Monday, August 31, 2009

52nd Independence Day

Day in, day out & today is another celebration of our independence. Without fail we have a grand fiesta every August 31st in conjunction with our National Day. How deep really is our understanding of this day?

Yasmin & Wardah, I have elaborated to them the true meaning of such day. But again being born in an independent Malaysia, I perhaps am not the best person to make them appreciate the magical force behind the word "Merdeka!".

Then, my late grandfather used to tell me tales during his younger days. How difficult life was... Having experience the era of the British & the tormenting period during the Japanese, his stories gave some inputs of how grateful I should be. He kept stressing us to appreciate school, to study hard. In fact, those were his last words before his sudden death due to a road accident. I miss him so... (Al-Fatihah...).

I understand very well why he kept telling us to appreciate school. During his time, not all were granted the time to go to school & study. They had their daily chores to help the family. Poverty was another reason. How sad to think of it now when youngsters play truant & consider school a big burden.

I keep on reminding my girls to be thankful. It is such a big word to them I realise, which why almost daily I have the similar standard phrase of nag. So what if they get fed up? One day I am sure their mature mind will accept, process it wisely & digest it. Hopefully they will become a better person inside out, insyaAllah....

The other night I was watching this telemovie about Independence Day & as expected I cried buckets. I doubt if I did watch it 20 years back, the impact would be the same. Now I can relate to the whole situation wisely & when it comes to my children that was when shine turned to rain. It was the feeling of gratefulness over sadness.

Nadeen is of course too young to understand but Balqis has taught her to hold the Jalur Gemilang & say out "Merdeka!" Does Balqis know what "Merdeka" is all about? I doubt it. Once when we were in Dubai, she pointed to the UAE flag & said "Jalur Gemilang, Merdeka!". Errkk..!
She was 2 then but I'm yet to find out what she has to say about "Merdeka" now.

Wardah knows the facts of our Independence but the true feeling of it she still has a long way to learn & appreciate. In fact, it was only yesterday she asked me "Mama, would there be any fireworks tonight?" Get what I mean...? :-)

Yasmin on the other hand, might be a few steps ahead from her sister. It is difficult to know what she thinks of things. Prefer to keep it to herself. However as her mom, I think she understands the big meaning behind the word "Merdeka!". All based from her reading of course. Yesterday, I received a free copy of Berita Harian & there was a few articles on Independence Day. Showed them to her & I noticed the article on the Communists attracted her attention.

I'm sure not all are aware but I have this tool which monitor the traffic to my blogs. What I realise for the past few years, early August is when the traffic gets the busiest. It is all due to my posting on "Merdeka Poem". To those who are new to my blog, you may read it here.

To everyone, Happy National Day. May we stay independent forever & progress to the better. Amin...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Birds & The Bees

A week has passed & Alhamdulillah, Yasmin & Wardah are coping very well fasting. Not really a surprise as this year is not their first experience. Balqis has not yet tried. She did join us for sahur though, twice. Well... that's a good start for a 4 years old, right? ;-)

I've been quite occupied this week & it will get busier next week with school recommences. As some are aware, I have a little business selling cookies in Ramadhan. Only two types & the simplest to make - Choc Chips & Butter Cornflakes. I have finally gotten hold of a few packages of fine sugar yesterday. Now that all the ingredients bought, I may start with cornflakes anytime now but choc chips, I've started once Ramadhan started.

Back to the title... I wanted to share with you about a book I bought 2 months back. This book was introduced to me by a friend. She has a teenage son & the book helps to assist both mother & son to teach & learn about developments in anatomy, changes in feelings & from there his mom can go further discussing the birds & the bees.

I 'm sure most parents out there find it difficult to be open about it. Not that I am bragging but I did not encounter any problem when I had the discussion with Yasmin. Perhaps it was an easy task when it involved a mom & her daughter. Yasmin's mature mind helped a lot too. She took it as another piece of knowledge & there was not even once she went "urgh.." or smiling of embarrassment.

