Thursday, March 23, 2017

Breaking the Routines and Quick Healthy Breakfast Ideas

My life, especially my mornings on weekdays, has been rather systematic and monotonous of late since Naomi goes to Kindergarten and my husband took a job in KL.

7.15am: I wake up (my husband leaves home for work before 7am, I get up later than him because I still wake up multiple times at night to feed owl Brennan).

7.20am: I brush my teeth, freshen up and fold the blankets.

7.30am: I go downstairs to make Milo for Naomi.

7.35am: I change Naomi into her school uniform then place her school bags in the car.

7.40am: Half asleep, Naomi drinks her milk. I go upstairs to get Brennan, usually he is still asleep around this time.

7.45am: I get both kids to the car.

7.50am: I drive to Naomi's Kindergarten.

8am: I go home after dropping Naomi to school and begin preparing Brennan's porridge.

8.15am: While waiting for Brennan's porridge to cook, I eat my quick breakfast (whilst catching up with the news-feed in my social media), usually it's just white bread with chocolate spread or jam with hot drinks like warm honey water, hot tea or hot chocolate. When I really crave Nasi Lemak, after dropping by Naomi to school, I drive to the nearby neighborhood about 5-10mins away from mine just to get a packet of Nasi Lemak. Not kidding, there are at least about 6-7 stalls in this neighborhood selling Nasi Lemak and Economic Beehoon in the morning. Nasi Lemak is a highly competitive business ha!

8.30am: If Brennan is awake, I bathe the baby upstairs.

9am: I play with baby then feed baby his first meal of the day.


Hi, meet my velcro bunny. Erm, baby I mean.

When the stars are 90% aligned (by this I mean baby is asleep at least until 8.30am), I'd get the above done in perfect order with no drama or crying baby clinging on one of my feet while trying to gobble my breakfast or cut veggies for his porridge. If the stars happen to be 100% aligned (like few days ago, baby slept until 10am plus!), I even managed to do laundry and cook my lunch by 10am. What an accomplishment, huh? My #lifegoal nowadays is either get the laundry done within the same day or finish cooking lunch before 11.30am.

The above sums up my typical morning from Monday to Friday. #sohappening

Speaking of my morning routines and breakfast, I said 'YES' as soon as Amazin'Graze, an innovative healthy snack company that provides 100% natural, tasty, healthy snacks and granola, offered me to try some of their products. 

When Amazin' Graze's samples arrived to my doorstep, I realized that eating healthier aka real foods that are free from refined sugar or high fat contents for quick breakfast is actually possible, hassle-free and easy. Bye, boring and unhealthy breakfast. Good morning, delicious and nutritious breakfast!


Thank you for these healthy loots, Amazin' Graze!

Let me share some simple and quick breakfast ideas of mine using healthy and nutritious gluten-free granola clusters packed with superfood like almonds, goji berries, pepitas, blueberries and more; healthy nuts mix and nut butter from Amazin' Graze. Each idea is super easy to throw together, even on a busy morning.

Serve granola of your choice that you can choose from here with your favorite yogurt or smoothies. The granola that I chose from Amazin' Graze were Pink Raspberry Granola and Blueberry Goji Coconut Granola because I loveeee dried berries (I even served this granola with non-fat strawberry or mixed berries yogurt for extra berries kick because #whynot!). 


Granola + Yogurt.

Granola + Yogurt that literally translate to whole-grain goodness + probiotic are great and healthy for afternoon snack too. Breastfeeding Mom like yours truly needs a lot of energy so I usually eat three heavy meals and one serving of afternoon snack in a day. 

Want some?

Next, simply do a granola and fresh milk combo. This one is my favorite pair because I love eating my flavorful granola that has sit on a bowl of cold milk or soya milk for few minutes. Just add cold milk to a bowl of your favorite granola to start your day. Protein, fibers, calcium, vitamins and minerals -- all in one bowl! 


Granola + Cold Fresh Milk.

Other than granola, I also tried Amazin' Graze's Berry-licious Trail Mix, a blend of dried berries and earthy nuts and pepitas


Look at these amazing sweet and nutty goodness!

This nuts and berries mix are perfect for party snack or light snack at home or on the go. I packed some in a mini container to keep Naomi quiet in the car and it worked like magic.

After-school snack.

