Tuesday, December 08, 2015

The Library@CountryGarden, UDesserts and SangKaya

Recently we chanced upon some hip places in Johor Bahru to eat nice things.

First, Sangkaya. There is only one outlet here in JB, at Mount Austin, near Tebrau City AEON. Speaking of which... IKEA IS COMING TO JB!!!!! And it's said to be next to the AEON building. I.CANNOT.WAIT. Should I prepare a shopping list or a resume? Can't decide!

OK, back to the delish coconut ice-cream. Sangkaya is a home-grown brand, must support! It uses coconut milk as the base, and is suitable for vegans.

We tried the signature ice-cream and the Cha Yen ice cream, which is a Thai milk tea infused coconut ice cream. They are basically four little scoops of ice cream on a coconut husk, and you can choose 3 toppings. RM 9.90 each, quite an indulgence I'd say. The taste? YUMZ.

Another place for sweet tooth, UDesserts. There are a few branches around JB but the one we always go to is at Sutera. We didn't know they renovated the place. Seems like every cafe in JB is starting to look like the ones in KL, or should I say... stereotypical. Nonetheless, it's comfortable and the desserts are good.

Confessions from a suaku. I did not know there is a Johny Rockets in JB. We have been to one in The Curve, and at that time, I have not even heard of the franchise. Their signature is the dancing. So when we went to Country Garden to look for some cool cafe to try, we found The Library, which was joined to Franco and Johny Rockets. I only knew when the staff started dancing! Haha.

Look at my country bumpkin boys. I should've dressed them up in some swanky cool clothes, but it was before bedtime. 

No wonder it's called The Library. There are many books you can read there.

 The exterior. 

Hah, I didn't know Country Garden has changed so much. Quite a hip place!

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

School holidays

I think every mother scratches her head when it comes to school holiday activities to fill her kids' days while she is at work. Well, same thing if she's a stay home mom too.

Basically, I just don't want them to watch too much TV and play too much gadget games.

So I drew up a timetable for them. I tell you, children LOVE timetables. Yes, it is true that children, especially boys, strive in a structured organization with routines and hierarchy.

I'm a fair mom, so I allocated a fair amount of time for TV and games. I also allocated time for them to play with physical toys because I spent so much money on Legos and that semi-automated Nerf gun which required an expensive battery.

Apart from fun, they will also have to read their books and do their workbooks. Oh, did I tell you I enrolled them in Kumon just this month? So, they have worksheets to complete on a daily basis. I love that.. hahah.

And in the mornings, they have to water the plants, and spend some time with their pet terrapins.. OUTSIDE. They learnt their lesson a few months ago when the terrapins suffered from eye infections and didn't eat for 2 weeks. I brought the shelly friends to the vet and was prescribed antibacterial eyedrops and was told that if their condition don't improve, they will die off.

OMG. So I started to research on everything about terrapins. I thought they are pretty hardy to look after! So apparently, you HAVE to let it bask in sunlight everyday, and clean their tank and refill with fresh clean water.

Thank goodness, after a week of treatment, they recovered! The boys could see how serious it was when the terrapins refused to eat, and when I told them they will die if they continue to starve. They saw how upset I was too. So when the terrapins took their first bite in weeks, we were so elated!

So now, their morning routine is prevent-terrapins-from-dying-under-the-irresponsible-clutches-of-the-great-masters.

I would like to introduce them to gardening and regrowing vegetables, but first I need to buy soil and pots. Fingers crossed!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Looking Forward to 2016

I've always been fan of the Korean's Iconic Planners. 
So I'm really looking forward to using it! It gets better every year!
I bought this from qoo10, and another one for mummy dearest.

What I love about this planner is that there are different monthly cover designs. 
I chose a thicker planner this time, just for the fun of it. 

How pretty, isn't it!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Rubber Stamps

The first batch of stamps I made has almost sold out. So I made a larger batch this time. I discarded one or two designs and added more designs...

Huat ah!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Darren's First Concert Performance

BJ Kindeeland had its 19th Annual Concert and Graduation Ceremony last Saturday at Southern College. Ahh... brings back memories of Daniel in his costumes, haha. This time it was Darren's turn, and it was his first stage performance! He has been practicing his solo poem recital for a month.

When we arrived, we dropped him off at the gathering site where some kids are already in their costumes. Some parents were putting make-up on their kids and such. Crying was heard too. I can't tell you how funny such events are, and how awesome the teachers are! Imagine handling 30-50 kindergarteners in costumes!