This is the book. Since it is edited & published in the US, there are a few things which we as parents need to play our part. Towards the final chapter of the book it touches on safe sex. Definitely not our culture & especially to my religion. Still we need to take that piece of information in a positive way but with guidance. I'm pretty sure you understand what I meant.

There are a few pictures attached but not to worry they are all drawn. No photography which I'm sure might be misled ;-) Here are some excerpts of the contents.

I am a member of the Popular Bookstore. No... not me. Yasmin actually. I used her name during registration & was granted a student card which allows the holder to enjoy the benefits offered. Membership fees? Half price cheaper for students ;-) I don't really agree to points accumulation offered by the other bookstore. I don't want points which I can redeem but prefer a discounted price anytime I purchase a book or even stationery.

This book is usually a hot cake. It might not be at the shelf. In fact, I didn't get the book straight away. It was out of stock. Made a booking with no payment needed & a week after, I received a phone call to collect my book. Simple.

I was browsing the net yesterday for a book on smocking (Yes, this is my latest craze!). Fell for a book which definitely suits me as a beginner. Tried my luck to call the bookstore & I managed a booking via a phone call. How convenient... It saves not only time but also the cash. How many times have you spent on something else when the exact thing you plan to buy was not available? Plenty of times... I'm sure :-) I was in the same boat.

Now, here is a glimpse of my venture in smocking. Don't let the dress deceive you...

My smocking needs a lot of brushing up so hurry book...! (will update on the end product of the dress ;-D)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I did it again & again & again... HELP!

Before I share my guilt... I would like to wish -

"Selamat menghayati bulan Ramadhan. Semoga Ramadhan ini menjadi Ramadhan yang lebih bermakna daripada Ramadhan yang lepas. Saya juga ingin memohon maaf kepada semua atas segala salah silap saya selama ini. Semoga ibadah kita diterima Allah..."

We will start fasting this Saturday & it is a relief that the school break will officially start. The truth, my girls have been cutting school this week ever since Tuesday. Test is over & with this outbreak, home is the safest place. Balqis anyhow was in her kindy today. There was a photography session which she refused to skip.

She loved the attention she had with the mask I made ;-)

Okay, back to the title up there. I did it again... You should know by now that I have been bitten by this sewing bug. A very big one I assume. What hindered me to get a sewing machine before was due to space. I'm an organised person. Really can't live in a war zone. I however , managed to get myself this rattan chest box at R&R Melaka. It really does its trick to store most all my sewing stuffs.

Notice that it is put the other way around by the wall? That is meant for Nadeen. The other girls know well that they are not supposed to open it at all. Many times Nadeen tried to do so but so far, no luck ;-)

The many not yet touched fabrics are resting underneath... Shhh!

Both the sewing machines & overlock machines are now sharing the big study table with the girls' desktop. At the corner next to the over lock machine is where I secure any sharp tools as I am pretty sure Nadeen will manage to solve the mystery to open the chest one day.

As some are aware my latest craze now is making DIY tudungs. These are a few of my needlework...

My maiden touch...

This one has a button at the back like the h*jaba

My raya tudung which Wardah loves madly.

A dear friend modeling the tudung I made for her & Nadeen in my niece kiddy tudung.

This one is my favourite so far...

Like them? ;-) The problem now here is I fail to control my lust over purchasing fabrics & more fabrics... I came across my first jersey materials in Kamdar, Mid Valley & the results are all the tudungs you viewed on top. I still have a few jerseys left but I fail to stop myself from getting more!

My first face to face with printed jerseys & cotton jerseys was at Gulati's. I was almost flying in happiness... Now, these were what I got myself. Frankly, they are still in fabrics. Not yet cut, neither sewn, deep down the chest :-)

I googled for more jersey materials just to find out how good is the quality I bought at Gulati's. Landed myself onto a few blogs & forums which mentioned a lot of "kedai kain SS2". Instead of further finding out about Gulatis's materials, I googled for the shops in SS2. Today, I made my mainden entry to both shops including the Kamdar nearby.

The materials I fell for at Mikawah

Though I was aware of the costly prices at Zhouhou, I just could not resist the many patterns offered. True that Mikawah offers better prices & quality too (I think...) but at Zhouhua, the many fabrics on displayed could really hypnotise you.

