Cameron Highlands Tea Plantation, Malaysia

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tough Times Ahead

Things are looking gloomy for my company as it has been facing financial woes since last year. In view of the economic crisis and looming recession, it's hard to say whether my company would survive this critical factor. That said, many manufacturing sectors are affected and going downhill too.

Last week we were informed that there will be a staggering number of employees who will be likely to be laid off. I might be on the list. How utterly sad, it's unbelievable.

The way I look at it, the retrenchment might most likely hit the workers who have attained the age of 55 years and above or highly paid employees. There was a hue and cry at my workplace when my company announced this heart wrenching news. Everyone fears of losing their jobs if the country’s economy appears to be looking bleak.

Nevertheless, it's up to the company to decide whom they wish to retrench. Somehow, I don't have the courage to face the uncertainties ahead. I'm not sure if I can get another job if I were laid off but god willing, I hope that I'll survive this fall. At a time like this, I guess I must take a closer look at how I deal with my careless spending on items I don't need. Times have changed, no thanks to the economic downturn.

I guess life can't exactly be a bed of roses, things move on and nothing stays the same. So we'll see, I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Seafood Dinner

With the recent festival has just gone by, the next is here for us to celebrate and this time round, it's the festival of lights. My sister came home from K.L. for a few days in view of the festive break. Enjoying a great gathering with family is delightful especially when my sister is around.

Last night, we had a seafood dinner at the downtown of Bedong which is within the vicinity of Alor Setar. My parents and another sister joined us too. It was my first time patronizing this restaurant.

This is a siakap fish with 3 flavoured sauce which is tasty and appetising indeed. We all loved this dish. This siakap fish was exquisite with its tantalizing sauce, adding excellent flavour to the fish.

Another delicate and flavourful dish were the spare ribs, coated with a sweet and slightly sour glaze.The sauce was just the perfect combination of sweet and sour, enticing you back for more.

As for this serving, nothing too special about it although it's their signature dish. It's rather dissapointing in flavour. Somehow the prawns were huge, really fresh and spingy. We thought that it is going to be a yummy treat that we will fall in love with just the first sip. Unfortunately, the soup was spicy, not rich in flavour and tasted fiery to us, so it has to be thumbs down from me. :(

This is stir fried spicy padi frog with crunchy cashew nuts simmered in a spectacular and spicy heavy sauce, with ginger, dried chilli and chilli padi, topped with loads of spring onions. It tasted quite good.

The assorted seafood in claypot was rather so-so in flavour with fish maw, squids, mushrooms, scallops, fattchoys and abalones. There wasn't much of a splendid taste from this delicacy that I have tasted in other restaurants. The gravy was slightly salty for my liking but those who prefer salty in flavour with their plain white rice will apppreciate it.

Usually, when we go out for meals, we scarcely order any sambal stir fried vegetables as my kids can’t take spicy food. But my sister was craving for a sambal stir fried asparagus. Everything goes best with sambal but too bad that my kids don’t really appreciate it.

Overall, I might consider patronizing other restaurants next time. Their service wasn’t up to our expectation too. It took them a quite long time to serve our food. I have tried some of other restaurants but never had the opportunity to blog about it. Somehow, I managed to get a quick shot of these pictures. But of course, we had a great time chatting and hanging out together.

My hubby foots the bill and the total comes to RM121 for 8 hungry adults with 2 kiddos.

overall food rating:2/5

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Pink Sisterhood

I received my FIRST TAG ever from Monica and this tag is a worthy cause in support of the breast cancer awareness. I've earlier posted an article on this issue too. You can read my post HERE .

Okay, back to the tag and the rules.

***start copy***

1. Put the logo in your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who shared it with you.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4. Add your link to the list of participants below
5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.

PINK Sisterhood
***end copy***

Hmm....nominate only 7 blogs? Sorry Monica, I broke the rule of the tag.

This tag is open to anyone who wants to participate. Just let me know if you have joined The Pink Sisterhood, so I can add your link on my list.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Learning the Harmonica

My daughter has recently signed up for the harmonica lessons as part of her extra-curricular activities.

She is keen in learning the harmonica and pretty much enjoyed playing the instrument after learning a few basics. It wasn't long before she became fascinated by the raw sound of that humble instrument. It is also small, inexpensive and safe for children, which makes it handy to carry around.

