Monday, December 31, 2007

The year that was

A year ago today, we were in J@karta celebrating Eid-ul-Adha.
We woke up really early to get ready because there were 7 kids and 5 adults in the house and 3 bathrooms and one iron. Thank goodness there was one Kak Ti who worked her magic and got our clothes all ironed and ready, and my kaklong (eldest sister, a.k.a. mokciknab) can be half asleep and still make a mean pot of bubur pulut hitam (black rice porridge) to bring to the M@laysian Embassy.

We spent the morning taking pictures at my sister's lovely sitting room, then we lazed a round.. I think I read a book, but I can't remember what book. Or maybe I rode a bajaj with Taufik to shop at Salina's again.. I can't remember. I know we went for a walk in Taman Monas (National Monument Park) in the afternoon, left just before the new year revelling crowds arrived, bought some spiky hats, went home to change then headed to the posh side of jakarta to Kaklong's friend's big house.


I think 2007 can be called a 'travel and adventure' year for me. I sorta had my revenge for being sequestered in the house most of the time in 2006 (because I was pregnant and then I gave birth to Izani and then it took forever for him to get his passport).
We started it off by going to J@karta, Ind0nesia to visit my kaklong. I got to visit a real-live volcano, so I can tick that off my 'to do before I die' list.
I got to perform my umrah in M@kkah.
I got to ride an ATV up some sand dunes.
I got to see the more exciting parts of S@udi, like the amazing Iris fields of Tum@ir, the Edge of the World and the coastal town of R@s T@nura.
I finally visited Lollies in D0ha, Q@tar.
I finally got to see Kimi Raik0nen live in Bahr@in (despite all the drama). That's another thing to scratch off in my 'to do before I die' list. yayness!
I saw some Egyptian artifacts in B@hrain National Museum when we got to spend a weekend in B@hrain. That was fun.
And then there was that dream holiday that almost didnt happen - a visit to Florence , Volterra and Rome . I would scratch them off my 'to do before I die' list, but I am hesitating coz I want to go again and visit at least one museum (preferrably Galleria Della Academia and see the real David) and put my hand into Boca della Verita.
Taufik also got to have his dream holiday. After 15 years of bugging me, I finally relented to Taufik's request to visit Taman Neg@ra, Pah@ng, and what an adventure that was!!
Last but not least, we closed the year by hosting lollies' family for almost a week.

So that was what my 2007 was like. I have quite a few things planned for 2008. Perhaps a trip to the island of redang for some snorkeling, and also performing my Hajj, Insya-Allah.
I wish you all a prosperous 2008!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

the truth is

The truth is, when Lollies arrived at my house, my kitchen was on fire.

We had bought some crabs and Taufik was deep frying it in a pan that was too small and the oil boiled over and caught fire. Our smoke alarm kept going off, the house was hazy with crab smelling smoke and I was going back and forth between the stove to make sure nothing else catches fire and standing under the smoke alarm flapping a kitchen towel at it to make it stop beeping. Taufik finally stopped the incessant alarm by removing the batteries.

Havoc, [I]wa cakap lu[/I]... very far from the goddess image.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Goddess Conference Dec 19th - Dec 25th, S@udi Ar@bia.

[I]ha... bila lagi nak tengok lollies pakai tudung?[/I]

As you may have heard, [URL=""]lollies[/URL] came to visit us these past 6 days. We spent 2 days in Bahr@in, and the rest in Khob@r/Dh@hran. We decided not to go to Riy@dh because we thought the schedule was too packed. If we had gone to Riyadh, lollies would not have been able to see any places in Khob@r.
The visit was hectic and fun. Like with any meetings of malays, it was filled with chatting and eating. When we're not chatting, we're eating. When we're not eating, we're chatting. Sometimes we were chatting while eating.
My kids were very happy their friends were around. It was really difficult to get them to go to sleep.
It was a bit sad to send them off this morning.. I told the kids to bug their parents to come visit us again. tee hee.
I hope they had fun while they were spending time with us :) We definitely had fun having them around !

I'll let lollies tell you what we did while they were here. Her pictures are nicer, and her perception of Bahrain and Khobar will be unbiased. :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I'm a bit down today.

Apart from the frustration that I can never clean up my house enough coz it will get messed up in the next five minutes when 4 tornadoes (read: my kids) pass through it, I also got a very upsetting text message.

Yesterday I messaged my friend Wal, inquiring about his new baby. He replied that his wife is fine but the baby was under intensive care because his/her lung is not functioning properly. I prayed for the recovery of his baby, and couldnt stop thinking about it.
This morning I messaged him again, expecting good news, but got a reply that the baby passed yesterday afternoon and was put to rest in the evening.
I was devastated.
I asked him if I could call him, and he said sure.
As I am typing this I have not called him.

