Money talk

Dec 31, 2012

Welcoming the 2013 school session

It's the busiest time of the year.  Traffic to the office was extremely smooth this morning.  I think half of the population is on leave today.  For me, it is even busier as the beginning of the school session this time coincides with the end of the semester here.  I am not on leave today, and will not be on leave next Wednesday.  Abah will be accompanying Angah on his first day of school.  He had his orientation last Friday and everything seemed fine.  So, I'm not that worry.  Plus, Along will hopefully be around to peep him from time to time.

Dec 26, 2012

A pre-weekend away in Malacca

It is almost the end of the long school holiday.  We travelled a lot this time.  We went to Yan, Kedah for Pak Su wedding on the 7th of December and stayed overnight there.  The homestay was nice, facing the seafront, but there was no beach though.  On the way back, we stopped by at Ipoh for another night.  We planned it that way.  So that we wouldn't be too exhausted from the long journey back.  We arrived at the Kinta Riverfront Hotel around Maghrib time and the kids spent the whole morning in the pool the next day.  Two weeks later, we found ourselves on another holiday trip.  This time to Malacca.  I had to visit my students who were doing their industrial training attachments there.  One in Alor Gajah and another in the city centre.  We spent the first night in the AFamosa Resort Hotel.  Since it was a weekday, we departed after office hour and reached there at around 9 pm.  We were at the Equatorial Hotel for the second night. 

Alhamdulillah, everybody enjoyed every bit of it, especially the pool :)  I booked a premier room and the brothers really enjoyed the daybed and the view.  Both of them slept there throughout the night with no fuss and no sound heard.  Obviously fast asleep and surprisingly, none of them fall off the bed!
The daybed in the Premier room
Achik-the-little-princess, as usual, always gets the priviledged treatment and had the whole queen size bed to herself ;)

Also fast asleep

Nov 30, 2012

School holiday dilemma

For a working mother without a helper, end-of-the-year school holiday always poses a challenge, that is, how to keep the school age children engaged.  For this, I am very thankful to Mak Nah, the owner of Taska Al Humairaa for organising loads of activities for elder children whose siblings attend daycare at the nursery.  Angah is enjoying every bit of it, which is a great relieve to me.  As for Along, the first week was really holiday.  He just stayed at home with my mum.  Thank you very much wan.  Second week, he attended a robotis workshop, an introduction to robot for children.  He enjoyed it.  Starting this week, he is attending Littlescientist workshop for three weeks.  Till then, I will have to figure out what they will do for the remaining weeks of this school holiday.

Nov 9, 2012

"Don't tell me in UNITEN"

I am 'enjoying' a two-day breakaway from office work since yesterday, attending a research seminar and the launching of CREAM journal at Akademi Kepimpinan Pengajian Tinggi (AKEPT).  I met a senior academician there, who was very frank :).  Here is a snip from our conversation yesterday.

She: Are you doing your PhD now?
Me: Just completed. Submitted and now waiting for viva.
She: Good for you.  Where did you do it?  Don't tell me [that you did it] in UNITEN.
Me: Nope.  I did it in the UM.

And the conversation continued.  Apparently she had just received her PhD from the UM last year and she shared her viva experience with me.  It is good sometimes to talk to a frank person like her because it brings you to reality.  UNITEN has a long way to go to establish its research reputation, that was the point that I got yesterday.  So, calling all PhD graduates from UNITEN, prove that this lady is wrong.  Otherwise you will only confirm her 'hyphothesis'.

Nov 5, 2012

Off you go ..

My almost six and a half year battle with this part time commitment is finally approaching its end.  Four copies are on their way to the external examiners for evaluation.  I have tried my best.  Now is the time for prayers and complete reliance on Allah.
Please come back to me with nice comments  ;)

Oct 29, 2012

Me, myself and antibiotics

More often than not, antibiotics prescribed to me and my children went to the bin unopened.  If not straightaway, they eventually went there after three days.  Here in Malaysia, doctors easily prescribe antibiotics to patients.  Based on my experience in the UK, antibiotics are the last in their prescription list.  Even when I once suffered from prolonged fever and on the verge of losing my voice, the doctor was still hesitate on giving me antibiotics.

I am currently suffering from eyesore since last Monday and when the condition did not improve after three days, I eventually took the antibiotics prescribed to me three days before.  Unfortunately, the condition worsened after I took them and yesterday, after four days on antibiotics, I paid another visit to the clinic.  The doctor said that the eyesore could possibly be because of viral infection rather than bacterial infection since it did not respond to the antibiotics.  Hu ... hu ...  Can you imagine?  I hate antibiotics and when I eventually surrendered and took them, it was for nothing.

