December 21, 2007

Ds Gets It

I've always made a point to explain to dd and ds the meaning of Allah and muslim so they won't be confused of their muslim identity. Unlike me when I was a kid, I had little clue what a muslim entails except learning arabic letters and tajwid at M'sian Hall on Sundays. Everytime I went to the brownies weekly meeting with my sister, the head teacher would ask each brownies attendee, one by one, if we went to church with the group last Sunday and if we hadn't, then why not? I had to answer that we're muslim as this was what my mum told me to say. It was quite frightening for me to defend myself (and sis) and answer like this at the time and I wonder why the teacher didn't get what I was saying and why she had to ask the same question the following week.
Whereas Dd has quite a good understanding of her religion and could explain some islamic terms etc, I wasn't expecting my playful dear son(ds) to understand much. However, last week he was watching a cartoon on TV by himself called "Joseph and the multicolor coat" and there was one scene when one prisoner asked Joseph what did he believed in, and Joseph said "I believe in the one true God."Ds quietly said "One True God!" and a lightbulb hit him and he exclaimed to me "Mama, Joseph believed in Allah. Joseph is a muslim!" OMG! Ds gets it!

December 18, 2007

Swimming & Pools

I've started to send dd and ds to their swimming classes this week. Hopefully I could continue with the weekly program next year. It is quite hard to get a place in the swimming class for ds. Places are quite limited or they go quickly especially during summer. Last year I wanted to enrol him into a learn-to-swim class but there wasn't any places available on a Saturday at the previous sports centre. Dd got a place though but she had already acquired basic swimming skills beforehand in KL with her cousin prior to coming to Oz ( It was paid for by my dad as a birthday gift to them both). Ds didn't get to go to the one in KL either as he was 3 and half yo and the centre only allowed children if they are over 5 yo. Surprisingly in Oz (well, not a surprise really, Oz being quite a sporty and outdoorish nation), there is not much of a age limit anywhere and you can go to the class as early with your say > 3 months old baby.
I am quite impressed to see ds' swimming skills. He seems to be quite advanced than I originally thought. He can swim like a fish underwater only coming up to gasp some air every 2 or 3 seconds. However, I would like him to learn the correct stroke techniques just to be on the safe side. We have a pool in our backyard and before we secured a padlock on the child lock gate, ds was always finding ways to open it. (He could open the gate very easily if he stood on a chair) . I take water safety quite seriously and I should of brought the life buoy to Oz which my dad had originally given me when I was living in a condominium with pools in the complex.
Actually, my mum is more safety conscious than I, or shall I say water phobic? Once, she came over to my lil flat with my sister and nephews and we all went down for a dip in the pool. She was so water phobic that she insisted that all my nephews wear life jackets. So I let them wear my kids' life jacket just to please her. So there we were at the kids' wading pool which was only 2 feet deep, 4 kids under the watchful eyes of my mum (the matriarch), my sister and I , and 3 Indonesian maids!
I can't really blame my mum for being water phobic. We used to live in a house with a pool when we were little, and I think she remembered my dad too often diving in the pool to fish out my siblings (mainly my younger sister) out from the pool to save us from drowning. After which I guess it proved too much for my parents that we subsequently moved to a house without a pool (though this subsequent house did have a pond with tadpoles in it).

December 11, 2007

Summer kids' activities

The kid's school term will end this week and I have some things up my sleeve to keep them occupied. Next week I'm sending them to a swimming bootcamp. Then we'll go to the library next door. The library has a superb summer reading program for kids and dd already has half the stamps in her passport to qualify for a reward. I think it might take longer for her brother to collect the stamps. I hope he doesn't get too bored this hol. He might want to go swimming or to the playground everyday or even to the icecream parlour/toy shop. Boy, it is going to be a looong hot summer. Any suggestions?

December 07, 2007

Alfresco dining with a twist..

