kids to drink vegetable juice but when mixed with some fruit juice, they don't mind it. The key is to take it easy and don't go overboard with vegetables (in the introduction stage). No matter how cleverly you try to hide the vegetables, they would know it with just a sniff and your bluff is caught (I am still struggling with celery).

Be a responsible juicer

All fruits have natural sugar and too much of it, may have adverse effects on your body. So it's good to learn a little bit about juicing before venturing into it and remember, juicing is not for fruits solely, you must also strive to juice vegetables.

I have learnt that fruits are best eaten immediately, after being cut. However, this is easier said than done (in my case). I don't know how my mom does it but she always finds time to peel each fruit and feed her grandchildren, no matter how busy she may be. My kids enjoy eating fruits like this. Unfortunately, I am always on the go and don't have the patience to sit and feed them. So my solution, JUICE!

There are many websites that share wonderful recipes for juices. There are many benefits of juice too, like booster juice to increase energy, detox juice and so much more. You feel intimidated by these recipes at first, but fret not because you can also create your own recipe, with whatever you have in your fridge. It's all about playing with your fruits and vegetables (I know, mummy taught you not to play with you food).

Coffee or juice?

My coffee intake has dwindled from many cups to just two, in a day. I have managed to replace my mid morning and afternoon cups to a tall glass of refreshing and nutritious ice cold juice. I am yet to be coffee-free, but I don't aspire to be that because I believe everything is good if taken in moderation and keeping your body active with exercise.

You can purchase Kuvings Silent Juicer from Kuvings Sdn Bhd and it comes with an optional extended warranty too (20 years!).

Basic Betty comes with a hefty price tag of RM1,299, but it's worth investing in one if you are in search of a juicer that is able to deliver all the goodness you need in a juice.

Benefits, are many

I wish you luck in you juicing journey and hopefully it would make you feel as energetic as it has made me. Even the texture of my skin has improved.
As for the children, they have stopped complaining of tummy ache because these juices has helped make defecation, a smooth process.

Mummy gets to kick off her shoes and sit back with her legs up on the couch, instead of constantly running after them with a glass of water. Nowadays, my kids willingly open the fridge and drink the home made juice. The juice is not only healthy but tasty too.
beetroot juice

I was the lucky winner who managed to take home Basic Betty with me.
Watch their page, they are running another competition for their recently launched Wide Mouth juicers.
 I did not receive any compensation for doing this review. All opinions are my own. .

Lets get connected:

Now you can follow me by email (fill email address here) to get new post notifications delivered directly into your mailbox or you could follow my Facebook page Life Simplified to get more recipes and tips in making life a little more laid back or we can connect via twitter.

Thank you for stopping by at A cuppa for my thoughts