Monday, July 14, 2014

Ramadhan Boot Camp

Salam Ramadhan semua! Diam tak diam hari ini masuklah hari ke-16 kita berpuasa. Alhamdulillah.Memang entri ini tertinggal keretapi, tapi masih juga saya ingin mengucapkan Selamat Berpuasa dan Selamat Meningkatkan Ibadah di bulan Ramadhan ini.

Bercakap tentang berpuasa ini, memanglah semua pun tahu yang bulan ini kita dilarang daripada makan/minum dan melakukan perkara yang membatalkan puasa dari terbit matahari sehinggalah terbenam matahari pada hari tersebut. Begitu juga dengan ibadah eksklusif bulan Ramadhan seperti membayar zakat fitrah, menunaikan solat sunat terawikh dan sebagainya. Itu boleh dikirakan satu kelaziman untuk dilaksanakan dalam bulan ini.

Tetapi tahun ini, mungkin disebabkan faktor peningkatan usia (sob! sob!)saya ada perspektif tambahan tentang ibadah berpuasa yang ingin dikongsikan di sini.

Jika kita perasan, semasa bulan Ramadhan ni, kebanyakan daripada kita akan jadi extra cautious dengan setiap pertuturan, sikap dan tindakan kita. Contohnya, "Tak boleh cakap tipu. Puasa!" Atau kalau ada yang mengajak kita melakukan perkara lagha kita akan jawab "Eh, mana boleh. Kan puasa!" Nak marah-marah pun terus tak jadi bila teringat "Eh aku kan tengah puasa". Begitu juga dengan aktiviti bergossip dan lain-lain yang akan dijauhi atau dihentikan serta-merta semasa berpuasa. Semuanya kerana kita tak mahu mengurangkan kualiti atau pahala puasa kita.

Photo courtesy of Google Image
Tapi kalau difikir semula, menipu, mengumpat, marah-marah bukannya termasuk dalam perkara yang membatalkan puasa, kan? Lagi pun, bukankah kita memang tidak boleh menipu/berbohong/mengumpat dan melakukan perkara-perkara lain yang sewaktu dengannya sama ada semasa kita berpuasa atau tidak? So kenapa dalam bulan Ramadhan saja kita berhati-hati dengan tidak melakukan perkara-perkara macam tu dan tidak pada waktu lain? 

Begitu juga semasa Ramadhan, dengan kurang makan/minum, kurang tidur dan sebagainya, tetapi kita masih gigih untuk cari masa untuk baca Al_Quran, solat sunat serta ibadah lainnya yang mungkin (bagi saya sendiri) agak sukar untuk diamalkan secara istiqamah dalam hari-hari biasa kerana alasan yang cliche - tak sempat atau cukup masa. Tapi boleh je kan buat semasa Ramadhan? 

Pada saya, Ramadhan ibarat bootcamp untuk bantu kita kembali kepada fitrah sebagai manusia. Ramadhan is a training period to make us a better person, physically, mentally and definitely spiritually. Secara asasnya, memang puasa melibatkan larangan fizikal, tetapi hikmah daripada menghadkan keperluan fizikal seperti makan/minum itu ialah kita dapat 'membangunkan' deria keenam kita yang mungkin 'tidur' selama ini kena terlebih makan, minum, hiburan dan perkara-perkara lagha yang lainnya.

I think we make better judgement when we are fasting, because we let our conscience to lead ourselves instead of our nafsu. We are more aware of the way we carry ourselves, the words that come out from our mouth, our thinking, the way we act and react etc. This is only my humble observation. But let's continue the good practice that we've been doing during the 30-days of Ramadhan boot camp for the rest of the year =)

Monday, June 2, 2014

My #LunchboxMonday Experience

Today marks the 5th week that I joined this campaign "Lunchbox Monday"I came across this campaign as I was surfing the Net to get more info on healthy lifestyle. You see, I've always wanted to lead a healthier lifestyle, but bringing home-cooked meal to work was not really in my plan. But as soon as I read this short entry in Jewelpie, I got all excited and decided to join the pledge the next Monday. Here's my first #luncboxmonday: Grilled chicken burrito.

Believe it or not, it took me less than 5-mins to assemble this meal! No, I'm not a Master Chef what-so-ever who can cook amazing food over the short period of time under lots of pressure. In fact, I'm sort-of-a-marathoner-rather-than-sprinter when it comes to cooking. I prefer to take my own sweet time in the kitchen. That was why I never thought of bringing my own meal to work. Talk about the pressure to get everything's ready on time plus having to deal with my two clingy+cranky angels in the morning!

However, I also learned from the above-mentioned websites that the trick is in the preparation. Tips #1, decide what you'll bring to the office the night before. What are the ingredients needed? What type of cooking process is required? Is there anything that you can prepare beforehand? That is why it is easier to pack the lunch for Mondays as we have the weekend to do some prep. For this first meal, I grilled the chicken and cleaned the veggies the night before, so I would not rush for time in the morning.

