Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Inspiration : Seeing the good side of things

{via blinksoflife}

Often, we all live in our own little cocoon. We see things the way we used to, mostly influenced by upbringing, culture and our own principles.

When bad things happens to us, or when we see other people doing things that we do not favour, we are quick to conclude and see the bad side of it.

We complaint, we judge, we condemn, we advice, we want things to happen our way.

The truth is if we sit down, take a breath and let it sink, chances are we will be able to see the good side of it.

And surprisingly, such habit will turn us into a happier and more contented person too.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Teaching Bella about Ramadhan

{source: Disney Baby}

It is already the 7th day of fasting, how is your Ramadhan so far?

As for me, Alhamdulillah so far I am able to fast, eventhough I am still breastfeeding. I am still careful with my milk supply, so as long as I think that I can still produce enough for Khaleeli, I hope I can continue my fast.

This year, we started talking to Bella about Ramadhan. I think she is old enough now to understand concepts, so before the holy month arrived I have tried to include fasting and Ramadhan into our conversation.

Being a typical 4 year old she is was not very interested in this serious topic, but I tried anyway. The thing about children her age is that they may seem disconnected or not paying attention to what we are saying, but then it actually does go into their mind. One day they will mention the same thing to you and you will be pleasantly surprised that it actually registered :)

"Bella, Allah will be very happy if we fast for him. Fasting is also good for our bodies, He wants us to be healthy"

"Bella, Ramadhan is a good month to help orang miskin, you know, those people who don't have rice and candy to eat like we do"

"Do you want to bake some cupcakes so we can give it to other people dear?"

"If you help orang miskin, then Allah will give you lots of stars" -- (we use that as an metaphor for pahala, it really helped her understand).

I think she is getting the message. Last night before bed, I was telling her a story about Ramadhan and she was mentioning something about sedeqah and all. I think I should take her to tarawikh prayers at the mosque too sometimes.

We always believe in building the concepts first before asking our children to jump into doing things, so I hope by the time she is ready to fast, she will understand why she is doing it. Same goes with solat (prayers) too.

By the way, I have discovered an interesting free Ramadhan activity book from Learning Roots (UK). I think it is awesome. Click here to be directed to the download site :)

So, how do you teach your children about Ramadhan? Do you have any specific way to teach them about this wonderful holy month?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Our sleeping journey, mommy and Khaleeli - Part 1


My bambam :*

A few posts ago, I have mentioned about how Khaleeli is not yet sleeping very well through the night.

The same case happened with Bella when she was around the same age, up to the point that I had to invest in a sleep training book to help us sleep better.

The difference between my 2 little munchkins is that the brother is more clingy compared to the sister. He cries a lot more, and he is more persistent. So, I have some reservations when it comes to sleep training him using the same method we used on Bella.

Before I gave birth to Khaleeli, I was planning to not make him get too attached to nursing when it comes to falling asleep. Learning from my previous experience, I was confident that I could make it happen. 

Alas, everything went down the drain. Next thing I know, I realized that he was already too attached to it. I thought that I did all I could to not let him fall into this attachment, but apparently I failed.

One day, I bumped into Sarah Ong from Sleep Champ Baby. After a short chat I realized, hey, this is exactly the person that I need to talk to resolve my problems with my baby’s sleep. After our first encounter, we set another date and time and I met her for a 90 minutes personal consultation.

I was excited and curious to know about her method, and she also told me that it does not involve letting baby cry it all out alone.

Any mom would welcome that (we all know how heartbreaking it is to leave baby to cry right?)

I am glad that I agreed for the consultation. It was some kind of a revelation! Haha.

Since every mother and baby's circumstances are different, Sarah asked me to fill in a set of questionnaires for her to understand our history and situation, before the consultation. Her advices was then tailored to our needs.

So Sarah's concept revolves around Aware Parenting, a parenting style that I would personally define as "natural" or "fitrah". It involves the parent to participate and listen to the emotional needs of the baby - specifically in crying. 

