Friday, September 12, 2014

Share the Softness Campaign by Kleenex

Share the Softness
Life can be hard, so a little softness is always welcome. As Malaysians celebrate the establishment of the Malaysian federation 50 years ago, Kleenex® gives Malaysians a new way to mark the occasion – by performing simple acts of softness through the Share the Softness campaign. The campaign aims to reach at least 10, 000 Facebook posts to create a tidal wave of softness among Malaysians!

Kleenex Press AD_Chosen
“Soft and gentle care makes all the difference in our busy, modern lives and when things are tough, even the smallest act can make a change for the better. This is why Kleenex® continues to encourage Malaysians to share the softness and bring some joy to the people we care about,” said Emily Chong, Marketing Manager, Family and Adult Care, Kimberly-Clark Malaysia. 

Every occasion, big and small, can be made meaningful with a touch of softness, and Kleenex® reminds more Malaysians everywhere to make Malaysia a softer place by taking a moment to reach out to their loved ones and share a kind or caring word. From now until September 27, the brand invites Malaysians to express their care via Facebook with a simple tag and stand a chance to be rewarded with prizes worth RM10, 000. 

How to take part
Whether it’s a simple encouragement or an invitation to catch up, a touch of softness can make someone feel treasured.  To participate, all you have to do is ‘Like’ Kleenex® Malaysia’s Facebook page, look out for the “Share The Softness” Facebook contest posts, and start sharing the softness. Tag a spouse, friend, family member, or neighbour in the comments section of the contest posts and let them know how much you care. Do include #kleenexsoftness too!

KleenexFB
I've shared the softness :) You can too!

You could be a winner!
While sharing the softness is a reward in itself, it can also make you a winner! The most endearing Facebook messages will win an exclusive, limited-edition Kleenex® Softness Pack and prizes like a Polaroid camera, Longchamp bag, Thomas Sabo bracelet and more! 

Help OrphanCARE
What’s more, these acts of softness take on a whole new meaning as every Facebook post also helps to contribute towards OrphanCARE, a non-profit organisation that helps abandoned babies and orphans find loving homes. Every Share the Softness post on Facebook plus every purchase from the Kleenex® CSR product range is equivalent to a RM0.50 donation to OrphanCARE; just SMS in the unique code found in the Kleenex® products.
Kleenex Press AD_Chosen
Simple, positive acts are good for you :)
Take this chance to make a difference in the lives of those around you, as well as those who are less fortunate – even psychologists recognise that the little things really matter, from small gestures between loved ones like making each other a cup of tea  to being more polite and courteous when speaking to one another.

Simple and positive acts are the key to building and leading a happier life, and researchers acknowledge that a single individual has the power to influence the way another person feels , hence a single act of softness can make a big difference in someone else’s life.

Let’s acknowledge that even the smallest act of softness can have a ripple effect, so through our actions we can make Malaysia a softer place to be. This Malaysia Day let us celebrate by Sharing the Softness with our fellow countrymen.

For more details on how to Share the Softness, just log on to the Kleenex® Facebook page (www.facebook.com/Kleenex.Malaysia).  



Print

DIY Disposable Wet Wipes

I've been trawling the Internet from some frugal living ideas and I decided to try my hand at making wet wipes that I can use for clean ups during diaper changes.

DIY wet wipes 

For my DIY disposable wet wipes, I used this basic recipe that I found online:
  • Kitchen towel (it's best to use the best quality you can find, as it would be sturdier, but for this experiment I bought the cheapest brand I could find!)
  • 1 tablespoon baby bath
  • 1 tablespoon baby oil
  • 1 1/2 cups of water (it's best to use distilled or at least filtered and boiled)
If you would prefer a more natural/organic approach, you could use an organic baby bath and baby oil. Or, you can substitute the baby oil with coconut oil and a drop of tea tree oil, like this.

DIY wet wipes 
Steps:
1. Cut the kitchen roll in two using a serrated bread knife.
2. Mix the baby bath, baby oil and water together.
3. Soak the kitchen roll (cut side down) in the solution for about 10 minutes. You might want to turn the roll upside down a few times to let it soak through.
4. Remove the cardboard tube inside.

DIY wet wipes

Put your roll in a resealable container and it's ready to use! Be sure to pull from the centre.

