Our Saturday – 30 July 2016

Today is the day that both Cass and Drama Queen have been waiting for. They have spent many days practising for their sports day.

We reached school at 7am. After roll-calling, we had a quick bite at the canteen before rushing off to the running track.

Marching event…

Perfect shot of Cass’ team mate passing the baton to her in the relay event.

One of the boys in her team made a boo boo and the entire relay event was disqualified.  They did a rerun.  Her team did not win and Cass was really, really disappointed.

Drama Queen had to give up running in 3 events today as she is still nursing a sprained foot. Nonetheless, she still participated in marching and dancing.

Cass recharging her batteries with Izumio hydrogen water after the run.

As expected, yours truly the Puteri Lilin had a throbbing head after being grilled by the sun for 4 hours.  The morning sun today was ferocious and torched us mercilessly.  But after downing a packet of Izumio, I was all perked up and the headache gradually subsided. Izumio rocks!!

After a torturous morning standing under the sun waiting and cheering for Cass, we went to Glasshouse  to enjoy the air-conditioning while tucking into brunch of big breakfast, lasagna and chicken pie. Desserts were delectable cakes.

Delectable By Su’s cafe is located on the second floor of Glasshouse at Seputeh.

Located just a few metres from the popular Siu Siu Restaurant, Glasshouse is surrounded by lush greenery.  Stepping into the restaurant gives you the feeling that you are inside a modern cottage cafe set inside the woods.  The impressive building boasts of floor-to-ceiling glass walls that allow you 360-degree views of its green surroundings. Its raw brick walls and cement floors also make it the perfect backdrop for any event. Even the roof structure is see-through, allowing natural sunlight to pour in or give you a peek of twinkling stars at night.  Glasshouse at Seputeh is ideal for parties or corporate events.

Glasshouse at Seputeh offers sweeping views of the greenery around and natural light in the comfort of a fully air-conditioned space.

 

 

 

Glasshouse at Seputeh
Lorong Syed Putra Kiri, Taman Seputeh, KL

For more details, visit their website:
www.glasshouse.my,
www.facebook.com/glasshouseatseputeh

Tomorrow my day will start early again. I will have to tumble out of bed by 7am to get some chores done before attending a training session by Naturally Plus at their office.  This week has been a hectic and tiring one for me, with no chance to sleep in on any day. Hopefully I’ll get to catch up on my beauty sleep next weekend. I miss moseying around the house on weekends with absolute nothing to rush into and no where to sprint to by a certain time.

What about you? I hope you had a funtastic Saturday and a relaxing Sunday awaits you for you to recharge your batteries to full bar to face another new week with gusto.

Happy weekend!

 

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Easy & Healthy Home-Cooked Meals

The first meal for dinner that I cooked after a half-year hiatus is this:

1. Cincai fried rice with onions, left-over shredded chicken breast meat and eggs.

2. Blanched organic veggie

3. Steamed pork ribs braised with sand ginger, shallots and tomatoes. The mil had cooked this earlier before she left for Hong Kong and frozen for emergency situations where I have no time to cook.

The fried rice and blanched veggie were cooked using my new Khind stir-fryer.

That was on a Monday, the day where Drama Queen gave me a scare after a fall from the stairs, which made me spend my entire morning at the hospital.  Then later in the evening, Drama Queen asked me where her topical medicated cream was.  Fudge!! We had forgotten to collect it from the pharmacy after making payment!  I was busy exchanging Whatsapp messages with our insurance agent and she was busy burying her face in her thick novel. So I had to go to the hospital again in the evening to collect the cream.

Yesterday (Wednesday), I fried fish using the Khind stir-fryer.

While the fish was auto-pan fried in the stir-fryer, I pan-fried some chicken fillet with teriyaki sauce and turmeric using my non-stick granite pan.  That’s for Cass and Drama Queen’s school snack box for today (Thursday).

The past 3 days ever since the mil left for Hong Kong have been very hectic for me since I now have 1-2 hours deducted from the day to be allocated for cooking.

And just as I come to the end of this post, my next task is to prepare lunch for Drama Queen and Cass. They’ll be back from school in half an hour.  Within this 1/2 hour, I have to whip up a yummy egg sandwich and fruit smoothie for the 2 persnickety rascals before rushing down to the lobby to wait for them.  Super stress-nya!!  But thankfully I have my Izumio and Super Lutein to zap away the oxidative stress stewing in my body 🙂

You may check out my earlier post on how to reduce oxidative stress / free radicals from your body.

 

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Reducing Lethargy/Lack of focus/Energy Caused By Oxidative Stress

If you ever feel that you’re not as healthy as you should be or always feeling very tired, it is most likely due to oxidative stress.