Parents are encouraged to be there and support them as they go through the process of "embracing" the emotion, rather than trying to teach baby to numb their feelings (most of the time by offering a distraction - in my case, by nursing).

In the context of sleeping, the essence is that baby needs to be relaxed and free from resentment and pent-up feelings (from bad early days memories/stress or from daily issues) in order for him to unwind and sleep peacefully. Certainly there will be some form of crying for the first few times, but the difference is in the way we handle it.

Made a lot of sense to me. Even adults have problem sleeping when we are too engrossed with daily problems or resentments right?

So, the night after the consultation I decided to just give it a try. I was not very hopeful though, and I tried not to take it too hard on Khaleeli or myself. 

After our usual bedtime routine, I nursed Khaleeli and started talking to him about the sleeping plan. Said that he should not sleep on the breast tonight, that we should try to help him sleep on his own. Said that I would be there to with him, like "OK takpe, adik tidur k, Mommy cuddle adik and teman adik tidur".
To my surprise, he let me unlatch him, and then he started to drift to sleep after fussing for some time. He fell asleep not long after.

Well, of course he woke up again after 2 hours. I tried not to nurse him immediately, instead I set a limit to myself of how long to let him ease off by crying. He cried. A lot.

I took turns with hubby.

After half an hour - we stopped and I nursed him again (the crying was reduced to a whining, and less intense). Said to him that it is OK, I'll nurse you now. "Adik minum dulu k, nanti cuba tidur lagi".
I unlatched him when he was about to sleep, and I just let him drift-off.

He slept a bit better after that..I think he went on for 3-4 hours and woke up around 4 am. Was too tired to let him cry and all, so I just nursed him back to sleep.

The second night, I tried again.

The crying was lesser! He still cried, but he let me in with cuddles and hugs, then he fell asleep on his own.

He slept for a good 3 hours, awaken, nursed, and then I unlatched and let him fall asleep on his own again.

This time he went on and slept for a good 4 hours!

He woke up and asked to nurse again, so I did, and then he wanted to play. Adoi.

Thankfully hubby volunteered to supervise and then he fell asleep with the father.

So here we are, on night 3.

Just now, I did the same thing too. A lot less of crying, and he seems more comfortable to let himself unwind and fall to sleep.

I definitely see improvements. They are small, but nevertheless significant.

I think I am loving this idea. And the best thing is, it is OK for me to take it easy. It means that it is OK if I decide to stop and just let him nurse, and it is OK if we want to just stop and try again next time.

Compared to the previous method, this one is more "natural", like I mentioned before.

Let's see how he sleeps tonight. I will be writing again in Part 2, hopefully, with more improvements :)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Footnote : As parents, we all deserve a good sleep. I don’t know why if people say that I am selfish for wanting it so much, but I know that I am a darn better mom when I get my sleep. 

As for the kids, they need it as much as we need it too. Who would like it if they could not sleep and unwind at night? Even babies know that they need it.

So this whole sleep thing is actually essential for the whole family to function well. It’s a biological need, as simple as that :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Bake-off Recipe: Kelloggs Cornflakes Chewy Macaroons Cookies

The thing about baking is that it is actually quite well, satisfying. Regardless if my product actually turned out just "mehh'.

OKlah, maybe I am biased because I find that preparing food and cooking is therapeutic, so yeah.

Anyway, I have taken the next step in my baking endeavour - baking cookies. Well to be honest it is not like I have never baked any cookies before, but really, the last time I remember doing it was like a gazzilion years ago (remember that time when people was circulating the so-called Famous Amos recipe? Yes, that was that) Heheh.

So behold, I finally baked some cookies again! Yeay! LOL

This time, instead of chocolate, my main ingredients was Kelloggs Cornflakes (I swear those flakes tastes so guhhdd even Bella was munching on it while we were baking)

Hubby was telling me that his mom used to bake this crispy cornflakes cookies, mixed with shredded coconuts , which was a huge hit among her children of course. Well, being a typical wife I thought that I should give it a try and help him reminisce his childhood or something, yada yada (wrong move, guys.)