I 've nothing to blog about this week except dd and ds award ceremony (dd received high achiever award again and certificate for cultural excellence, and ds, a certificate of excellence in (school) citizenship). Only something out of the ordinary happen today. I've abandoned looking for fresh wholesome fish to bake in the oven in favour of alfresco dining at the local mall. I would normally sit outside the cafe but today was scorching hot so I opted to eat in the air-conditioned interior. I ordered fish of the day and some garlic chilli prawns for toddler and I , and while waiting for our order to arrive, started looking outside the cafe (as in people watching) . There was a woman who was walking quite normally in the sun when suddenly she looked dizzily up to the sky and half of her face trembled like she was having a stroke. She then collapsed backwards to the ground. I immediately stood up , about to go to aid the woman but realizing I had toddler to take care of, I only did the second best thing, and alerted diners of the situation. I also went to the counter to ask them to call the ambulance. The waitresses were chatting away not realizing what had happened but one waiter /manager immediately called the mall's security personnel after being informed. Some other lady diners outside had already rushed to help the woman and put some towels from a restaurant for her to lie her head on. The cafe manager then immediately carried a big cafe umbrella to shade the woman from the blazing sun. The mall security and first aid personnel also came over to handle the situation. I later quizzed one of the diners to find out her progress and he said she was going to be fine and it wasn't life threatening. She was probably dizzy, dehydrated and had a fit from walking in the scorching heat. I was quite relieved that she didn't suffer a stroke as I initially thought. At the end of the ordeal , an ambulance came and the woman was seen sitting up for a bit before being whisked away to the hospital.

December 02, 2007

Dd's small garden

Dd had asked me to buy some seeds for her to plant and she is now planting some tomatoes, sunflowers etc in little plastic containers. I've yet to figure where she could transfer them when the plants grows bigger but probably her dad would have some idea as he is in charge of the backyard/garden. Some people are natural green fingers like my FIL who has all kinds of fruit and herbs in his garden patches. My mum also likes to garden for its therapeutic qualities. Hers consist mainly of bougainvilleas and other flowers which I don't know their names, and in recent years, orchids. (I gave her orchids in a pot once or twice for her birthday instead of a bouquet of roses and she was hooked).
I'm afraid that I'm not a green finger at all. Once a Spanish friend gave me a flower in a pot during my varsity days and I left it on the window sill of the kitchen and it got eaten by tiny green bugs! She, on the hand, was great with plants. I gave her a fern plant in return and when I visited her at her home , it had flourished amazingly!
Dd's seeds have now grown into little buds. It is amazing to watch them grow. If her projects goes well, I'll ask her to plant some herbs for me in a flower pot so I could use them when I'm cooking.

December 01, 2007

Cooking away...

[You can see I'm in cooking mode by looking at how many entries I have bout cooking. ]
Mum called earlier this week and she proclaimed happily that my sister had given a glowing report on me, a good cook, doing housework nonstop and looking after the kids. She said I cooked a delicious roast chicken for her. I guess that did the trick. I wonder if my mum will be pleased if I made some cakes, muffins and brownies during sis's stay.
I tried some recipes from Delia's How to Cook Book two and three earlier this week. I tried fast-roast chicken with tarragon and lemons recipe. It was good but didn't turn out as I expected mainly coz dh had decided that day that he will get a fresh chicken weighing 3kg instead of the usual 1kg plus size and I don't think chickens > 2kg are suitable for fast roasting. I also tried her stir fried chicken in lime and coconut but this recipe is a bit too simple for an Asian dish and left much to be desired. Lastly, I tried the old fashion beef stew which required baking in oven for 4 and half hours. It was a bit salty, probably added too much salt but my sons actually love it and probably might do it again minus the salt.
Now my mind is set on cooking fish and hoping I could find some fresh fish at the supermarket. (They actually had a few flounders which I bought during my sister's stay. My sis cooked it immediately that day. She had earlier asked us whether we eat fish/I cook fish here in Oz). For cooking fish , I love Rick Stein's seafood odyssey DVD and book. Apparently , the programme was made earlier this millenium but travel and discovery channel didn't show it in KL. I'd like to bake a whole fish perhaps instead of fish fillet but have no clue where the fish market is here.