End result?  I hate antibiotics even more!

Sep 12, 2012

UPSR holiday

I can't find a better name for it.  UPSR is an exam, but only for standard six students.  For other primary school pupils, it means additional holidays.  Along is one of them and I have to find a place for him to stay during the three holi-days.  Yesterday, he stayed at home.  Home Alone.  It was not the best option, especially safety wise, but he wanted it, so it was.  I only returned home in the afternoon to prepare for his lunch and mine too of course.  This morning, he wanted to go to the nursery with Achik.  I was fine with it because I did see a few other pupils who were also 'enjoying' their holidays there yesterday.  Angah will join the bandwagon after his kindergarten session ends at 12 and I can then pick them all up at one place this evening.  Nice.  Tomorrow is still a question mark.  Probably I will join him and take a holiday too :)

Aug 29, 2012

Salam Aidilfitri 1433H

Maaf zahir dan batin.  I do hope that the Ramadhan that had just passed by was the best Ramadhan for me.  Even if it was not, it was indeed a better Ramadhan than last year because Abah is around :)  I am no longer a lone ranger in handling the kids and the housechores.  So, I had more time to pray, recite the quran and et cetera.

This is the third aidilfitri that we celebrated as a family of five.  Photo shooting was more challenging this time with mischievous and boisterous and everything Achik.  She could only stay still for no more than a few seconds, especially with the headscarf on.  So, everything had to be done whithin such a short stint of time.
Syawal 1433H edition
The amateur photographer was a bit less ... this time, so the background makes a significant part of the photo.  Alhamdulillah, the kids' health, especially Achik, was marvellous during this festive season.  We did not have to make a visit to the clinic despite the abundance of cold drinks and carbonated drinks, rainy days ...  you name it.  Alhamdulillah.

Aug 27, 2012

Almost the end of the journey

As of today, there are 4 bottles of 5 oz each in the freezer.  That would be the last ones.  Our breastpumping journey has ended.  But direct breastfeeding still continues until Allah knows when :)  Basically, until it is no longer cute and adorable for Achik to cling to me.

Washed.  Ready to be kept for future use

Aug 7, 2012

Mischievous two!

This term was certainly not coined out of the blue.  As Achik turns two tomorrow, she has started to show some tantrums that make her look less cute, ha ha ha.  But still adorable nevertheless. 
  • Never ever say no to whatever silly things that she wants to do and she will scream out loud immediately with tears all over.  When I said loud, I really meant it. 
  • Don't ever try to hold her hand while walking especially in the shopping malls.  She will pull out her hand, trying break free or just sit down on the floor and refuses to walk.  Urgh...  To carry her all around the malls is just ... heavy. 
And more are on the way, I am sure.

Jul 24, 2012

On the verge of losing my milk!

Yesterday was the first working day of Ramadhan 1433H.  And guess what?  I did not pump.  And it was not until after Maghrib prayer that I breastfed Achik.  Actually, I planned to pump once home.  But I was busy in the kitchen until iftar time.  Though Achik arrived home at around 6.30 p.m. with abah and the 'bodyguards', she didn't ask for it until after Maghrib prayer.  Oh my God.  I think I am going to lose the milk sooner than I thought ...
All that's left in the freezer
We still have some 87 oz in the fridge.  Achik will turn 2 in 2 weeks time, Insya-Allah.  I think I can start happily ever after emptying the bottles without worrying about refilling them.  Alhamdulillah.  Thank you Allah for making it possible for us to go this far in our breastfeeding journey.

Jul 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday #1

Jun 27, 2012

Organic soya drink for Achik

Achik is approaching 22 months old.  Although I am still expressing milk with a lot of struggle to combat laziness, I have slowly started introducing her to other milks in preparation for weaning.  After successful introduction to fresh milk (seriously, she finished all the 3 oz on the very first day I introduced it), I am going to try organic soya drink on her.  The brand is Melilea.  Well, this is the only brand that I know.  Hope that it will work just as successful as fresh milk.
Melilea organic soya drink
The recommended serving is 1 scoop for 1 oz of water.  But I am going to go for half first.  So it is going to be 1 and a half scoops for 3 oz of water.  Hmm ...  Anyone has extra scoop?

