Sunday, January 31, 2010

Story about my Ameera

Since I'm not working, it's been a long time since I brought my kids out for ice cream or to the shopping center just for the sake of it. The reason being, if I go to the shop, I will buy something unnecessary. The ice cream only costs a little but in the end, I will end up spending more. With a really tight income I have to budget my expenses wisely.

Oh well, Ameera finished school early on Friday, since most employed people's pay-day is today (what's the difference to me anyway? just an excuse hehe), I decided to bring the kids out for ice cream. And, as expected, here we go! After ice cream, the kids wanted to go to the book shop.

So we went to Eason's, browsed around the shop looking for books and stuff. Well, I told Ameera we were not getting anything and were just looking around. She nodded her head in agreement. Husayn however, ended up getting this Cars (Lightning McQueen) art boxset which cost me only €1.99. Feeling guilty, I asked Ameera to find something for herself too.

So, she gets this nice Charlie & Lola book which cost €8. Emmm... I know it's not that expensive but I thought it's definitely not necessary to buy that particular book at this time. So, I asked her again.

Are u sure you want this book or something else?

She says Yes. So, while in the queue to pay, I asked her again. Am I a bad mom just because I don't want to pay that much, I asked her so many times. Sigh. So, this time I asked her.

Are you sure you want to buy a book or stationery instead?

With a quick answer and excitedly...

Yeah..Yeah.. I want to buy stationery.

So we went upstairs to the stationery section. Browsing around again she looked at all colouring equipment, copy books and the files/folders section. She eventually chose this striking green copy book which only cost 39 cents!

Emmmm in my heart... I was smiling. My Ameera, she's a really good girl. She is ALWAYS like this. Even though she wants something really good/nice but in the end, she will buy something really cheap BUT something that she definitely uses on a daily basis.

A friend did tell me, one day, she brought Ameera and her own daughter to a toy shop. She did ask Ameera to choose anything she wanted in the shop. While her daughter chose a nice Barbie doll, Ameera ended up buying an art set for herself. Even though my friend did ask her whether Ameera was sure she didn't want any toys, Ameera still chose the art set.

Did I tell you, Ameera, paper and pens/pencils/crayons, etc. etc. CANNOT be separated. She loves to draw so much and to write stuff. She can finish using a stack of paper in a week if given a chance. She can occupy herself with drawing like there's nothing else to do in the world. She said she wants to be an art teacher when she grows up. For the moment, that is why we agreed to create a blog for her. To encourage her to read more and write by herself.

Back to my story, I felt really bad about it (only one copy book) so, I asked her to get some crayons along with a few more copy books. As soon as she got the books and crayons, she was delighted. She just can't wait to use them to start drawing...

Farbstudie Quadrate, c.1913 by Wassily Kandinsky as interpreted by Ameera (our own little modern art master!)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Tip: How to get rid of Fish/Fish Oil Smell from Clothes

Ever wondered about how this can be done? Of course not.

Unfortunately for me, I accidentally spilled cod liver oil on my hubby's favourite shirt. Well, it's not 100% my fault heheh... I know he won't agree with this part. You see, he just couldn't wait while I was doing something in the kitchen and while he was carrying our baby in his hands, he asked me to spoon-feed him with 2 tablespoons of cod liver oil.

Shock, horror! A bit of the last spoon spilled on his shirt. Later, I washed it as normal but after it dried the fish smell was still there and the worst part is, it had spread all over the shirt. I tried to get rid of the smell by washing it again, but the unpleasant smell was still there.

At this stage I was kind of nervous to tell my husband because I just know that he will be majorly p**sed-off to hear about it (who wouldn't be slightly mad when one's £100 favourite shirt is ruined?). Don't blame me again though, hehe... So, feeling guilty, I Googled on how to solve my problem, searching both in English and Malay. Somehow, I couldn't fine anything in Malay to solve my problem in my initial search.

Malays and usually the older generation are fond of their own traditional ways (so-called Petua) to solve problems like this and normally they always work. Disappointed, I Googled again and this time I found a few discussions in a forum about this topic in English or should I say, a Western Petua. There were lots of good responses on the topic. Maybe the older Malay Mak Ciks just don't go online?

Anyway, the options either cost a lot of money or involved things that you might find in your kitchen cabinet. So, naturally I chose this one that I've tried myself and won't cost you a fortune. It's either this or getting a new £100 limited-edition designer shirt that probably costs twice the amount to buy these days!!!