Cost of my DIY wet wipes
Kitchen towels (First Choice brand from Giant): RM7.99 for 4 rolls
Cost per roll: RM1.99
Cost 1/2 roll: RM0.99

Johnson's Baby oil (125 ml): RM7.65 / *8 tablespoons = RM0.95 sen per tablespoon
Johnson's Baby bath (200 ml): RM7.20 / *13 tablespoons = RM0.55 sen per tablespoon
* 1 tablespoon = 15 ml

Cost per DIY wet wipe roll: RM1.00 + RM0.95 + RM0.55 = RM2.50 per roll


Savings
The most cost-effective baby wipes that I could find in Giant is their house brand, which costs RM5.99 (150 pcs). So, as a comparison, I can save up to RM3.49. 

Notes:
The Giant baby wipes usually lasts around 2 weeks in my home, so I'm eager to see how long my DIY wet wipes will last with daily use. I'll also be checking for any adverse reactions from my baby to the wet wipes. I'll post an update once I'm done with my first roll. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cardboard treehouse

Amir's on a school break right now, due to the UPSR exams, so we've been indulging in some creative projects. Today, we made a cardboard treehouse, based on this one by Spoonful.

Tree house

Cardboard treehouse
Here's our finished treehouse :) Check out its details after the jump...

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My column in BabyTalk magazine's May & June 2014 issues

When I started my column for BabyTalk magazine early on in my pregnancy, I thought it would be fun to share my experiences with other women. Little did I know then that my pregnancy would be filled with thrills and spills :P Nevertheless, it has been a humbling experience and I am most grateful for my precious baby boy. 

I finally found some time to scan my articles from back in May and June. Here they are!

Think Yourself Thin & Hottest Fitness Trends @ Urban Health magazine

Hi everyone, how are you out there? I've been ok. For a little while, I didn't have a lot of freelance work on my hands and though it had me a little bit worried (bills to pay!!), I turned it into a positive - I paid a lot more attention to my children and projects around the home :) I'd like to share with you my latest articles published in Urban Health magazine, this time, it's all about fitness!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mom's Time Out @ Lifetime

Mom's Time Out Title Frame

Late last year, I gave up my career as a museum curator to become a stay-at-home mum and freelance writer. Fulfilling my role as a full-time mum to 10 year old Amir and 4-month old Arif has not been without its challenges, but I wouldn't have it any other way. My husband has done a great job supporting me, but I really don't know how he would cope with looking after the kids and holding down the fort if I were to go away for a few days.

The Jasons
The Jasons from Malaysia
This is precisely what the producers of Mom's Time Out wanted to find out - What would happen if the woman in the household disappears and the man takes over?

Exploring the idea that being a mom is an attitude and not just a biological relation, three families from Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines are put to the test in a role reversal social experiment. In the reality show, which is Lifetime's first Asian production, the three moms take a 5-day holiday in Vietnam together, leaving the dads to manage their kids and household.

The five half-hour series showcases the interesting and sometimes funny results when these typically hands-off dads are left in charge. The tune in, catch the show as it premieres on 28th August 2014 and when it airs on Thursdays at 9 pm (SIN/HK) on LIFETIME™, which is available on Astro Ch 709.

So will dad step up or give up? 

You'll have to tune in to find out :) For a taste of what's in store on the show, check out this video:


But that's not all! When you tune in to Moms Time Out, you stand a chance to WIN a 3D2N stay at Angsana Lang Co, Central Vietnam! Just download the ScanAd app on your Apple and Android devices. Open the app and scan it while watching the show to access more content on Mom’s Time Out. You can also share and learn opinions from other parents when you take part in the weekly discussion on the app!

For more information about #MomsTimeOut, check out: www.LifetimeAsia.com/MomsTimeOut

The Baileys
The Baileys from the Philippines.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Happy days are here again :)

In my last post, I wrote about spending an anxious Hari Raya. But I'm very happy to share with you that it's all over - Happy days are here again! To recap, a few days before Raya, Arif had a routine cranial ultrasound and the doctors believed that saw a subdural effusion (collection of liquid) on the outer layers of his brain. Since learning that my 3-month old preemie baby could possibly have hydrocephalus or worse meningitis, I became numb and just went through the motions on autopilot.

