Archive | January, 2012

Don’t you just love time-capsule?

24 Jan

Maybe it was that nightmare I had when I was 22. It was a life-changing stage for me, at a newly graduated and entering working life crossroads. It felt so real. I dreamt that my mum has passed away. It was a sudden death during one of her company trips. I was very angry and frustrated as I did not have the time to spend with her, take her for holidays, invite her for sleepover at my 1st house or even watch me get married and making babies. I woke up in cold sweats looking for my mum. Found her, hugged her and told her of my dream. She just laughed ( she loved my silly stories) and said that it was a good sign and she will have long life. Dreams always have opposite meanings according to the elders. Mum’s dream interpretation made me feel better but I have come to a stage where you-don’t-100%-believe-everything-that-your-mother-tells-you. At that moment, I could hear the countdown clock started ticking.

First thing I did when I got my first paycheck of RM1800 a month was to sign-up a life insurance policy for my mum, ex-maid (who took care of me for 14 years) and of course myself. RM360 a month was a huge commitment to a young adult like me. That was like 20% of my pay which I can’t even see the product in my hand, except for thick pile of papers! One thing for sure is when something does happen to any of these ladies, I don’t think I could watch them being treated as 3rd class citizen in government hospitals simply because nobody could afford to pay for their bills. That would be heartbreaking to watch and I’d do my best that it would not happen. Lucky for me mum did not have any health concerns at the age of 50. Therefore her insurance premium is still within my budget. I was told that insurance agents are bunch of conman and don’t trust them with your money. What I did was I studied all the insurance providers and became a part-time Prudential agent. I was so happy as I was able to help other people in this way and won’t get con by one. Unfortunately some still have that life insurance stigma when we try to share or create awareness to them. I am happy too that my BFF Assya has become a Prudential insurance agent as well.

Back to my story, I tried my best to spend as much quality time as possible with mum despite my hectic schedule. I made a point to have dinner every other day and do grocery shopping every week together. Then there was wedding and adjusting to our new lives apart. My husband and I would sleep in my parents’ house for 2 days and alternate with his parents’ house for 2 days. This continued for 2 years after we got married. I bought a house which is about 20 minutes away from my parents’ house and my parents and I would be visiting the construction site every couple of months until it was completed. I could see from their eyes how proud they were of me. The bond between my mum and I grew stronger when I got pregnant and gave birth to my 1st child. I reminded myself to stay fit and healthy like mum when I grow older so that I too can take care of my daughters when they give birth. It was amazing to see where she got all the energy. For the next 6 months she would accompany me to shop for household goods for my new house. She was like my BFF too. She said she was ‘happy’ that I was finally moving out from her house with some of her old furniture so that she can buy new ones! Finally, the day arrived and I was ready to move into my own house. Out of all the old furniture and junks that she passed down to me, there is one I treasure most – my baby book.

My Baby Book

Congratulations Cards in My Baby Book

When I was a baby in My Baby Book

I have never seen the baby book as I was growing up. My parents kept it well and it was a great surprise to finally have it. What I love most in my baby book was the collection of Congratulations cards. They were so cute and sweet. I’m so glad that most of the names mentioned in my baby book remain close family and friends until today. I can read the baby book over and over again and it makes me happy. I could feel the warmth and love at that time as I was reading it. I could not thank my parents more for putting so much effort in it. I really think that baby book makes a perfect time-capsule for our children.

Aufa's Peter Rabbit Baby Book

Pasted pregnancy test kit results, sonogram and clinic check-up bills in Aufa's baby book

For my eldest child, I looked through at so many options out there and finally bought bought Peter Rabbit naturally better Baby Book from Kinokuniya. I like the cute layout and the information we should gather to make a comprehensive baby book. I even pasted my pregnancy test kit result, sonogram and even clinic check-up bills. I wanted to go a bit fancy-schamancy and use multicolor pencil to write on it. Of course there were many polaroids in it too. As there were so many things to fill in, I was still trying to finish the book towards the end of my second pregnancy.

All About My 1st Year by Treasured Keepsake

For my second child, my primary school friend, Tesya presented us with All About My 1st Year baby book. What I like about this baby book is that it has been localized to our Malaysian culture. You would be prompted for DOB in Islamic of Chinese calendars or even a page on your baby’s Aqiqah, Full Moon or Baptism event. Find out more here.