I kept trying to think of what to say. And what to say without crying.
Coz every time I started imagining our conversation, I get all teared up.
What can you say?
Asking "how are you" seems like a stupid question.
I can't even bring myself to ask whether his baby was a girl or a boy. I feel like it's irrelevant. But I also feel that it is relevant, coz he/she was his baby, even though for only awhile.
gawd I'm choked up even writing about this.
I want to hug him and his wife, to tell them it's okay, they already have 2 beautiful children, they can make more children but somehow that seems so callous.
I want to tell them to be brave, to surrender and accept fate, to look at this as a test, but that sounds so cliche.
How can I tell them all this and comfort them when I myself am breaking down trying to imagine how I would feel if I were in their place?

I messaged him just now, when I thought I'd be strong enough not to break down when I talk to him. I asked if it was too late too call, whether he's already asleep. (It's like 11:30pm in Malaysia).
No reply.

I am telling myself that I will be stronger tomorrow and I will make a point to call him.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

8 days and counting...

I've been devoting my time on the chair covers. (and cooking and other daily duties... and even then some of the daily duties like sapu sampah are being neglected *malu*)
Here's what they look like:

2 down, 4 more to go!
So far I've managed to sew one per day, so I think I'll be able to make the deadline *grin*.
I am starting to wish I own a sewing machine though. It'll definitely speed things up and maybe I'd even have time to make a cover for my gawdawful sofas.

The guest room is ready.
The menu is not ready, but I already plan to go buy fish and makanan yang sewaktu dengan nya this weekend.
The rest.. i'll just leave as is. I am trying to convince myself I am not trying to impress anybody, but still feel the need to make my place look welcoming. and liveable.
is that a sin?
am I being vain/pretentious/crazy?
I think the last bit might be partially true.

*cuckoo cuckoo*

Friday, December 07, 2007

I am busy busy

With the impending visit of lollies in 12 days. (yikes!) I have been busy preparing.
Thinking up menus and planning what I can cook in advance (hey i may be a goddess, but I'm no magician). I have to think of what could easily be packed up and brought to B@hrain so that we don't have to search for breakfast. What I could easily defrost and whip up for dinners at home after a day out gallivanting. I should stock up on tit-bits so that we don't go hungry on the 4-hour drive to Riy@dh.
I am also planning to change my chair covers, so that's one sewing project. I'm also thinking of making a matching table cloth, so that's another thing.
I've cleaned up the guest room and now I'm thinking of what to put on the bedside table. A tissue box, at least.
I have this wall hanging that I've been working on since February, on and off. I am determined to finish it and have it up by the time the qatari goddess gets here.
On top of that, I have the day to day stuff. You know, cooking, laundry and nagging my kids to clean their room.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you might not see me around that much in the next few weeks.

Before I leave, a few random thoughts --

- My index finger hurts from being accidently poked by my needle.

- I think izani screams because I scream.

- If a person should be punished for allowing an inanimate object to have a name resembling our prophet's, shouldn't parents be punished for naming their children names resembling our prophet's but fail to raise them as good muslims?
I think the latter causes more damage than a teddy.

- Random shootings, identity theft, missing canoeist ... what is the world becoming?

- I am sick of cinnamon buns.

- I'll probably bake more cinnamon buns next week.

- Garlic+rosemary pounded to a pulp and mixed with oliveoil, rubbed on chicken, kept in freezer overnight, defrosted, baked at 180deg C for an hour .. is yummeh!

- I want to be in Jakarta instead.

- I want a kilim rug, but they're damn expensive. I'm saving up for it starting now.

- oh oh. I broke one of the links on my bracelet! (the one that taufik bought for me) Luckily, it happened while I was putting on bedsheets in the guestroom. Think of the horror if it had happened while I was out shopping!! :O I would have died!

- talking about shopping. I felt better about splurging on my new plates when I went to buy 3 plastic storage containers for SR35 and got on the bus to find one lady who bought not one, but 3 liz claiborne handbags.

I have to go cook dinner now.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Yummeh Cinnabuns!

Do you like cinnamon buns/rolls? My husband buys one almost every week.

These buns were crusty, but soft on the inside. The frosting was creamy, slightly cheesy and not so sweet. The cinnamon wasnt strong, but identifiable. The balance of sweetness, spiciness, chewiness, creaminess and crunchiness was heavenly.
And the best part was that I made them myself! :D

nak resepi? You want the recipe?
nak ke? You want?
betul? really?

tee hee.

At my husband's favourite cinnamon roll store, they cost SR9 each. So i decided to g00gle for the recipe and I found one that claims to be closest to the brand my husband likes. I bought the required ingredients, omitted and substituted those that I could not find, and tried it out.
I am SO SO SO *SO* proud of myself. Can you tell?
tee hee *giggles with glee* tee hee.