Jun 15, 2012

Bidding farewell to my Maybank GSPA

After a number of postponements, Alhamdulillah, I finally managed to close my Maybank gold savings passbook account (GSPA) today.
Cut at the corner to mean 'closed'
I opened the Maybank GSPA in June 2010 without much knowledge about gold investment.  The only thing I knew was that, I had to start somewhere investing in or saving gold.  The easiest choice available then was Maybank GSPA.  Furthermore, the account was deemed halal i.e. syariah compliant then.  Sadly, Maybank recent move to rebrand Maybank GSPA to Maybank gold investment account (MGIA) nullifies its syariah compliance status as amongst the new terms is that, gold withdrawal in the form of gold wafer is no longer allowed.  Therefore, I had no other choice but to say good bye to my Maybank GSPA. 

Jun 11, 2012

Behind the wheels with Angah and Achik

Angah: Let me drive, please ...
Achik: No.


Achik: NO!

Angah: I drive.
Achik: Abaaaah ...

Angah & Achik: Ok, lets drive together (after abah interfered, of course)

Power pumping our way to Ramadhan 1433H

Time flies.  It is already Rejab now.  Sya'ban will be here in no time, followed by Ramadhan.  Achik will hit 2 years old this Ramadhan and I put 19th Ramadhan as the last milestone of our breastfeeding journey.  Just like last year, when Ramadhan is approaching, my concern about EBM stock for Achik is also growing.  Alhamdulillah, I managed to reach the targeted 160 oz last year, which were hardly used due to the number of leaves taken as a result of Achik hospitalisation series.  Achik is currently taking only 6 oz a day.  So, I am targetting half of the last year amount for the coming Ramadhan, i.e. 80 oz of EBM, assuming minimum daily production of 2 oz (so pathetic) during the holy month.

After successful experience with power pumping before, I believe that power pumping is the only way that works for me.  So, I am going to go back to the power pumping routine starting from tomorrow until the last day of Sya'ban.  Hopefully the perseverance will last longer this time.  In the mean time ...  3 more days of fasting to repay :p

Jun 5, 2012

From Allah we came ...

... and to Him we shall return.

Last Sunday, we received a heartbreaking news on the demise of Allahyarhamah Siti Hasnah Hamzah who was killed in an accident, leaving behind two very small children and a beloved husband.  I didn't know much about her, just that our kids are going to the same daycare centre.  So, once in a while, we bumped into each other, exchanging short conversations or just smiles.  Though from such short encounters, I can tell that she was the kind of mother every kid would want to have, and the dream wife of every husband.  Kind and caring.  But now, no more.  My heart broke even more when thinking about her two little children, who hardly understand anything about losing their dear mother.  Nazhan is turning into 4 years old this August and Husna is only 10 days older than Achik, and still fully breastfed like Achik.  Oh Allah, Your tests are very tough sometimes, but You didn't give them except to those whom You know can endure them (Al Baqarah: 286).  Indeed, Allah is Most Knowing.  We pray that the husband, Mr. Naufal, and the children are given all the strength that they need to make it through.  Amin.  To Allahyarhamah Hasnah, may you rest in peace with your husband's blessing, Insya-Allah.  Only this blog is left behind as memory.  Al-faatihah.

May 28, 2012

About living things

We had a discussion about living things and non living things on the way back from office that day.  It started when Along asked me whether his baby crystal balls are a kind of plant or animal.

Me: Probably it's a plant.  Does it grow?
Along: Yes.
Me: Does it multiply?
Along: Yes.
Me: Then I think it most likely is a plant.
Along: Does plant multiply?
Me: Of course.  All living things multiply.  Membiak.  Beranak.
Along: (Jokingly) Then abah is a non living thing then.  Because abah does not multiply.  He does not give birth.

He he he ...  What a conclusion.

May 23, 2012

Back under a roof

Alhamdulillah, everybody is home now.  Abah and Along are back, for good, Insya-Allah.  The chapter that began ten months and twenty days ago has eventually concluded, nicely.  Life goes on as usual.  Thank you Allah for everything.

May 11, 2012

Eventful May

Year after year, May has always been a month that is full of events for us.  12th May is my mum's birthday.  17th May is Cik Mi's birthday.  20th May is our wedding anniversary.  21st May is Along's birthday.  In addition to these, we attended a 2D1N night family day event in Ipoh last weekend.  Tomorrow, I have to work (urggh!!!).  Sunday the 13th, wedding reception of a colleague to be held in KL.  Next weekend, there will be a 2D2N outdoor program that I have to attend.  But I will have to come back earlier because 20th May is Angah's kindergarten sports day.  Phew.  My hands are full already.

Apr 30, 2012

Rabbit Park @ Sg. Tangkas, Kajang

It was Sunday (reads: holiday) and by 4 pm, the kids were restless as usual.  I had a half day program since morning and returned home at around 3.30pm.  So, I really wasn't in the mood for any activity far away from home.  Not even to Putrajaya.  But we couldn't do injustice to the bored to death children.  Therefore, I made a quick decision to go to a small rabbit park situated some 1.5 or 2 kilometres from our house, to Angah's delight but to Along's dismay, at first.