What is oxidative stress?

Oxidative stress is essentially an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects through neutralization by antioxidants.

The process of oxidation happens as our bodies metabolize (or process) the oxygen that we breathe and our cells produce energy from it. This process also produces free radicals –molecules that interact with the molecules within our cells resulting in damage (or stress) to nearby cells, mitochondria  and DNA.

Free radicals are normal and necessary to some degree. In addition to causing some damage, they also stimulate repair. It is only when too many free radicals are produced, and they overwhelm the repair processes, that it becomes an issue. That is what we call oxidative stress.

Oxidation happens under a number of circumstances including:

  • when our cells use glucose to make energy
  • when the immune system is fighting off bacteria and creating inflammation
  • when our bodies detoxify pollutants, pesticides and cigarette smoke

In fact, there are millions of processes taking place in our bodies at any one moment that can result in oxidation.

Oxidation also increases when we are physically and/or emotionally stressed.  I am not very adept in handling emotional and physical stress, thus I kick myself to exercise five times a week, reduce meat intake, eat more fruits and vegetables and religiously take my most trusted supplements.

What are free radicals?

A free radicals is an oxygen containing molecule that has one or more unpaired electrons, making it highly reactive with other molecules.

Oxygen by-products are relatively unreactive but some of these can undergo metabolism within the biological system to give rise to these highly reactive oxidants. Not all reactive oxygen species are harmful to the body. Some of them are useful in killing invading pathogens or microbes.

However, free radicals can chemically interact with cell components such as DNA, protein or lipid and steal their electrons in order to become stabilized. This, in turn, destabilizes the cell component molecules which then seek and steal an electron from another molecule, therefore triggering a large chain of free radical reactions.

What are antioxidants?

Every cell that utilizes enzymes and oxygen to perform functions is exposed to oxygen free radical reactions that have the potential to cause serious damage to the cell. Antioxidants are molecules present in cells that prevent these reactions by donating an electron to the free radicals without becoming destabilized themselves. An imbalance between oxidants and antioxidants is the underlying basis of oxidative stress.

Damaged caused by oxidative stress

Oxidative stress leads to many pathophysiological conditions in the body. Some of these include neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, gene mutations and cancers, chronic fatigue syndrome, fragile X syndrome, heart and blood vessel disorders, atherosclerosis, heart failure, heart attack and inflammatory diseases.

Signs of oxidative stress occurring in your body

  1. Fatigue
  2. Memory loss and/or brain fog
  3. Muscle and/or joint pain
  4. Wrinkles and grey hair
  5. Decreased eye sight
  6. Headaches and sensitivity to noise
  7. Susceptibility to infections

free_radical_oxidative_stress

 

How to reduce oxidative stress?

You need to boost your antioxidant defense system so that it can become balanced with free radical production. Here are some ways to reduce oxidative stress:

1) Decreasing Exposure to Oxidation

Oxidation increases when we are exposed to stress, toxins, and infections. It is also increased by sugar and chemicals, so the more you can minimize your exposure to these things, the better – so choosing organic foods and avoiding toxins in your environment makes a big difference. Reducing stress helps too and can be done with what I refer to as “daily stress remedies”.

2) Boost my body with hydrogen infused water.

Many claim that they take the best antioxidant formula supplements and although some are effective, none of them have the ability to act in the multiple ways that molecular hydrogen does inside your cells.

3) Avoid sugar and processed foods while balancing your blood sugar levels

When the body has to process sugar it also creates oxidation and the more sugar we eat, the more oxidation happens. Processed foods often contain sugar and/or other chemicals that also result in oxidation. Eating large and infrequent meals also creates more oxidative stress, so balancing your blood sugar by eating smaller, frequent meals, also helps.

4) Prevent infections

When the immune system is fighting off an infection, it ends up creating oxidation which is why, when you get sick, it drains your body of energy.  I know I am about to fall sick when I feel lethargic, sleepy and extremely thirsty.  That is when I will pump in antioxidants and hydrogen water into my body, while cutting down on meat, processed food and increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables.

5) Allow time for daily stress remedies

It seems so simple, but it really pays off. That’s why you need to find time to take breaks in the day – to give your body a chance to recover. Be sure to honor the breaks in your schedule (or create them) and take them as a chance to enjoy the outdoors, breathe, and re-center. These are some ideas for daily stress remedies:

  • Exercise – rain or shine, I make time to exercise 5x a week in the form of swimming and jogging.
  • Meditation
  • Talking with a friend
  • Enjoying nature
  • Journaling
  • Watching a funny show
  • Taking a walk.
  • Engaging in whatever activities that give you pleasure.  Retail therapy helps me a lot in de-stressing!