Other than for snack, we can also enjoy this nut mix as breakfast by adding them atop a bowlful of granola and milk/yogurt breakfast for extra proteins and energy or use them to turn your average homemade breakfast bread or muffins to something richer and healthier like what I did with my homemade bread last week.


Homemade breakfast bread with nuts and berries.

To make this breakfast bread with berries and nuts mix, all you have to do is add a cup of berries and nuts mix to the bread dough during second kneading

Berries and Nuts bread goes perfectly with a cup of hot tea.

You can use any of your favorite bread recipe for this or use one of the following bread recipes that I've previously shared: Pumpkin Bread, Potato Bread, Killer Soft Bread, Sweet Potato Bread, Banana Bread.

The last product that I got to taste from Amazin' Graze is their Chocolate Coconut Hazelnut Butter, one of the variants of their stone-ground healthy nut butters.

First time eating hazelnut butter.

When I chose this product, I actually expected it to taste like the famous chocolate spread brands I often buy. How wrong I was. Just like its name, it tastes more like crunchy Peanut Butter (I should have known! LOL) with a hint of cocoa and coconut flavors. This hazelnut butter is not as thick as and less sweeter than the normal Peanut Butter (PB) I normally pick up during my grocery shopping.

I asked my husband to try eating this because he is THE PB lover in the house. This hazelnut butter's overall taste suits his palate and he likes it. In addition, unlike the commercially manufactured PB that can be kept at normal room temperature after opening, we ought to keep the opened jar of Amazin' Nut Butter in the fridge.

All in all, if I were to choose between eating granola or bread with nut butter for breakfast or snack; frankly speaking, I'd go with the first one because I am not a big PB eater. I only binged eating PB when I got pregnant with Brennan - talk about that food aversion during pregnancy! One more thing, I really think this nut butter will be great to be used as the filling of Thumbprint Cookies as well.

Finally, shall we now dig in to healthier breakfast and snack with Amazin' Graze?

** Find out more about Amazin' Graze exciting products, tasty and healthy breakfast and snack ideas and latest promotions on Facebook and Instagram. Also, don't forget register online at https://www.amazingraze.co/register/ to receive RM10 OFF for your first online purchase!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Bye, Contact Lenses?

I have been wearing contact lenses from morning until evening since I was 17. Contact lenses are such integral part of my daily life I cannot imagine going about my days without wearing them.

In August 2015, I had my first visit to eye doctor/specialist here because I had unusual symptoms on my left eye - blurry vision, very painful red eye for days and it also produced small white ulcer-like patches and discharge. Doctor had a check on my eyes and concluded that my left cornea experienced an inflammation. I had to take antibiotic eye drop and ointment for a week and doctor advised me not to wear contact lenses until my eyes recovered and change the contact lenses' solution brand as my eyes may have had some allergies to it.

In the past few days or maybe a week, I have been experiencing similar above-mentioned situation on my left eye but without the white patches. My vision has been blurry for days (I honestly reckoned it's due to the over exposure to my not-so-big iPhone 5 screen as I had been watching Korean drama and managing some online stuff with it of late), my left eye looked bloodshot and is giving me burning sensation every time I blink or close my eyes. Also, it has been producing discharges again and there's a red streak on it.

This morning I decided to go to see the same eye doctor again. When the nurse checked my vision, I asked her to do examination on my eyes too to find out if my myopia has gone worse since 2015 but she told me she wouldn't be able to check the degree of my near-nearsightedness properly today because red or inflamed eyes will generally make our vision blurry and inflamed eyes won't give any accurate vision screening result either. It's kind of pointless to go to eye-wear shop to get new specs today because the optometrists surely won't let me do any eye examination with red eyes.

Anyway, when I saw the doctor, he asked me what's wrong with my eyes today. I told him I may have the same eye  problem as two years ago. After doing a quick screen on my left eye, he agreed and asked me to google on Marginal Keratitis when I get home. Marginal Keratitis is an eye condition that I am suffering now. In layman's terms, it's basically an inflammation of the cornea caused by bacteria from wearing contact lenses. I shared with my doctor that perhaps I am having this issue again now because I just changed my contact lenses' brand.

He shook his head.

This time around, on top of taking the antibiotic eye drops and ointment for a week, he recommends me to stop wearing contact lenses at all aka for good. My eyes' defense system is considered not so good already and prone to problems like this because I have been wearing contact lenses for so many years. He explained that eye health problems coming from wearing contact lenses normally won't start out immediately... In my case it's 15 years later since I first wore them and it's about time to quit contact lenses.

