Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Renewing My Passport at UTC Pudu Sentral

Last two weekends, hubby and I embarked on a mission to renew our passports. With our ten year anniversary trip coming up soon (can't wait!!!), we needed all our paperwork to be prim and proper.

Kiasu me conducted a mini research about renewing passports. Hence I knew about the long lines and having to wear dark colours (black is safest) to satisfy passport photo requirements. So I set my alarm early with the intention to arrive and be one of the first few in line. Unfortunately, dear hubby took his own sweet time in the toilet and the drive to PKNS Shah Alam, lamenting something about needing his "slow Saturday drive" and how "no one in their right minds would sacrifice their Saturday to renew their passports". Uhuh, we'll see about that!

Arrived at PKNS Shah Alam 15 minutes past opening time (8am). Got parking almost immediately and the lobby was deserted. Hubby had the cheek to give me the "I told you so" look. All that changed as soon as we took the lift up to the immigration office. The line had snaked all the way past the main corridor! Hhhmmmppphhh!!! We stood in line and I gave hubby a dirty look. He tried to lighten the mood with some corny jokes (kudos darling) which sort of worked but all that went down the drain when barely 6 people away from the counter, the immigration officer announced that "number dah habis"! His advise - head to UTC as they close at 1030pm.

We headed back home, picked up the kids and headed to UTC Puduraya. Aiden once had a phase when he would hum the UTC song subconsciously. Hence he was so happy we were finally heading there. Albeit annoying, due credit must be given to the creator of the song, as the jingle is really quite addictive.

We arrived close to 10am only to find out that it was closed until 2pm for Hari Sukan Malaysia. Oh my, pray tell - what does the immigration office, JPN, JPJ and everyone else have to do with sports? Sorry KJ, but in my humble opinion, you cannot disrupt government matters just to satisfy your event. They just have to do their required sit ups and push ups some other time. *sigh* So we headed out and came back at 2pm, only to find this:

The line started from one end of the building to the other then back again! It was crazy! Despite the horrible currency exchange, everyone seems to be heading out of Malaysia!

So I stood in line while Hubby looked for parking. According to him, there were only two floors of parking and there wasn't enough for everyone. It took him half an hour to finally get one. As for me, it took me an HOUR just to get a number. *oh my sore feet*

The immigration officer was very polite though, I have to give him that much. When asked, he estimated about a 40min wait and told me to get some lunch. So we took the lift to the 4th floor food court.

I salute the idea of having clear elevators - but if it is poorly maintained (one of them had no air conditioning) and not cleaned (check out the cloudy view - nope that's not haze)... Maybe it is better to stick to conventional elevators:

See how cloudy it looked on what was a very sunny bright day.

As soon as the elevator doors opened on the 4th floor, a burst of smell greeted us. You know, the kind of smell that you get from poorly ventilated food courts? *sigh* Not only that, it was hot and stuffy hence naturally everyone decided to sit close to the three stand fans that were operational. I wasn't going to take my chances with nasi berlauk so we chose to have something freshly cooked instead.

The food court.

Don't get me wrong, I am not a food court snob. I've had my fair share of food courts and growing up I even ate at Puduraya while waiting for my bus back to matriculation college. Hubby even took me out on our first date to mapley Jalan 222 - according to him it was a test kononnya!! I guess I passed with flying colours, eh Hubby? But with kids in tow, I just couldn't take the risk. We also ordered bottled mineral water, but when Hubby went to take a straw, he came back, gave me a look of horror and told me "straw dia melekit". Oookkaaayyy!

Anyway, 40 minutes went by pretty quickly and we returned downstairs. Right on time, we were a few numbers away. Took the opportunity to touch up my makeup (Hey, I have to live with the picture for 5 years, okeh!) in the make up cum nursing room. (Yes, they had a make up/nursing room and even a reading corner for the kids.) Soon our number was called.

That futuristic looking thing on the right? That's the immigration camera. Don't forget to smile!

The whole process took less than 10 minutes. After that we went to another counter to pay. After payment, we waited another 20minutes for the passport to be ready. If you can't wait, you can always opt to pick up the next day by showing your IC or payment receipt.

By the way, it was close to 5pm when we got everything done. By that time, there was not even a line in front of the number counter, but they still had ample numbers to go around. My advise, if you choose to go to UTC, don't go at opening time. You should elect to come at weird hours. You will still get your passport on the same day, and at least you don't have to queue an hour for a number!

See! No queue!

Couldn't resist a picture. Can't believe this still exists!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Garden Teatime with my Corelle

Yesterday, we celebrated the absence of haze by having teatime in the garden. It was a simple spread, but I think the kids enjoyed being outdoors more than ever. I fried some keropok lekor Terengganu for the kids while hubby and I had kuih koci.