The benefits of exercise

6) Avoid toxins

Choose organic foods and avoid cigarettes, candles, hair and nail salons, carpet, exhaust fumes and plastic. Check your personal care and cleaning products for toxic ingredients and replace them with non-toxic alternatives. Sulfate and paraben are some of the harsh chemicals in shampoos that you should avoid.

7) Increasing Antioxidants

No matter what you to do avoid them, you are going to be exposed to some toxins and stress, so your next step is to increase the antioxidants you have in your system either by helping your body make more, or by consuming them in food or supplements.  Antioxidants’ role is to block oxidation. They squelch it and make it non-harmful to our body.

One supplement that I am currently consuming and find that it helps to strengthen my immune system and that of my kids is Super L*****.

SUPER L***** delivers six carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin, crocetin, a-carotene, B-carotene and lycopene), anthocyanin and DHA to the body.

The first seven are all phytochemicals, and the last is an omega(Ω)-3 fatty acid derived from fish oil. The carotenoids and anthocyanin are antioxidants that actively play a part in neutralizing the free radicals created through oxidizing processes triggered by the ingestion of toxins and other harmful substances. This helps to prevent damage to vital organs, maintain healthy skin and vision, and help protect the body from illness and disease.

If you want to know more about the hydrogen infused water and carotenoids supplements that I am talking about, do drop me an email at shireenyong@gmail.com or Whatsapp me at 019-266 4290 with no obligations to purchase anything.

 

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Fruits & Veggies

I ensure that the girls get their daily dose of fresh fruits and vegetables everyday.  They have either fruit smoothie or fresh whole fruit everyday.  Yesterday I made them apple + orange + pineapple + chia seeds smoothie.  Today is papaya + sliced red capsicum.   Alycia has no issues eating capsicums. She grazes veggies (both raw and cooked) like a goat.  Drama Queen used to be averse to capsicums but after drumming into her head the benefits of capsicums, she is starting to like them.

As for the littlest one, she still abhors the taste of capsicums. But it’s just a matter of time before her taste bud is trained to accept them, just like her 2 sisters!

Goodie box for the girls to munch on upon their return from school today 🙂

 

 

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Black Monday – 25 July 2016

This morning was a mega hectic day for me.

After my pre-dawn exercise, the mil asked me to bring her to buy some stuff for her to bring to Hong Kong. Her flight was at 1pm today.

After I had sent the mil and her luggage to the lobby where the hubs was waiting, I thought I could finally do some backlog of work.  But my mobile phone rang. The school’s name flashed on the screen. OH NO!  Calls from school are not good. What could it be and who??

It was Drama Queen.   She told me that she had hurt her foot when she fell from the stairs. Her friends who ‘examined’ her foot commented that the ‘bone went inside’.  Sounds bad huh? DUH, yeah it does. I sped to the school.

At school… where was I to look for Drama Queen? I climbed up to the 3rd floor to her class but it was empty. Everyone had gone for recess. I dashed to the office but no sight of her. I went to the canteen but no sight of her too.  Cass also helped me look for her 2cher.  Aiyo, this is in true fashion of the drama queen. Always giving me drama. Finally after 15-20 minutes of searching high and low, we found her chit chatting with her friends in the canteen.  Lesson learnt – next time, tell her specifically where to wait for me. But touch wood, no more second time!!

Actually, Drama Queen fell this morning at our condo stairs. She thought she could be faster than us (Cass and me) by running 5 flights of stairs down to the lobby.  Cass and I took the lift.  But she tripped and fell.  On the first floor, the lift door opened and there she was. She told me that she fell and hurt her leg.  I thought it was just her usual drama.  She is pretty clumsy and always trips and falls.  So I just ignored her since she could still walk with us to the van.

Back at school again…

Drama Queen was hobbling everywhere.  Her eyes were red and wet.  This couldn’t be a drama, could it? Yeah, I think she was really in pain. I wasn’t sure whether to bring her to the Chinese TCM physiotherapist (‘thit tar’) or to the hospital.  I called the hubs and he said to bring her to the hospital.

So here she is at the A&E department of the hospital…

The doctor ordered an X-ray to be done for a better diagnosis.  There were 5 people ahead of us queuing.  Throughout our time waiting in the hospital, Drama Queen, on the wheelchair, had her face buried in her thick Brandon Sanderson novel.

Below – Xray in progress. It’s the second time in her life time undergoing an Xray. The first was when she was slightly over  two years old and had her left thumb squashed by a steel kitchen door.  The bone chipped and it was a very bloodied scene. I was preggers with Cass at that time.  This Drama Queen used to be so prone to accidents till we bought her an accident insurance when she was a year old!