This is the first time I've worked with yeast. This is the first time I used the dough hook on my mixer. This is the first time I've made anything that requires this many steps.
So forgive me if I'm a little bit smug about it.
tee hee *giggles*
The recipe is abit long, because there are many steps to it, but when you start making it, you'll see that it is really not that difficult to make. The kneading was a bit of work (unless you have a bread maker), but the end result is oh so worth it. It turned out so yummy even *I* was suprised.
I am presenting my modified recipe, with the suggested steps.
(Please note I don't have a kitchen scale, so I depend solely on my measuring cup and eyeballs.)

Cinnamon buns
Make Cream cheese frosting
Can be made in advance and kept refrigerated. I kept mine in a squeeze bottle for easy application.

150grams cream cheese (3/4 of the 200gram pack)
100grams butter (1 stick)
1 1/2 cups icing sugar (sifted to remove lumps)
1 tsp vanilla essence

- Soften cheese and butter to room temperature. Whip till well mixed and light.
- Add 1 cup of sugar and whip for a minute, add the rest and whip for another minute.
- Add vanilla and whip till white and fluffy.

Make Cinnamon filling
Can be made in advance and kept in an airtight container in a cool dry place.

Mix well:
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 heaped tablespoons ground cinnamon

Make dough

1 cup milk
1/4 cup water
100grams butter (1 stick)
2 tbsp yeast (I used SAF)
2 eggs (medium)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup caster sugar
4.5 to 5 cups all purpose flour (may vary depending on brand)

- In a saucepan, gently heat up milk, water and butter till butter melts.
- Take off of heat, let cool till liquid feels warm, then stir in the yeast till thoroughly dissolved.
- Pour the liquid into a mixing bowl, add in eggs, vanilla, salt and sugar. Mix well with a whisk.
- If using a mixer, use your dough hook to mix in the flour bit by bit. Alternatively you can also mix by hand.
- Once mixture gets really thick (usually by the time you add 4 cups of flour), start kneading in the rest of the flour by hand, bit by bit, until dough does not stick to hands or bowl.
- Stop adding flour and continue kneading by hand until dough becomes soft.

Make Rolls

100grams butter (1 stick) softened.

- Roll out the dough into a rectangle about half and inch thick.
- Use a rubber spatula to spread the butter evenly on the rectangle, except for the last 1 inch (on the long side) closest to you. The unbuttered edge will be used as a seal.
- Sprinkle the cinnamon filling on the buttered part of the dough, as evenly as possible.
- Roll up the dough as tightly as possible starting from the longest edge furthest to you, rolling towards you. Roll up completely and keep the unbuttered edge on the bottom to seal the dough.
- Use a really sharp knife, or thread, or dental floss, to trim off the uneven ends and then cut the long roll into even sized smaller rolls. (Use a ruler or some kind of guide lah.. I just eyeballed it).
- Arrange buns flat, about one inch apart from each other, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Cover with a clean lint-free cloth and let rise in a warm , non-drafty place for at least an hour till they double in size. While you wait, pre-heat oven to 325 deg Farenhite.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. (buns will expand while baking)

Assemble CinnaBuns

- While buns are still warm, spread with or squeeze on cream cheese frosting.
- Sprinkle with chopped roasted walnuts if you like (I like!)


You need 3 sticks of 100grams butter in total. Take it out of the fridge well in advance to soften them.
I divided my dough into two instead of making one huge roll.
You could of course add or reduce the amount of sugar used in the recipe to your liking. I don't like mine to be too sweet, so the recipe here is the reduced version.

I know, the recipe looks daunting, but think about it - If a first-timer like me could make this, anyone can! :D
I've showed you mine, now show me yours!

p/s Lollies, you want this to be on your holiday menu? ;)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

New Plates

I know this is bad timing since OndeOnde just wrote about being thankful with whatever we have, but I cant help myself. *malu*

Yesterday while in Giant buying groceries I saw the prettiest dinner set! I had been wanting to buy a new dinner set since the ones I currently have for everyday use have been reduced to 3 chipped plates, and the ones that I use to serve guests is incomplete by several pieces because of mishaps involving my kids. (One glass mysteriously dissapeared and I dont know who's the culprit since it didnt break in front of me and no one wants to own up, so I'm guessing it's either the husband, or one of the guests...). Plus, this dinner set came with matching teapot, sugar and creamer pots!
Taufik didnt want to buy it initially, but after a few minutes of pouting, threats (I'll come back on my own the next day to buy it, if we don't buy this one I'll go to town and buy the thousand riyal ones) and a rational discussion (it's cheap, it's pretty, we need new plates anyway, I have been looking for a matching teapot-dinner set), he finally relented.
woo hooo!!

Tea in the garden, anyone?

Aren't they the prettiest things??
Boleh lah kan? Nak beli Wedgewood, Royal Doulton or Mikasa, kita tak mampu, so Sarah Made in China pun jadi lah... Janji makanan/minuman yang di hidang tu sedap, kan kan kan?
(It'll do.. I can't afford Wedgewood, Royal Doulton or Mikasa, so I'll be content with Sarah Made in China. Just as long as the food/drink served in it are delicious, right, right right?)

So who's coming over tea? ;)