Since the kids were having the meal outdoors, I decided to use my hardy Corelle set. Not only is it contemporary yet charming, it is also break and chip resistant. Jatuh pun confirm tak pecah. (Tried and tested, talking from experience!)

A simple teatime in the garden.

The owner of that hand just couldn't wait to get a sip of his iced Milo.

Ian with his bed hair look. He literally woke up from his nap, walked out into the garden, plonked himself on the garden seat and grabbed a keropok lekor.  

I absolutely love my Simple Sketch Corelle set. After several trips to Houston courtesy of the Dutch Oil Company, I've slowly but surely managed to build up my Corelle set. Instead of just the basic 16 piece set, I have supplemented it with two matching trays, short and tall glasses, Pyrex bakeware, mugs, coasters and even a tea pot! 

My modest collection. My only complain is the small teapot. Whenever I have guests, I have to do like two, three rounds of coffee with that small teko. Need to get my hands on a bigger teapot, soon!

Due to the declining ringgit, business trips overseas are now scrutinized and hard to come by. I've been itching to add on to my Simple Sketch Corelle collection and thanks to Instagram online shopping, I managed to find a trusted Corelle seller, who affectionately calls herself Kak Tons Corelle (what a name!!!). *grin*

The best part of her service is that her Corelle stock is readily available in Malaysia! No more waiting for months and months for the kontena to sail from the U.S. to Malaysia. Everything is stored at her house, hence after you place your order, she ships your precious parcel to you the very next day!

Also, she personally flies overseas to handpick the best deals for you, hence you don't get saddled with any middle man charges. And just to give you a feel on how successful her business is - her most recent shipment was over two trailers full, and she has one more Corelle trip coming up at the end of the year. Heh, who knew selling Corelle could be so lucrative!

Check out her prices versus my favourite Corelle prints:

Corelle Livingware RM339 for 16 pcs - The one on the right is Corelle Country Cottage, so sweet! While the left is Corelle Mosaic Red which is a new abstract design.

My favourite Corelle - the Square Collection, 16 pcs for RM449. I bought the one on the left (Corelle Jacaranda) for my mother-in-law while the other is Corelle Simple Sketch which is what I am currently using at home.

If you're not a big fan of squares, you can always choose the Corelle Impressions, RM449 for 16 pcs as well. Unlike the Livingware, this collection has rimmed or embossed plates.

A slight problem with the set of 16, is that it only caters for 4. If your dining table fits 6, then you'll have to buy two sets. Or, you can choose to buy these instead - set of 18 without mugs. Prices start at RM449.
But how can we live without mugs??!! *chuckles* Well these beauties come in a set of 30, so your family of six gets not only a mug but an additional bowl too.

*drool* This is her current stock. I feel like I've just died and gone to Corelle heaven.

So if you're itching to start or add to your Corelle collection, or your wife's birthday is coming up or you just need to get on the good side of your mother-in-law, check out her Instagram page: kaktonscorelle, or her hilarious blog: http://kaktonscorelle.blogspot.my/ 

Hey, it's pay day today so good luck with the shopping! *grin*

Sunday, October 25, 2015

A Hazy Bake Sale

A group of mummies (moi included) recently organized a bake sale at the kindergarten, to raise funds for the 2015 Pre-Junior Graduation Dinner. Together, we approached and appealed for fellow mummies and community establishments to sponsor baked goods to us, so that we could sell it at the school. The target was to sell them to parents when they drop off their kids in the morning. All proceeds from the bake sale will be used to fund the graduating year book and goody bags for the children.

We were off to quite a good start, as we managed to get three mummies and two cafes to support our bake sale. They were sponsoring really yummy-licious treats too. Take a look at our bake sale poster and what we were going to sell:

Our bestseller Nutella Cheese Tart courtesy of Tryst Cafe, Seksyen 13 Shah Alam. We sold out even before the bake sale due to the sheer magnitude of pre-orders!

Red Velvet cupcakes courtesy of Sugarifix and One Serambi Cafe, Bukit Jelutong. The cupcakes were super moist too! One Serambi Cafe also sponsored their signature Salted Caramel Cupcakes - which also sold out just from pre-orders.

Marshmallow Brownie Cookies courtesy of a fellow Real Kids mummy. If you're a fan of soft cookies, this will make you running back for more.

And then.... the haze arrived. When the Ministry of Education announced the school closure on Monday, I was already worried. Our three day bake sale was scheduled to start on Wednesday. And then on Monday night they announced that school was off again on Tuesday. I was really really worried by then. If school is closed, siapa nak beli all those fabulous cupcakes, cookies and tarts?

Tuesday afternoon as I was busy packing the cupcakes into individual packing and all, the principal announced that school will be open on Wednesday. Despite the MOE instruction to close, since the kindergarten is a private school, they were allowed to check the area IPU and decide for themselves whether the school will open or remain closed. Phewwww big relief. Or so I thought.

