Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Fa-la-la-lidays are here! (Contest)

My best attempt at snowflake
It is that time again. Time for unplanned meals, bedtimes, visits and travels. Time for sluggish demeanour like heavy eyelids, almost inaudible communications and a complete change in the predictable rhythms of the day. Yes, it is that time when high achievers, highly disciplined and time bound, school going children switch to living like zombies because school is out!
Such drastic change was expected and is quite welcomed in my house because they deserve this break. It is also good for stay-at-home-moms like me because I will no longer need to keep a watchful eye on the clock which seemed to tick faster and constantly screamed at me to; "cook faster, shower quicker, forget about tying my hair and Go! Go! get in the car, you are already late to pick them up from school!" Isn't it just great to be free from that school run rut?
School holidays are great time to rejuvenate and recharge by doing everything that is not school related. Forget tuitions and encourage children to learn through play. Allow them to go out and play, jump in muddy puddles, catch tadpoles, play badminton with their neighbourhood children (whom they hardly met during school days) or go explore own backyards for worms, snails and other bugs.  
Variation is the key in keeping children occupied during school breaks, so they will not bug you. If you are not an enemy of the electronic gadgets, let them select a few shows that they could watch when the weather does not permit outdoor games or when you run out of ideas to entertain them or simply need a coffee break, alone. 

Since they are going to be glued to the idiot box for a few hours, you might as well make it worth their time by coaxing them into watching Disney's Fa-la-la-lidays giveaway shows and be in the running to win a holiday trip for four to Hong Kong Disneyland and some other Frozen treats.
All you need to do is watch shows lined up on Disney Channel (Astro channel 615), from 14 November to 14 December 2014 and look out for Frozen-themed contest question of the day, which could be:
  1. guess the number of times Olaf appeared on screen
  2. count the number of falling snowflakes
  3. guess the word
Adorable Olaf

Cuddly Olaf

Once you have your answer, go online to submit your answer (as many times as you want) and be in the chance to winning one of the weekly grand prizes, a trip for four, to Hong Kong Disneyland to meet Princess Elza and Anna in person or Frozen gift packs which are up for grabs, daily.
So what are you waiting for? Head over to for more information.

A little more on the prizes:
Weekly grand prize, family trip to Hong Kong Disneyland for four:
  • 2-Day Park tickets
  • 2-Night stay at Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel
  • Bibbidi Boutique Castle Package
  • Breakfast at Enchanted Garden Restaurant
Daily Prizes:
Disclosure: I was not paid for writing this post

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Thank you for stopping by at A cuppa for my thoughts

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Flawlessly flawed

Am I forty? Not quite, but I am feeling its wrath. Like a thunder pounding on my window, trying to break in and unleash its unwelcomed gifts. Gifts that will take away my agility, ability and abundance of energy to bounce right back up from any given situation - late night, stressful day, good workout and over indulgence - and replace that, with a weaker me.
Not long ago, I could spend a whole evening in gym - working out and not hanging by the juice bar, chatting with a good looking fitness instructors - and feel absolutely no body aches the next day, is unfortunately not how I feel these days. Even if my mind says that I am young, or that I am still 35 years old (I stopped counting after 35), does not tally with my physical condition.

A 20 minutes workout, broke me and forced me to take it very slow for a couple of days after. My limbs became foreign and were no longer in my control. It wobbled like a pair of tentacles that had a mind of its own, not responding to my preconceived actions.

The after effects of this workout almost crippled me and left me with a stiff back, neck and weak knees. It was so bad that I had to seek professional help, who pointed out my weakness and alerted me to start listening to my body.
I was forced to put away my running shoes because I now own of a pair of very weak knees. Knees that can no longer handle the trauma or impact of jogging on hard surface.

The younger me would have scorned at my inability to continue and despised me for being so vulnerable. But it seems like my body's stamina and ability to weather any situation has spiralled downwards almost overnight! After my **th birthday.

What could have caused such a drastic change?

Was it the rich food I had on my surprise birthday party or was my body doing what it was supposed to?

Whatever the reason may be, it shook my believes and I no longer think the notion that says age is just a number, applies to me.

If you see me in person you would think I am being silly or am simply exaggerating matters. Not to blow my own trumpet, but I had been bestowed with a good physique, that had flawlessly hid all my flaws - up until now.

However, having the right weight, figure and height means bollocks in my case. So this new setback is either because I am approaching the big four-oh or maybe it is due to the way I took care of myself in the past. Perhaps, I did not do proper justice to my body and did not feed it with the right food or gave it the required amount of workout.

