Monday, August 13, 2007

Weekend pics..


'Big baby' relaxing at the park, on the new mat sent to us by my mother and my sister Ayu from Malaysia by express delivery - Thank You!

Mmm..I love to drink juice!

Mr S teaching our eldest to ride the bike without training wheels..

Ok...keep pedalling..try to balance!!!

Mama also had a go trying to teach Big H while another small person keeps on disrupting the lesson..

I'm thirsty after all that bike riding...

Tell you what..I can get us some ice creams...Accio ice cream!

"Huh? I'm under-aged and can't use magic to get ice cream??"

Little H: "Told ya I can magic some ice creams..."
Big H: "Yeah..whatever..just finish yours quickly before Papa does HIS magic and makes the ice creams disappear...!"


A picnic with friends by the river Thames at Henley, Oxfordshire..

The adults relaxing after nasi lemak, lasagne, hotdogs and home baked cookies.

The children, a little shy at first to play together..

Not for long though..let's play tag!
You can see my eldest (Big H), wearing the red jacket and facing the river - alone and not joining in as usual. He's slow to warm up to other children, unlike my youngest, Small H
(in the orange jacket). BTW, the boy in the yellow T-shirt is actually 3 years older than Small H and the little boy wearing blue shoes is actually his age!! 'Small H' is not so small compared to his peers!

A river pic...a couple in a boat - rowing slowly but steadily..

Some other people on the river, this time going fast with the help of motor..

The children walking towards a children's playground along the river...took this pic for the nice background view.

A wonderful weekend indeed!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Fab Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

  1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Mix in the oats, pecans, raisins and chocolate chips one at a time. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets.
  3. Bake for 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Prediction: You will get lots of praises for this one, especially when it's just cooled and fresh out of the oven!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

For The Record...

Just a few things that my sons have said, to amuse our family who will be reading this back in Malaysia...


Nearing the end of a Muqaddam session...

Mama: Wassalaam...

H1: What does that mean, mama?

Mama: means, 'The End'.

H1: Then 'Bismillahirrahmaanirrahim' means 'Once Upon a time?'

In a superstore...

H1: Yuck!...Look at that statue - it's not wearing anything!

Mama: Yeah?..Don't look then...(eyes wide looking at all those clothes on sale and couldn't be bothered..)

H2: But mama, it's wearing something just like you're wearing...these rounded things.! (while raising his hands high and squeezing my breasts, right in the middle of the shop!)

Mama: Hey!! (Face hot)


Mama: Who put all these bits of papers in my shoes?

H2: I did.

Mama: Why??

H2: Because..yesterday, somebody put them in MY shoes, so now I'm putting them in YOUR shoes...

Mama: *Ish..dah dia kena, nak kenakan orang lain pulak budak ni...*


H2: Mama, Vitamins are made from letters..

Mama: What do you mean?

H2: Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C......

H2: When I'm big, I want to be a T-Rex!

H2: What's poo made of?


H2: But I don't want to mandi again..I already mandied in the morning!


A few weeks ago, while putting on my son's nappy before he went to sleep...

Mama: H****h, you're a big boy, you cannot wear nappies at night anymore, you know..

H2: But mama, I didn't put it on myself - YOU did!

Mama: *Aiyo! Salahkan kita pulak!!*

Because of this 'observation' of his, I realised that I didn't give him a real chance to prove
himself (although I always talked to him about it and always took him to the toilet before his bedtime, I still used to put his nappy on nonetheless and he will always have 'used' that nappy by morning) and so, the next nightonwards I didn't put on his nappy for him. After that, although there were some wet mornings and nights and a lot of crying because he had wet his bed (he felt guilty and kept on apologising, saying "I'm sorry...I didn't mean to do it!" while he cried), I am happy to say that he has now officially left his nappy nights for good..:)


While giving me a kiss in the morning - in my room which is the first place he goes to when he wakes up each morning..

H2: Mama..I like Papa..but I don't like Papa's smell..

Mama: LOL!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Fruits Of Summer

I have spent more than 6 years over all in the UK since pre-university and yet I have never ever went fruit picking during the summers.

It is not that I did not want to, only the fact that I have always gone back home for the summer hols during my undergraduate years and of course, during that time, one did not particularly look for family oriented activities, which is exactly what a day out picking fruits is.

