Easy Chocolate Brownies

Today Drama Queen embarked on her first post-UPSR baking. It’s chocolate brownies using Kris Jenner’s (Kim Kardashian’s mother) recipe.  She Googled for the recipe, watched it briefly on You Tube and then darted to the kitchen to start work. This time, mess was minimal. After baking, she washed all the gadgets and even mopped the floor. Trophy daughter, hey? 💗

The recipe wasn’t followed to a tee.  Drama Queen tweaked it to our preference.  Sugar was reduced by half and mashed bananas were added too. And the outcome was superb. The chocolate brownie was awesome and the moment it was  taken out of the oven, we scarfed down a big chunk of the cake even before it was fully cooled down.

 


Drama Queen likes her brownies with a scoop of Sunnyside Farms Cookies N Cream ice-cream.

Everything about this chocolate brownies was perfect, from the texture to the level of sweetness, the color (not overly brown/black) to the taste.

Perfection!  This girl’s got talent. I rate this brownies 9/10.

New project – our best-in-the world umami meat pie.

 

Tips To Buying Your Dream Car

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When my car was damaged by a great flood years ago, I spent a lot of money to get it cleaned and repaired. Fortunately, the hubs managed to sell it to a second hand car dealer.  Next, he had to decide what type of car to purchase as replacement.  For a family of 6 including a live-in helper back then and possibly another baby in mind, he chose an MPV.  I remember I was so excited when he decided to purchase an MPV as we never had an MPV before.

Buying a car is a fun and exciting process, just like buying a house.  But it is also something that takes planning and research so that you’ll get a car within your budget that suits you and your family. Here are a few tips to buying your dream car:

1) Research
For starters, the most important tip of finding a car is performing the right research. You can’t make the right purchase without knowing the facts about the make, model and price of your car.  If you do not know where to get all the information that you need,  Cars.com is a great resource to learning about your potential purchase.  Their website has a wide selection of information that will provide you with everything you need to make an informed purchase, along with reviews and videos. Doing your research is a very important part of car shopping especially if you are a first-time buyer.

2017 Nissan Murano

2) Get the best price
When you decide to get a used car, another important tip is to not stick with one dealer. Visit a few dealers and research similar cars you are interested in to get a baseline price for the vehicle.  Visiting other dealers will give you an understanding of what you should be paying, and therefore get you the best price.  Arm yourself with all the information that you should know on the cars of your choice before you visit the car dealers to show the dealers that you know your stuff well.

2017 Mazda CX-5

3) Budget
Do not purchase a car beyond your means. Before committing to a car purchase, make sure you can afford the purchase.  Owning a car means  having to pay not only the monthly car loan installment but also the car insurance, petrol, car service, road tax and more.

4) Obtaining A Car Loan
Find a car dealer that can take care of your financial needs. These days, most car dealers can assist the purchaser to get an attractive car loan with up to 9 years repayment tenure. They even sugar coat the deal to include a 0% down payment offer to purchasers.

5) Test drive
Before purchasing a car, always be sure to test-drive a car.  Your dream car may look good to you but also ensure that it is comfortable for you and your spouse to drive it, easy to operate and have multiple safety features.

6) Child-Friendly
If you have babies or young children, do pay special attention to the car’s LATCH system.  Find a car with a proper LATCH system which is supposed to make it easier to correctly install car seats.  Cars.com have three certified child passenger safety technicians who install and write Car Seat Checks, helping to shed a little light on the often complicated and confusing process.
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Purchasing a car doesn’t have to complicated and stressful. The more you know about the process, the better off you will be.

Do you have any car purchase tips to share with us too?

DIY Art Glass Paperweight

The hubs brought back a transparent rectangular shaped water bottle that a friend gave to him. While I really like the shape of the bottle, which is pretty unique for a water tumbler, it is not practical to use it on a daily basis as cleaning it is a torture. Note the small opening and narrow neck of the bottle.

 

So I had an idea. I decided to transform it into an underwater / aquarium-themed art glass paperweight.

Together with Cass, we shopped for golden dust and hunted around the house to look for underwater ornaments.  Cass took a few Hebrew Cone shells that her uncle Richard collected from Ebeye Island (some where in the Marshall Islands) to put into the bottle. She also found some colorful crystals and water-proof confetti in multiple shapes hiding in her ‘treasure box’.  What’s missing now are tiny sea animals, which we are still hoping to find to add into the paperweight bottle.

The result is amazing. I find it therapeutic to shake the ‘aquarium’ and watch the shells, gold dust and ornaments slowly whirl and drop to the bottom.

I’ve promised Cass that I will buy a few more unique shaped transparent bottles and ornaments and her next school holiday project will be to fill up the bottles with ornaments. These paperweights make very pretty and inexpensive DIY gifts.