You will not be able to relate to this if you are in your early twenties or even thirties but trust me, as you move closer to the forties, you might just know what I am talking about. It has magical powers where a lot of changes take place. I repeat, A LOT.

The ‘I’ a year ago is not the same me, I see staring back at me in the mirror today. Suddenly, I see bulges in places it is not supposed to be, my jeans which I had been wearing since my pre-marriage days, even after delivering my babies, has suddenly become tight and uncomfortable, and the most shocking of them all is, (drumroll please...)


Who gets pimples past their adolescent years!!! What, am I going through puberty all over again?!!!

If it was puberty, then why on earth aren't my boobs and buttocks perky like on teenagers? Instead, mine are working quite the opposite, trying to prove Newton's gravity theory (or is it Einstein’s relativity theory?)

I wasn't living a complete sedentary life, though I don't discount the fact that I could have done more in taking care of myself. Judging by the way I feel now and the preview I got on what to expect when I hit forty, is quite disturbing and I don't like it one bit.

I am not so concerned with the way I might look as I age, though a pretty picture is most welcomed. What worries me the most is my inability to keep up with my young children. As long as I can be there to do the things that I need to in good form and without any pain, would be considered a blessing.

I want to be able to keep up with their inexhaustible demands and give them my attention wholeheartedly. I want to be in top form and set a good example on how life is meant to be enjoyed. I want to empower them, educate them and let them know that they are in control of themselves, and how the choices they make today will place an important role in their future.

So it is back to the drawing board for me. To figure out how to sustain my agility. I know anything is possible, even reversing the way I feel but I need to be smart about it and not cause any further hurt to the already hurting me.

Lets get connected:

Thank you for stopping by at A cuppa for my thoughts

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Little stars - Dugrostar Roadshow kick off

It must have been a tough call for the judges to narrow down their search for the Dugrostar semi finals. As detailed in my earlier post Show me your moves!, I gathered there were hundreds of hopeful applicant and some videos did blow my mind. I was amazed at how these little starts had so much talent in them and luckily for them, Dugrostar provided a platform for them to showcase it.
Now we are in the semi final rounds and Dugrostar is holding live performances across the nation and even up to Sabah and Sarawak! I applaud their effort in believing there is a star in every child and making sure children from all over Malaysia, are given an opportunity.
Although I did not make it for the semi finals in Sunway Pyramid because of family commitment I managed to gather information to share with you and reveal (drumroll please) the winners for Klang Valley region.
The winners for category; 3-6 years old:
Third place: Cindy Lim, 5 years old (on piano)
Second place: Vincy Kong Yun Sim, 5 years old (singing)
First place : Ashley Yong Hui Jung, 4 years old (dancing)
Winners with their winnings and judges
and representatives of the Dugrostar Roadshow

It was a fun filled day for all! Even if your children were not part of the semi finals, there was so much for them at the Dugrostar Roadshow. They had special booths that looked like recording studios. Your child can go in record a song or dance or do both and later watch for themselves, their performance . Isn't that simply great!? Your mini-me now has his own performance recorded for keep.
If your child likes strumming your pots and pans at home, there was a special booth, Dugrostar Beat that allowed children to beat on the drums to their hearts content. If this isn't enough to excite you, there were many other booths like Dugrostar Jump (a ball pit for younger stars to have a ball), Dugrostar Step (to move your feet to the beat), Dugrostar Style (face painting station with professional face painters!) and finally a family booth the Dugrostar Celebrity (booth to take family pictures while playing dress up with the costumes provided)
Phew! That sounds like an awful lot of fun and there is still plenty more to go. The Dugrostar Roadshow has not come to an end yet, so keep checking out my post on Show me your moves! and I will keep you posted with the next roadshow, that might just be in your neighbourhood.

The winners for category; 6-10 years old:
Third place: Erika Foo Hann-Yi, 8 years old (singing and playing keyboard)
Second place: Alexandrai Ng Shu Lynn, 6 years old (dancing)
First place: Darius Leong Por Loon, 9 years old (dancing)

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Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation for writing this post. Opinions shared here are all mine and mine alone.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

White for funeral

This post has been revised from my previous post

"It shouldn't be completely white. You need to pick a suit with some colour prints, to suit your age and marital status." That was all my mom said to me before disappearing back into the kitchen. My confusion must have been evidently visible on my face for her to say that.

I have never felt this dumbfounded or confused as I did standing in my bedroom, staring clueless at my colourful wardrobe. I, the maestro at packing suitcases, getting three kids and a dog, all snuggled and buckled up into my minivan in just minutes, had been staring at my closet for the longest time.

Just minutes earlier, I received a phone call that had evoked a certain emotions. Emotions that I had buried deep inside, because it rendered me incapable of performing my duties dutifully.

