Just do it.

For the longest time, I believed I had amounted to nothing. That I was nothing but just a mother and a housewife. My daily routine, as exhausting as it is, was beginning to gnaw at me. Whispering at me, “I’m useless.”

I had reached a point where I no longer believed in myself. I had turned into the awkward kid that stood at a corner, trying to blend in with the furniture. I watched and listened.

If I spoke, it’s usually almost inaudible and people quickly moved on to another.

That was never me. I was a chatter box. Always with something clever on my mind to eradicate the uncomfortable silence.

After kids, my views changed. My ideas and interest went through an overhaul. Not many in my circle were thrilled to listen to it though. So I got comfortable staying home. It was a better deal than having empty banter.

What’s better way to stay connected but still be in your pyjama and in the comfort of your home? The internet of course!

I’ve got to give myself more credit. I got to start believing in myself again. How else can to explain my recent trip Jaipur and today to France.

I’ve got to stop second guessing every bloody thing I do and not do it because I didn’t have the guts.

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Jaipur day 1

A sleeping city. A place where life begins late morning, great for brunch enthusiasts like me. The right concoction for a sleep deprived traveler.

Located just 5 hours, by flight, from Kuala Lumpur, Jaipur can be fresh of breath air (minus the dust) for travelers that have punched card too often in Delhi and Amritsar.

It’s not as chaotic as most famous routes of likes of Amritsar, Delhi and Mumbai. Yet the familiarities of these towns can be felt in Jaipur.

It’s a town of Maharajas, forget about mainstream hotels and opt for a haveli.

Breeze

Maybe not.

I see a young eager tween, barely 11, excited to get on a stick, tied to rope, hanging of a branch by the sea.

But she hesitated, taking a step closer and then looking away for approval from her mom.

She’s not scared of getting injured. She’s worried of the looks people around her would give when she spreads her legs and clutch the rope between her thighs to swing.

She walks away.

Another girl, barely 7 runs towards the same swing and jumps on it. No fear. No worry. She swings away loudly as her sister pushes her higher.

The tween comes back. Admiring the you girl and her tenacity. Walks up to the same swing, grips the thick rope and looks at everyone around her.

Puts one leg on the makeshift seat. Takes a quick glance and saddles up.

Why are we always in a hurry?

I’ve got three adorable girls. Like every parent, I feel they are special. That they’re god’s gift to me.

I’ve learned to love unconditionally and understand what to love without boundaries is because of them.

However I forget to appreciate what I have each time I’m in a rush, and lately I’m always in a hurry.

In this frenzy mode, I’ve turned into a monster. Always screaming, begging and even threatening to get things done ASAP.

I’m not sure why am I rushing but I’m constantly saying “hurry up, we are already late”

Even at bedtime I’m saying it.

There is a dangerous devil in rushing. It blinds you and gives you the fake clarity that you can beat the clock by rushing.

It gives you false confidence that everyone is on board with your need to rush and are working in tandem.

Time and time again, we hear of so many avoidable tragic stories that happened because someone was rushing.

I know it well. When I rush, my mind is preoccupied with too many things. We can’t really multi task, no matter what experts say. We think we’re multi tasking but in reality we just shifting tasks according to their importance. Compartmentalizing it based on their priorities. It’s not working simultaneously.

So why am I suddenly talking about rushing and tragedy?

A 5 year old girl was killed after being run over by her school bus. Sadly this isn’t a first.

It’s sad that someone had to die for me to realise how dangerous rushing is.

I always cringe each time I hear the sound of car screeching its tyres to make up for time lost because one daughter took extra two minutes getting out of the house today. Sounds innocent but that screeching tyre, added with another rushing vehicle and another delayed person only spells disaster.

I pray I find the strength and clarity not to rush. Especially with my youngest who still believes in taking her time and enjoying her every waking moment to be for now, and not get caught in the chase for something later.

Breakfast made to order

Breakfast has to be the best meal of the day for me. It’s something I must start my day with. Even if it means at 11am.

Today I decided to treat myself by letting someone else make me breakfast.

There’s this little pie & coffee cafe, Deliprompt, that recently opened up in a new and not so busy neighbourhood. It’s quite strategically located a walking distance from the Putra Heights LRT station.

It’s not too close to the LRT, which promises ample parking space for the residents and isn’t that far away from the LRT which allows for travellers to break their journey for a cup of freshly brewed coffee before heading to the office.