Washing instructions:
Get 1 cup of white wine vinegar. Wash your shirt using the vinegar alone in a washing machine without any soap or detergent. Hang it as usual, (after it has dried, if the smell is still there, run it again with another cup of vinegar). If the smell has gone, wash the shirt in a washing machine with detergent (and fabric softener) as normal.

Note: You can soak your shirt in water with a cup of vinegar overnight as well but this might cause the colour of your fabric to fade. Also, remember NOT to wash fish oil-stained clothing with other clothes as the smell will spread to the other clothes.

I can't remember which forum I went to but thank you to whoever you are for the tip and saving lots of Euros! Well to others, give it a try...if you have the same problem.:-)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Another Conversation

One morning, Harith was getting ready to go to work and Ameera for school. I was preparing breakfast and packed lunches for them downstairs in the kitchen. Husayn was still sleeping in the bedroom. Suddenlly, I heard his crying and screaming:

Husayn: Mummy? Daddy? Mummy...?
Husayn: Mummy, where are you mummy? Daddy, where are you Daddy?
Everyone in the kitchen: We're here Husayn downstairs in the kitchen!

Husayn: I don't believe this! I don't believe this (shaking his head furiously while still crying)

Everyone: Smile.

Later after breakfast.

Husayn: Mummy I have to go to Nadeen's house today (his best friend/place where he stays when I'm working)
Mummy: But why?
Husayn: We have to go because Nadeen needs me!!!
Mummy: ?????

Note: He just sayed that as an excuse to play with his good friend.:-)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Victoria Sandwich Cake & Penang Laksa

Living in foreign coutry where the is no Malay restaurants, we have to cook Malay food ourselves. The problem is, you can't find all the ingredients here so we have to make do with what we have here in Dublin.

Penang Laksa/Assam Laksa (Dublin Style!)

1 packet of Laksa noodles
2 large tins of tuna/salmon

Ingredients to finely ground/blend (paste)
10 dried chilies/red chilies
1 big onion
3 cloves of garlic
2 stalks of lemon grass
1 tsp of Belacan (shrimp paste)

1.5 ltr of water
5 pieces tamarind peel (assam keping)
Tamarind paste (around the size of a golf ball) mixed with 1/2 cup water (repeat 3-4 times)
1-2 Torch Ginger (bunga kantan) sliced
Salt/sugar for seasoning

Garnish (all according to taste & preference)
Tinned pineapples (cut into small pieces)
Cucumber (julliened)
Salad/lettuce (julliened)
Big onion (sliced thinly)
Lime cut into wedges

Heat up a wok/pot and sautee the blended paste with cooking oil for about 6-8 minutes or until it smells aromatic and spicy. Then, put in the fish, water, tamarind peel, tamarind paste mixture and torch ginger. Leave it to boil. Season well.

Serve the laksa noodle with garnish on top and pour the soup on to the laksa. Squeeze the lime juice in as well. Or, if you want to try the real recipe and put an extra effort you could try this.

Is it a good combination? Hmmm.. never mind. After a full main course, dessert is a must for us. So, as rations were running low, I thought this simple Victoria Sandwich Cake would do. I used this recipe to make this simple yet so delicious cake. Serve with fresh cream or ice cream.

Monday, January 25, 2010

My Baby Hisham is 8 months today!

Hisham is 8 months already. What can he do apart from crying and screaming for Mammammammama...?

-Still cannot crawl.
-Still too lazy too move his bum.
-Still a slow-eater even though compared to his siblings he is the only one who eats during their baby year.
-Only flips his body to move around.
-Will cry, scream and put his finger in his mouth until he chokes to get the attention of anyone.
-Even though he doesn't crawl, he has fallen off the bed. Twice!
-Still fully breast-fed.
-Loves to grab things in his line of sight and I mean Everything.
-Loves plastic, the sound of plastic makes him go mental!!

Oh boy, you are just so cheeky.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Happy Birthday

Happy 1st Birthday to my Blog and Happy Belated Birthday To me too. I might be a year older but deep inside, I am still the same me with more things to achieve to make me and my family better. I still am an underground writer. Actually, nobody knows about my blog err...except a few.

Well, Rina was the 1st person who found out about my blog. U are so lucky heheh...ever since a year ago. I wanted it to be a secret but because I am still naive about blogging I accidently left a comment on her blog using my sign-in name. Hahah (ntahapapa kan I).

Recently, earlier this year, my husband found out about it too. He was upset with me because he said I kept it as a secret from him but I've told him, to be honest, nobody knows about it.

First of all, the reason I started this blog was because so many things happened in my life. Sad, good, bad, happy etc.etc. I wanted to express myself. So many things to write. Sort of a diary of my life. But I won't babble about sadness, only happy things to forget about any sadness.

