Random Matters

Sorry for the lack of updates.  Feeling languid today (lack of sleep again) and seemed to have left my mojo some where and still looking for it 😞.

This morning as I was browsing Facebook, I read with disgust and shock that my friend’s blog was defaced by some Indonesian hackers (see pic below), as counter attack over their country’s flag being erroneously printed upside down in the souvenir booklet of the SEA Games.

Several Malaysian websites including some relatively unknown blogs have been hacked after the flag blunder. Could my blogs be one of them?

P A N I C  mode turned on!

With a pounding heart, I quickly whipped out my phone and tried hopping to my blogs. I could not wait to turn on my desktop computer as starting the PC takes 10-15 minutes. As I waited for my blogs’ to load, I felt a tad dizzy from the panic. Thankfully my sites are not affected, phew!

On a side note, I finally got hold of the book Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother by Amy Chua.  For the longest time, I’ve been wanting to get this book from the book store.  Finally Drama Queen borrowed it for me from her school library. She borrowed the book a few months ago and had finished reading it.  It looks like she will have to keep renewing the dates at the library coz with my perpetual busyness I am most likely going to take weeks or maybe even months to finish it 😧

Precious Locks Finally Chopped

16 August 2017: Today in history, my second daughter was willing to have her beloved hair at almost waist length cut short.

Everyone was in disbelief when Drama Queen announced last week that she wanted to cut her hair to chin-length to donate it to Locks of Hope. In the past, she would bawl like a baby and create a big scene at the hair salon each time she was forced and dragged to the salon by her dad and grandma. She created so much drama, fuss and river of tears at the salon till her dad and grandma gave up. The hairdresser who cut her hair felt so bad and was almost in tears too on seeing how utterly shattered the little sobbing girl was . After the 2 ugly scenes at the hair salon, Drama Queen learned how to cut her hair on her own. I only found out that she’s been cutting her hair herself when I saw traces of bits of hair scattered in the bathroom. Upon grilling her relentlessly, she finally admitted. And I must say that she’s really good at cutting her own hair; layered some more! Drama Queen hated hair salons and hated all the hairdressers at our neighborhood. She loved her long precious locks too much to let anyone cut it. She told me that she didn’t trust any hairdresser with her hair as there isn’t a single time that she’s totally satisfied after the hair cut.

So what made Drama Queen make an about-turn? From pro-long hair to pro-short hair?

1. Her long time desire to donate her hair so that some cancer patients could have a wig made from her hair.
2. A few years ago at the height of coercing her to cut short her hair, her grandma threw her a challenge – that if she agreed to have her hair cut short, she would get 10 novels of her choice from grandma.
3. A challenge by her friend in a Truth or Dare game

I kept asking Drama Queen if she was absolutely certain on her decision to have her hair cut short as there is no turning back except to wait for a year for the hair to grow long again, to which she reassured me that she will have zilch regret. For days, she kept bugging me to bring her to the hair salon. She even prepared a brand new Ziplock bag to keep her hair.

And so here she is, fresh from her hair cut at the hair salon. And she’s so proud of herself for taking this leap of faith.


Here’s a hundred brownie points to you my dear Sherilyn. I’m proud of you. I know you have been waiting anxiously to see this post 😉

Fruitful Wednesday

Today has been a fruitful day for me.  The context of fruitful to me means every item on my Daily To Do list is ticked off and everything goes smoothly without any stumbling block  😇

After my morning run, I took a quick shower, did a second round of laundry, had a real quick breakfast of DURIAN (hehe!) with green tea, heated up food for Drama Queen and Cass for lunch and zoomed off to school to drop off their lunch boxes. Today is their CoCo day in school.

Lunch for Drama Queen and Cass today consists of braised boneless chicken breast with potatoes and carrots with rice, which the mil cooked last evening. She carefully deboned the chicken thighs so that her two much-loved grand daughters could gobble down their lunch fuss-free within the short 20 minutes during break time.

