Sunday, August 31, 2008

Welcome Ramadhan Al-Mubarak

This eve begins the Holy month of Ramadhan. The ninth month in the Islamic Calender. The month to seek for forgiveness, protection & mercy from Allah. The spring season for goodness & virtues. It offers an opportunity to strengthen the Iman, purify the heart & soul & to remove the previous sins committed. As said by the Prophet Muhammad SAW :

"Anyone who fasts within this month with purity of belief & with expectation of good reward (from his Creator) will have his previous sins forgiven"

And the Prophet SAW reminded us:

"There are those who get nothing from their fast but hunger & thirst. There are those who get nothing from their nightly prayers but loss of sleep"

Ramadhan is indeed a special month to all Muslims. Let's take this opportunity to multiply our Ibadah (worship & obedience towards Allah). May this Ramadhan will be a better Ramadhan, insyaAllah...

To all my Muslim readers, May we benefit the merits & virtues that this Ramadhan offers... Amin.

Friday, August 29, 2008

My Merdeka Episode

This week is the final week before the Holy month of Ramadhan. My plan was just to sit back & relax for I know Ramadhan will be a little bit occupied for me. What more with my 2 elder girls have started fasting & my helper is going back home for Raya holiday 10 days before Syawal.

HB was around from Monday to Wednesday. So was still busy doing errands to the bank, buying groceries at hypermarket & even the wet market (I was able to excuse myself this time, he went with his friend).

Wednesday evening, I was sort of looking forward to Thursday. HB would be away even though for only 2 days, still the time to myself. Do not have to worry about his lunch & dinner. Simply make do with whatever I cook for the girls. Sometimes, my helper will play chef in my kitchen. HB does not eat my helper's cooking.

OK. Still Wednesday evening. I fetched Wardah from school & she was so excited telling me about how she was selected by her teacher to represent her class in a
Pertandingan Pakaian Kreatif Hari Kemerdekaan which would he held on Friday. Friday! Only a day to prepare...

I understood why the teacher chose her. Besides her girly self, I won the jackpot too. This I gathered from what Wardah told me about her teacher's remark - "
Mama Wardah kan mesti kreatif..." Hahaha... Yeah, right! ;-) Perhaps she was also aware of me as a stay at home mom. Pandai Cikgu. ;-)

So, this was my plan. Wardah owns this
kebaya nyonya which she has outgrown but still can fit the sarong. Thought of using her white baju kurung uniform for the top & the sarong for bottom. Simply make do with any big flag as a shawl. Hmm.. was that creative or what? Not at all!

I needed to improvise. I could dress her up with lots of
Jalur Gemilang which would make her look more like a clown, I think. Definitely I am far more creative than making a laughing-stock out of Wardah. So, I came out with this marvelous idea. My plan was to make Wardah wear the colours of the flag instead of wearing the very flag.

I was to cut out a crescent & a star (bear in mind, 14 points...
susah tu) & paste it onto her baju kurung. For her shawl, I bought 2 ribbons, red & white. At first I was rather hesitated to make the shawl. The thought of sewing it in less than a day... But glad whilst driving home I visualised my glue gun hibernating in my drawer. That would do the trick! The problem was the white baju kurung. The background to the royal colour is blue not white. Was contemplating whether to dye the old uniform blue or get one new plain blue baju kurung for her.

Thursday afternoon. I sent off Wardah to school & at the same time fetched Yasmin home. Yasmin was all smiling entering the car & announced.

"I volunteered to take part in the same competition like Wardah..."

WHAT? Seriously I was speechless. OK, I know it was a good thing that she volunteered but with half a day notice?? These girls were really testing their mom's creativity not to mention patience... Grrrr! It showed how tensed I was with her news that I missed the junction to go to Balqis's kindergarten. Hahaha!

I was very glad though to find out that Yasmin had planned what to wear. She chose to wear her
lehenga & skirt which she wore last year during Sunway Pyramid Ice Merdeka celebration (my girls used to be active in ice skating). Thank you Yasmin for taking the burden off my shoulders. But the lehenga is sleeveless and kind of short. It might suit the crowd in Sunway but in her school, hmm... I doubt it.