I was required to pack a little differently this time because my year long travelling, back and forth to my adopted parents' (through marriage) house to care for my ailing mother in law, was finally reaching its expiration.

It is customary to wear white at funerals but it did not feel right packing a white suit. My rebellious heart had not accepted that my daughter's grandmother, who had been valiantly battling a losing battle for three years was finally giving up and succumbing to cancer.

Although it hurt me to see her laying almost lifeless in her bed, an unexplainable comfort was prevalent each time I saw her chest move. So packing a white suit would mean I accepted defeat, on her behalf. What lesson would that teach my children? That I, a mere mortal am playing God by deciding her time was up. Was it really time for her to go, I wondered?

I was aware of her intentions the day she calmly said "I love you" and "I am ready to go", without fumbling over her words or with any sign of weakness. I knew it was for the best, for her and everyone around her, but how do I explain the necessity to pack a white suit to an eight and nine year old? How do I explain to them that they too, are required to dress in certain way? According to a dress code that was deemed suitable, a long time ago by my ancestors from a different land.

It seemed like only yesterday, I explained about
death to my children and now I was about to show them how to dress at a funeral.
A funeral that was holding an empty casket for a person that was still breathing.
A funeral with all the necessary arrangements made but the death of the person it was meant for.
A funeral that was awaiting for the death messenger to take her soul away and leave behind an empty shell.

Alas, I am still standing clueless while clutching my empty bag.

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This post was originally submitted to the yeah write #186 nonfiction challenge, but didn't make the voting grid. I have edited and resubmitted it this week.

While away from home here are “5 WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THEFT”

Scene 1:
A man driving a decent looking car, cruises slowly along the houses in a quiet suburb, watching each house through his dark sunglasses. He slows down and pulls over right in front of a large double-story house. The car door opens and a well dressed gentleman steps out, still looking at the large house through his sunglasses. He moves to the back of his car and takes out a vehicle jack, wheel nut wrench, sharp knives, some cutters, black gloves, a torch, a thick cloth and a flat spare tyre.
Scene 2:
He walks up to the front door of that house while looking at every direction, for onlookers or passers-by. Puts down his stuff and reaches for the door knob. As he grabbed the door knob he lets out an inaudible scream (due to electric jolts), trips over his own stuff and lands hard on his face. Undeterred, he breaks into the house springing a chain reaction of numerous booby traps and suffering various injuries from it.

The above are scenes taken from movies. To some extent, it can pretty much happen in reality but the second scene (from Home Alone) is a little unrealistic because it exhibits superhuman ingenuity and resourcefulness in holding down the fort (Jonathan Rosenbaum - critic reviewer). Not many are capable of coming up with the cleverly thought and well planned booby traps in order to safeguard one's own house from burglary. Furthermore these booby traps will only render your house to be in shambles judging from the condition of the house at the end of the movie.
Year end is just around the corner, which marks the start of a long awaited holiday season. It is the time schools will close for weeks, hard working people will get their yearly bonuses and many would flock to the airport, train station or bus station to kick off their holidays. Year long planning will finally take off and you're off to some exotic destination, to de-stress. Wouldn't that be truly great if indeed holidays were worrisome free?

In reality, it is far fetched because holiday season is when a lot of thefts and break-ins happen. So safeguarding your house while you are away is crucial. You can accidentally leave one of your child behind, like in Home Alone and hope that he is capable of rigging the house with ingenious booby traps or you can follow these five, certainly more realistic, ways to ensure your house is safe while you are away.

 Burglar proofing tips:
"We're not home. Burglars, come in!"

  1. Create an illusion of someone home.
This tip was inspired by Home Alone but my solution is not as extensive as that from the movie, it is a much simpler and a more achievable solution. Ensure you hold or redirect your snail mails and newspapers to a different address because huge pile of letters on your front doorsteps or envelopes sticking out of your mailbox is an instant tip-off that translates to "we're not home. Burglars come on in!" Invest in a timer that will light up and switch off lights - automatically, in different parts of the house. You can do the same with your radio and TV.

  1. Shush!
Hold off the urge to share photos of your vacation on social medial, even if you captured a picture of a life mermaid and want to tell the whole world of their existence. This is another tip-off that you're not at home so your bluff is called and you can no longer rely on tip number one.

  1. Love thy neighbour
Give a set of keys and details of your vacation to your trusted neighbour or a friend so that they can contact you in case of an emergency. You may also get them to move your car, water your plants, feed your fish, clear your stuffed mailbox, switch on and off your lights (if you're a cheapskate to invest in a timer) and make your house inhabitable by the time you get back from your vacation while they dutifully watched over your house! - OK that's a wee bit too much but if your neighbourly bond is strong, go for it!