 

4 Ways to Stay Motivated When It’s Cold Outside

On the approach to summer, you diet and exercise in an attempt to achieve the ever sought after, perfect beach body. Then, summer arrives. You look great. You feel confident, and it’s warm, so you keep it up. You go to the gym or out for runs in the sunshine. You eat salads and drink plenty of water. You’ve got loads of motivation, and you are reaping the rewards for all of your hard work.

Then, it starts to get cold. It’s dark before you leave for work, and dark when you get home. Motivation has left the building. All you want to do is put your pyjamas on and pig out on some warming comfort food and treats. Besides, you’re going to be covered up for the next few months now, who cares if you get fat?

Well, you should. Gaining weight at any time of year can have a negative effect on your confidence, mood and quality of sleep. It can leave you at a higher risk of picking up winter bugs, and it can even lead to long-term health conditions. So, you need to find ways to keep motivated, whatever the weather.
Cold, Weather, Winter, Hoodie, Jacket, Beanie, Exercise

Give Yourself a Kick Start
It can be demoralizing when you are dieting and exercising and not seeing any results. Sometimes you need a kick-start in the form of a diet plan with fast results. To get the best results, it’s important that you workout while dieting, check out the workout schedule for the 21 day fix from defendyourhealthcare.us to see how a plan like this could help you. But remember, once you’ve had your kick start, you need to keep it up to see sustained results.

Exercise Early
Exercising early in the day is an excellent idea in the colder months. That way it’s done, and you don’t have time to make excuses later. It also means you’ll start each day on a high, feeling happy and proud of what you’ve done but also getting a nice little adrenaline buzz.

Eat Well

Soup, Vegetables, Pot, Cooking, Food, Healthy, Carrot

One of the main reasons people gain weight over autumn and winter is their diets. It’s tempting to eat huge hearty meals every night as no one wants a salad when it’s snowing outside. The key is finding ways to make your warming meals healthy. Cook from scratch, so that you know exactly what is going into all of your meals. Then, use low-fat ingredients and pack each meal with vegetables. Eating healthy never has to be boring, you just need to think about it.

Find Something You Love

The best way to stay motivated when it comes to exercise is doing something that you love. If you hate running, you’ll hate it even more on a cold winter morning. So, don’t force yourself. Go to a dance class instead. If you like doing something you are much more likely to make time for it and stick with it instead of making excuses.

It’s perfectly possible to have that perfect body all year around. You just need to stop making excuses and push yourself that little bit harder when it’s cold.

Friday – 15 September 2017

T. G. I. F.!!  Today I am feeling a little relaxed as tomorrow will be an OFF DAY for me. Since February this year, I hardly got an off day on a Saturday. Sundays are early for me too as we have to go church.  As a result, I am always feeling enervated. It’s a public holiday (Malaysia Day) tomorrow and Alycia and Drama Queen needn’t have to go to school, which means that I will get 2.5 hours of extra sleep, I am SO HAPPY!

Over lunch today, Cass is as usual absorbed in her Land Of Stories fiction, adventure and fantasy book, her absolute obsession right now.

One more day on Monday next week and UPSR will be over! But Drama Queen is already feeling the heavy sack off her shoulders. She’s in a relaxed mood and helped to vacuum the house after lunch to let off the exam fever steam 😳

Wednesday – 13 Sept 2017

Today is day 3 of Drama Queen’s UPSR exam.  Subject tested today is Math. Tomorrow will be Science, followed by a no-exam day on Friday and finally the last paper will be Chinese on Monday.  On Monday, I can expect the house to be back to ‘normal’ with pandemonium and silly guffaw with Drama Queen jawing away with her stories and drama-of-the-day. I miss her knee-slapping antics too. And I can finally have my best helper back in the kitchen. I can also expect a hive of activity in the kitchen with Drama Queen resuming baking. I know she is raring to kick-start all her baking projects.

Today is a school off-day for Cass as the school needs the classes for UPSR candidates. After brekkie, Cass and I did grocery shopping. This girl is happiest when she goes grocery shopping with me. She has definitely inherited her dad’s DNA as she’s a real food lover; a gourmand and connoisseur in the making.

Lunch today is sandwich of wholemeal English muffin with chicken curry, tomato and cucumber.

Our Saturday – 9 Sept 2017

Breakfast this morning was with Cass alone again. The mil was feeling a tad dizzy, thus stayed home. The hubs left for work at the client’s function early in the morning. The 2 older girls just wanted to stay longer in bed as it’s been months since they last got their Saturday off from school.  It was music to my ears when Alycia and Drama Queen told me that they needn’t go to school today. I badly need that extra 3 hours of sleep.

Today is also the eve of the eve of the UPSR exam for Drama Queen. But the girl is still unperturbed. She’s still very relaxed, though studying just a little more than usual.

When Cass and I reached our usual Saturday coffee shop, we were terribly disappointed when we found out from the owner of the coffee shop that our favorite bitter gourd pork noodles stall is no longer there anymore. For the past 3 years, it’s been our Saturday breakfast routine to dig into this bitter gourd pork noodles and now it’s no longer there. Why didn’t the stall owner whom we’ve befriended even tell us that he will be moving when we went there last week? Sigh..

