Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Al Diafah, we are coming back for more!

Thanks to gartblue as one of her posts brought me here.

In trying to be "bersederhana" during Ramadhan, we have tried to resist a lot of temptations to those buffet style buka puasa.

But for the above, I'm guilty as charged.

First, I just mentioned to hubby about the restaurant after reading gartblue and boo_licious. And i hinted that it'd been some time since the last time we had middle eastern cuisine.

He happened to be there one day, and he brought back some dates. He mentioned that they also sell perfume at the lower floor. For details, go to boo_licious.

On the last Friday of Ramadhan, he had to work late and we decided to eat out. He mentioned he believed he could get some nice perfume that some Arabs that he met at the mosque there, and suggested Al Diafah.

I just prayed that they serve something that my baby can eat.

It was indeed a pleasant experience. It was drizzling and that kind of weather makes people hungry. We were seated near the balcony. Kids are welcome, judging from the availability of high chairs. We asked for two.

My first serving. Saleek is a kind of poridge that the kids just could not get enough. I was busy feeding Bea2 at my left and Bea3 at my right.

First serving for hubby, and Bea1.

Kids behaved generally well as they really enjoyed the food, but I had to stop Bea1 over and over from touching little ornaments displayed at the wall, behind her.

Second serving for hubby. We had another round of a full plate of saleek for the kids, mendy and tagen, more bread with baba ghanough and hummus for hubby and me, 3 bowls of fruit salad. Bea2 loves the hibiscus juice, but we were dissapointed that the date tea was finished before we had a chance to taste it. They said it takes them 2 hours to prepare, so another reason for us to return. No more pics from me, go to boo_licious again for more professional pics.
While eating, I already planned for our next visit, only me and hubby. But looking at my kids enjoying the food (and place) so much, I really don't have the heart to leave them. The staffs are really helpful too.

After that, we went down to the shop at the ground floor. We didn't find what hubby was looking for, but he bought me some rose extract. Since I decided that smelling nice is only for husband (though most of the time I have that 'garlicy' smell;)), I have not been using much perfume. Still have not finished my Azzure, and didn't expect any from him. Well, nobody can resist that. Something that looks like 3 ml for RM150.

We also received a cute kids' umbrella, that the kids are ecstatic about.
Spending RM90 for a meal is expensive for people like us (RM45 per adult, and the kids eat for free), but to me it is all worth it. A lot better than hotel buka puasa buffet, I'd say.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Raya rambling - a must-have;)

If I want to be practical, I should not get only 3 hours of sleep last night, slaving myself over some pineapple tarts. I should just buy them, they are everywhere at this time of the year. But I chose to be sentimental.

All my 10 siblings, 4 brother-in-law, 1 sister-in-law and 23 nieces and nephews will gather at my kampung. My parents will celebrate in Mecca, that's what they would always want. We will miss them but we will carry on as usual.

As for myself, hubby will only have 2 days off. He will even work tomorrow, that sucks but I won't dwell much on it. So, we will be only going back to his kampung.

That's why I want everybody back home to have a little bit piece of me, to let them feel my love through my pineapple tarts. I'm not very sure if anyone would miss me, but I miss them already. I was brave when I decided it should be this way, but now as it is getting nearer....ahhh, better not talk about it. But at least I know, one mother, my mother-in-law will be happy to have us. She even subsribed to Astro so that her cucu can watch Playhousedisney.

Anyway, my tarts may look different. I can be really slow, if I use the rolling thingy. I decided to shape it like a pineapple (turned out to be oval, though), but without wasting the bunga cengkih that they use as the 'tangkai'.

The girls' shoes. We let them chose, Bea2 insisted on Tom & Jerry, despite me telling it would not go well with baju kurung. I can see Bea1 is showing her good taste already.

Everthing is almost ready, and I have not this well-prepared before in my life. I just need to get myself a ready-made baju kurung, the taylor could not make it before Raya. Will definitely spend more time baking cookies in the last few days of Ramadhan.

Enough Raya rambling from me. I wish everybody Happy Deepavali, Selamat Hari Raya and happy holidays to all.

Drive safely, I'm sceptical if reducing the speed limit will reduce the accidents, though;).

And thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Confinement after Childbirth:Malay-Kelantanese Style

Part 2: Bertungku & bersalai

But before that, why suddenly I feel like blogging this when I'm supposed to write about my pineapple tarts for Raya? Because at this time last year, I didn't enjoy the raya goodies so much due to the confinement.

Besides, I do owe some bloggers who read my first part some detail explaination.

5xmom said this:

Take care and enjoy the 'smoking'! Take photo and blog it? in her comment here

What she meant by 'smoking' here is due to the bertungku and bersalai. I'm sorry for my pathetic "england", I guess the word for bertungku is warm compress but I have no idea to bersalai, but it is sort of the thing people do to warm the bodies during winter at the fire place. The difference is during bersalai, you may run a risk of your back skin being scalded....ok, ok I try not to sound too negative there but that's what I feel.