Freshly brewed coffee is the reason for my visit. What started off as me just grabbing-on-the-go RM2 freshly brewed coffee, turned into me dinning-in for their cloud on the egg breakfast.

I’ve been quite intrigued to make this cloudy eggy thingy for the longest time, since I saw it on a YouTube video. So I had to try it and see what the fuss was all about that the video had more than a million views.

IMG_20170707_092307

However, what the cafe presented to me wasn’t as cloudy as I thought it to be but the taste wasn’t a let down. It was still soft and fluffy despite not having any depth to it. If there was one thing I could do to fix this dish, it definitely will be to  reduce the salt; but then again, my salt intake is rather small compared to many. So I give them the benefits of the doubt. And another thing, they would do so much better if they were to use a proper bread instead of the mainstream loaf bought from local mini-mart. (You know which loaf I’m referring to)

The coffee was good. It was smooth and aromatic that you won’t need to add any cream or sugar to it. That gets an A 🌟

The cafe itself is quite unique. It has a couple of self made tables. It’s not fancy but it screams up cycling which is absolutely special in it’s own way. If you decide to sit down on one of these tables, make sure you are the type who sees the glass as half full. It’s not sturdy but does it’s job.

IMG_20170707_100356But, it won’t my choice if I dine in with my kids. They’re a bunch of energetic young people who cannot sit still. For that I’d choose the sturdier tables.

This place is open from 8:30 am – 5:30 pm. Serves breakfast all day and all types of speciality coffees at affordable price. Their menu is Western (Italian) and are running, a buy-one-free-one offer at this point of time.

For recipes, check out Anyone Can Cook

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Crispy fried chicken

McDonald’s spicy fried chicken has hit our shores like a tsunami. Everyone seems to be entranced by the advertisement. Many have flocked to the nearest McDonald’s to get a but of this cleverly and appetizing advertising. We aren’t spared either.

My tween who had decided she was giving up chicken and other meat since the beginning of the year, crumbled. She asked if it was ok for the maybe think about giving up meat when she’s a little older.

One fine day, we decided to give this chicken a go. Kids were excited that they were about to know what’s all the fuss about. Their influence, their favourite radio station that kept talking about this spicy chicken for the longest time.

What ought to be a drama free, usual visit to McDonald’s turned​ out to be a horrible experience.

One, the queue to the ordering counter was horribly wrong. We had to wait a good 20 minutes before placing an order.

Then, they ran out of this chicken; due to overwhelming demand. So I had to settle for a burger, which wasn’t why we were here but the thought of dragging there hungry kids elsewhere was too daunting.

Giving up wasn’t an option. So we returned again, this time on a weekday. Luckily the queue wasn’t long and we managed to get, the last two pieces. So the three of them had to share two tiny pieces of chicken.

“Ergh! The things I do”

Fed up with McDonald’s inefficiency, I decided to make my version of this hard to get chicken.

Fried chicken. I can’t recall when was the last time o ever made anything deep fried. It has always been baked, grilled or airfried.

But a promise is a promise. So we resersched the internet. Got the kids involved in deciding which type of fried chicken they wanted and headed out to the store to get all the necessary ingredients.

You might want to stay for the results because it was damn good. Unhealthy but simply delicious. So good that my kids beggd me to make it every other day. Which they know isn’t possible because that’s one way ticket to coronary artery blockage.

To make my two variety chicken:

Good reliable and trustworthy chicken supplier who can supply a whole chicken.

1 cup Buttermilk (I used buttermilk substitute; 1 cup milk & 2 tbs lemon juice. Mix and let it curdle)

1 cups plain yogurt

Season the chicken with  A LOT of salt and pepper. Divide the chicken into two portion (or not). Brine one portion in n buttermilk and the other in yogurt in your refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

Costing. That’s the magic in achieving a crisp and crunchy chicken.

Pour 3-4 cups of plain flour into a big paper bag. Throw in 1 tbs each of garlic powder, onion powder, ginger powder, paprika and cayenne pepper. Give is a good shake.

To coat the chicken you’ll need two large eggs, beaten not stirred. First you shake off as much yogurt and buttermilk off the chicken or give it a quick rinse and patient down to dry it. Then throw these into the paper bag. Do the samba with it. Then remove one piece at a time, shaking off all the flour from it and dip it into the egg. Make sure it is well coated. Then throw back all egg coated chicken back into the paper bag and give it a good shake.