We were about to leave the coffee shop when the owner coaxed us to try another stall selling fish head noodles and it was da bomb! It stands out from other regular fish head noodles. The soup is thick and luscious (naturally thickened with yam), milky, has a hint of Chinese cooking wine and lots of coriander.  I guess we’ll be digging into fish head noodles every Saturday from now onwards. Bitter gourd noodles out and in comes fish head noodles, yay!!

Cass is one very happy camper as she, along with all her classmates received a kite from their class teacher. During PE on Friday, they were brought to the tracks to fly kites.  It was Cass’ first time flying a kite on her own.  Cass has one of the best teachers in that school. She is strict and firm, competent and competitive yet funny, caring and kind.


Kite-flying in school on Friday. It was a first for most of Cass’ classmates.

Walk Faster!

I was flipping through The Sun papers today and saw this very interesting article.  My habitual way of walking fast involuntarily is beneficial to my heart and can be life-saving!

Read the article:

So it’s proven. Research studies have confirmed that people who walk faster have healthier hearts than their slow-walking counterparts.

I also observe that people who walk fast are also fast workers, very efficient and hardworking. This includes yours truly here, ahem..  not self-praising here but I think it’s very true. Wouldn’t you agree with me too?

How To Become A More Beautiful Mom

Oftentimes, mothers get so caught up in the hard work of raising children that they neglect their physical appearance. This is a dangerous road to go down because it can compromise self-esteem. To get your beauty back so that you can maintain the level of confidence necessary to enjoy life fully, use some or all of the following techniques:

1. Use Skin Enhancing Strategies
One of the best ways to become a more beautiful mom is by implementing strategies that will enhance the condition and appearance of your skin. Luckily, there are hundreds of techniques you can use to realize this objective. One is obtaining a monthly facial from an aesthetician who can zero in on key skin issues such as fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. You might also consider attaining assistance from Colorado dermatology specialists such as Colorado Skin Care.

woman receiving a facial

2. Start Weight-Lifting
In addition to utilizing skin enhancing strategies, make sure that you tap into the power of weight-lifting. This strategy can prove particularly powerful in enhancing your level of beauty for several reasons. One is that weight-lifting improves your metabolism, thereby optimizing the body’s ability to burn calories and contribute to the weight loss or weight management process. Additionally, weight-lifting promotes better posture. If you’re unfamiliar with the world of weight-lifting or feel that you might subject yourself to injury if you go it alone, consider the value of hiring a personal trainer to develop a customized strength training program on your behalf.

3. Meditate Every Single Day Of Your Life
As many health and beauty experts know, stress negatively impacts the body in a manner that can really detract from the individual’s physical appearance. For example, excess stress increases cortisol production within the body. Some research studies indicate that cortisol is linked to weight gain. Another adverse impact that ongoing stress can have on the body is premature aging which materializes in the form of things like fine lines and wrinkles. One stress-busting strategy you can implement to counteract these effects is meditation. In addition to relieving stress, meditation is known to produce a wide range of desirable outcomes like sounder sleep, boosted immunity, and clearer thinking.

woman resting their head on their hand.

Become More Beautiful Now!
If you’re ready to optimize your physical appearance so you can live life to the fullest, know that you can. Begin the beauty optimization process immediately by incorporating the strategies outlined above into your lifestyle!

Selecting the Medical Options that Align with Your Healthcare Needs

Your healthcare needs may change as you get older. When you are younger, you may only need to undergo a routine physical and blood work every year. As you get older, however, you might need to start seeing specialists who can treat conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

When you have moved to a new area and want to find a new medical provider, you may wonder what practitioners are available to you and are accepting new patients. You can start the effort to find that new doctor today by learning more about area hospitals, the physicians group of South Florida, private practices, and other options.

Gender Specific Care
Women have unique healthcare needs that sometimes cannot be met by family practitioners. They must receive their medical services from doctors who specialize in gynecology or obstetrics.

If you want to visit with a doctor who is a licensed and practicing OBGYN, you can find one who is taking new patients by going to the website and clicking on that specialty. You can use the links to find a doctor, learn about patient experiences, and find out what specific services will be available to you as a client of the practice. You can also read the blog posts written by doctors who work for the service so you know what kind of professionalism awaits you as a patient.

Orthopedic and Internist Care
As people get older, they often face issues with their internal organs and skeletal system. You may be at risk of fractures, sprains, tears, and other damages to these structures.

Whether you have suffered such damages or not, you might want to do everything you can to prevent further injury and maintain your health right now. You can use the links on the website to find doctors who specialize in orthopedic, bariatric, and other services that can help you manage and protect your health even as you get older.

Once you find a doctor who is taking new patients and has the level of expertise you seek in a provider, you can use the options for setting up your first appointment online. The patient portal lets you establish a profile as a client and manage your appointment times. You can also enter payment or insurance information if you prefer. You no longer have to make phone calls for those tasks.