Angah feeding a rabbit
Along soon began enjoying chasing after and feeding the rabbits.  Achik didn't even want to go close to them.  We spent about one hour there.  Another family arrived when we were just about to leave the park.  So, anyone of you looking for a little excitement for the kids but too lazy to travel far, this small park is an option.  Entrance fee is RM3 per head.  Achik's head was not counted of course :)

Achik didn't have the gut to even
go near to the rabbit

Apr 25, 2012

Pizzas DIY

We made our own pizzas last night.  Truly home made pizzas.  The recipe was taken as is from  Angah made a joke while the dough was being covered under a damp cloth.  "Syyhh.  Jangan bising.  Yis tengah tidur.  Nanti dia tak nak bangun."  Ha ha ha ...  I am sure his teacher told him so because they have cooking lesson every Friday at the kindergarten and they made doughnut once before.  Maybe he didn't even realise that it was a joke.  What a pity.

The most exciting part was the create-your-own-topping.  The one below was my 'artwork'.  I did not manage to snap Along's and Angah's designs as the pizzas quickly went into their mouths once ready :)  Well, can't blame them as we had late dinner last night due to the DIY pizzas.

Fourth pizza waiting turn to be put in the oven
Satisfied 'customers' and makers

Apr 19, 2012

The ROI for my Medela Freestyle

I bought my Medela freestyle breast pump some time in October 2010 at RM1450.  Relying on the good reputation of Medela brand, I opted to exclude warranty for cheaper price.  Alhamdulillah, the risk was worth taking.  Until now, after almost one and a half years, my Medela freestyle breast pump is still working fine.  Achik is still fully breastfed.  Assuming the cost of buying formula milk is RM100 per month (doubt it very much) if she is partially formula fed, I have roughly saved a total of RM1600!  The investment has certainly paid off, financially.  But breastfeeding is certainly worth more than that.  Full stop.

Apr 12, 2012

Diversifying my small investments

Remember my post on What can you do with 5k?  Well, I eventually took the offer and last month was the last month to pay the interest free installment.  I used the 5k to buy two shares from the stock market.  KNM bought at 2495.75 and sold at 2544.23.  Small profit of 48.48.  PATIMAS bought at 3016.50 and sold at 3480.25.  Good profit of 463.75.

Total profit: 512.23
Charges: 194
Nett profit: 318.23 + (trivial) RM equivalent of the 5000 treatpoints collected from the offer.  Not bad.

Today, I am going to start a new 'branch' of my small investment portfolio.  Gold investment :)  I have been reading about it and I think it is about time to start.

Apr 10, 2012

Power pumping (Week 3)

Day 5
On emergency leave today.  Achik had mild fever and cold.  So, no collection for today :)

Day 4
Collection from power pumping session: 2½ oz
Collection from regular pumping session: 2½ oz
Total:  5 oz*

*Fasting today :)

Day 3
Collection from power pumping session: 3½ oz
Collection from regular pumping session: 3¾ oz
Total:  7¼ oz

Day 2
Collection from power pumping session: 4 oz
Collection from regular pumping session: 3½ oz
Total:  7½ oz (record breaking!)

Day 1
Collection from power pumping session: 4 oz (record breaking!)
Collection from regular pumping session: 2½ oz
Total: 6½ oz

Mar 27, 2012

Power pumping (Week 2)

Day 5
Collection from power pumping session: 2½ oz
Collection from regular pumping session: 3½ oz
Total:  6 oz

Day 4
Collection from power pumping session: 3¼ oz
Collection from regular pumping session: 3½ oz
Total:  6¾ oz

Day 3
Collection from power pumping session: 1¾ oz*
Collection from regular pumping session: 3½ oz
Total: 5¼ oz

*Reason: Used manual pump at home.  Half way through, used marmet technique because the manual pump was being unfriendly to me :(

Day 2
Collection from power pumping session: 3 oz
Collection from regular pumping session: 3½ oz
Total: 6½ oz

Day 1
Collection from power pumping session: 2½ oz
Collection from regular pumping session: 2½ oz
Total: 5 oz (only?)

Mar 23, 2012

Power pumping (Day 5)

Collection from power pumping session: 2¾ oz
Collection from regular pumping session: 2¾ oz
Total: 5½ oz

Power pumping (Day 4)

Collection from power pumping session: 2¼ oz
Collection from regular pumping session: 3 oz
Total: 5¼ oz

Kind of yoyo effect so far.