The school has provided free music sheets and my daughter has been practising constantly. Infact, she's been selected by her tutor to give a harmonica performance for the upcoming farewell concert.

This is awesome and I'm going to purchase one and give it a try too. You can make sensational music by blowing in and out to make different notes and tunes. I'm sure it's going to be a fun-filled learning experience. By praticing regularly, you will have a steady foundation and be able to play any music you can find the tabs for.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Home-cooked Spaghetti Bolognese

It was a cool, lazy morning and my son has a sudden craving for spaghetti. This is not my usual practice to cook on weekdays but since I didn't go to the office today, I was more than happy to oblige.

My family simply loves this Italian dish. It also happens to be one of my favourite dishes I enjoy cooking. It's fast, easy and a good standby especially when it comes to my 'lazy to cook' weekend. It's like merely putting ready made ingredients together and not really cooking.

I prefer to eat and cook at home when I can. In a way, I can adapt recipes to have less 'sinful' extras. Outside food tends to contain more sugar, salt and oily but if you make the effort to cook at home, you can control the contents.

Perhaps, any experienced cooks who expect something more adventurous or exotic may find this dish too basic. I don't have excellent kitchen skills but I 'm sure there's always room for improvement. he he

Here is my version of cooking spaghetti bolognese (serves 2-3)


basil leaves, mixed herbs, my favorite pasta sauce, black pepper sauce

2 tablespoons of cooking oil

3 button mushrooms

About 100g of mince meat/chicken/beef

1 small onion (diced)

3 small cloves of garlic

Spaghetti- cooked according to instructions on the packet. Coat with a little bit of olive oil.

handful of herbs- basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, whatever goes

chicken stock or water

Parmesan cheese- to sprinkle on top

2 tablespoons of black pepper sauce

5 tablespoons of Pasta sauce

salt and sugar to taste

Methods (cooking the sauce):

heat the cooking oil in a pan, saute garlic and onions until light brown.

add in the mince meat- stir fry for 5 minutes

add the mushrooms - cook for 1-2 minutes

add in the pasta sauce and black pepper sauce

pour a little bit of chicken soup or water

cook for another 3 minutes, medium heat fire

salt and sugar to taste

cooking the pasta:

boil water add 2 tbs of salt and 2 tbs of oil

put in the pasta

cook for 5 minutes in medium heat fire

drain the pasta under cool water

mix cooking oil to avoid sticking up

serving suggestion: sprinkle with loads of parmesan cheese. garnish with handful of herbs.

Serve over hot spaghetti.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Happy Children's Day

Today marks a significant day for kids as Children's Day was celebrated at school this morning. Yup, it's the only day where kids could run around, laughing aloud, playing in class or simply having fun.

My daughter was feeling unwell but nothing could dampen her energy of attending school today. I guess it must be the darn Children's day spirit in the air. Infact, the school has a host of activities lined up specially for these children. When they came home, I was surprise to see their bags unveiled with amounts of biscuits received from school.

Looking back, I certainly missed the good old days where I celebrated with my primary classmates with full of enthusiasm and great joy. I remember vividly the excitement in the eyes of my friends and the great fulfillment that had brought us after watching teachers performing on stage. Besides, there were gifts and a wide range of food prepared by the school.

Listening to children and making their world a better place has been chosen as the theme of this year's International Children's Day.

Here's wishing all children out there,

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Goal, A Process of Ongoing Improvement

I have just completed reading the book The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement. This is one of the greatest books that I have read. The book is an enjoyable easy read. I felt like reading a novel rather than a management book and I just couldn't put it down.

It's a truly inspiring book which is about the principles of manufacturing. It's generally about people trying to understand what makes their world a better place so that they can make life more fulfilling.

The main character is Alex Rogo, a plant manager who is struggling to improve his mounting manufacturing plant problems. His factory is rapidly heading for disaster and his marriage is on the rocks due to his long work hours. He has 3 months to save his plant or face closure. It takes a chance encountering with a physics professor from student days-Jonah (Goldratt himself)-to help him break out of conventional ways of thinking to see what needs to be done. These cascade somehow turn into answers that help Alex and his team of managers to transform the plant from the biggest loser in the company to the most profitable one.