I managed to find the recipe that sounds pretty much like how he described it, so I dragged Bella to the kitchen and made her help me whip up the cookies. I made some improvisation to make it a bit healthier though, so here is my version of the recipe :

KELLOGGS CORNFLAKES CHEWY MACAROONS COOKIES

Yield : Around 30-40 cookies depending on size of each


Ingredients:

2 egg whites
1 cup organic brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon natural salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup shredded coconut
2 cups Kelloggs Cornflakes 

Method:

1) Preheat oven to 150 degree celcius 
2) Whisk egg whites until stiff peak is formed
3) Add sugar gradually, beating until it is thoroughly mixed
4) Add in vanilla extract and salt and mix it together
5) Gently fold coconuts and cornflakes
6) On a greased cookie pan, arrange each cookie by the teaspoon
7) Bake until lightly crisp, around 20-30 minutes
8) Once done, let it cool for around 15-20 minutes on a wire rack


Turned out it was not really up to my hubby's standard (come on now, who lah can compete with mom's cooking? Hehe), but to be honest, it tasted quite good to me!  I would describe it as a crispy-chewy cookie, y'know, the pleasure that you have when you munch those crispy Kelloggs Cornflakes, together with the texture of a "meringue-ish."

Remember guys, this is my first time T_T

Oh well, I enjoyed the process anyway.



So how about you guys? Are you baking cookies this raya?

I know that cornflakes cookies are one of the most popular thang during Ramadhan and Raya, so if you are planning on using them maybe you will want to check out Kellogs Raya Truck Roadshow near your neighbourhood :)

Here is the schedule if you are planning to find them:


Meanwhile....
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"Mak, boleh buat cookies yang Emri cakap tu tak? Nak rasa gak. Hehehehe..."

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Of meeting people and finding inspirations

Of late I have realised the importance of building my network - especially when it comes to blogging and writing.

Many of my peers regard me as a loud person and quite sociable, but many also does not know that I actually have some reservations when it comes to people.

I am actually more of the girl who sits quietly in a party, until one person comes up and says hi and makes me comfortable - that is when I am willing to let go and show my true personality.

Anyway to build a network, I cannot be that quiet girl. I mean I have to go out there and get to know people, and give chance to people to know me and what I am capable of.

I have been joining/following a few communities online and sometimes when time permits I try to join any gathering that they organize.

Recently I have discovered about this brilliant platform - Moms4project.com. Essentially it is a platform to find more flexible jobs which are perfect for mothers who stays at home or those who wants more flexibility.



During the event there were few businesses owner who shared about their business, as well as some who shared about some opportunities for us to join them and earn some money. There was also a business advice consultant who introduced himself and offered help to any of us who was interested in setting up a business.


My take-away during that event was that I met inspiring people and made new friends. Among them was the founder of Moms4Project, Angeline Chin, who was one very dedicated lady. Truly admire her efforts at setting up this platform and I hope it will grow much bigger soon. You go girl! :)

And then there was also Sarah Ong, one who I would aptly say the "right person to meet", because she is a baby sleep coach from Sleep Champ Baby (if only I can post a photo of myself with this eyebags and dark circles, I know you would understand what I mean!) LOL. I soooo need help with Khaleeli's sleep (will blog about it soon too!)

Another interesting thing hat I discovered was GoGet.my, a platform founded by a fellow Malaysian too, where it offers a community of people who runs errands for others. In a more simple word, you can find a job or errand to run here, do it and get paid for it! I mean this is perfect if you have time, transportation and want to make some extra cash.

Glad that I made some time to join this event. Will definitely look out for more.

Sometimes all we need is a bit of inspiration to take that leap of faith, or maybe just to feel good about ourselves. And amazingly there are a lot of inspiring people if you know where to find them.
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