After dropping off the lunch boxes in school, I drove to the post office to tick this task that’s been on my To Do list for AGES. I finally changed my voting venue. From day 1 that I got my IC, the address on my IC had been my parents’ house address in Ipoh. In my years of perpetual busyness, I never had the time to go to JPN to change the address on my IC until Drama Queen turned 12 in February this year, which meant that I had NO CHOICE but to drag her to JPN to have her IC done and since I was there, I got the address on my IC changed.  So yeah, I can finally exercise my right as a Malaysian and vote for the first time at the voting location of where I stay, YAY!!  It’s plastered everywhere on social media that the ‘date’ of the 14th GE is now on Oct 13 2017. No? Yes? Whatever. But I’m excited that I’ll be voting for the first time. Hehe.. malunya.

For those of you who have always wanted to change the venue of your voting location, you don’t necessarily have to go to the respective Government departments and go through the dreaded process. You can do it at any Pos Malaysia offices that are computerized.   If you are not sure whether the post office at your area is computerized, just google for the contact number of the said post office and give them a call to find out.

It was pretty fast. I got everything done at the post office in under 20 minutes, including waiting time.  And my prayer was answered again. I got a nice shady parking spot just a few seconds walk away to the post office 🙂

Next up was the tailor’s place. Cass has been bugging me to bring her favorite canvass backpack to the tailor to have the straps sewn up as the straps gave way.

After the tailor’s place, I dropped by the bakery to get a cake for Alycia’s friend’s mum to thank her for fetching Alycia to the tuition center for the past few weeks.

And finally, I collected Cass’ eye glasses from the shop.  Cass had her eyes checked on Sunday and she’s slightly myopic on one of her eyes. The optician told me that I can leave it alone but it would be better if Cass wore the glasses whenever she needs to read. I choose to nip the problem in the bud to prevent the eye sight from deteriorating.

Later in the evening, I took Drama Queen to the hair salon to have her hair cut. Today is yet another ‘Today in History’ day for me as Drama Queen asked for her almost waist-length hair to be cut short. Yes short! Really short as in at chin-length!! No one in the family believed that she was serious at cutting her hair short, coming from someone who would bawl and create a big, big drama at the hair salon each time she’s dragged to the hair salon.  I’ll write a separate post on that soon. Stay tuned! 😉

Pan-Fried Soy Sauce Prawns

Today I wanted to teach Cass to be responsible at home by helping to clear and clean the table after lunch. If Alycia and Drama Queen are around, they would be the ones to clear and clean the dining table after every meal. They are normally not around for lunch on school days. After lunch, the little spoilt brat with a cavalier attitude would leave the table and dash straight to the bathroom. Today, I decided that Cass is old enough to take on the duty.  She should start to be responsible just like her 2 older sisters. As there were plastic takeout boxes with watery gravy inside, I warned her specifically to be extra careful before she brought the boxes to the bin, lest she dropped them onto the floor.

Me: Cassandra, be VERY, VERY, VERY careful when you bring the boxes to the kitchen. First, close the lid tightly so that the gravy won’t spill out.  Be very careful NOT TO DROP THE BOXES on the floor, else the gravy would splatter and it’s going to be a big big mess. Understand?

Cass: OK!

And what do I know? The second she turned her back from the table with the gravy-filled takeout box, SPLAT!!  Her butter fingers dropped the box with gravy onto the floor.  Oh. My. Goodness. I can’t believe her!! That scatty girl.  I was seething!!

I made her clean up the floor and showed her how to clean up while berating her.

Does this sound familiar? Do you have a child like this too? That “I can’t believe you” anger can really send you a few years earlier knocking on Heaven’s door. Right? Right?

OK, moving on to the food scene!  Just a few days before the mil returned from Hawaii, I discovered that there was still a packet of prawns in the freezer. It was sitting in the freezer for over one month. She bought them just before she left for Hawaii.  What would she say when she returned and saw the packet of prawns?  I didn’t want her to have the impression that I hardly cook. Truth is the girls and I are not fans of prawns. Thus, I hardly buy them.   So I quickly cooked the prawns  the same evening that I discovered them.

This soy sauce pan-fried prawn recipe is the mil’s signature dish. And it’s SO easy to cook that you’d think I’m not revealing all the ingredients and steps.