We use stone, normally of cobble size, of igneus origin as it must be hard and resistant (a bit of geology lesson here...hehe), can be found near rivers, with roundish shape. Mom heat it up, her time using charcoal, now on the gas stove. When she predicted that the stone is super-duper hot, she lifted it and place it on some leaves which are underlain by a piece of cloth (normally old cloth, something that you don't mind to get burnt). You can see some smoke due to the stone burning the leaves. A few minutes, the stone is wrapped with the cloth and secured.

I didn't have the opportunity to get the stone with smoke, hope this will do.

And it begins....

The most important part is the tummy. Some rules apply, though. Certain part should not be "touched" except by "expert" for the first two weeks. We need to wait till the womb contract a bit. The purpose here is to get rid of the remnant of the menses and at the same time to tighten the womb muscle or my mom words are "kecutkan peranakan".

Other part is the whole body, mainly to "kecutkan urat". During pregnancy, the veins (no idea if this the right term) that carries the blood would became bigger, I hope you know what I mean there.

Most of the time I'd go "Ouch, ouch...too hot, get more cloth" and mom would always scold me saying that I'm such a manja kid. But after around 45 minutes, the tungku can be really good. Especially when you have other people doind it on your back and calves.

Why other people? Because mothers in confinement must be pampered. The whole household gets involved. Anyone should not protest when mom asked to do anything to the mother in confinement.

That is done about 3 times a day, each session with 2-3 tungku that would normally take 1-2 hours. That is equivalent to 7-8 tungku.

As for bersalai, we normally lie down on a 'bed' but one with a 'specialised' base. It is made of planks of wood, arranged in certain distance so that the heat can reach the body. The heat is from a charcoal stove below the bed. We only dress in a piece of thin kain batik and socks. We need to sweat it out. I normally wait till the heat reduced, very nice on cold morning but mom says at that stage, no use anymore. Must be realllllly HOT....aduihhhh!

Sidenote: Actually as I was writing this, what I have in mind is more and more negative remarks as I just hate bertungku. But I don't want mom to "kecik hati" and I miss her, she and dad are in the Holy land, Mecca and will be back after Raya...huhuhu. End of sidenote

domesticgoddess asked:
This is definately an eye opener for me! looks like the kelantanese confinement very strict leh... but hor to get back the pre-preg weight and waist-line, it's worth it no?

My answer is, I'm still blur if all this works, I follow this strictly because mom insists, but I feel good after that. My gynea said my womb back to almost normal during the first check-up after birth. But it is worth it to make my mom happy, though we get into debates now, and then;).

And this is whatninuk says about her hubby:
"....he said he used to helped his elder sisters in confinement. ye lahhh kan dia kata, kena take part on the maintenance. sapa untung - dua-dua juga untung maaaa..."

Ok, my blogging time is up. I will continue with berbengkung or corset, later. No, no I won't wait till next year. After raya, maybe, just need to take a pic of it.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Bea3 turns 1 on Saturday

Time flies so fast, I thought I only laid my eyes on this lovely baby for the first time yesterday. And held the pregnancy stick that showed a positive result in the office toilet, and cried buckets after that, the day before that;).

It's been a great year, seeing in a few occasions Bea1 closed her eyes, inhaling the smell of Bea3's feet. And that cute song that she loves to sing:

"two little eyes, open and close
two little ears and one little nose
two little cheeks, and one little chin
two little lips with the teeth closed in"....ok, actually I have no idea what she says at the end, but I showed her baby got no teeth yet;)

And having her fall asleep on tummies, mine or papa's.

Since it is fasting month, I have decided the birthday party would be the simplest one at home, not like other first birthdays in the family.

And we had to wait for hubby to return from the terawih prayers. It was late, and birthday girl was cranky.

Two kakak's who just could not wait any longer.

Bea1 blew the candle, and was given the honour to also cut the cake.

Tired birthday girl went to bed while the others enjoyed the rest;).

She woke up in the morning, stood up and grinned, showing two more teeth sprouting from the upper gum. Lovely....

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Just another one fine day

I watched "One Fine Day" a few times, and I just love it. It is about two single parents (Michelle Pfeifer and George Clooney), both with one kid each are fated to meet with one another after both failing to send their kids to a school programme. They take turns to care for the kids while the other has to go around doing his/her job.
My favourite part is always near the end. Pfeifer, an architect needs to attend a meeting with some clients, and the others are waiting for her for the kids' football game. They make a lot of funny faces to distract her, she is secretly watching them and just can not concentrate, gets up and announces to the clients that if she continues her boy would miss the game, she just got to go.

Well, that's some description for those who never watched it. For those who did, I'm sure you'd say I'd failed to potray it well. At least, I tried, ok;).

Sometimes I think, I feel exactly what she feels. And the latest incidence happened on Thursday last week.

We were late that morning, as we had too much fun that night and the girls just refused to go to sleep. Normally, my babysitter would get Bea1 ready to go to school while I nurse Bea2 and Bea3, and express breastmilk. But that day, I got a class at 9 am, and at 10 am, an appointment with the boss to go to a factory in KL to take a look at a new equipment we just bought for our lab.

I sent the girls first and told the babysitter that I'd come back to fetch Bea1 at 10 am. It is normally 10 minutes drive from office to her place.