Again mama has to be creative... At 230pm, I sent off Yasmin for
mengaji & went out to JJ. Well, I tried Tesco first (malas nak keluar jauh konon) but didn't find anything that agreed to my creative mind... hehehe. Alhamdulillah, at JJ I got Yasmin a long sleeve white baby T (wanted to get short sleeves but I think long is more elegant) & a plain blue baju kurung for Wardah. Not exactly the blue but that was the best I could get.

Later in the evening I found out from Wardah that she had to model on a runaway to parade the
baju kreatif. Good thing that I got her a better one. It's not that she can't use the baju after the competition. Another pair for her mengaji collection ;-)

OK, this was how I prepared the red & white striped shawl. I also made a red & white striped headband for Yasmin.

I sewed each end to a band for Yasmin's headband

What do you think?

Yasmin with her classmates

Yasmin & Wardah far right during a Merdeka celebration performace at Sunway Pyramid Ice last year

Now, Wardah with her Jalur Gemilang theme.

Today, Yasmin came home with 2 prizes. She was the 2nd runner up. Another prize was for a Merdeka Quiz which she obtained the 1st prize. Wardah on the other hand, was awarded a consolation prize for her fifth place. No matter what, I am so proud of both of you!! Love you! Mmmmuuuah!

Yasmin & Wardah, what is important here is the meaning of Independence. True that we are celebrating our 51st nationhood this Sunday, 31st August 2008. But what do you understand of being independent? Readers, care to share...


Monday, August 25, 2008

Kota Kinabalu - Trip toThe Markets & Farewell

Okay, this is the continuation of the KK trip. Fatigued after the hike, the girls woke up quite late the following morning. Gone the thought of going to a nearby island. But I knew what I wanted to do. Shopping! ;-)

We had breakfast in the room. I was busy feeding Nadeen to monitor what the girls ordered with HB. Somebody had to order cornflakes cereal from room service? I wonder who that was...

HB found out about a Pasar Tamu somewhere near the hotel. He after all this time night stopping in KK had never once been to Pasar Tamu, decided to check it out with us. I suppose Pasar Tamu is meant for the Tamu - guests. That is why it is held only on weekends. Right? Wrong?

The girls at the lobby waiting for the walk (no more hike... pheww!) to Pasar Tamu

Even Nadeen was thrilled!

As we were approaching the market, I was amazed with the crowd right in front of my eyes. What more at 11am, under the hot sun...

I had nothing in particular to buy. Just some souvenirs. It was very interesting observing the items sold. You can find almost every souvenir you can think of from jeweleries to handcrafts & even plants.

I was most of the time shooting photos. Nadeen was in the stroller with HB pushing. The other girls were most of the time with me. You should be there to witness me stopping here & there focusing my lens. Whenever I stopped, Yasmin & Wardah were ready to take control of Balqis. They understood well of their mama's passion in photography. Thanks girls! Muuwwah..!Pardon me for some of the underexposed shots. HB disliked the idea of me carrying my big flash around & at the same time had to monitor the girls. He had a point there... So, I simply made do with the built-in flash. Enjoy the pictures.



Sea shells

A table lamp out of shells

More jeweleries

Air plants - no soil needed

Hens & chicks

Machetes (parang)

More parangs


Old coins



Weaved bags

More shells

I liked this in particular. A hat or a table lamp top? I forgot to ask.

Food. Not sure what they were called though. I was told they were made out of beans.


Someone was even playing the Gamelan

Designer purses anyone? ;-)

Even puppies!

Girls will be girls. Look at HB entertaining his girls choosing pearl bracelets. Lucky him they did not really cost him a fortune ;-)

Yasmin was somehow attracted to these hats & HB was again doing the bargaining.

He wanted to buy this one for me. Good for gardening he said (his wife quit long ago after finding out her hands were no green..)

I was checking out the pearls but did not fall for any

We treated the girls for ice cream. All of them but Nadeen. I couldn't bear looking at her watching her sisters licking on their share. Wellllll.... I did give her to taste but she did not like it. Not used to the cold, I guess ;-)

An elderly local man passed by whilst the girls were busy with their treat. He fell for Nadeen & was trying to bargain with the girls to give their youngest sis away.