“Shake it off, shake it off, ah ah ah”

Deep fry these ready beasts into a deep pan of hot vegetable oil.

Here’s the know how: this is meant for those who aren’t certain how to properly fry a chicken. How to achieve a crisp on the outside and juicy without being bloody in the inside. Trust me, it’s a big put off to see runny red bloody liquid in a fried chicken.

To test it the oil is hot enough, throw in a tiny piece of coated flour into the oil. If this flour floats up and is sizzling, your oil is ready.

Carefully and gently put in the chicken. Imagine you’re walking on a tight rope and need to be focused as you lower the pieces of chicken into the hot oil. Any misconcetration will land you with oil splater burn and this burn as @#$%.

Don’t overcrowd your pan and let is cook, undisturbed for about 10 minutes or the skin turns golden brown. Then turn, again breathe in and breathe out gently as you do this and let it cook for another 10 minutes on medium low flame.

Drain excess oil and place your fried chicken on some tissues. I like to poke and check the thickets part of the chicken to ensure there’s no blood. If there is, you will need to let it fry for a couple minutes more but this second frying, usually ends up drying the chicken. So get it right the first time!

To see video on this piece of meat sizzling, go to my Instagram page. Don’t be shy, go ahead and stalk my page 😉

For more recipes, check Anyone Can Cook

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Life isn’t a journey

I often troll the blogsphere once I’ve successfully put my full of life children to bed. Just reading whatever’s trending, getting some ideas and inspiration, or simply stalking my favorite writers and their latest work.
I stumbled upon a visual tableau by David Lindbergh on  Alan Watts’s words, titled Why Your Life is not a Journey.

I believed life is a journey but always struggled with the ‘to where’ part. It has kept me riled up for decades, searching for my kismet. Has had me believing that I have yet to reach my destination. That it is somewhere I will soon arrive if I navigate properly. But the problem with this equation is that I don’t know my destination. So I’m just traveling along.

Alan Watts says life isn’t a journey and all of sudden I feel like I had it all wrong. 

Life isn’t a journey sounds so right so fast.

Because life is about the now and enjoying this very moment. Life is like your favorite song, the one you dance or sing to. How each chord stirs your emotions while it is playing. With a song, you don’t wait for it’s end to relish the joy it brings. 

So life is a song. Your favorite song. Life is how you moved to that song. Life is how you let that song influence you. It’s how the song made you feel. It’s the now and not the end. Because when the song ends, you will stop moving and feeling. You might feel exhilarated or high from all that dancing and singing but that feeling will fade away like the notes of the music. Then you’re left feeling nothing because there is no more music.

I believe now, life isn’t a journey like a traveller waiting to arrive at his destination. Life is music that must be danced to and sang. Life is the music of a composer.

More than just about football

Tactical planning before the game

Every year something new springs up. Makes life interesting and we look forward to these opportunities and challenges.

The Supergirls has had their ups and downs but with the grace of the almighty, we are still going strong.

More girls have joined us, more parents are beginning to realize girls football isn’t such a bad thing. The commitment and dedication of these parents is commendable.

A lot has happened in the first quarter of 2017. The girls have grown a little stronger, bonded a little better and gained a lot confidence, both on and off pitch. And these have translated into many aspects of their life.

They are doing well with school and other activities. They are braver to try new sports and have been chosen to lead many of their sports teams.

They have even dipped their hands in some acting. Our girls did so well at the audition for Kasut Bola Pink, a Malay movie that the director created a new scene to fit the whole team. The lead actress even donned on our Supergirls Jersey. How cool is that?

We were even invited for the premier screening of this movie. It was great joy watching these girls faces when they saw themselves on the big screen. The bonus was reading their names appear in the credit listing and their beloved teams name. They were truly proud.

See, I told you a lot has happened.

To end the first quarter, the Supergirls had a sparring match with Superdads. It was a lovely match day. Watching girls playing against their fathers, brothers and some moms too. Amazingly these girls won win a score of 12-3.

I, who have never played striker scored a perfect equalizer goal the first half of the match but it was all downhill after 20 minutes. Superdads’ stamina was no match to Supergirls. These girls were like Energizer Bunnies. They simply never grew tired.

Looking forward to more exciting challenges in the next quarter. Stay with us.

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Homemade heart shaped butter cookies

The contrasting red against white is very vibrant. I just love how these two colours complement each other.

Now put these two together on a piece of cookie. I bet you will have kids and adults alike running to the kitchen to sink their teeth into it.