Diagnosis –  no fracture, no bone broken. Only a sprain.  That’s the good news.

The bad news is that she will not be able to participate in her 3 running events plus a dance event in her school sports day this Saturday. She was disappointed. Nonetheless, she will still be in school in slippers, as a spectator.

After leaving the hospital, I brought Drama Queen to buy a pair of slippers to be worn to school as her foot is now bandaged.

 

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Khind Stir-Fryer

I have always wanted to get an air-fryer and Thermomix (TMX) to  help me cook in the kitchen.  But lack of support from the hubs (he commented that these gadgets will eventually turn into another white elephant, duh!) and most importantly, lack of budget (the TMX costs over RM6,000!) have prevented me from getting those kitchen toys.   If you know me well, you’ll know by now that I dislike cooking as I don’t like prepping the ingredients, cleaning up grime and stains and washing the utensils. Well, I like cooking and baking but only if there was someone to help me with prepping the ingredients and washing up. Yeah, I know I am spoilt like that.  I cook for the love of my 3 princesses and always find ways to minimize the cooking time, cleaning up of kitchen and washing utensils.

Yesterday I got a new kitchen toy that will help me tremendously in minimizing the cooking time, cleaning up and washing up! The new Khind stir-fryer is an awesome automated electric cooker. It is a cross between an air-fryer and the Thermomix (TMX), sans the chopping and blending function in the TMX.  And the price is a fraction of that of the TMX.

FR358_front_HI

 

At RM782 a unit, the Khind stir-fryer is a good buy.  Read on till the end of this post as I have some discounts, specially for Health Freak Mommy readers! You’ll love me for this!  😀

Here are the features:

  • Fast convenient fully automatic cooking solution
  • Stir fry, pan fry, saute, toast, braise settings
  • Uses less oil in cooking equals healthier food
  • No messy oil fume/stains on kitchen/pantry walls
  • Easy to wash
  • Suitable for busy working adults who prefer to eat homecooked food and even teenagers.

 

3M109316KhindSignatureSeriesFR358_FBPosting

 

My very first dish to test try with this baby is fried fish with turmeric powder. The mil was as excited as I was over this gadget.  Whilst she used the non-stick granite wok to stir-fry vegetables, I was beside her, putting fish into the Khind stir-fryer.  And while she stood in front of the wok to continue stirring the vegetables, all I had to do was to press a few buttons on the stir-fryer and  went back to my computer to continue working 😀

To prepare fried fish, all I have to do is:

1. Put oil and fish (can fit 2 medium to large pieces of fish) into stir-fryer

2. Press ‘Pan Fry’ button

3. Press 3 minutes

4. Press START button

5. Sit back and relax

6. When machine beeped after 3 minutes, I flipped the fish and pressed another 3 minutes to cook the other side of the fish.

7.  Did some revision with Cass as today is her Science test.

8. At the beep of the machine after 3 minutes, I removed the fish from the machine.

8. Repeat cycle again for the remaining fish.

Below – frying in progress – – 48 seconds left before the 2 pieces of fish are ready to be removed from the stir-fryer

 

The result – crispy skin with tender flesh.  Kids and I uber like the fish!

Check out Drama Queen slicing a loaf of bread, fresh from the oven. Someone was too impatient to wait for it to cool down *rolls eyes*

You can now pan fry fish everyday minus the sweat, stinky clothes and hair and oily kitchen if you get a Khind stir-fryer. It is so simple to cook yummy dishes using this stir-fryer and washing  the inner pot is easy peasy too.

 

Specifications:

  • Voltage: 220-240V ~ 50/60Hz
  • Power:1500W
  • Color: Black
  • Warranty: 2 years

 

DISCOUNT FOR HEALTH FREAK MOMMY READERS!!

The retail price of the FR358 stir-fryer is RM782.

Khind is currently offering a 10% discount for a limited time only.

For Health Freak Mommy readers, you get an ADDITIONAL 15% DISCOUNT on the stir-fryer and all the products in the Signature Series!  After a 25% discount, HFM readers only need to pay RM586.50 for the stir-fryer! 

Please use this discount code during checkout from the Khind website :

Discount code: SSB15 (Valid until 31 August 2016)

I guess from now onwards, you will be expecting more posts from me on dishes whipped up by my new toy.  My new toy can braise meat and curry dishes, stir-fry dishes, prepare fried noodles, fried rice, bake cake and much more — the fuss-free and oil-free way. The way I like it! 🙂

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/khind.my/

For more information on Khind products, you may call any of the numbers listed below:

KL/Selangor: 03-78392000

Penang: 04-5372803

Perak: 05-5415298

Melaka: 06-2815717

Johor: 07-3558991

Pahang: 09-5689711

Kelantan: 09-7448900

 

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Home-Cooked Dinner – 19 July 2016

Yummy dishes whipped up by the mil for dinner yesterday…

On the foreground above:  acar fried fish, which is an extremely tasty and tantalizing Nyonya dish. It’s my favorite and a traditional recipe that not many people know of.