Obviously Yasmin & Wardah knew that man was only joking but look at Balqis. She could not keep her eyes off him. Her ice cream forgotten, melted in her hand... hehehe. She is very protective over Nadeen.

Who would resist this girl?

I wanted to go to the Philipines Market. Like it or not the whole troop had to follow the General's command ;-). This was the overhead bridge to Pasar Besar Kota Kinabalu. One thing I realised about KK, there were lots of not sure whether the locals or immigrants conducting their business along the corridor. Well, I guess better that than begging.

It sure was a long bridge

Pasar Besar Kota Kinabalu

What did I tell you...? Another corridor trading.

I of course did not miss a chance of good photos. These were amongst the items sold along the corridor of the market.

Dried & salted fish

Not sure about this one. Perhaps another type of salted fish.

A local delicacy


The market was huge. This is the place HB gets our dried anchovies & shrimps supply. Sometimes prawns too. They are fresh from the ocean & pretty cheap too. KK is like his second hometown. We however did not go to the wet market. He knew well how I didn't really like it ;-)

This was one of the stalls at the dry area


HB at his regular stall. My mom-in-law loves to snack on this kuih cincin as she calls it. (check the arrow in the centre)

Next was the place that I had heard so much but had never been. The Philipines Market. I'd been wanting to shop for...

Yeah right... Not exactly. I was looking for these actually... ;-) Crystal accessories.

Seriously the authority needs to do something about the ventilation in this market. It was incredibly stuffy. I had to thank HB for babysitting the younger girls outside while I was in my shoppingland...hehehe. We then headed to a nearby food court for a drink & found coconuts! My girls' favourite.

Yasmin's conical-shaped hat, not only served to cover from the sunlight but also as a fan . Nadeen tasted her first drops of coconut drink. Frankly, this trip to KK, Nadeen's taste bud was slowly introduced to food beyond baby food ;-)

HB & I chose to drink in the plastic glass. The girls of course didn't know that ours tasted better with added sugar. Theirs were totally pure coconut drink... hehehe.

By now, I'm an expert nursing my baby in public. Hahaha! Nobody even noticed. Of course I know. I have another set of eyes observing. HB's. He thought I didn't know but whenever Nadeen was thirsty, I could see him guiding the surrounding making sure I got nothing to expose... ;-) Whilst Nadeen was feeding, Balqis climbed onto the stroller & even buckled herself up! Check out the pictorial chronicle of Balqis & her coconut drink.

I told HB that I needed air-conditioned room so badly. I even stepped into a pharmacy with my troop pretending to get something. Just for the air-cond really... ;-) Again pretended that the thing I was looking for was not there & stepped out. Hahaha!

HB took us to Plaza Warisan instead. We tried Big Apple donuts (had to find a better excuse for free air-conditioner... ). It was our first time & none of us liked the donuts. HB always prefer DD & the girls & I are fans of JC.

HB & Yasmin choosing the donuts for us

I rested for like 5 minutes. Wardah volunteered to play with Nadeen.

The donuts.Can you see the resemblance to JC? You can read here.

Finally back to the hotel. We opted for a cab. Here are the girls cramping at the backseat. (pssst... Wardah, you got choc on your tooth!)

Later in the evening, before checking out , we had a quick tea. Thanks to the staff of the hotel for such hospitality.

All this while I never let my girls touch my dslr. But this trip Wardah braved herself. She was lucky as don't know why both HB & I were rather laid-back with the idea. Had been snapping pictures whenever she had the chance. In fact, she does have talent. Remember the Babysitting posting? That video, I later found out was her idea. These are the photos she took while HB was at the reception checking out & me holding my sleeping Nadeen.

We enjoyed this ad hoc vacation. I was kind of worried about HB though. It might be a vacation to us but he was really officially on duty. But knowing him, responsibility is his utmost priority. I could have shopped more that day but he cut it short for. He needed his nap. Perhaps it was his duty as a father to take his girls for a holiday but he owed the passengers whom flying with him, his rest. He did take a nap whilst I was on duty keeping the girls' volume low ;-)

This is the last shot of them for this trip at KK International Airport

The End.