Pasting Polaroid in Ayfaa's Baby Book

Out of curiosity, do you have Baby Book for your children? If you do, where did you buy it and why do you like it? I would love to get good ones too for baby gifts or perhaps for my 3rd baby? Do click on Leave A Comment link below to drop share your thoughts, Share this post of Like it. All photos by Ariffin Aris Visuals. Cheers!

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Our Precious Art Piece

17 Jan

Home Sweet Home. How do you make your home sweet? How do you make sure that your little kids keep your home sweet? Since we moved into our new house, we were determined to keep it simple. Minimal furniture and limited decos. It was also because my hubby simply loves playing his skateboard with Aufa inside the house. Eventually we had to give in to basic sofa set for our guests. Now that has taken away my pinball machine and foosball table area. Since we receive guests quite often, I had to make sure that area is kept clean and no toys laying around living room area as well. Besides than a typical mother’s method to keep on reminding their kids to clean-up after their mess, I had to teach my 3 year-old son the importance of cleanliness. How do I do it?

Arranging oil pastels on cereal carton

I strongly feel that every kid should have or feel the sense of belonging towards their own home. They should be proud, feel safe and comfortable in their own home regardless whether it is small cozy little house or a huge mansion. Some of the things that I practice with him is by getting him to participate in ensuring that the door is lock, do grocery together, cook/bake together and mostly importantly explain to him on why certain things need to be done. Sometimes he sincerely would remind our guests on “not to eat or drink on Mama’s sofa!”. Every other time he would be more than proud to explain to our guests his Babah’s photos on the wall. Last Christmas holiday, I suggested that we do a family oil painting project to add into Aufa’s excitement.

Melting oil pastels with hair dryer

If you have read my post on art, you would now by now that I am terrible at it but I can appreciate beauty. Neither can I afford to buy those expensive oil paintings and put them in my house. So when my friend Ayuni shared with me an art link, I got so excited to do it right away.

Place the canvas slanted underneath the tip of oil pastels

Couple of things you need:

1. Ready canvas wrap on wooden frame (I was surprised that they sell all kinds of sizes at the art shop)

2. A set of oil pastels (you can get set of 12, 24, 36 or 48 colors. The more the livelier)

3. Hair dryer to melt the oil pastels

4. Cereal carton to stick the oil pastels

5. Old newspaper to cover the floor

6. Karmar Varnish spray to seal the oil painting

7. Hangers and string to be fixed onto the back of canvas frames

Second method of melting oil pastels

Total amount we spent on all the items above is less than RM100 for 3 sets of 20cm x 20cm canvas frames. We bought the 48 colors oil pastel sets, which has a lot of leftovers and we only used 3% of the Karmar Varnish spray. Therefore you would expect more oil painting projects from us in the future.

Melting oil pastels might take longer than you expect

First step – I had to ensure that the floor is covered with old newspaper. Next, we got Aufa to select about 16 colors and placed them on stickers on the cereal carton. Then, place the canvas frame slightly slanted underneath the tip of the oil pastels. After that, switch on the hair dryer and direct the heat towards the oil pastels until they melt. The colors will then flow beautifully. Of course this part of activity needs close adult supervision. We had difficulty in keeping the canvas frame slanted and for the 2nd canvas piece, hubby suggested that we break the oil pastels into smaller pieces instead. I thought it was a brilliant idea until we switched on the hair dryer and it blew off all the little pieces away. We just laughed and made a few adjustments to it and to the 3rd canvas piece.

Drying session

Second step – is to let all the melted oil pastels dry for about a day and spray on the Karmar Varnish to seal it. Once the varnish is dry, fix the hangers and string to the back of the canvas before hanging the canvas art pieces on the wall.

Lastly – VOILA! Get your kids to proudly talk about their greatest art piece to all the guests. Now my wall look less empty and more colorful. Good luck!

Aufa showing off his oil pastel project above Mama's sofa

Note : All pictures are courtesy of Ariffin Aris Visuals.

The Ariffins' Precious Art Pieces 2011