The intriguing story is full of twists and turns. This book teaches on how to resolve matters when in need to improve processes, problem solving and managing work-life balance.

I'd highly recommend this book especially to all who are working in a manufacturing environment.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hobbies for kids

School exams have finally ended. With the long school holidays coming up next month, it's definitely a great time for children to destress, relax and recharge from stressful times. I believe most moms are so looking forward to the school holidays as well so that they can get enough beauty sleep and not having to wake up so early to attend to school run each day.

I need to start planning some activities to keep my kiddos preoccupied. Otherwise, I have more squabbling, disagreements and bickering to listen to at home. Children need pastimes to explore new exposures and to grow as individuals.

I always encouraged my kiddos to partake in any opportunities that they find to be delightful, exciting and beneficial at the same time. Nevertheless, I'm in the midst of searching suitable activities for them. I believe hobbies are educational tools and it will benefit them in many ways.

I notice my kiddos can be so addictive to online games or Playstation 2 that when I approach them to help me with the house chore, they would give me 101 excuses and vanished from thin air. Looks like the internet access has become the most important tools for children these days. At times I wonder if the virtual world would affect my kiddos' social development.

I'll be taking a couple of days of work and take of to Kuala Lumpur for my sister's wedding in December with the kiddos. Wedding aside, we needed to do something fun with the kids during the school holidays, and I haven't been out that way for quite some time due to our work commitments.

How wonderful if we can go somewhere far, far away and stay in luxury hotels like the ones in Las Vegas? Let's get real here, I know I can never afford that luxury, so dream on Life Ramblings!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Happy Halloween

Halloween is around the corner but it has never been a Malaysian affair despite the various spooky celebrations which held in clubs annually.

I've never been to a Halloween party, that is because it's not in our culture of doing this. As believable as it sounds, it's not a common practise here for children to go "trick or treating" around the community or engaging in any other Halloween activities.

On the other hand, I've always wondered how it's like to be celebrating the occasion and donning some of those masquerade masks and costumes. It's unimaginable to dress as someone else. Needless to say, Halloween celebration is incomplete without the peculiar costumes that mark the freaky event.

As I was browsing the net this morning, I came across the website of Costume Cauldron which is an online store for kids and adults. From kids' adorable costumes to hot, sexy adult costumes, you'll be amazed at the extensive variety of outfits to select from. If you're keen in fashion or want to come up with something unique, then this website is a recommended visit.

In conjunction of Halloween, Nuffnang (my blog advert company) and Nokia are collaborating to mark the first festivity of this special occasion. As you can notice the banner below, it would be a night of Silent Halloween. You might wonder how this occasion could possibly be silent? It's going to be Malaysia's first SILENT dance party with handphones and headphones plugged in and dancing. If you’re selected, you’ll be sent an invitation email along with a link to download music tracks for the Silent Dance Party onto your phone or any other mobile music devices. That’s if you’re invited.

As fun as this may sound, I don't look forward to such events as I'm not a party animal in any way. Even if I'm invited, I'll not be going either as it won't be an interesting affair for me when I can't get my kids into the groove. After all, Nuffnang is giving only 2 free tickets to lucky winners.

There are various cool prizes to be won from the night such as the Nokia Music XpressMusic Phones, Nokia N96, Universal Music CDs and many more!

To those who are invited to the party, have fun and be safe. Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Handbag Planet CONTEST

As I was blog hopping this morning, I came across this contest in Monica's blog. There is an exclusive handbag giveaway going on October 15. To celebrate the launch, Handbag Planet is giving away a free fashionable handbag every hour for 24 hours on the day of the launch.

I just love handbags. It goes without saying that women and handbags literally go hand in hand. And handbags are sizzling hot, they always will be, no matter what people say about them.

I just registered myself and I personally like this bag but if you don't like it, there are lots more to select from. So folks, go ahead and sign up with Handbag Planet .

All the best!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Problems with Entrecard

It's happening again. I've been encountering problems dropping in on my EC droppers since yesterday. It's so frustrating.

The entrecard takes extremely long to load for some reason and I find it pretty time consuming to spend my entire time working on it. I 'll keep trying and will continue to drop but didn't want my regular droppers to think I had stopped reciprocating drops.