Don’t you just love the vibrant colors of the prawns, broccoli and tomatoes? I love traffic colors on my plate 😀 I am utterly enamoured with this colorful dish that tastes as good as it looks. Even the ‘fussy king’ (a moniker the girls and I give the hubs, HA HA!!) loved it and had no criticism darted at it. Being a perfectionist caterer, the fussy king is VERY VERY critical of the food people cook, his mum and I inclusive!

Ingredients:
Medium / large size prawns – devein the prawns with a pair of scissors
Cooking oil
Soy sauce
Sugar – I used organic muscovado sugar
A dash of Chinese cooking wine
Spring onions and Chinese parsley cut into 10 – 15cm length (as this was a last-minute dish, I didn’t have the time to buy spring onions and parsley, thus omitted them)
Cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, whatever vegetables you have to decorate the plate.

Method:
Heat up oil.

Pan-fry prawns until they turn orangy in color / thoroughly cooked. That will take approximately 10 – 15 minutes, depending on the size of the prawns. Be very careful not to over cook the prawns or they will be rubbery and dry and that’s the last thing you want. You don’t want the prawns to end up being ‘recycled’ in fried rice the next day.

Dish out the prawn and leave aside.

With the remainder oil in the wok / pan, add in soy sauce and sugar. Mix well. You can add a little water if you wish.

Add in the spring onions or Chinese parsley and a dash of Chinese cooking wine. Let them simmer for about one minute. Do not overcook the spring onions and Chinese parsley.

Pour the sauce over the prawns

Decorate the plate with the vegetables.

This is a perfect dish for Chinese New Year or any Chinese festival celebrations and is a total crowd-pleaser.

Do give this one a try, it’s a winner! Bon Appetit!

 

 

Depression – The Silent Murder Tool

While the number of unexpected death of patients with mental health issues increased by 20% in the last three years, a lot of people remain silent on their depression. Why? At first, let’s have a look at how we react to someone talking about his or her depression. If the person speaks calmly about his or her past experience of successful struggle with depression, we are close to applaud him or her. But we stop listening to someone who is in the state of depression, whose story is emotional and lacks coherence. So, it makes no surprise that people prefer to keep their depression to themselves, no matter how severe the consequences may be.

You May Not Know That You Are Depressed
Depression is not your typical guest who would kindly knock on your door and introduce itself. It gets into your life in a way that you won’t notice it until it’s too late.  First you get the feeling that everything in your life has lost its taste and scent. You lose appetite. Then you stop eating regularly, because who cares, the food is tasteless anyway.  Many people with depression report disturbance to their sleep patterns. Some find themselves sleeping too much due to constant fatigue, but wakefulness is more common.

The scariest point is that most of your friends won’t be a great help to you. You are most likely to crack jokes about your state and they will take it as nothing more than just a joke. Only few of them may try to tell you that it looks like that you are having some problems, but you won’t listen. As a result, you may end up in a mental health facility.

Depressed Woman

You Keep Silent Because No One Likes To Hear What You Have To Say
Depressed ones know that most of their friends wouldn’t like to hear their complaints about their state of mind. Depression often forces us to say strange things like “ I wish I was dead” or “ I wish I had cancer”, which a lot of people would consider to be scary.
Sooner or later suicide thoughts may develop, and it’s another topic that none of your friends and acquaintances would like to discuss with you. So, you remain silent, until your suicidal thoughts stop being just thoughts.

You Keep Silence For Dignity
Everybody knows that depression is something ugly and unattractive. Why talking about it? It’s almost the same as telling someone that you have shitted your pants, while this story may be much funnier than your story about your depression and your slowly declining mental health.
You bed sheets are rather grey than white, you apartment is a mess, and all you do is lying face down feeling that you’re vanishing. You may still not admit the fact that you are suffering from severe depression, but you know that you look and smell bad. That’s why you prefer to hide from your friends and loved ones.

Depressed people keep silent about their depression to save their dignity. And when you are feeling better, as depression has bright days from time to time, the last thing you would like to discuss with your friends is your problem.