And that’s just what happened.

My youngest saw a video on Valentine’s day and this particular cookie, heart shaped strawberry jam cookie, stuck with her and she had been bugging me to make it.

This recipe is so easy and simple, you can get you tween to do all the job.

My 11 years old, who loves cooking, not only baked these little cute hearts, she even cleaned up after.

Now let’s get to the recipe;

  • 120gm butter (let it soften by leaving at room temperature)
  • 100gm all purpose flour
  • 150gm cake flour
  • 100 castor sugar
  • 1/2 TBS baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • Strawberry jam (as much as needed)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (for dusting)*

In a large bowl (or on your counter top) mix flour, sugar and baking powder. Create a well in the middle, crack in the egg, pour in the vanilla extract and butter. Mix and gently knead until it forms into a smooth ball. Cling wrap it and refrigerate for 30-40 minutes. 

Remove from fridge, roll into a quarter inch thickness and cut out desired shape. To make these hearts, you’ll need two different sizes cookie cutter. Place all large size heart shapes on a greased tin or parchment paper and then cut out tiny hearts in the middle of the large heart shaped cookies. Make equal amounts of hearts with and without hole in the middle because you are going to sandwich these two together with strawberry jam.

Bake at 175’C for about 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on these. They cook very fast. Don’t let them brown. Remove from oven and let them cool a little. After that, spread the jam on the heart shape without a hole and put the heart shape with holes on it.

*You may dust these cookies with some powdered sugar. I didn’t do that because I liked the rustic look and didn’t want to hide its flaws under a thick layer of white powdered sugar.

That’s it, you done. Now you may enjoy with tall glass of cold milk or fresh juice.

  

Change your attitude

These three words caught my attention while I was browsing through my phone at breakfast. First, this is unusual because I discourage phones at meal time but today was an extremely rare occasion. Seriously! I never get a calm and relaxed breakfast. Saturday breakfast all by myself at McDonald’s. Am I dreaming?

As I was saying, ‘Change your attitude’. A survey conducted by JobStreet had revealed the mystery behind why there are so many unemployed fresh graduates and it is due to their attitude.

This isn’t something new. I’ve heard it before. Friends from HR department, reiterated that same sentiments.

This takes me back to my interview just a couple of days ago.

I had this wonderful opportunity to work with a telco company. They had come up with a brilliant CSR project; their way of giving it back to the community and I loved it!

I was extremely excited to be part of it. The money was good too but that wasn’t what got me excited.

Everything seemed to be fine. In fact I even started preparing my lesson plans. I had drafted a couple of interesting ways to connect with my audience but little did I know, they had second thoughts about me.

It was the perfect job for a mother like me. I only had to work once a week. The only drawback was its location. I knew it would have been a problem and I acknowledged it but with a little planning, I knew anything was possible.

I had laid out my limitations because I am a full-time mother and everything else is secondary. They seemed fine with it and led to believe everything was fine.

Without an explanation or even a simple note, I was cast aside.

So what did this deduce out of this situation? Was I considered to have unrealistic expectations? Could I have been clumped together with all those unemployed fresh graduates who are said to have terrible attitudes?

The thing is I would not know because those who interviewed, whom I met up with on three separate occasions and had many conversation over the phone, just dropped everything. No more calls or messages.

Honestly apart from my role as a mother, I was perfect for the task and they made it quite clear they wanted me. They even confided in me, revealing how tough it was getting someone who was up to it.

I’m not upset over not getting it. In fact I’m a little relieved. I’m glad to have someone who can give more than what I could have. It’s the sudden silence. They not knowing if I was still on board. The courtesy call to say I didn’t have to sign my contract. (That’s how far deep into the employment deal I was.)

I’m pretty sure I am not the only one who has this beef. My husband had complained about it too once. He too had a similar experience.

Not getting a job is quite upsetting but not knowing why and waiting for the interviewer’s response is worse. How do you expect a change when you don’t take the effort to tell what wasn’t right.

A letter of unsuccessful interview is a nice way to end it. In fact it should be made a requirement for all employers to issue to potential candidates. It’s a way to show that the employer appreciated the time and effort put in by the potential candidate but they are sorry for whatever reason.

When I was a fresh graduate, this was a normal practice. Has it changed over the years?

To expect change, one needs to state the problem area.

Just my ramblings, as I sit and watch many youngsters going through their phones. Are they searching for a job?

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