I was wondering if anyone else is experiencing problems with EC or is it just me? I apologize and I hope to get back to dropping as soon as possible.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Going Organic

The organic buzz is gaining popularity nowadays. From the 'use less plastic' campaign, recycling mobile phones and energy saving hybrid cars, organic has indeed gone global.

I've started consuming organic supplements a few years ago to help maintain my well-being and I feel that my family and I benefit from this. Some decades ago, the trend was to go synthetic but these days synthetic vitamins are less effective and maybe toxic as well.

I've made an effort to gradually move towards more organic/less chemicals in my foods to reap the benefits in years to come.

On the other hand, I've to confess that at times I might not be able to control myself from such exotic food I eat outside but I stay away from fast food as much as possible. I understand that organic products can be relatively expensive so I tend to spend within my budget.

With countless organic products cluttering on the shelves, it's important to distinguish a genuine product from a fake. If you wish to purchase organic products, you should look out for certified organic label.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Exam Blues

The exams are approaching and as usual, my kids scarcely worry about their exams these days. When I try to explain the philosophy of exams, their heads will start spinning and eyes rolling towards all directions. he he....It seems like the kids aren’t nervous and feel intense at all.

In today's fast-paced world, every parents want their kids to be competent and efficient in order to strive good grades in school. As a parent, I think time management is important. I make it a point to organise my kids' study time, at least an hour a day.

With the exams just around the corner, I'm trying to juggle my schedule timely to help them in their revision. Having said that, I want them to study in a fun and stress-free environment. That's only because I don't want to turn their minds upside down. Well, kids need fun and relaxation in between. Moreover, I need to ensure my children are eating well and sleeping well with no late nights before the exams.

So kids, no more daydreaming of your animes or cartoons for the time being. If you want a bright future, start worshipping your books. LOL!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Favourite CARTOONS

It's quite the norm for kids to indulge in their favourite cartoons these days. Mine are no exception as they literally tune in to watch their favourite characters on specific days and time.

With many colourful and interesting characters, even hubby and I get carried away. Ha ha, I guess it's a wonderful experience to get a feel of being a kiddo again. Somehow, it will literally belt out the tension and frustration of the day as cartoons can be ironically funny and entertaining at times.

With tons of homework and projects daily, it's good for kids to unwind with their favourite cartoons to gather themselves and destress. While watching cartoons can be fun and relaxing, it's all about moderation as I don't want my kids to neglect their studies at the same time. As long as they know how to control themselves, that's all that matters.

Some of my kids' favourite cartoons, manga or anime include Detective Conan, Fullmetal Alchemist, Crayon Shin-chan, Initial-D, Danny Phantom, Naruto, Spiderman, to name a few. For my all-time favorite cartoon, nothing beats Jem and the Holograms. This cartoon used to be very popular which ran in the 80's . It is generally about music company owner Jerrica Benton, her singer alter-ego, Jem, her band the Holograms, and their adventures.

So, what's your favourite cartoon?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Breast cancer awareness

In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, think pink if you love your boobs. It is never too late, or too early to learn how to perform monthly Self Breast Examination (SBE). As a mother, it is crucial to educate my daughter the importance of early detection of breast cancer.

All women particularly 40 and over should get mammogram and clinical breast exam yearly. Sadly, there are still many women who are completely ignorant about this. Most women tend to take things for granted. This is something we can't afford to be negligent about.

It goes without saying that women losing their boobs can be devastating. I'm sure it's tough for any women to go through this ordeal. Naturally it could have a massive impact on their lives.

It's rather difficult when someone you love dearly is battling cancer and not just breast cancer. Losing someone you love is never easy. Realising that you'll never see them again is even harder.

Obviously, it affects the whole environment of the family and close friends. We should be well informed to survive this.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri

It was the end of Ramadan yesterday and Muslims all over the world will be celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri with great festivities.

As usual, Muslims through out the country will be looking forward to spending time with their families in their respective hometowns. With the long festive break, I guess the non-Muslims will take the opportunity to go for a vacation with their loved ones too.

SO drive safely, eat moderately, sleep tight, have a positive attitude, dress to kill with your shiny baju raya and on top of all, be happy always.

Last but not least, here's wishing all my Muslim friends, bloggers and business associates,

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