Lack of interest and enjoyment
Anhedonia, as psychologists call it, is another very common symptom of depression. In this state you no longer get pleasure from things you once enjoyed, and struggle to make any kind of effort.

Anhedonia is a feeling of being listless, feeling totally flat, as if the world is colourless – everything is rubbish. This can extend to relationships, with the result that people with depression often become isolated.  People who are depressed tend to find a sanctuary. They don’t want to be around people, they don’t go out as much. They spend more time at home.

What To Do?
Silence is depression’s murder tool. When you keep silent, it has all the chances to take over you. Forget about dignity, forget about people around you being scared of your condition. Whenever you have a feeling that your life is flat and has no sense  – seek help.  Professional help may be your savior.  Thanks to our friends from Romance Compass for providing this article.

Our Weekend

I had a pretty ho-hum weekend this week, on the go nonetheless.  Saturdays are Uber days for me with no payment or incentive.  Sundays are worship and pig-out days and I get to be a little gluggy and take long naps on weekday mornings to pay back my sleep debt 😁

Cass and I had our dose of pet therapy after just 15 minutes gazing at these ultra lovable doggies at the pet shop on Saturday. Though see no touch, I can feel spikes of oxytocin (that OMG, SO GERAM factor)  gushing through my body when my eyes feasted on these super cute and fluffy pups. Cass was disappointed yet again when the Corgie that she’s been eyeing on was sold.  We saw the new owner carry the Corgie away to her car 😪


Clockwise: Mini Shiba Inu, Chow Chow, Alaskan Malamute (all pups)

On Sunday, Alycia had a whale of a time at the Color Run with her bunch of friends. I think she must have only clocked in 4 hours of sleep on Sunday coz when I woke up at 5 a.m. on Sunday to wake her up, she was all ready already.  Her friend came to our place at 5-ish a.m. and the hubs dropped them at Padang Merbuk for flag off at 7 a.m.

 

Alycia shrouded in green color powder at the Color Run…

The hubs Whatsapped me this picture of Alycia and her friend having breakfast at Kenny Hills Bakers after the run while I was still in church…

And I had a good workout cleaning the bathroom and house floors after Alycia and her friend stepped inside after their run. The floors had red powder everywhere. I must have mopped the floors 10 times to remove all the  stains while the big girl had her siesta in her comfy bed.

After four rounds cleaning the floor, the wet floor wipe was still this dirty.

I don’t need proper exercise in proper sports attire on Sundays and yet I can burn over 200 calories just by cleaning our 1500 square feet condo in my jammies. Did you know that when you mop the floor you can burn about 240 calories per hour?

A 150 pound person can burn around 170 calories per hour doing light cleaning (dusting, straightening up, etc). Tougher jobs like scrubbing and cleaning accumulated dirt and grime can burn up to 190 calories per hour. Now isn’t this a good reason for you to mop and scrub your bathroom with more enthusiasm now? The more you sweat the better. I hope you’ll look at house chores in a different light now 😉

 

 

Pan-Fried Five Spice Powder Chicken Fillet

Now that the mil is back from Hawaii, I feel a little weight taken off my shoulders 😁   This weight that I am talking about is cooking lunch and dinner. For someone who is not that passionate about cooking, cooking can sometimes be stressful for me. When I had live-in helpers, I liked cooking very much. I would  plan my menu ahead for a few weeks.  My helpers would help me prep the ingredients while I took my leisurely morning and evening walks with my toddlers, followed by watching TV. Speaking of TV, I have not watched TV for God knows how long. Not that I do not like watching the TV, I love watching TV. I can be a couch potato, if I want to.  But I simply cannot afford the time to do so, plus the TV is usually not allowed to be turned on, on school days.  When it was time for dinner, all I had to do then was to walk into the wet kitchen and whip up the dishes. All the ingredients would be laid nicely on the kitchen top for me.  My dear helpers would then clean up everything for me after I was done with the cooking.  Gone are such good days. How I wish we still have live-in helpers to pamper me. I miss those good old days so much!