So, we passed him to his teacher to dress him up. Now, this was the mistake we did. We stood there. What we should've done was to walk away. Just like a child's first day in school. Always walk away. Out. Of. Sight.

What happened? We started to fuss over him. Like adjusting his this and that. Then he didn't want to wear his headgear. I tried persuasion Level 1. Didn't work. Persuasion Level 2, didn't work either. By Level 3, eyes were swelling already. Uh-oh.... you know what happens when one domino falls. It is a catastrophic effect. OK, no headgear then. 

Before drama started...

I was the strong one. I left the site and went into the hall to sit. Then the husband calls with a serious tone "Come quickly".

He wants to go home. Uh-oh. Not in a mood huh?

We tried to leave him and as we entered the hall, we heard him crying. Uh-oh. Maybe we should go home. The teachers made the kids queue to go backstage, and while all the others were already walking in lines, Darren still refused to budge. A teacher gently but firmly pulled him along as he wailed even more... "DOWAN! DOWAN!" Oh dear, did we do something wrong?

I said a little prayer.

So, we sat on our seats, hoping for the best and expecting a no-show. We paid for the tickets, might as well enjoy the rest of the concert right? Maybe Taylor Swift might appear as a guest...

I told Daniel that his brother is crying and wants to go home. I think he felt a bit sympathetic and started to feel nervous for him because he was talking non-stop... hahaha, a mother knows.

And so, we sat through performances after performances... Darren's was the 7th show, during the 6th show, my heart was beating like crazy. I'm usually cool about these things but don't know why, I was getting nervous! I think it was the suspense. We were clueless what was happening backstage. Did he settle down? Or was he traumatized? No idea...

When the 6th performance finished... my heart jumped out. Jeng jeng jeng..

And there he was... walking out from the side of the stage curtain, together with 3 other friends. 

Our jaws dropped. He looked ok.

Then he walked to the center of the stage where the mike was, and started to recite his poem. He was cool, clear and smooth. AND I WAS NOT RECORDING IT! I think we were flabbergasted. Thank goodness there will be a CD recording of the event.

After all the 4 kids finished reciting, they scurried back to the stage, and the curtains drew. 

The music started and two main characters did a play first. Darren was the male lead! Our jaws dropped again. Then I laughed a lot. So he is this butterfly flying around and gives a bouquet of flowers to a girl and they danced around the stage with the other 'bees', 'trees', 'plants' and 'ladybirds'. So cute. The song was a touching piano and vocal one which had the words "I can fly". Watching my little firecracker dancing innocently to that song evoked a heartwarming feeling and I almost cried!

*Sob*... he is growing up so fast....  

Friday, November 20, 2015

Darth Vader Costume

I'm on a roll these days for DIY costumes...

This is a totally last minute decision for my company's annual Dinner and Dance. The night before the event, I started gathering all the materials. Basically I just bought felt fabric and gloves from Daiso, black duct tape and 2 meters of the cheapest black fabric from Kamdar.

I used the boys' toy helmet, the husband's Uniqlo vest old remote controls, aluminium foil, my existing stash of colourful felt fabric and leftover black wrapping paper from the Lego costume project.

Guess what, I won Best Costume Award!! Teehee..

Monday, November 09, 2015

11th Anniversary

Last Saturday, we celebrated our 11th year of marriage. Why does it feel like it is a feat? Many couples can do it, yet many couples fail. Until now, I'm still wondering if we can last another 10 years. It's not that I don't have the confidence that it will, but it's the never-say-never take on marriages, you know.

So, in the morning, I asked the husband to take off his wedding ring. He was not happy about it, hahaha. I took mine off too... to do this cute silly art! This was very impromptu, and I love it! The best part was, this hand lettering only took one shot! Usually I would have to write many many, then choose the best.

Truth is, like all marriages, we've had our ups and downs. It wasn't 11 years of bed-of-roses-everyday.   We gained some and lost some, we've laughed and cried in each other's arms, and most of all, we stayed on.

Now, aint' that a feat... 

Monday, November 02, 2015

Making of Lego Man for BJ Kindeeland's Halloween Costume Competition @ AEON Bukit Indah

Last Tuesday night, I saw an announcement print-out in Darren's kindee file, for a Halloween Costume Competition on Saturday.

How. Could. I. Not. See. It! And gosh Murphy's Law is so annoying, everything must happen that weekend! So, after work, and after dinner, my activity for 3 nights were making the costume, and preparing potato salad for a BBQ party on Friday night, some potluck thingy organised by the husband's buddy pal pals.