Foreground below:  stir-fried lean pork slices with preserved vegetables. This is another much celebrated appetite-whetting dish that goes well with rice and porridge.

There were also sweet corn soup with carrots and pork ribs, stir-fried milk white veggie and braised Japanese pumpkin.

In a few days, the mil will be leaving for overseas again for a few months. The thought of slaving for 1-2 hours daily in the hot kitchen for lunch and dinner is pretty upsetting.  But I’m sure I’ll get used to it and will love creating new dishes again.  Just now Drama Queen asked me if she could help to cook dinner everyday and I said “WHY NOT?”  Yeah, why not? I’ll be more than thankful and pleased to have a helper! 😀

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My Weekend – 16 & 17 July 2016

Yesterday started off really early for me, despite the fact that I only clambered onto bed like a dog who had slaved so hard the entire day at around midnight the night before.

My parents were in KL since Friday and left today.  We attended my cousin’s pre-wedding dinner at his house on Friday night. By the time we were back home and after everyone had taken their shower, it was close to midnight.

With less than 5 hours of shut-eye, Alycia and I both got up at 4:45am on Saturday as she had to attend her school’s sports day event at the Bukit Jalil national stadium.  Her transporter was at our condo lobby at 5:45am sharp.  It was by far the earliest ever Alycia left the house for a school event. Reason being heavy traffic was expected at the Bukit Jalil stadium as a total of 8 high schools held their sports day event there too with  inter-school sports events on the cards.  Alycia took part in the 200m run event.

After sending Alycia off to the van, I thought I could continue with my beauty sleep but after downing a packet of Izumio hydrogen water, I was as energetic as a horse! So I aborted my plan of going back to sleep and did some work on the computer before Drama Queen and Cass woke up and my slavery duties continued.  Saturday is a day of chauffeuring Drama Queen and Cass to classes.

Today is the eve of Drama Queen and Cass’ school exam and I totally lost my marbles getting them to bring out their books to revise.  Both rascals have been pretty laid back and didn’t give a hoot that tomorrow is the start of their week long exam. What the fish is wrong with them today?! Despite spending half a day putting aside their school books to bond with their koong koong and granny, they were still not worried that they hadn’t done much revision when we were back home. Both of them were busy burying their faces in their novels the moment I stepped away from the study table, can you beat that??   After a day of having my blood boiled by 2 vomit-blood-kids, all I want to do now is to plonk myself on my cosy bed but I have loads to do on the computer.  Nah, work can wait and I am reaching out for my comfy bed in a bit. I hope they will remember all the important facts that I have been drumming into their heads for the past 2 days!  Good luck Cass, Sherilyn!!

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Simple Lunch Thursday: No-Fry Fried Rice

Lunch today was a one-dish + rice meal. Some spoilt brats weren’t too pleased as  they had expected more than that.

When Drama Queen and Cass came back from school, they looked really disappointed when they found out that there was only one dish, i.e. steamed egg with minced meat and that’s something very rare.  Someone quipped “where’s the veggie?  You mean there’s only ONE dish? No veggie even? Why no veggie? Like seriously?”

Reason was I was having a foot spa at the beauty salon and was only back half and hour before they came back, thus did not have time to prepare a proper lunch or pack food for them.  The mil was busy with something else, thus a one-dish + rice lunch.  To us, that’s good enough as we were brought up to eat humbly and simply but for our privileged kids, that’s unusual.

Drama Queen went straight to the kitchen, rummaged through the fridge and fished out a bottle of furikake, cucumber and tomato. She diced the cucumber and tomato and together with the steamed egg and meat, a few shakes of furirake, kimchi and pepper, she mixed everything up with the rice.  Cass saw her 2che’s creation and did the same with her rice.

Drama Queen’s eureka moment must have stemmed from a compilation of ideas she got during our regular dining out at Japanese and Korean restaurants (picture below shows one of the dishes that looks similar to her creation)…

She transformed the dull dish + rice into a Japanese-Korean style no-fry fried rice, which tasted like onigiri and was really delish!

Thumbs up to Drama Queen for her creative ideas in transforming a simple steamed dish and plain rice into something that tantalizes the taste bud!  Cass and I loved her creation too. This girl’s got talent in the kitchen! But she told me that she ain’t gonna be a chef in future. She has other plans in mind.