But on Saturday, a friend and her family mentioned that they were going and I thought that it was high time that I do something about my 'inexperience'.

The farm that we went was near Enfield town, a farm called Parkside Farm. It was a beautiful day; sunny but windy too, so one did not feel too hot doing all that 'labour'. We arrived there at noon and straight away went to the picnic area to have lunch with them.

And then we went to 'work'...

First, there were the strawberries.

I have an allergy to these - so didn't fancy picking too many of them although Mr S did go back here later to fill our strawberry bucket..

Then, there were the blackberries.

As you can see, the ones that are not ripe yet look similar to raspberries, but as they ripen, they change colour and become fat and engorged with juice!

Then, there were the sweet corns.

There were signs at the entrance stating that the visitors to the farm were not allowed to eat the fruits and veges before paying for them but there were some visitors who behaved appallingly - yup, that's right, we caught some women eating the sweetcorns right after they picked them! And they had finished about 5-6 between them! I was told later by a friend that these taste real good freshly picked, eaten straight away uncooked, but seriously...

My eldest scrutinising his blackberry juice-smeared hand - he was looking for an insect that he thought was crawling on his hand.

Then there were the raspberries.

There were several types of them but I really prefer the Magda and Autumn Bliss variety - their stems and leaves were not as prickly as one other type - I cannot recall the name for that one at the moment. The Magda and Autumn Bliss variety were seriously yummy!

Funnily enough, although I was wearing a pristine white top and also handling a lot of ripe blackberries and raspberries - my shirt was just as pristine when I left the farm a few hours later! Bravo, eh?

As we left the farm, in the car, this was how the boys look like:

We didn't go home straight away, however. We went to a Chinese Supermarket near to our house to get some galangal and tamarind, and after waking my lil one up so that we can all go together into the shop, this was the scene they made:

Lastly, the fruits of our labour in our kitchen...

Now, all I have to do is to find a variety of ways to finish them off; eat them plain, with some fresh cream (my favourite!), make cheesecake topping..etc. etc. etc....

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Potter, Potter Everywhere

This entry WILL HAVE SPOILERS so you'd better skip the spoiler part if you haven't read the final installation of Harry Potter and you plan to do it sometime in the near future.

Have no fear..You need to highlight the blank part in order to read them!

I woke up on Saturday, the 21st knowing that some people already had a copy of the Deathly Hallows in their hands and probably some have finished it already. Although I promised myself not to get too excited about the book, I could not help the anxiety of not knowing 'who died' and how it all ends so I announced to Mr S that I'm going out for a while to go and get my very own copy.

I took the bus - and I never willingly take the bus to go anywhere!

I went to the nearest Asda and found that the book had sold out. So, I had to take the tube to Stratford (the next nearest station) to get my book at the mall there, where there's a Sainsbury's and I got my copy for £8.87 as opposed to the RRP of £17.99.


But I did not read the book straight away. I was reading another book at the time and I just had to read a few more chapters of that book before I skip over to that long awaited thick black book at the top of my 'To-Be-Read' pile. We had guests anyway during that weekend - an auntie and our cousin stayed over for 2 nights, so had to SABAR...I knew that once I start with that HP, it would be terribly hard for me to put it down and what would that reflect on my emm..'skills' as a hostess??

Plus, have you ever had that feeling - when you want to read a book so badly but you feel a little afraid to do it because you know that once you start to read it - it had to of course... end? And there will be nothing else to look forward to? And thus, you are content just to look at the book and stroke the book cover and read the blurb again and again?

You think that's sad? may be right.

But I have been waiting for this book with a mixture of anxiety and dread and if you are a real fan and a little crazy like me - you might understand.

Unfortunately, I could not stop myself after all and started the book anyway, the day after I purchased it, while my guests were out sight-seeing in London...


I knew it!!!

I knew that Snape has always been a good guy! And believe it or not, I also predicted that he will be one of those to die in the final book - it was pretty obvious to me, as I believed him to be innocent from the start and I ABSOLUTELY believed in Dumbledore who always, always trusted him (to me, there was also 1 clear indication of a 'plan' in the prior book) and thus, to me, it was beyond doubt that the author would kill Snape off and tell his story only at his 'deathbed' and make everyone feel remorse for thinking that he was Dumbledor's murderer. To me, only upon his death that the author can make Harry and all else understand the kind of sacrifice he had made.