IMG_20140805_103927On the 3rd day of Hari Raya, we brought him back to the   hospital, where Arif and I spent the night. Beginning 4.00 am the next day, I was meant to stop feeding him to prepare him for his MRI scan at 8.00 am. However, since I was breastfeeding and Arif often feeds a little at a time, I wasn't prepared to let my son cry bloody murder from hunger. I chose to ignore the doctor's orders and followed my gut instinct. I fed him for as much as I could until about 15 minutes before the MRI. 

Seeing him go through the entire MRI process was rather unnerving. I fought back tears as my son was loaded into this scary-looking machine. The scan took about an hour, but the wait afterwards was just the worse. My husband had to go home as he wasn't feeling so well, so I waited alone for the doctors to come and tell me the results. I didn't hear a word until about 5.45 pm, when the doctors did their evening rounds. I could hear them discussing my son's case on the other side of the curtain, and waited in agony. I wasn't sure if the results were back yet and quite possibly I would have to spend another night at the hospital agonising over what could be.

Finally, the senior doctor pulled back the curtain and asked if I've heard the results. I said, "No." She smiled and said everything is fine with Arif, the MRI didn't find anything wring with him at all. I was so relieved and happy, but at the time I was mostly in shock.

The senior doctor was very kind and she said she understands exactly how I feel. She instructed the other doctors to discharge Arif right away so that we could go home. She seemed disappointed that I had to wait so long for the MRI results, she looked around at the other doctors in disapproval and lectured them for a bit. Anyway, that evening we went home and that weekend we took Arif out :) I am so happy that my son is well. This is the beginning of wonderful times ahead for my family.

PS: The MRI did confirm that Arif has a cyst in his brain, which is a scar left behind by the Grade II intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) that he suffered at birth. However, this is nothing to worry about, according to the doctors, as the bleed has healed. Usually, Grade II IVHs don't cause long-term effects to a baby's development.

IMG_20140802_143245 IMG_20140802_143135

Sunday, July 27, 2014

An anxious Hari Raya :(

A few days ago, we took Arif for a scheduled cranial ultrasound. These types of ultrasounds are routine for preemie babies, as they help detect abnormalities in the brain. Unfortunately, Arif's scan detected a few problems and he was immediately admitted for tests.

First, the saw a cyst in his brain, which is a form of scarring as a result of the Grade II Intraventricular hemorrhage that he suffered at birth. They also noted that the two hemispheres of his brain was asymmetrical. These conditions may or may not have long term effects on his development, only time will tell. 

The thing that had the doctors alarmed, however, was the presence of what they believe is a sort of liquid in the layers outside his brain. Whether the liquid is cerebrospinal fluid or blood, they cannot tell from the ultrasound. As you can imagine, my husband and I were in absolute shock and horror.

They ran an eye test on him and thankfully it showed that his eyes were normal and that there was no bleeding behind his eyes. They ran a blood test twice and noted that most of the tests came back showing that nothing was alarming. I was told the other blood tests will take longer to complete. I did not hear results of his urine tests, but I think they are either fine or the results are pending.

The doctors also noted that Arif was healthy, his head circumference did not increase during his stay and its growth since birth was consistent and normal, and he had no fever or seizures. We explained to the doctors that he has been a calm and happy baby since the day we brought him back from the NICU.

As there didn't seem to be anything wrong with Arif and there was nothing else they could do for him at the moment, they discharged him after a two-night stay. We are to bring him back to the hospital on the third day of Hari Raya to be sedated, so that they can run an MRI scan on him on Thursday morning.

We pray that the scan will show that nothing is wrong with Arif. This is a difficult and challenging time for me and my husband, but we have faith that we will get through this and it will be ok. Arif has been through and survived so much already, he is my little amazing fighter.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Herbed Fried Chicken made healthier with Scott Calorie Light

During the holy month of Ramadan, I like to cook for iftar because frankly, it's better to eat home-cooked food, plus it saves money. Don't get me wrong, Ramadan bazaars can be fun (although sometimes the food can be disappointing), but they can also burn a big hole in your pocket! One of the dishes that I like to prepare for iftar, is ayam goreng berempah or herbed fried chicken. It was one of my favourites when I was growing up and my mum has taught me the recipe. Take a look... yummm!

Untitled
Making it is simple, it's all in the marinade. The ingredients for a basic herbed chicken marinade are...

Untitled
Red onion, lemongrass, ginger, garlic and fresh turmeric. 