 

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Our Tuesday – 12 July 2016

Once or twice a week, the hubs and I will steal some time from our busy schedule to have breakfast together, when the girls are in school.  We tend to communicate better without the kids ka-ka-cau-cau (disturbing) and distracting our train of thoughts 😀

Yesterday, I fetched the hubs from his office and then sent my car to the Indian fellas at the alley to have a wash and vacuum.  It’s our weekly routine to do that – send our cars for wash and then have breakfast at a nearby cafe or coffee shop. Our favorite is this Indian restaurant that whips up really good nasi Briyani and rotis.

I will usually order my favorite tosai rawa but yesterday, I had quite a bit of mil’s delish homemade scones for breakfast, thus didn’t order tosai rawa.  Hubs was as hungry as a wolf who hadn’t eaten for days. He ordered a huge plate of nasi Briyani piled high up with mutton curry, two Bull’s Eyes eggs, chicken curry, a big piece of fried chicken (not in picture as he wolfed it down in a jiffy!) big head bean sprouts and spinach.  I walloped the spinach and pecked on his nasi Briyani.  The plate of curried rice and meat were DIVINE! If only I had a metabolism that drudges super fast even without working out so hard 5x a week, I really wouldn’t mind whacking these babies 2-3 times in a week!  I love Indian food.

Looking at this picture makes my tummy growl now.  I am now thinking of packing nasi Briyani and tosai rawa for lunch tomorrow. 😛  I know Drama Queen and Cass will second my decision. Thanks to the hydrogen infused water and carotenoids supplements that we drink and pop daily, we no longer get heaty easily after having curry or heaty food 🙂

 

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Tips for Making a Good Blog Even Better

Whether you are thinking of starting a blog or you’re already up and running, there’s always things we can do to improve our craft. Pick one or do all of my suggestions, to make your blog even better.

Blog, Leave, Texts, Blogger, Blogging, Report, Opinion

The first tip you need to do to improve your blog is look at your pictures. It’s critical that they match the topic and the tone of your blog. If you are a lifestyle blogger, focusing on fashion and chic trends, then make sure your pictures are stylish and posed. If you are a travel blogger, intersperse attractive stock images with your own travel pics to give it a more personalized feel. If you are still deciding what to blog about, get some inspiration here.

 

Camera, Olympus, Digital Camera, Black And White

Also, don’t overload your blog with pictures. One good picture that sums up what you are saying is much better that a load of random sort of relevant shots.

Layouts
The next tip I have for you is to get your layout right. The fashion at the moment is for wide screen layouts with scrolling categories and images. They can look more spacious than the traditional column approach, but you will also probably end up paying for a custom site or a hosting service.

The key is to keep things simple, but not dull. A clear but decorative font, good quality images and easy ways for your readership to interact are essential. Have obvious comment boxes and social media sharing buttons. This will improve the look and the interactive aspect of your blog.

Search facility
Another key tip is that you always need a search facility built into your blog. No matter how good your categories are, only the first few posts will show at any given time. So you need a way that your fans can easily search for older posts that they still want to use.

Having good categories also makes it a lot easier for you to keep on top of what you have covered and the type of content you would like to produce in the future.

Personal info
You personal information section is paramount. Of course, you don’t want to share all your personal information with the world, so never give out home addresses or phones numbers. But you do want to give your fan base a sense of who is behind the writing and why they do it. It makes it much easier for people to connect with you and your blog and will earn your a wider readership.

Keep it working for you
Whether you are blogging for income or as a hobby, it’s important to keep your site working efficiently.  Periodically check that you search functions work and your category links are not broken. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to navigate your site.
Man, Reading, Touchscreen, Blog, Digital, Tablet

Also, make sure your front page loads quickly. It’s all very well having some amazing visuals to grab people’s attention. But if they take too long to load, people will get bored and go to the next site on the search list.

 

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A Rewarding Job In HR

One of the best jobs that I have had held with the happiest memories created was my 8 years spent in the human resource department of a local bank. That was my second job and the 8 years I spent there was filled with joy amidst ups and downs.  No doubt the work load was pretty heavy, especially during year-end and start of the year, I was nonetheless happy with the working environment, my colleagues and the benefits.

I joined as a junior secretary and rose through the ranks.  By the time I left the bank, I was already holding the position of HR officer.  My last portfolio held was as a recruitment officer on top of supervising junior officers and clerks in the management of staff loans and staff benefits.  I remember traveling with my colleagues around Malaysia to give career talks at schools to fifth-formers.