Wednesday morning arrived and the haze was soooooo bad. But I persevered. I was already driving to school raring to set up the bake sale, when I got the message that they were closing the school *cries* But since all the cupcakes were already at the school we decided to still 'buka kedai'. Alhamdulillah, business was still brisk as we managed to sell to the parents who dropped their kids at daycare and parents who came to school as they had matters with the school office.

We opened shop at the school assembly hall. 

The mummies who made it happen! Love you girls!!!

Our first customer for the day. I was soooo busy I had to pose with cupcake box in hand!

This daddy actually made the trip to the bake sale just for the Salted Caramel cupcakes. Felt so sorry to tell him that it was sold out.

So after quite a successful first day, we had such high hopes for the second day. Unfortunately for the second day, the school announced that the haze was still bad and even daycare was cancelled! Oh my, that was the saddest day of the bake sale. Business was so slow and poor. We even resorted to putting our bake sale signage outside the school - but unfortunately we had no takers.

Desperate measures!

Aiden accompanied me that day. 

A fellow mummy came to give monetary contribution so we countered her generous gesture by giving her cupcakes and extra Jumpstreet vouchers. (Yes, Jumpstreet is one the sponsors for our graduation dinner.)

Cookies and Cream cupcakes, Butterscotch Mascarpone cupcakes and Coconut Cream Cheese cupcakes.

And then finally, MOE lifted the school closure on Friday. Unfortunately, I had a US visa interview that morning so I wasn't able to help out. That morning, I gave the committee a quick good luck wish, turned off my phone and turned it over to the embassy security. (You know how US is such a stickler over safety.) Two hours later I walked out, turned on my phone, only to be greeted by so many missed calls! Quickly called back and found out that we sold out by 9am that morning - just one hour after they buka kedai! The committee even had to stop some parents from buying in bulk because many of them wanted to buy for their office staff, child classmates and such. Bless those parents!

So after much deliberation and last-minute planning, we will be doing one last round of bake sale this Monday from 8-10am. The best sellers i.e. Salted Caramel Cupcakes and Nutella Cheese Tart will be making their second debut, plus Chocolate Chip cupcakes and Cinnamon Roll. If you are in the Bukit Jelutong area, do drop by and support us. As mentioned, all proceeds from the bake sale will be used to fund the graduating year book and goody bags for the children. Thank you in advance!

Last year's graduation year book.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Itching for a Home Makeover

Home decorating is such a therapeutic experience!

As you know, Hubby and I love to do small mini home decorating projects. Not only does it stop us from splurging too much at one go, but it keeps us on our toes for the latest ideas, tips and tricks to decorate our home.

Our last mini project was revamping our living hall. That was over a year ago and now my hands are simply itching for our next makeover.... Our bedroom! (I just need to figure out how to kick the kids out!) *giggles*

Recently I came across some ideas on Facebook for sprucing the bedroom. Here are my favourites:

Did you notice that most of my favorites include the use of long dramatic bedroom drapes? Well that's because with my current bedroom configuration, my bed is flanked by two L- shaped windows. Not only that, I also have another window at the other end of the room which will obviously need coordinating curtains too. Hence curtains will definitely play a major role in revamping my bedroom.

When it comes to shopping, I am always a sucker for good deals. So for purchasing curtains, I would religiously wait for Moonpunyerblog's sale at Sarah Hughes Globe. Not only does she offer dirt cheap prices, but the choices are abundant too! Take my word for it, especially since my beautiful living room curtains came from a similar sale from Sarah Hughes Globe. Back then, I remember marveling at how cheap it was and admiring the quality of the stitch when it was ready. And when I hung it up, it was simply stunning. You know how you can tell the quality of curtains just from the sheer weight of it? Well mine was certainly top notch as the curtains draped beautifully downwards; its hem gracefully brushing the floor. Beautiful good quality fabric with great workmanship!

And since sharing is caring, do take note that Moonpunyerblog is having a clearance sale from 23rd till 25th October 2015. All you need to do is head to Level 7 (the textiles department), meet her to get a VIP badge, and shop to your heart's content. Don't forget to bring your measurements, so you can send your fabric directly for custom tailoring too.

With textiles, you're not only limited to just curtains. Sarah Hughes Globe also accepts custom tailoring for sofa upholstery, bedding, pillows and cushions. Imagine having matching curtains, duvets and pillows! *drool*

Here are my own pictures from the last sale. (Told you they have lots of choices!)

All these, for only RM15 - RM20 per meter.

Can you spot the rail, going at only RM12 per meter? That is certainly dirt cheap!

Honestly, I fell in love with the metallic shades and the understated motives - at RM15 per meter too! What is not to love?