Now that I have the mil around, my duty is to plan the menu (sometimes she plans it), shop for the ingredients and tell her what’s for dinner.  The mil would then gladly whip up the dishes.  She loves cooking. She’s a natural talent in cooking, baking and sewing. Thank God she’s around to help me sew the girls’ torn uniforms and clothes and fix lose buckles on pinafores.  I’m hopeless like a spoilt brat like that, coz at my parents’, I have my dear mummy to help me alter and mend my clothes. I know basic sewing but am just too lazy to do it.

Ok, enough of gloating. Now, moving onto the food pictures, staring at you hehe!

I wokked up this pan-fried five-spice chicken fillet with Bombay onions some time last week.  This glorious dish is cooked using antibiotic and hormone-free Kee Song lacto chicken fillet.

I like using chicken fillet as it’s healthier (lower in calories and fat) and easier to clean, cut and cook.  Chicken breast is cheaper than drumsticks and wings too. I can cook it in 101 different flavors and our finicky girls will scoff off the dish and lick the platter clean. Not exaggerating here but someone really licks her plate clean 😆

One plate is for dinner and the other portion is for next day’s lunch.

Ingredients:
~ Chicken breast
~ Chinese five-spice powder
~ Soy sauce
~ Black pepper
~ Palm sugar syrup
~ 2 Big onions – 1.5 big onions cut into rings or half rings and remaining half onion finely chopped
~ A little corn flour
~ Cooking oil

Method:
~ Cut chicken breast/fillet into strips
~ Marinate meat with Chinese five-spice powder, soy sauce, palm sugar, chopped onions, black pepper, a little corn flour and a little cooking oil. Set aside for several hours in the fridge.
~ Heat up oil and shallow fry the chicken fillet till thoroughly cooked and browned.
~ Remove the chicken fillet from the wok. If your wok is large enough, just push the chicken fillet aside. Add in the onion rings and saute the onions till they turn soft and brown.
~Pour in remaining marinate sauce into the wok. You can add a little water if you want some gravy.
~ Mix the chicken and onions together.
~ Plate up and eat while still hot

This dish goes well with rice, noodles and even bread. I love the aroma of the Chinese five-spice powder.  Just a touch of Chinese five-spice powder can give a distinctive depth of character to dishes. Not only is this spiced concoction flavorful, it is also packed with many medicinal properties.

After cooking this dish, the hubs came home with 5 loaves of potato baguette, an excess from one of his functions. With so much baguette, someone decided to have toasted potato baguette with the dishes that I had cooked.  She quickly fished out the long bread knife, sliced the potato baguette and popped them into the toaster oven.

Crispy potato baguette with Emmental cheese, five-spice chicken fillet and pak choy 😀  Super yummy this Oriental open-faced pizza sandwich 😋

Since there was so much potato baguette, I had a slice of it with fish curry, also from the hubs’ kitchen.

Chicken fillet is extremely versatile and easy to cook. You can use whatever spices and marinates that you have to marinate the fillet and you’ll always get a lip-smacking chicken dish. Make sure you add lots of big onions to it as that’s what impart a lot of sweetness and flavor to the dish.

 

How to Improve Your Smile

Your smile is one of the first features that people see when you meet them for the first time. The quality of your smile can influence your youthfulness and how attractive you appear to other people. If you want to improve your smile and allow it to look beautiful, there are a few important steps to take.

Whiten Your Teeth
Over time, stains and discoloration can due to aging and foods or beverages that are consumed. You can whiten your teeth by brushing with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, water, and baking soda. Chewing sugar-free gum each day will also allow extra saliva to be produced in the mouth to remove bacteria or plaque that is present on the teeth.

Our desire for whiter teeth stems from a deep-seated desire to improve our sexual prospects and appearance of health.

Get Braces
Braces are an effective solution to improving imperfections that are present in your teeth. Whether you have gaps or a row of crooked teeth, you can allow your smile to become aligned with braces that are used for an average of one to two years. Invisible braces are also a consideration for adults who don’t want to the braces to become a distraction in the workplace. The clear material of the product blends in with the teeth and will allow you to maintain your confidence.