But that surprise story about him loving Lily Evans/Potter all these years, ever since they were small just takes the cake, for me. I was touched to the core and I could imagine the young and wide eyed Snape lacking in confidence and wanting to blend in with all the Slytherins, as he was supposed to and yet only had eyes for that girl in Griffyndor. And that horrid James Potter who bullied him! Snape was a better man than James Potter ever was!

I was so very sad and my eyes watered when I found out that his Patronus was the same as Lily's and when Dumbledore asked him, his eyes full of tears:

"After all this time?"
"Always," said Snape.

I nearly bawled at this point!

It just shows the genius of the author, to make the readers sympathise with a character such as Snape's. Of course, since I had loved Snape from the beginning, all this was just a twist of the knife for me who was already feeling so very sad because Snape had just died!

I did wonder though, how come his Patronus was the same as Lily's - shouldn't they all have different animals conjured at this spell? But then, I remembered Umbridge's Patronus - and her strong attachment to cats. It seems that if one has strong feelings for something (or someone), it could affect one's Patronus, and thus, this is how I self-explain Snape's.

And how can I not mention the moment when he died..

"" he whispered.

Even at his last breath, he remembered Lily for again and again it has been mentioned that Harry looks exactly like his father, except for his eyes...which is exactly like his mother's.


Over all, I thought the book was great. Although I really wanted more info on wandlore - it appears that suddenly Harry was 'a master' at this at the end and I just find that difficult to believe - that he thought of everything suddenly. I had forgotten that Draco was the one who disarmed Dumbledore of his wand, even though Snape was the one who said Avada Kedavra, and thus, I was a little confused at the time...

And don't you think Ron's flight in anger (due to the chain's powers) is reminiscent of LOTR...?

I have so much more to discuss and I can't discuss with Mr S just yet as he is still too tired after the exams to actually open a book, even a storybook! He is also a fan of Harry Potter, mind, and he will not stop reading, even on the Tube once he starts but as to when that will be, I am still waiting with baited breath..


Order Of The Phoenix, the movie.

And then, during the weekend, we went to watch the latest Harry Potter movie. Had to leave our children for a few hours with a good friend and went to the nearest cinema which was the Odeon in South Woodford. JK Rowling said in an interview with Jonathan Ross that it is the best HP movie so far but I am inclined to disagree - I still do think that Prisoner of Azkaban is still the best one!

But the fighting scenes were brilliant.

Finally we see on film Dumbledore's great powers in that duel with Voldermort and the latter appears scarier and even better than the previous film. Never did like Michael Gambon's acting in the earlier films although I have to say that he is a great actor, really, and was brilliant in most of his other non Potter films. In this movie installation though, he somehow wore Dumbledore's shoes perfectly and Mr S agreed with me too, saying that perhaps the actor has finally read the HP books and has begun to understand the character...he he.

The thing about Dumbledore is that he is much, much more intelligent than Voldermort, and this, I feel, we can see from their duelling and how he parried all of Voldermort's attacks until finally, infuriated, the latter decided to 'attack' the young wizard instead.

My eyes watered when Sirius was killed with the killing curse by Bellatrix - indeed, Helena Bonham Carter did justice to that evil witch character - her acting was brilliant and you know what, even when I first heard she was part of the cast in that movie, I knew that she would be Bellatrix as she is just perfect for that role.

As for Sirius who was described as 'handsome' in the books, I wouldn't really categorize Gary Oldman as handsome by any stretch of the imagination but I have to admit that the long hair made him look 'dashing' enough. In fact, Sirius looked really cool with his wand moves during the showdown with Lucius Malfoy near the arch.

There were lots of short scenes though, which I found a little annoying but I understand the points that the film had to make to compliment and align itself as much as possible with the book - as opposed to filming the whole book verbatim, which is unfortunately, impossible.

Needless to say, there were lots and lots of other details that were left out from the movie so if you liked the movie, you should pick up the book because you're really losing out on a lot of interesting information that makes up the book and will probably be important to know to enjoy the next HP movie.