So, I share the happiness and keep it as memory for my kids to remember untill they can read themselves. To be honest, people who know me personally normally see me as a kind of out-loutd person but it's not quite true. I am shy to share my feelings. One person even said to me, that people think I am Garang, or a bit rough. Maybe, but it's only because I just wanted to cover my weakness. Really?

I don't mind giving opinions, listening to other people's stories but I don't share my problems with others. Sometimes, I feel that I want too but maybe I am just too scared people would get bored or I won't get good feedback from others. So I'd rather keep it to myself.

Luckily, I have my husband. I still have that horrible feeling of fear and shyness to tell him but after all, he is the only one I have. He might not bee a good listerner, but he's improving.. heheh.. Thanks Yang.

Anyway, it has been a year since I created my blog. I thought it's about time to share it with more of my friends and others. Since my husband knows about this blog, he's supported me with my writting. So thanks everyone who is still reading, especially Rina. My first and only follower since the start. And, enjoy reading to others, who just found out about my blog.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Just another conversation

At the dining table during lunch time. While we were eating, I was talking to Ameera about not lying to me while Husayn was just concentrating on eating .

Mummy: Ameera you don't ever lie to Mummy or keep any secrets from Mummy.
Ameera: OK Mummy.
Mummy: Do you know why?
Ameera: Yes, Mummy.
Mummy: Why?
Ameera: Because Mummy knows everything. You know everything about me.

Interrupting the serious conversation.

Husayn: I know everything about you Mummy.
Mummy: What did you say? (with a not satisfied look-nyampuk lak budak nie)
Husayn: I know eveything about you.
Mummy: What do you know about me? (dalam hati nak marah la nie...)
Husayn: I know that you are PRETTY (complete with serious-looking face).
Mummy: Emmm OK...(dengan muka control hensem...mmm...really wanted to laugh but have to control myself...)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Desperate Housewives

Usually, if the Desperate Housewives' new series goes on air in the US, RTE2 in Ireland will straight-away follow in its foot steps. I just read the synopsis instead as we couldn't get access to the actual show either on TV or online over here this time around. But somehow I was hoping it will be on pretty soon.

Good news. They had started to broadcast Series 6 on RTE2 for the past 2 weeks. Despite being late by 12 episodes and knowing most of the storyline (by reading online) already, I was still eager to watch it properly on TV. I don't really watch anything much on the telly nowadays. Beside X-Factor, Desperate Housewives is one of the few things that I watch on the telly.

Did I mention that we only have one small, pink, Disney Princess 14" CRT Tv? The telly previously was in my daughter's room but because she was watching it too much, we took it out of her room. Since our 23" LCD broke-down last year, we only have the small TV. Thank god. :-).

My husband kept complaining when I first bought that TV but now it's our only hope in the house until we get new one. Anyone? for my Birthday??? Hint** hint**

Back to the topic. Since we put the TV on the ground floor in the kids' playroom, it has kind of turned me off watching anything on TV these days. At 4 o'clock in the afternoon it's dark already and by 8 or 9 (at the latest) we're in bed. So, to wait for another hour and then go downstairs into a cold room (need to turn on the heater to warm it up first), needs a lot of courage. It sort of upsets me because I will miss the first chance to watch my favourite series.

Well, for everyone out there including me, if you're too lazy to wait until 10pm at nite (e.g. tonite I have to sleep early to prepare myself turning 32 tomorrow...hehehe), I've included a link to a website that u can watch, anytime. I am not sure if u can access this website outside Ireland, but no harm in clicking it anyway. Enjoy.

Unfortunately, you still have to wait for the next episode but at least it's faster than any other place. Thanks to So Desperate Housewives fans out there. Check it out!!!

PS: The clock is ticking. I am going to be another year younger just like Benjamin Button...hahahah!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

New Gadgets and Surprise Advanced Birthday Cake for Me!!!

Hey ya... it's not 20th January yet but on Sunday morning, my beloved hubby who said he wanted to go to the gym brought home a supper delicious Chocolate Birthday cake for me instead. My hubby doesn't really do this kind of renyah-renyah thing.

Birthdays, Mother's Days, etc. is just another day to him. Before the big day, he usually gives me what he bought for my birthday but it's never been a cake. Sad is not the word but sometimes I just need something more. Hehehe....I am not a very demanding person. I don't need ean expensive gift or anything big but the thought of excitement to celebrate my birthday, kids birthday or mother's day, maybe.