These were what I lost to.

They even have Japanese coduroy. Plan to make something for Nadeen & Balqis.

True like what HB said. This hobby which he thought would cut the household budget has turned into an expensive hobby. Errk....!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Selera Abah Cafe

I managed to catch up with a dear friend last Wednesday & I know I took way too long to update this. So before it goes further basi, I got to put a halt to whatever I plan for tonight & get over with this one.

I promised Shida the brochures the girls voluntarily collected from our recent vacation in February (you may want to start off with the adventure here). Managed to compile all of them together & only did I discover that we own several duplicate copies. Including the menu served on the Tranzcoastal! :-)

We agreed on a meeting point. Since she stays in a secluded residential in Bangi... ;-), & I in the suburbia of Puchong (woohoo!), Equine Park suited us fine. Without doubt it was really an advantage to me but again, Shida was on leave unlike me who was merely on a break before I punched my card again to fetch the girls from school. A very valid reason, right babe? Hehehe...

Thought of giving an old friend's cafe our maiden visit & it was not a disappointment at all. Selera Abah Cafe might not look like the kopitiam in town. Situated in Bandar Putra Permai which I'm pretty sure many of us including yours truly is very ignorant about. It is without doubt a new developing residential area. Not many entrepeneurs have ventured the many lots offered but Eddie & Ika took the chance anyway. Their cafe stands out from the cocoon of this budding township.

The cafe offers the authentic Johorean Cuisine & I was informed that the briyani there is a must try. Anyhow, we both skipped the signature dish but made a pledge to return for it. We were there at 330pm & had no intention to jeopardise our not so ideal weights for a plate of lamb briyani during teatime! We settled for the noodles instead.

Mee Bandung which according to Shida, the best she ever tasted.

I had this mouth-watering Mee Hailam but Balqis who tagged along & announced earlier she was not eating, claimed the rights of it.

Shida with Balqis & her afternoon tea meal.

We will be back & I promise it will be on a lunch time with empty stomachs. Why not you? The landmark to the cafe is the Pasar Borong Selangor near Equine Park. Take the left turn at the Petronas kiosk. A corner lot next to a clinic.

Now here is the address - 17-1, Jalan BPP 5/3, Bandar Putra Permai, 43300 Seri Kembangan

A pose with an old friend, Eddie in front of his Selera Abah Cafe.

Amongst the foods I copied from the email he sent me. And Eddie.. it still puts me in a puzzling state of mind of how the products from a C appear bigger & clearer in my blog compared to the ones captured from a N. Hehehe...!


Lamb Briyani

Roti Bakar

Asam Pedas Ikan Jenahak

Monday, August 10, 2009

An Appreciation

Of all my life I knew that I was never good in art. How funny that art was the subject in school I worried would paint my report book red. There was once in Form 3 we had to come out with a water colour scenery during the final & the title I naively chose was "Kebakaran". The drawing part was quite smooth for me but when it was time to colour, my art piece came out simply red. No tones of red, but just red. It was like the art paper itself was burning. I was worried sick I failed that one... True that I won't get a scolding from my parents but the thought of having a red shade in the report book for the first time was quite frustrating. Apparently I passed... with a C- -. A double minus but was written in blue. Pheeww!

Art was also another aspect I fell for HB. He is good in drawing, sketches especially. The girls whenever the art question for the exam comes out will straight consult their father. They know well, their mom is lousy at it.

A few days back however, I was thrilled to accept an award from Kak Nannie. She awarded me with this... Thanks a bunch Kak Nannie. Appreciate it a lot!