"You don't want to mess with me. Walk away!"

  1. Make your house appear impenetrable
Make your house look like a fortress which shouts “You don’t want to mess with me. Walk away!” Ensure shrubs and bushes are well trimmed, and no gardening tools are left in the open because these can be used by an intruder to break into your home. You may want to install lightings or motions detectors outside the house. If your house has an alarm, advertise it but outsmart any potential burglars by sticking on your wall, a poster from a different alarm company. This might confuse the burglar when he is unable to disarm your actual alarm system. Installing fake cameras is another good option.
  1. Purchase a theft protection policy for your home.
You can take one step further by insuring your home and personal belongings with AIG Malaysia's Theft Protect - a brand new two-in-one theft protection policy for both in and out of home. This way if all others fails, you can rely on your insurance policy to cushion your fall. 

Wouldn't this be a much better way to leave your home during this holiday season? A truly stress free break, for you to rejuvenate.

Happy holidays.
 Disclaimer: I was not paid by AIG for writing this post
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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Inner peace

A year long travel.
My weekends dedicated to you
but you still left me.
I should have been in shambles.
 Instead I feel inner peace,
because you're in a better place.

Friday, 7 November 2014

My love affair...

I was not a big fan of soups because of my limited knowledge on types of soups available and it looked like they involved an awfully long time to prepare. The only soups I had grown accustomed to were the ones you get with an order of chicken rice, my mom's special herbs and spice soup or mushroom soup.

As I started venturing further into the culinary world (by watching cook shows), I was overwhelmed by the choices of soups and never dared to taste any of it. It wasn't until the day after I delivered my first born. My mom in law had prepared a special herbal soup which had ingredients I could not name or identify. At first I was a little apprehensive but I finished the whole bowl after my first sip! There was no turning back thereafter.

Soup is served on almost a daily basis in my house these days because it is easy to prepare, it is nutritious and my kids love soup. With just a simple recipe I managed to whip up three scrumptious meals.
Soup making has gone to a whole new level of ease with new kitchen gadgets and my life has become so much easier with the arrival of this humble looking crackpot.
It is straight forward and requires no prior experience to operate. As long as you know some basic operating rules, you are on your way to making meals while you sleep!

I'll be discussing more about the wonders of crackpot in my up coming recipes, so don't forget to connect with me to avoid missing out on these recipes.
As I was saying, meals while are asleep. It cannot get any easier than that.

My chicken soup (which I learned by watching my mom in law) is fairly simple to make but is power packed with wholesome goodness. To make this soup, all you need is free range chicken with as much meat removed. It like bone broth although I do add some meaty pieces of chicken to the pot.

The reason behind me putting meat is to allow me to make something more than mere bone broth from it. Keep reading and you will understand why.

Bone broth
Free range chicken bones + some fleshy parts (just pick any part of chicken)
Enough water to cover the chicken but make sure you don't fill your crackpot up to the brim, to avoid spillage.
1 whole skinned onion
1 celery stick
Small knob of ginger.

I like to rinse the chicken with hot boiling water to remove any impurities and excess fat.
Put everything into crackpot and cover with just enough water and no seasoning is required. Close the lid and cook on slow for 12-24 hours.

I usually do this after my cup of coffee at tea time and forget about it till the next day, at lunch time.

The next day, I scoop out as much soup as I want and remove all the tender juicy meat off the bones. Then I return to bones to the crackpot so it can continue simmering in my crackpot for another round of hearty soup at dinner.

If I am serving rice or noodles, I would add some steamed carrots or potatoes into my broth and season it with salt.

If it's noodles, I would stir fry some garlic and prawns in a wok. Then add a dash of oyster, sweet and light soy sauce, and the broth to this mixture. When ready, ladle as much flavoured soup as you like into your bowl of  boiled noodles and top it up with some shredded chicken, fried garlic and spring onions. Another meal made in minutes.

If you are looking for a lighter meal or quick snack, boil some eggs and grate them using a grater, a tip I learned by watching my mom-in-law. Trust me, this works faster than mashing hard boiled eggs and the end result, a well combined sandwich spread.
Combine the shredded chicken with eggs and some finely chopped onions, celery, cucumber and mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and let it chill in the refrigerator so the flavours can mature (or eat it immediately, works both ways).

Serve it chilled on your favourite slice of bread or sandwich it between to slices of bread with some aged cheddar cheese and toast it in a sandwich maker or on a hot plate.

For more recipes, don't be shy to head over to my Recipes page
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