Tips #2, prepare easy-peasy meal. Avoid preparing elaborate meal, meaning food that requires lots of time to cook and need to have sides like gravy, garnishing etc. My mantra is fast and healthy food. For instance, this morning I was rushing for work and hadn't done any preparation the night before, so the solution was this simple crispy salad that requires no cooking at all! 
Another dilemma I must say, is to prepare food that is suitable and will last (the freshness) until lunch time. So when in doubt, Tips #3go for sandwich! I think you can never go wrong with a good sandwich. It's wholesome, easy to prepare and usually requires minimum or no cooking at all. I brought egg sandwich to work a few weeks back. 2 slices of whole-meal bread + lettuce + crushed hard-boiled eggs + a dash of black pepper  = wholesome meal that kept me full until evening!

The availability of all the ingredients in hands are also an important part of this exercise (wow, sounds like a movement already hehehe). So it will save you from the headache to go to the store to get it, etc. For me, Tips #4, the must-have or basic items are as follows: 

  • Onions - I love onions!
  • Black pepper - to me, this is the greatest seasoning in the world-it'll make everything taste 'edible'
  • Veggies - preferably those that can be eaten on its own like lettuce. Any kind of lettuce: romaine, icebergs are great
  • Eggs - an egg-ceptional super food that is also versatile!
  • Carbohydrate - bread / wrap to keep everything together. 

I use Mission wraps to make burritos. My personal favourite is onion & chive flavour. It tastes good and the texture is light enough to my liking. I made this tuna-burrito for one of my lunchbox-es, and the only thing that required cooking here was the wrap! I pan-grilled it for a few minutes, laid all the fresh ingredients on it, put the canned tuna and voila!
So far, I'm very happy with my new 'obsession'. I started this habit with the aimed to eat healthily, but there are also some other positive results (good side effects?) that I experienced through out my (short) journey so far. I shall share them with you in my next entry. Anyway, confession time. There was this one particular week that I was too lazy to do any prep, but I still want to bring my lunchbox to work. See, this is this campaign is all about - it encourages you to make a commitment (to bring lunch to work), so your inner self will push you to stick to it =).

So what I did was - I skipped my Sunday dinner and packed the meal instead for my #lunchboxmonday. Talk about commitment =) Call it cheating (well, I wished not to repeat this again!), but I'm glad that I still have the courage to stick to my pledge, because I know that once I skipped the habit, the chances that I'll stop doing it all together is pretty high!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Now Everyone dah Fly!

Both MH and I were in dire need of a break, so we took the kids and my mom to Langkawi last week for a short holiday. I was really excited in planning for this holiday (bukan selalu pun memang excited gitew ke? Hehehe). Well, this time around I was more excited because we got to take the kids to fly for the first time! 

Ha, okay memang kedengaran jakun, pergi Langkawi je pun. But that was the truth, memang jakun dan terlebih excited hehehe. 

Actually we were quite nervous with the first flying experience with the kids. We didn't really quite sure how the kids would behave on the plane especially Aydeen because he's quite a handful! What if he they got ear-block/pain and cry the whole time? What if they got restless? Sedangkan travel from Putrajaya-KL pun full of drama, apatah lagi macam ni kan?
Posing dua beradik di KLIA
But there's always a first for everything, right? So I'm sharing here a few tips for travelling with small kids. My #1 tip is to explain to the kids where are we going, what to expect and most importantly, the fun thing that we will do once we reached the destination. MH and I tried to mentally prepare Adeelia and Aydeen for the trip. Everyday we would tell them how many days were left before the holiday. I could tell that that trick worked as both of them (eventhough I suspected Aydeen just follow whatever the big sister did) behaved better. Adeelia even voluntarily took her medicine (walaupun sebenarnya sangaat susah nak bagi makan ubat) because they knew that there was a reward awaiting them.

Both MH and I were quite frequent flyers. So for work-related trip, we always pack at the last hours. But if you are travelling with small kids, trust me with tip #2- you need to be well-prepared to avoid any difficulties and frustrations. I think we, mothers would always make sure that we bring EVERYTHING that we need and MIGHT need for any trip. Besides the everyday essentials like clothes, diapers, milk bottles, formula milk, body wash, bottle brush, baby wipes (lots of 'em!), we also need to pack the just-in-case stuff like medicines, extra clothes, and extra this and that. See, we hate to be caught unprepared =)

Came THE day, we woke up the kids 2-hours before the time that we were supposed to leave home. This was to give the kids and ourselves enough time to get ready minus the jerit-jerit drama. Who wants to go to holidays with sour face + mood right? We were already at the airport at 9.30 a.m. Ample time before we catch our 11.40 a.m. flight. It was a good start! We took our time to get to the gate, hence the photo-op! 
Jiddah (my mom) & Mama pun nak enter frame juga =)

Adeelia and Aydeen were doing okay at that point of time. But as soon as she was seated, Adeelia got so scared that she wanted to hold my hand the whole time. I guess she was overwhelmed. I tried to calm her down by talking to her the whole time. She gave full attention to the safety demo. She was a little bit relaxed after that and started playing with the safety instruction card. She was totally okay after take-off and finally enjoying the journey.
Rupa cuak Adeelia

Aydeen sempat selfie
Aydeen on the other hand were doing well through out the journey. He even did his 'business' on air hehehe. It was quite challenging to change the diaper inside the compact lavatory while balancing yourself and holding an active baby! Anyway, the almost 1-hour flight duration was just nice for their first flying experience. As they started to get restless, we reached the destination safe and sound (tanpa budak-budak tertumpahkan jus dan lain-lain). Langkawi kami datang!!