But today, is just different. When he came back I was just lost for words. Honestly, it was a really big effort for him to do it. He had to order the cake a few days beforehand, plan the weekend so we would all be at home (just us) and getting the cake from the bakery shop in the city centre (a halal Muslim bakery shop) early in the morning. All without me getting suspicious!

Two thumbs up for him. I was really surprised, so happy and touched for what he did for me. Maybe it's nothing for all the other wives out there, but not for me.The cake was enormous, gigantic, huge!!! I loved it. It's just a cake but I'm delighted. Thank you Yang. I love you even more each and everyday and hope you will feel the same too. May Allah protect us as a family.

Nevertheless, yesterday for the first weekend of the year, we also managed to go out to town after the horrible weather for the past few weeks. I got my new pair of jeans (birthday gift from hubby, thank u Yang) shortened and we went browsing around Arnotts. Not to the clothes section or any fancy accessories shop though. We went straight to the kitchen and electrics area.

I think if you cook at home everyday, there's no harm to buy something for the kitchen that compliments yourself (even if we are in a recession). Voila! I found these and again my hubby bought these for me too, as a gift. Thanks again. Triple thanks Yang. Muaahhhh...!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Easy blueberry cheese cake

10 DIGESTIVE biscuits (battered to crumbs )
2 Tbsp melted butter
1 Pack (225gm) of PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese
200ml of Sour cream
1 Pack (150gm) of white chocolate (optional)
4 Tbsp sugar
1Tbsp cornflour
3 small eggs
3 Tbsp of blueberry conserve/jam

Heat the oven to 180 degrees. While the oven heats up, MIX Digestive biscuit crumbs and butter. Then, press onto bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.

Double-boil the cream cheese and white chocolate. Then add the sugar to the mixture. Leave 1 square of the chocolate and grate it as soon as it come out from the oven.

Beat all other ingredients except for blueberry jam until moistened (Batter will be thick). Mix in melted cream cheese and white chocolate and beat again on lower speed. Fold in blueberry conserve with a spoon. Pour over Digestive biscuit crust prepared above. Bake in the oven using water bath method , for 30 minute or insert a small knife into the center of the cake and it will comes out clean. Don't forget the left over square of white chocolate.

Note: The white chocolate is an option. I always have stock of it at home (love chocolate). It makes the cheesecake taste even better and you can substitute blueberry with strawberry or other jams. Give it a try!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Recession and tips on how to start saving

Everyone's talking about the 'R' word nowadays. Everyone is feeling the impact of it. Well, I don't know about you but I am. Did I tell you that I am officially jobless for the moment? Business is just so slow in the office. It's kind of hard for me to deal with. I am still adjusting but honestly, the more I think about it, the more worried I become. Well, life must go on. With a limited income my husband and I had to start cutting back on all sorts of things. I suppose you have to start somewhere. I'm not talking about big things like fancy investments or doing work from home or starting your own business. It's just day-to-day things that might help us:

1. Say no to junk food

Two obvious benefits-a healthier life and immediate cash savings. Personally, I love chocolate, ice cream, basically, all kinds of dessert. Having a proper dessert after dinner is a must. So I have to start cutting it down now to a stage that I can say No to all of the of-the-shelf variety. Instead, homemade cake, pudding, pie will normally be cheaper than you think. Try simple recipe ands you will be surprised yourself and be really proud of it.

2. Stop eating out frequently

We don't really do it that often since we had the kids. But I used to go for lunch everytime I am in town to meet my husband after I finished my work in the office. Lunch in restaurants
would be nice even though I can just go home straight-away and cook up something myself. Ah well, that's why it's called a recession!

3. Cut down on coffee sessions
I did say to my husband since we don't go out that often anymore it would be great just to have a cup of coffee at our favourite cafe, Starbucks (I lied, that's the only nicest coffee place we have in town). Well, I have to go at least once a week. But maybe going every alternate week instead won't kill you either.*Sigh*.

4 .Don't go out even for window shopping
The idea of window shopping might not be a good solution if you want to start cutting down on your budget. Believe me you will end up buying something. Still $$$$$.

5. Shopping only for things that are really important
Always have a list with you. You might cheat a little bit (and buy off-list items) but it's really helpful if you know what you need rather than buy whatever you fancy on the supermarket shelves. Hint: Don't go to the food section if your stomach is empty. Trust me on this!

6. Behave yourself
Sometimes, I just cannot control myself especially when there's SALES everywhere. Discipline!!!

Hope at least one of the above makes sense and helps. And, if it does, good luck with it. I'm trying myself too!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What we did over the snowy weekend?