Because of my dedication and diligence, I was promoted four times during my 8 years tenure with the bank.  I was also one of the proud recipients of Merit Award and Merit Increment for several years.  In addition, I was sponsored by the bank to attend a one-year course in human resource management.

best human resources careers

One of the best perks that we enjoyed as staffers of the bank was the incredibly low interest rates for loans taken for the purchase of house, car and even computer.  We were also given additional percentage of interest rate for money deposited into fixed deposit accounts and staff rate for purchase of unit trusts.  Those were the perks that I really miss, not forgetting the yearly bonuses and salary increments.

As  a HR officer, my duties were pretty loaded but manageable as I had a small team of junior colleagues who were very diligent and just as dedicated.   The below were among some of the tasks listed in my job description as a Staff Benefits and Recruitment Officer:

Processed staff loans
Vetted and processed staff’s hospitalization claims
Vetted and shortlisted candidates
Interviewed candidates
Reviewed human resource and staff benefits policies
Conducted surveys
Conducted employment checks
Maintained staff personal files (thousands of them)
Prepared increment and bonus letters to staff of the entire bank, which was in the thousands
and much more. We basically extended our support and advise to all the staff in the bank as and when needed.

Before I was internally transferred to the Staff Benefits and Recruitment department, I was in the Staff Training department for several years and was briefly the secretary to the HR Manager before my promotions. With the exception of Staff Payroll, I was pretty much a seasoned HR staff 😀

After the bank I worked for merged with  another bank, many of my colleagues left for better offer. Some of them applied for the bank’s VSS scheme.   I was headhunted for to be a Personal Assistant to a ‘datuk’ in a large conglomerate and accepted the offer.

Given a chance, I would really want to work in a bank again and would definitely choose the human resource department again as this is still my cuppa tea!  If you wish to get a human resource job, you can either search the job vacancies section of the newspapers or go through a reputable job search company.  A job in the HR department is indeed a very rewarding and fulfilling career.

 

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Hari Raya Holiday 2016 – Day 2

Our 2nd day Raya holiday was spent at the mall.   Since 1 week is too short for a getaway (we would avoid the highways at all cost during major festivals), the next best way for the hubs to make everyone happy was to bring us all to the mall. The kids are always content with a movie at the cinema, the gourmand hubs is pleased as punch when surrounded with food and I am easily fulfilled with a does of retail therapy. We’re a family that’s pretty easily content with life 🙂

Breakfast was dim sum at Han Room…

After breakfast, the hubs and our 2 older girls watched Independence Day: Resurgence. As usual, Cass and I toured the mall and bought stuff that we liked, while burning loads of calories… and my wallet.  Shopping is still my best hobby, and it doubles up as a super entertaining way of burning calories while flexing the muscles.  I can walk and shop from 10am – 10pm and not feel a wee bit of weariness.  I used to do that with my friends before the kids came along. I kid you not.  How I miss those days of shopping like there was no tomorrow!

After shopping and a movie, we had a late lunch at Alexis.  The nasi kerabu was delish with superb tasting sambal.

Since we were still pretty stuffed from a late lunch, the girls wanted something light for dinner.  They wanted to play masak-masak at the  kitchen.  The big princess who hates wetting and dirtying her royal hands was in a mood to fry stuff on the pan!!  What good way to train her to like this feminine hobby that’s a true survival skill.

Below – the big princess trying her hands out on the pan with caramelized bananas and caramelized onions for their sandwich with direction from Drama Queen.  There’s bound to be a lot of laughter and commotion  each time the girls want to whip out something in the kitchen. I know I am going to miss this when the girls leave the nest one day.

Chopping of onions and avocado was done by Drama Queen. I chopped and sliced the mozarella cheese, capsicums, tomatoes, cucumbers and pineapple.

Below – grilled bread with low-sodium and preservative-free Mozarella cheese from Arla.

The girls’ grilled sandwich, piled high up with such healthy ingredients as scrambled eggs, mozarella cheese, caramelized banana and onions, avocado, cucumber, tomato, capsicum, pineapple and a squeeze of mayo and tomato ketchup for the more-ishness.

The girls enjoyed their scrumptious sandwiches as much as they did playing masak-masak in the kitchen 🙂

 

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Hari Raya Holiday- 6 July 2016

Today we intended to spend our holiday at Mid Valley Megamall and Gardens Mall but we made a detour to Bangsar when we saw the long horrendous queue of vehicles lining the highway leading to the mall.

We went to Bangsar Shopping Complex instead but had no idea what to eat. Finally we settled for Japanese food but I had forgotten to take mental note of the name of the restaurant.  After lunch we walked around the mall and had Morelli’s gourmet ice-cream. We also checked out a glitzy Hari Raya Open House lunch that was held at the concourse of the mall, catered by Dorsett Hotel.  We so wished we were invited too as the buffet line of traditional Malay food was SO sumptuous!