Braces apply continuous Braces For Teeth Design

Get Dental Implants
Dental implants wheeling il are ideal for those who have missing teeth. The implants are constructed out of resin or porcelain materials and have a natural appearance, making them blend in with the rest of your teeth. You won’t have to worry about getting a bridge or dentures to improve the quality of your smile with an option that offers long-term results. The implants are anchored onto the natural bone in the gums and can be surgically implanted into the upper or lower jaw.

Schedule Regular Dental Visits
Scheduling a dental visit every six months will allow you to improve your oral health with the help of a dental professional. You’ll receive a cleaning that will improve the quality of your smile and will remove stains that are present. The dentist will check for oral diseases or cavities that have developed and can also recommend other ways to improve the quality of your teeth.

Your smile will influence your level of confidence and can allow you to succeed in both your personal and professional life. With the right steps taken, you can make an impression with your smile and boost the functionality of your teeth.

 

Making Sure Your Home is Safe Every Day

When you’re raising a family, it’s crucial that your home is a safe place for them at all times. It can be confusing at times, though, when you’re trying to keep track of all of the risks and protect your family from them. No matter how careful you are, mistakes will happen and people will occasionally get sick or injured. However, it’s absolutely possible to minimize the risks in your home. With a little bit of planning and effort, you can avoid many of the everyday risks that occur. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Avoid Pests That Bite and Sting
If your child has an allergy to bee stings or any bug bites, this is very important. But even if they don’t, it’s a good idea to take care to prevent possible infestations, stings, and bites from pests of all kinds. When it comes to household pests, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Talk to a local pest control professional about treatments you can get that will stop problems before they start. If you need pest control La Plata MD, look for a well-established and respected company like Waldorf Termite and Pest to help prevent problems that could hurt your home and family.

Protect Against Fire
Make sure that all of the bedrooms and main rooms in your home have working smoke detectors that have working batteries. Put a fire extinguisher in your kitchen and another one in your garage. Avoid using space heaters and do not allow anyone to smoke in your home, as these are the two most common ways that fire starts. Also, make sure that your family has a clear plan in case of fire, including a place where you’ll all meet up after getting out of the house. Practice fire drills at home so that your family can do it without thinking when an emergency strikes.

Lock Away Dangerous Items
There are many risks in your home that you probably never think about. Chemicals like laundry detergent, bleach, oven cleaner, drain cleaner, and fuels all are extremely dangerous. Not only should you put away these poisons in a place where kids can’t reach, you should also lock up the most dangerous ones in a secure location. If you have any weapons in your home, lock them up too.

 

Getting Your Child To The Dentist

Taking your child to the dentist should be an important part of their health. It should join the ranks of eating healthy foods and visiting the doctor as scheduled. Sometimes, your child might be afraid of going to the dentist because of the bright light in the face or the tools that are used. There are a few ways that you can help alleviate the stress that your child has so that the visit is pleasant.

Start taking your child to the dentist at about six months of age. Your child will begin to get used to the people who work in the office and become comfortable with the equipment that is used. When the child is older and starts going to a dentist Quincy MA office, then it can sometimes be frightening because of the noises, smells and sounds. You can help to relieve these fears when your child is older by taking a tour of the office before the appointment. Let your child talk to the people who work in the office and touch the equipment if it’s alright with the staff. See if your child can sit in one of the chairs to get an idea of how it feels.

Dentist with patient

Avoid using negative terms when going to the dentist. Show your child that it’s important to brush the teeth so that they can be healthy and that the dentist is someone who wants to help keep the teeth strong. Don’t use words that would inflict any kind of fear, such as pain or needle. Even if your child needs a filling or another procedure that might involve a needle of some kind, try to find a way to gently describe the procedure. Most offices have some kind of medication that can be given before the procedure begins to help your child relax.

Pretend to be a dentist at home. Brush your child’s teeth like the dentist would, and floss the teeth as well. Show your child how close the dentist will be to the face. Count your child’s teeth in the same way that the dentist will. You could also let your child pretend with stuffed animals or dolls.