Coriander seeds
What I love about this marinade is, you can tweak it by adding extra ingredients, like coriander seeds (above), chillies, galangal, torn kaffir limes leaves or a dollop of dark soy sauce. You are free to experiment and give it a flavourful twist each time you make it.

Blend
The next step is to put all the ingredients into a blender with a bit of water, then blend it to a paste. 


Marinade
Then, pour the blended ingredients over your prepped and cleaned chicken and add salt to taste. Marinade the chicken for at least 30 minutes, although a few hours or overnight would be best.

Untitled
Once marinated, deep fry the chicken until it turns golden brown. Get ready for some seriously yummy smells!

Untitled
Last, but not least, drain away all the excess oil from the chicken with Scott Calorie Light Premium Towels. This will help prevent the chicken from becoming soggy and, best of all, it will help you cut down on calories!
Scott Calorie Light_PACKAGING_6ROLLS 
Yup, you read right. The brand-new Scott Calorie Light Premium Towel is specially designed for superior oil absorbency, reducing your calorie intake by up to 25%!

Scott Calorie Light VISUAL
Now you can enjoy your favourite fried foods with fewer calories! Just use 3 sheets of Scott Calorie Light kitchen towels to soak up the excess oil.


Scott Calorie Light LaunchIf you're interested to try out the Scott Calorie Light Premium Towel, it's available at major supermarkets, hypermarkets, mini markets and provision stores nationwide for RM6.20 for 2-roll and RM14.90 for 6-roll packs (West Malaysia).

(From L-R) From Kimberly-Clark Malaysia, Danny Tan, Managing Director, Emily Chong, Marketing Manager, Soo Woon Yee, Marketing Director, and Chef Florence Tan at the launch of Scott® Calorie Light.


SCL_logo

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

It's the moment of TOOTH

Okay, before I begin my story, let me offer a word of advice to everyone out there. If you're experiencing a toothache or any kind of problem with your teeth or gums, go to the dentist as quickly as you can - DO NOT DELAY! I say this from experience. In the past few years, I've ignored far too many nagging issues with my teeth and gums due to being too busy and hesitant about visiting the dentist, and now... I'm paying for it.

After my preeclampsia and hospital ordeal and now that Arif is home and things have settled down a bit, I decided that I had to have my teeth looked at. My husband found a dentist in PJ New Town and I booked an appointment.

During my first consultation, there was certainly no sugar coating it - I have quite a few major problems with my teeth and they must be corrected one by one. Simply put, I need scaling, root canals, dental crowns and extractions... phew!

This means I'll be visiting the dentist's once a week for quite some time. Plus, there will be a considerable "cavity" in my purse afterwards. But hey, like I said earlier, I have to "pay" for neglecting my pearly whites. I've had three appointments so far, and here's what I've had done.

More after the jump...

Monday, June 30, 2014

Frugal tip: Make lemongrass last longer

I just love lemongrass, don't you? It adds a distinct flavour to dishes, it's no wonder why it's such an important ingredient in Malaysian cooking. The thing about this fragrant herb, however, is unless you have a lemongrass bush growing in your garden, it can be hard to have it around all the time. There is, however, a way to keep your lemongrass last longer in the fridge - saving you money and keeping it on hand. 

How to make lemongrass last longer by adline✿makes

It's super easy, let me show you how after the jump!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Do you know about hidden hunger?

Amir 27.6.14 - School award
Amir and his award :)

My 10-year old son Amir recently received an award for obtaining good marks during his last exam, and as a mum, I couldn't be more proud of him.

To ensure that he continues to grow and do well, both mentally and physically, I'm always on the lookout for healthy foods and beverages to include into his daily meals. You see, my son has always been a picky eater, and like many other mums out there, I struggle with getting him to eat right. 

What he does love, however, is chocolate. So when Horlicks introduced their new Horlicks Chocolate, I got excited. If I could serve him Horlicks chocolate for breakfast before he goes to school, he would have more energy to last him through the day. 


But it's not just about ensuring that he has enough "fuel" to get him going in school. I recently learnt about a common condition that's afflicting Malaysian children - hidden hunger, or the lack of certain micronutrients in the body. 

Hidden Hunger & Horlicks Chocolate - Berita Harian-Famili_23 May 14_Pg 6-7
An article about hidden hunger in Berita Harian.