The flashy one on the left was my first choice. Tapi sebab pusing pusing dulu to check out other fabrics, when I came back dah tinggal sikit. Wasn't sufficient to cover my living hall width. *sigh* In the end I settled with the less muted grey on the right.

So lesson learnt. Measure your windows ahead, and upon arrival, as soon as you see what you like, tak payah pikir panjang, just cut and pay. If not nanti melepas like me!

For more information on the sale, head to Moonpunyerblog via this link. Happy shopping! And good luck with the spending. *chuckles*

Monday, October 19, 2015

Fireman Birthday Party at the Jelatek Fire Station!

Aiden and Ian recently received invitations to a fireman themed birthday party. The birthday boy is a huge fan of Fireman Sam, and last year the birthday boy invited a whole brood of hunky firemen to his party at home. I guess this year he's still fixated with fire engines because this time the party was held at at our local fire station!

Honestly, it was also my first time at a fire station. Growing up in an all-girls school, a school trip to the fire station was probably not so interesting for girls. So the minute Hubby drove in, I was gawking in awe at all the red shiny fire trucks in the compound.

Balai Bomba Jelatek.

Red hot chili fire engines, just screaming to be touched. The tall building by the side is where the firemen practice scaling up and down buildings.

The minute we parked, the kids were raring to get out of the car. After a quick pep talk about behaving, we allowed them out. The fire station was huge and airy. There was also a dessert table complete with a fireman cake and matching candies. We found a place to sit and got our food. Just as we about to dive into our food, mummy of the birthday boy asked whether Aiden wanted to dress up in a fireman suit (courtesy of the fire station). Of course all the food got forgotten and he went to get changed.

The birthday cake and matching cupcakes.

While waiting for Aiden, we had our food just beside the fire truck!

As soon as Aiden walked out, our jaws dropped. The suit was a perfect fit and it was a complete mini fireman uniform - jacket, trousers, boots... even a mini helmet! He looked really handsome in it. Take a look and tell me what you think:

Not such a perfect fit for Raziq, but awwww shooo cute!

Anyway, the kids had the time of their lives. Not only did they get to ride on the fire truck - three rounds no less; they were also allowed to try to slide down the fireman pole! And it was such a pity that it rained because if not they could have done some real fire fighting, and witness the firemen practicing their climbs outside. Who knew that the fire station could provide so many interesting activities for the kids!

They bundled up the kids into the fire truck, and it went round and round the compound - lights and sirens and all.

Erm... I hitched a ride too. *chuckles*

I have a feeling Aiden is going to change his dream occupation soon...

I had sort of suspected that Aiden would chicken out over the whole sliding down the pole activity. The fact that he agreed to walk up pun I was already oh so impressed. Once he was up there, I told Hubby not to make any eye contact with him. As expected, he hesitated at first but since he couldn't see any of us (we were hiding underneath the overhead deck and waiting by the pole to take a video of him coming down) I guess he was sort of forced into the whole thing. But I'm so glad he did! Cos once it was over, he actually admitted that he had fun!

Aiden looking nervously up, and once upstairs - smiled nervously at us.

Check out the death grip he was giving the poor fireman! *grin* And of course, a thumbs up afterwards.

Here's the video of him going down the pole. (Yes, of course I videoed the whole thing! *giggles*) And a short interview of how he felt afterwards:

After that whole 'terrifying' (for Aiden at least!) but fun experience, the kids were allowed to just run around and explore the station. The goody bags also had bubble wands in them, so it was not long before every child was seen running around blowing bubbles. Between Hubby and I, don't think we managed to sit and eat anything, as we were too busy chasing the two boys. Oh well, as long as they have fun, kan?

Ian lovesssss helium balloons.

Ian finally figured out how to blow bubbles! Yeayy!! *claps hand in delight*

After several hours, we managed to coax Aiden and Ian to go home. We snapped our last few pictures - with the fire truck, the hostess and the firemen crew, and bundled the kids in the car. At that point, Ian dah lentok lentok dah mengantuk - I think he fell asleep as soon as his head touched the car seat.

How can we resist a picture with the mighty fire engine?

Thanks for having us Kina! Lovely party, as usual!

The cute bomba cilik posing with our local heroes.

Anyway, if you're planning a fireman party, why don't you try contacting your local fire station? All you need is to write a formal letter stating your intention. Follow up with the fire station religiously, and pray hard that they say yes. (Not that they want to say no, but rather because they have to inform other close-by fire stations of your event so that those fire stations can cover for them in case of any emergencies. You don't want the fire engine to have to drive off in the middle of your birthday party, do you?) Some fire stations charge a minimal amount, some don't. But even if they don't, it's just Malaysian culture to tip kan?

Last but not least, thank you Balai Bomba Jelatek for hosting the party. We ALL certainly had fun!
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