OMG, it was still snowing that weekend. The news said that it would last for at least another week. I hope it will be over soon. Apart from hibernating in the house, my husband decided to take the kids out to the park to play with the snow. I am not so sure about the idea as I am too lazy to walk in this kind of weather. To be honest, I don't really walk that much except to the bus stop to send my girl to get her school bus. After a few minutes talking with the hubby, I changed my mind. It would be nice spending time together. I would love it. But not in the snow. Well, here's a few pics showing the fun we had in the snow. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

During this time it would be nice to stuff urself with all kinds of food. I blame the cold weather. It makes you hungry all the time. Browsing around the net I found this recipe from a lovely lady with an adorable little boy. It's looked easy and made me want to try it. Despite not having a decent stand-mixer, I still wanted to try mixing the ingredients with my hands instead (hard work!!!). The weather is freaking freezing here and my dough did not even rise to the double size required by the recipe but voila I did it. Thank you Amber for this simple, straight-forward and really delicious cinnamon rolls recipe served with my favourite drink-warm Aero hot chocolate which makes your evening nice and cosy.

PS: I'm drooling over this KitchenAid Atisan series stand mixer in Apple Green. 'My darling hubby, I'll make more bread, buns, cakes, etc. You name it. If you get this one for me.... hahaha'

Friday, January 8, 2010

No School today..

It has been almost 2 weeks and it's still snowing. It's never happend before as u can only see snow in Ireland maybe once in every 10 years. Yup... u read it right 10 years. It's always cold, wet rainy in here even during summer, but never a sign of snow. So, at first when the snow fell everyone began to get excited about it but not for long. The authorities didn't have enough equipment or preparation for this heavy snow so it's kind of hard for everyone here to do anything. Fortunately, the powers-that-be have decided to close schools for health and safety reasons. Yeay for me (not for Ameera). If not, I would have to push my big Jane pram with 2 boys in it climbing up and snow-covered down the hill and slopes to the bus stop to wait for the school bus.
This is how it looks like, imagine pushing them in the snow??errrr

So, there is nothing much we can do in this kind of weather, just staying at home hibernating, watching tv, browsing the internet, blogging, sleeping (impossible with 3 kids) and eating. Oh yeahh... u can easily get hungry during this time although for me, it's all the time, all the seasons. With limited raw food to cook I had to make do with what we already have in the house. So I've decided to cook Kueh Teow Meatball Soup.
Pic from my mobile. Excuse the quality.

Recipe: Meatballs
500gm Mince meat
1 1/2 Tbsp Coarse Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Chopped Garlic
1 egg
2 Tbsp Cornflour

Mix ALL ingredients in a large bowl and roll it into small or medium-sized balls. Put it on a plate and cover it with cling film. Leave aside.

Recipe: Soup
2 Tbsp cooking oil
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 big onion
1/2 inch of ginger
1 litre of water
1 Tbsp ground white pepper
1 handful of coriander leaves
Spring onions
Chinese cabbage
Chicken stock/cube

1 packet of dried kueh teow or rice noodles (cook according to intructions at the back of packet-differs from brand to brand)

Put all of garlic, onion and ginger in a food processer and blend until finely chopped. Heat the oil in a pot and fry the blended items untill brownish. Put in chicken stock (i used 2 chicken stock cubes) and add water. Add meatballs one by one followed by white pepper. Cover and leave to boil. Cut cabbages into small pieces and put them in it together with coriander leaves and spring onions. When the meatball starts to float in the pot, this means it's ready to eat. Serve them with kueh teow or rice noodles.

Serve this with additional crispy fried onion and chilli or soy sauce, if needed.

Eat it while still hot in this kind of weather.........

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Have u ever watched i-Carly? Ever since Ameera watched that TV series, she's been telling me and her daddy that she wants her own website. I think it's a good idea so that she can learn to write, read and express herself. So last nite, Harith created her 1st very special own website iAmeera. Well it is still under construction but hopefully, it will be kept updated. Maybe from now on Harith and I will be doing all the typing but rest assured all the words will be coming from Ameera herself. She has lots of ideas so, it will be fun to make it her daily journal. Enjoy!!!

ps: My Harith pun dah ada blog.. phewittt... he is so excited about it... but he doesn't know that I have one already... hahahah... sssshhhhhhhhh

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

Happy 2010. We didn't celebrate it like others. Stayed in nice and cozy in bed wacthing DVDs with my hubby while the kids were sleeping, suddenly when the clock struck 12 we heard the fireworks from outside and people shouting 'Happy New Year'. Cold and very wintry new year. Hoping that new good things will happen throughout this year.
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