I googled for tutorials and DIYs for Lego costumes. Some looked too professional, involving high-density foam, and resin something something. No thank you. So I turned away, and just used whatever I had at home.

I found this 10 years-old corrugated poster-sized art card stock. I figure it would be suitable to make the head because it can form a tube easily. Wow, it was as if this paper was waiting for this project for 10 years. 

I bought 3 sheets of these wrapping papers from a local stationery shop, Kiang. These were perfect because the surface looks exactly like Lego.

I cut it roughly to the size I want, to fit Darren's head.

I cut out two holes for the eyes, measured with Darren's eyes positions.

Rolled and glued at the ends.

Sliced at intervals to create a curvy or rounded edge. Of course, it won't be perfectly curvy, but this will do.

Repeat at the bottom edge.

At this point, I realized the top is too high. So I sliced some more, to create a 'second level' curve. Which was great because I could actually create a round top!

Well... almost round.

Wrapped the head with yellow paper first. It fits, yay!

Punched two black card stock paper out, punched holes in the middle for view. Then pasted onto the eye holes.

Cut out and pasted the eyebrows...

...and the smile. This is the Lego signature face.

Instead of making hair, which is quite difficult in a short time frame and limited materials, I went with a cap. I cut out a rough shape for the bill and wrap the top surface with the black wrapping paper.

Sliced at intervals to fold in roundly, except for the shorter curve.

Flipped it over to wrap the other surface. 

Place it in position.

Cut out a big circle, and placed it on the top of the head. Same thing, sliced at intervals and pasted down to form the round cap. I covered the bottom exposed border with strips of the same black wrapping paper.

For the body, I used a large carton box.

Cut the corners of the box down.

Drew out the front Lego body shape. I used his left-to-right shoulder measurement.

In total, I cut out 4 shapes like this. For the two narrow rectangle panels, I cut out a hole for the arm to go through.

Wrapped the back panel with red wrapping paper.

Wrapped the front panel.

Joined the two side panels by gluing strips of card stock papers, like hinges. 

What it looks like inside. I didn't know what attire it would be yet.

For the classic Lego hands, I used two toilet roll cores. The regular ones won't work as it is too small. Luckily I found these at my office toilet. Clean la!
I sliced off one portion.

Wrapped with the yellow wrapping paper.

Then I created finger sleeves....

... so that he can hold it like this. I didn't bother about the thumbs, no time already!

Finally, I dressed him up as a BJ Kindeeland Lego man! Thank goodness I used red as the attire at first, everything seems to fall into place now!

OK, first, a little drama that Saturday. The costume was completed with ample time. But I had to run one last errand that day which was crucial. I had to collect my car from FA Wagen at 1.30 pm after having my radiator replaced. What would have taken 10-15 minutes, took almost an hour that day, because Jom Heboh was at Angsana!!! The roads were jammed up, and blocked. I was in the car trying to get home, where my handwork is waiting to be worn.

I reached home, got the boys to ready, the costumes in the booth etc. and headed off to AEON Bukit Indah.

So here's the deal. On the announcement print-out, it was stated that the competition was 3-4pm.

We reached the mall at 3.15pm. I thought, okay, maybe the organizers are still registering kids and all.

But when I arrived at the registration table, the teacher told us that the competition was already over!!! My heart sank like Titanic. I swear I was almost in tears. The teachers saw his costumes and quickly arranged for him to go on stage as the last contestant. So, I didn't have time to change him. He was supposed to wear a long sleeved tee and long pants.

His name was called, and up he went. Gosh everything happened so fast. Daniel was scurrying along with me all those times. He was like my assistant! Ah I love him...

At least the audience saw him...

At backstage, I saw this super adorable boy. He had black stick-on fingernails!! HOW COOL IS HIS MOM! He won first runner-up by the way. Good job!

So anyway, the winners were already decided. I think Darren wouldn't have won anyway because well, he wasn't a scary ghoulish monster... hahaha.

After that, I sort of calmed down and we just hung out at the mall for doughnuts and went to the arcade playground. The boys missed it, hehe.

Then at 6.30pm, there was a Halloween Parade organized by AEON. Some of the kids who joined competition earlier was there too. There were balloons and goodie bags, and these were enough to spur Darren to manja his father to get his costumes back from the car.

So there we were. This time, he attracted a small crowd. The kids loved him!! So all the kids who joined this parade sort of walked around in the mall, collected goodie snacks handed out by AEON staff.

Goofing around with his classmate.

Captain America was there too!

Phew... a bad start ended quite well I must say. The boys had fun, we all had fun.