After we left BSC, we went to Les Deux Garcons as the gourmand man of the house wanted to have gourmet coffee and cakes to de-stress. He’s had a long and tiring day working at a client’s function last night. Tonight he has another Hari Raya Open House to cater to and it will be another late night for him.  His way of de-stressing is to indulge in food >.<

Today the 2 older girls are a little co-operative during photography.  They usually drive me potty when it comes to getting them to pose for a photo or two. Their dad would have to holler at them to pose for the camera!  If not for bribing them today, they wouldn’t have been so cooperative.

So I took the opportunity and snapped the camera away, before they change their minds and dodge when they see my phone 😀

Something really funny from Cass to her Alycia che che today:

“Che che, can you let me hold your hand? I’ll give you RM1 if you let me hold your hand”

That’s how much Cass adores her Alycia che che.  But sometimes Alycia thinks that Cass is annoying when she hugs and slobbers all over her with wet kisses.

And yep, Alycia allowed Cass to hold her hand on condition that she behaved well.

 

In the evening, while the hubs was at work,  I brought the girls down to flex our muscles outdoors and then to the gym.  Dinner was takeout sushi.

Tomorrow will be another day at the mall for us 🙂

 

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Hot Weather Is Back With A Vengeance

The hot, humid and dry weather is back unwelcomed and with a vengeance!  Yesterday and today have been searing.  It’s so bad that I don’t feel like leaving my seat that’s under the ceiling fan and with stand fan blowing at me at full blast. But sweat is still trickling down my neck, armpit and forehead. Damn, I hate this weather!   Just now Cass asked me why I looked so sad and what I’d like to do to be happy. I told her all I wanted to do was to sleep atop an ice block in the North Pole, haha!!

Yesterday’s temperature was 39 degrees Celsius.  Today is 36 degrees but the Real Feel temperature is 46 degrees! No wonder I had to shower three times today!!

I feel like a real slob now.  But I am going to have to force my arse off my seat now and head to the beauty salon now – to continue with my foot spa and pedicure and to enjoy the cool air-conditioning 😀

Happy holidays to those of you already enjoying your holiday.  While school is out for Drama Queen and Cass, Alycia still has school until tomorrow.

 

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Random Matters

I once read a book written by a famous multi-millionaire on ways to be rich. One of the ways is by not  spending the money.  Yup, as easy as that. If you stop spending on something that you do not really need, you are in a way ‘earning’ the money back, thus you get to save it. Simple, right? It’s stress free and all that is required are a little will power and sacrifice. Since then, I have always thought of his tips and apply them whenever I can.

Yesterday I finally squeezed out some time to draft a letter to cancel our Astro subscription.  Since last year, I have been prompting the hubs to cancel our Astro subscription but he was reluctant. Ever since he bought a new TV with internet, the kids have ditched Astro and now prefer to watch You Tube on the TV.  Hubs hardly watches Astro too as he prefers to watch DVDs.  The mil rarely watches the TV as well as she prefers to play Sudoku on her iPad, which stimulates her mind more than the idiot box.  Our Astro has turned into a white elephant and the hubs has been forking over the dough month after month!   Last month I brought up the issue of cancellation again and this time the hubs agreed!  That’s RM115 x 12 months = RM1,380 of savings per annum! Now isn’t that a yearly bonus? Bonus from money saved!    Now, let me see which other areas that we can trim on so that we get more ‘bonus’ ** $$$$**

This morning (Saturday), the hubs and his staff lugged back a ‘new’ piano for Cass!!  It’s a hand-me-down piano from hubs’ cousin but the piano still looks new.  Now that’s more savings for us! Money saved from not needing to buy a new piano for Cass anymore.  Blessings from God indeed 🙂

This morning too, our new teak wood shelf shipped from Chiangmai finally arrived! The girls now have a new house for their most treasured story books.

My entire morning has been spent cleaning up after switching position of furniture in the living room… and of course my chauffeuring duty.

My beloved part-time helper, Maria has gone back to Indonesia for 2 weeks for Raya.  I spent the past 2 evenings training a temporary part-time helper.  We all miss Maria and can’t wait for her to come back! She’s going to get married soon and I can’t bear the thought of her never coming back to work for us when she’s pregnant. She’s worked for us for 4 years and has been a true angel sent from heaven.

I’d like to wish all my Muslim readers “Selamat Hari Raya” and to all those traveling on the road this holiday, be really, really careful when you are behind the wheels 🙂

 

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