I believe few parents are actually aware of this condition. According to Professor Dr Khor Geok Lin, Professor of Nutrition from the International Medical University Malaysia (IMU), hidden hunger is unlike the hunger that comes from the lack of food. It is a chronic lack of vitamins and minerals that often has no visible warning signs.

The consequences, however, are disastrous, as hidden hunger can lead to poor mental development, poor physical health and productivity. But what causes hidden hunger? This disturbing condition is due to poor dietary habits, such as skipping breakfast, frequent consumption of snacks and fast foods, and low consumption of fruits and vegetables. 

Hidden Hunger & Horlicks Chocolate - The Star-Star2_30 May 14_Pg 6
An article about hidden hunger in The Star.

This, in turn, is associated with deficiencies in micronutrients such as iron, iodine, vitamin A and Vitamin D, which are important for healthy growth and development. You would think that hidden hunger would affect mostly lower income groups, but according to Professor Khor, local studies in Malaysia have shown that even school children in urban areas like KL and PJ have micronutrient deficiencies!

Realising the seriousness of hidden hunger, GlaxoSmithKline (the makers of Horlicks) has developed Horlicks Chocolate. This research-driven drink is packed with 23 essential nutrients, including calcium, protein and multivitamins to help discerning mums support their child's holistic growth

Group Photo 1 - Horlicks Chocolate Launch


"We want to be tall, sharp, and strong!' says kids at the launch of Horlicks Chocolate, together with (back, left) Katharine Chen, Marketing Director, GSK Consumer Healthcare Malaysia and (back, right) Rachel Ferdinando, Vice President and General Manager, GSK Consumer Healthcare Malaysia and Brunei.


Photo - Horlicks Chocolate 1kg Pouch

If you're interested to give Horlicks Chocolate a try, look out for it at all supermarkets, hypermarkets and provision stores. It's available in 200g (RM6.50), 400g (RM10.50),1kg (RM21.50) and 2kg (RM42.00) packs or in 3-in-1 sachets (RM10.50) for convenience.

As for me, my family and I are enjoying our first pack of Horlicks Chocolate this Ramadan. I think it makes an ideal energy-giving beverage for sahur.

Though it's mainly for Amir, as a breastfeeding mum I appreciate the energy and nutrients that it gives me too. Even my 66-year old mum enjoys it, after all she needs an energy boost now and then to play with her new grandson - my 2-month old baby Arif!


Need to know more about Horlicks Chocolate? Take a minute to watch this video:



I am Sherlocked!

Since I was little, I've loved reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes books. But when they made a Sherlock Holmes movie, with Robert Downey Jr, sadly my response to it was rather lukewarm. 

The same cannot be said, however, about my reaction after watching the first episode of Sherlock, the now insanely popular TV series with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Ladies and gents, I am absolutely Sherlocked! So much so that when Benedict Cumberbatch came to KL a few months ago to host the Laureas Awards, I thought I might go into spontaneous labour if I bumped into him in KL!

I have to confess that I'm a latecomer to the Sherlock TV show fandom, but hey, better late than never! Today, while doing my daily Pinterest prowl, I came across this awesome gem - an unaired Sherlock pilot! Squeeeee!!!!!!!


Ssherlock 2010 [Unaired Pilot] by UnknownArchiveTV

Friday, June 27, 2014

Medela Mini Electric Low Suction & Motor Problem - Try Flushing!


Medela is one of the most trusted brands of breast pumps out there, and as it came highly recommended by my breastfeeding friends, I decided to get one from my lactation coach. Due to my limited budget at the time, I purchased a Medela Mini Electric. However, I later found out that it's really meant for short-term and occasional use, so if you want to establish your milk supply and get a hospital-grade pump, perhaps you're better off getting the larger and costlier Medela models like Swing or Freestyle

medela mini
My Medela Mini Electric Breastpump
I've been using the Mini Electric for two months now and a few weeks ago I started noticing problems with suction and the motor dying out mid pump. Needless to day it's really frustrating to have this happen, especially when you're trying to pump milk-filled breasts at 3 a.m. 

Today, I had enough, so I went online to find out if others were having the same problem. It turns out, this happens quite often with the Mini Electric, but all is not lost! There is something you can try - Flushing out the motor! I tried doing it and it works! I'll show you how to do it after the jump.