Check that out! I'm creative... Woohoo! Which made me thinking. It does not mean that you need to be artistic to be creative. It is in you. Hiding & waiting for the right channel to come out. You sure need creativity to be an artist but a creative mind does not need merely art. Think about it... ;-D

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Almost Perfect

I have been abandoning my blogs, I know. I do have things to share but when your mind is not really into it, the piece I composed to publish is better off unshared. Writing without passion is like choc cake minus the topping. I have to blame my new found love for this. My passion romancing the thread & needle is really getting into me. Need I go for help? ;-)

For the record, I have completed all the girls' baju kurung for raya this year. I still have ample material to self make my own. We really are doing the boria thing this year. To tell you the truth, it was such a bore making the same bajus from the same fabric with identical design. My mind looks forward to play around with the many other materials I purchased... Yes, I now collect fabrics. Not much to HB's liking which many he has no idea about, Shhh...!

I made the normal baju kurung pesak for Nadeen & Balqis. Opted to make baju kurung pahang for Wardah & Yasmin which turned out quite good, well... that's what I think. I might as well choose the pahang version as well for myself. Will start with the cutting real soon.

Most of the time however, I am distracted with this urge in making tudungs. Yes, I am into DIY tudungs now! Seriously.... Hahaha! I'm not a fan of the ones with awning but I do enjoy making them. What I love most is matching the colours & patterns. Really can go crazy at a textile store nowadays.

My time sewing is limited in the afternoon when both elder girls are in school. Nadeen usually takes a long nap after her lunch & once awake, she enjoys having her yogurt or cheese slices while watching her many Barney & Friends VCD. Sometimes at night too, after the girls' bedtime. Normally, I do the cutting or finalising the hems. That is only if HB is away. He commented once that my time was usually taken facing my Brother rather than spending the time with him. It really got into me... So now, I am more disciplined with this hobby. Though how passionate I can be, my husband & especially the girls are my utmost priority.

Now, talk about the girls... I recently enrolled Yasmin & Wardah for Drama Class. My main intention is for them to be confident in their speeches, words articulation especially. At first my concern was strictly on Yasmin. I have seen her potential in public speeches but she has this tendency to speed up her presentation & at times she sounds like mumbling in between words. Wardah on the other hand loves the limelight of becoming an actor :-) She once tried to coax me to send her for a "Geng Bas Sekolah" audition. Hehehe... No, I did not play supir for her that time as I could foresee her father's response :-D She looks up on Yasmin. She does not have the guts to do a solo act in front of a big crowd. In fact, she was never given the chance. She surprised me though when she volunteered for a last minute preparation of an inter-class story telling competition last week. She admitted that she was very scared & extremely nervous. Only her legs though suffered the outcome, not her voice.... As she put it, " Kaki Wardah bergoyang atas stage." Hehehe....

The girls had a wonderful time in their first drama class. Yasmin especially fitted comfortably in her group. I was not allowed to observe the upper level group (ages 9 - 12) but I had the chance with Wardah in the lower level (ages 4 -8).

In each session, they are given a situation & each one has to role play. Wardah from my observation felt awkward being watched when asked to present in front. But I am sure in no time she will get over her shyness & be a favourite in her group. Yasmin surprised me though. I was not allowed to be in the same room with her group, instead I was advised to peek from outside. I saw the other side of Yasmin which I am not so sure I am familiar with. She brought herself confidently in the group & when she presented in front, it came out naturally. Very impromptu & creative as well.

I didn't expect to add another activity to their hectic schedule. But I have long looked for such class to boost up their confidence in speeches & polish their fluency in English. Nothing offered in Puchong but many to choose from outside Puchong. That was years ago... I apparently have stopped searching when the girls became occupied with lots of activities. A quick chat with my best friend however refreshed my intention as she found one centre offering what I was looking for in the heart of Puchong. What captured my attention was the philosophy of the academy... " Helen O'Grady Children's Drama Academy is about communication skill development, not about creating STARS!" You may want to give the homepage a visit.

The time is very convenient. It is on Saturdays. If you still remember every Saturday, Yasmin' s piano starts at 9am & Wardah's at 9.30am. Wardah's an hour drama class begins at 10.30am & Yasmin's at 11.30am. Balqis finishes her Ballet at noon & half an hour after that, we should be on our way home. The venue? Less than a 10mins walk from one place to another. Almost perfect...

Here are some photos taken using my phone during Wardah's first session.

Have a wonderful weekend!