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:

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!

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.


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.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My inspiration

From now on, when things don't seem to go my way, I'll look at this picture and it'll remind me of all that I have to be thankful for :) My two beautiful children, Amir and Arif XOXO

Bros 21.6.14

The Gift of Wellbeing - The AIG Injury Guard

My Mum, My Hero
Like many mothers and daughters, my mum and I don't always see eye to eye. But I will say this. My mum has nerves of steel. She is the strongest, most courageous person I've ever known. She raised my brother and I single-handedly and she worked very hard to put us through university. I recall that when I was little and whenever I fell ill, mum would take excellent care of me and nurse me back to health. Even when I was away in college, and she could not be there for me physically, she would slip RM5 bills into her letters to me with instructions to go get myself some ice cream, just to make me feel better.   

I never really had a role model ever in my life because my parents were probably the only people I would look up to. Idk, this is how I am..My mum has always been my hero, looking out for me in one way or another. But, I realise now that she's not as invincible as I once believed her to be. Last year, I took the decision to leave my long-forged career in order to be more available to my family, particularly my mum. Mum is simply not as strong as she was before and she deserves my attention and care. After all, she has taken care of me my entire life, and she cared for my son for years, while I pursued my career and Master's Degree. The time had come for me to see to her needs.  

Although I sought to be there for my mum, it turns out she will never stop being there for me. When I was hospitalised for a month some time ago due to a pregnancy complication, she helped take care of my son and my home. She also cooked delicious food so that I could eat well during my hospital stay. How can I ever fully repay her for all that she has done for me and my family? I don't think I can, but I will certainly try. 

This is so true, life is so short and we need to spend as much time with our parents as possible. I love my parents♥♥♥♥♥♥
I'm sure many grown up children out there feel the way that I do - We can never fully repay our parents for all their generosity and sacrifices. Not everyone is able to leave their jobs to care for their parents as I have, but here's one way to show your parents how much you care...

The AIG Injury Guard 
As children, our parents provided and cared for our every need. Now that they are entering their golden years, it’s our turn to care for them in every way possible. Although we can’t be with them all the time, there are many ways to show our love and care for them. One way to show your love is to give them the gift of wellbeing via the AIG Injury Guard - which can give you peace of mind and help ensure they are looked after, thanks to its comprehensive protection plan of up to RM500,000 worth of coverage for personal accidents which elderly individuals are most at risk for, including burns, fractures and dislocation, as well as hospitalisation.

Injury Guard can be purchased by phone or online with a debit or credit card (from as low as 93 sen a day!), without the need for long queues, tedious forms and medical check-ups, and is effective immediately upon purchase. It is also possible to nominate other immediate family members for this coverage. You can apply for Injury Guard if you are between 18 and 75 years of age and you'll be covered up to the age of 85. Plus, there even more benefits!

If you'd like to learn more about The AIG Injury Guard, just check out this video:


You can also view the video above in Bahasa and Mandarin here.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Shepherd's pie

Breastfeeding is hungry work and so to satiate my insatiable appetite today, I made shepherd's pie for lunch. I learnt how to make it over at The Fabulous Baker Brothers' YouTube Channel. The brothers truly are fabulous, I love them! Here's how my pie turned out...

Shepherd's pie
Looking good...

Shepherd's pie
It was super easy and quick to make... and tastes great! 

If you'd like to make this, let Henry Herbert of The Fabulous Baker Brothers show you how. Check out their video:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Arif Rizqi is home :)

I looked forward to a looong day at the hospital yesterday, as I wanted to spend the morning with Arif at the NICU and then get to my doctor's follow-up appointment at 2.00 pm. After seeing the doctor, I planned to wait for my husband to arrive at the hospital after work and we would stay at the NICU until they closed at 10 pm. 

At around noon, however, the nurse surprised me with news that we could take Arif home! It was totally unexpected! I called up my husband and waited for him to come and help me settle all the administration stuff. By around 5.00 pm, Arif was home. 27 days after being born, he has finally come home to make our family complete.

Caring for a preemie has its unique set of challenges, but I am looking forward to this incredible journey :)