Mar 21, 2012

Power pumping (Day 3)

Collection from power pumping session: 2¼ oz
Collection from regular pumping session: 3½ oz
Total: 5¾ oz

Note: Didn't take dried longan drink last night and missed the calcium tablets :(

Mar 20, 2012

Power pumping (Day 2)

With an added meal, dates.  3 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon.

Collection from power pumping session: 3½ oz
Collection from regular pumping session: 3 oz
Total: 6½ oz =)

Saying good bye to milk booster pils and tablets ...

Mar 19, 2012

Power pumping (Day 1)

The scheme:
  • The night before: 2 calcium tablets + 2 glasses of water
  • Morning: A glass of dried longan drink
  • 2 litres of plain water before (usual) lunch
  • Power pump session is at 11 am with 20 minutes pumping followed by 10 minutes rest followed by another 10 minutes pumping followed by 10 minutes rest and another 10 minutes pumping.
  • Melilea + ESP right after the power pumping session.
  • Another 2 litres of plain water after lunch
  • Regular pumping session is at 5 pm.
Collection from power pumping: 3 oz
Collection from regular pumping: 2¼ oz.
Total: 5¼ oz.  Way better than last week.  Plus, regular pumping was done half an hour early.  To be continued :)

Mar 15, 2012

Gone with the milk ...

The last three days were ... frustrating.  I only managed to pump out 3.5 oz on Monday, 4 oz on Tuesday and another 4 oz yesterday.  Today, it was 3.5 oz.  A sudden drop from the usual production of 6 oz.  Though I am expecting my 'best friend' to pay her monthly visit at anytime now, the regular visits don't usually cause such a significant decrease in the production amount.  And the effect is usually seen during the visit, not before!  I am planning to do power pumping beginning next week and hope to see some positive outcome after a week or two, aamiin.

Mar 8, 2012

On 6-999-6 formula

Daily production is less than daily demand.  That is the current status.  Therefore, we can no longer be based on daily basis, but weekly.  I am pumping only once a day during office hours now (reads: lazy), with average production between 7 oz and 8 oz daily.  That means, weekly production is between 35 oz to 40 oz.  Including 2 oz a day that I usually manage to collect over the weekends, we get a minimum of 39 oz a week.  6-999-6 formula means, Achik is taking with her 2 bottles x 3 oz on Monday, 3 bottles x 3 oz on Tuesday to Thursday and back to 2 bottles x 3 oz on Friday.  That means, a total of 39 oz a week.  Justification?  Because Achik has been and will be enjoying free flow and bottomless supply of her favourite drink over the weekend, so I think, it is okay to ration one bottle on Monday & Friday.  Yeah, we need strategy to survive the journey =)

Feb 29, 2012

It is the third milestone!

Alhamdulillah, we hit the third milestone in our breastfeeding journey today.  A day earlier because February only has 29 days :)  It could have been 2 days earlier if this year isn't a leap year.  Though there will be another six months to go, at times I do think about weaning.  Looking at the pattern now, I don't think it is ever possible :)  Never mind.  We will seriously think about it when the time comes.

Feb 16, 2012

When Achik says 'ummi'

This is the moment that I really treasure.  When my toddlers are able to pronounce their versions of the word 'ummi'.  No doubt that pronouncing the word 'abah' is a lot easier that they could do it as early as one year old or so.  But that was without really understanding its meaning.  In the case of Achik, at her age now, 2 weeks shy of 18 months old, she would utter it with full understanding of the meaning, combined with her facial expression and demand for attention that would melt my heart.  She would come from behind, brings her face close to mine, our eyes contact and says ... "mmmmmii..., mmmmmii..."  will full effort.  Haish ...  So sweet.  She would also wake up in the middle of the night, when her mood is okay, tapping on her source of favourite drink and again ...  "mmmmiii, mmmmmmii ..."  How could you ever resist?  =)

Jan 18, 2012

The [not so] new year updates

About one and a half month to hit the third milestone in our breastfeeding journey.  But I am not at all excited about it.  Achik has taken all sorts of food that fully breastfeeding is not so much an issue anymore.  Breastfeeding now serves its another role more dominantly, that is, bonding.  And we don't have problem at that.  We are strongly bonded, physically and emotionally.  Because we are ladies :)

I have even started giving soy based formula samples that I have been keeping for so long, but not yet expired.  Just to let her explore the new taste and enjoy the goodness that they may bring.  She didn't seem to enjoy them though.  But Angah did!  So, he finished them all on her behalf :)

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