After class, I ran to the boss to tell her I'd be late, and explain the situation but I was surprised to see someone else was with her. He is the supplier, a bit nervous words just did not come out, besides I didn't think it was appropriate. I was thinking that Bea1 might have to miss school today, but the image of her, ready in the uniform, hair all combed neatly, smelled all nicely, waiting for me was just too much.

I just said that I'd be a little late and ran to the car. I drove like a mad woman. The phone rang near the lift, it was the boss, I told her I needed 10 minutes. She asked if something was wrong, I said I had to be at the babysitter's as I'd forgotten something.

Bea1 was quiet in the car, but I explained the best I could. The radio played "Runaway Train", and that song would always make me go mushy. I said goodbye to her at the frontgate, instead at the door, she smiled and waved at me. She is such a darling.

The phone rang again, and at that moment, amidst the relief of knowing that Bea1 was up to normal school fun, I felt tired of trying to do so much at the same time, I thought I just had to gave up on something. I told my boss that I was sorry, and asked her to go without me. The school is only 3 minutes from the office. She instead asked me to take my time, she would wait.

Overall, I was 15 minutes late. Our supplier was not in the office, as they have decided to take him to visit our lab while waiting for me. Exhausted, I threw myself on the armchair besides the boss. She asked if my kid was sick, I just said "Not that, something else...", and closed my eyes for a few seconds. She knew I would not elaborate, and I knew she understood.

I never visualised myself as a stay-at-home-mom, and I never dreamt to be a career woman. But the way I do things, I'd always want to do as much as both can do. It is a conflict alright, sometimes I feel all my strength is drained but most of the time I just feel good and blessed.

Anyway, we went on with the visit, I even scored a point or two from my boss, I think *perasan*;). And the rest turned out to be just another fine day;).

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Caramel Pudding

My favourite especially as buka puasa dessert. I watched Planet Food Mexico (if I'm not mistaken) hosted by Ben O’Donoghue, one of the cute guys from Surfing the Menu cooked it with a lady. I tried to follow her way of doing it (but I really can't taste the difference). Well, I mean just some addition to the ingredients.

I have eggs, sugar, vanilla essence (they used vanilla pod of course),1/2 can condensed milk, water and lime juice (never used before).

To make the caramel, I sprinkle some sugar to make it a thin layer, and heat it over slow fire. I try not to burn it further;) and let it cool.
While making the caramel, on another stove, I heat the milk with the same amount of water, sugar, squeeze some lime juice and throw the skin together (this one I tiru O'Donoghue ;)) and mix well, let simmer a bit.

Beat the eggs, strain the milk mix and mix with eggs.

I should have strain again before pouring over the caramel, but I forgot. The result is the lumpy egg yolk at the surface...urgh I HATE that!

The chefs bake it in water bath, but my oven is still at the old place. I have to resort to steam it, like I normally do.

I got an uneven surface, like a rolling landscape, siap dengan hills and valleys. Most probably is the water in the steamer was boiling rapidly throughout. I should have turn down the fire a little bit. Don't blame me, Bea3 was approaching and by the time I closed the steamer, she was pulling my pants.

Since the not-so-great look, I only took a close-up pic.

Hubby never really likes it, once since it is the egg smell. After that, he said by adding the juice, it would be better. And even suggested maybe only vanilla pod would make it the best.
I've been trying to look for vanilla pod here but could not find it. At least I'm happy now, someone mentioned
here that Penang will have it soon. If I still can't find it here, I will try to persuade Lil to post it;).
Recipe in kuali suggests fresh milk. I will try it and hopefully bake in water bath too, soon.

And why I choose to cook it myself, it is very expensive at bazaar Ramadhan. A piece smaller than Bea3's feet (can't think of any other comparison), cost RM1.50. I punya modal not more than RM5, dapat 8 bigger slices.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A cheque in my mailbox

I got a pleasant surprise yesterday. A cheque in my mailbox.

I was invited to contribute to write an article in a book about breastfeeding. It was many, many months ago. I'm always happy to share with mothers anything on that matter, in any way, anytime. So, I just agreed.

I didn't really know (and expect) that I would get some royalties from the sale, talking about a 'blur sotong' hehe..., but I remember receiving an email asking me for my details.

After that, a total silent and I didn't really think about it.

One day a few months ago, a friend called up, she screamed that she was at the MPH and saw my name as one of the authors of a book.

I took a peek at the book later, it is a good job by a bunch of enthusiastic breastfeeding mothers.

After that, senyap again.

Till yesterday, when I looked at the cheque.

The amount is not much, but I'm surprised with the sales. Not bad at all.

Anyway, I wrote about nursing while pregnant and tandem-nursing.

I tandem-nursed Bea1 and Bea2 till Bea1 turned 4 years old. By this time, Bea3 was already around 3 months old. And yes, for a few months I was a 'milking cow' to all 3 kids. Now, I'm doing it with the younger two.

And yes, I'm a bit crazy but in a good way, I believe *wink*

Thanks ummikusayang and all the mothers for the kind effort to make sure that babies get only the best.

More about tandem nursing can be found at MMB.