This news broke my heart.


Not ready to say goodbye to my contact lenses.

Sigh... Frankly speaking, I don't really fancy wearing glasses... I like the freedom that contact lenses provide me but what to do now? Painful red eyes and blurry vision are extremely not comfortable and irritating. In fact, I am having a hard time typing my story with my current specs here because I can't see my laptop screen clearly so please pardon any typos or grammatical errors in this post.

Finally, to those of you who have been wearing contact lenses for years now, take heed of this issue, okay. I think you may also experience the same problem like mine, if not other issues, no matter how hygienic you handle your contact lenses care on daily basis.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

How to Get Permanent Residency (PR) in Malaysia: Part 2

In early December 2016, I shared that I submitted the documents for Malaysia PR application to the local Immigration Office in Seremban where I live.

After we successfully submitted the required documents for PR application, my husband and I understood that the next step would be an interview session with the Police and this would likely happen 1-5 years after the documents submission.

THE INTERVIEW INVITATION AND REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

Last Thursday afternoon, my husband received a call from unknown mobile number. This call caught my husband off guard because it was actually from Seremban's Police Station. The officer who called him was double checking with him if he's indeed married to an Indonesian and whether we just submitted PR application documents not long ago.

After brief verification on the phone, this police officer then invited us to go to the Police Station for the first round of interview on the next day and would like us to bring along some documents (as follows) during the interview:

  1. Two (2) Applicant's Passport Photos (blue background)
  2. Photocopy of Marriage Certificates (both overseas and Malaysia's marriage certificates, if the marriage was done overseas)
  3. Photocopy of applicant's and spouse's passport books (since they were married)
  4. Photocopy of Malaysian spouse's IC card and birth certificate
  5. Photocopy of the children's MyKads, passports and birth certificates.
  6. Photocopy of receipt of the PR Application Document Submission, if you still keep it

The above documents are actually parts of the documents that we submitted to the Immigration Office for applying PR in last December. Just make sure that you also bring the original documents for verification during the interview and bring TWO SETS of the above documents. 

My husband was driving when he received the call from the Sergeant who invited us for the interview at the Police Station so he was not aware that we ought to give him 2 sets of the photocopied documents. Alas, after the interview, my husband had to find a photocopy shop outside the Police Station to make another set of the copies and pass the documents to the Sergeant.

THE INTERVIEW


Our interview took place last Friday around 11am at Balai Polis Seremban. When we arrived to the Balai Polis, we registered ourselves at the Police Station's Security Post. The officer who manned that Security Post then gave us a receipt (stating that we had an interview appointment with the Officer XYZ) and two name tags (one for me and one for my husband) so we could enter the Balai Polis as visitors. He also took our mobile phones and kept them in a locker because we're not supposed to have them during the interview. After the interview and when we're leaving the Police Station, we can return the locker's key to him and get our mobile phones back.


I must confess that both of my husband and I did experience a bit of pre-interview jitters because both of us didn't expect to be invited for the interview so soon and could not guess what the interview's questions might be. 

Anyway, after we entered the Balai Polis, we went straight to the second level of the building to find the Sergeant who invited us for the interview. This Sergeant is apparently with the Police's Pejabat Bahagian Intelijen Keselamatan.

This Sergeant was surprised when he saw us bringing Brennan along to the interview. He thought there would just be my husband and me attending the interview. I explained to him that we had no babysitter at home so we had no choice but bringing this baby with us. He was okay with that and realizing that a baby had now joined our interview; he wanted to start the interview ASAP and finish it as quickly as possible.

There was nothing to be afraid of or nervous about the interview as the interview with the Police was done in a friendly and casual manner. Also, the interview questions basically revolve around confirming the applicant's and his/her Malaysian's spouse personal data such as date of marriage, where and when the couple first met, current address, length of stay in Malaysia thus far, how often and how long the applicant goes back to his or her home country, personal info of the applicant's and spouse's immediate family and children, education and working background and the likes. The interviewer threw questions as per the list in the form he had on hand and when he was jotting down our answers, he also double checked our answers to the documents that he requested for his report.

He shared with us that he received our PR application documents on February 8th 2017, He then called us and invited us for interview on the 9th and on the 10th, we had our interview with him at the Police Station. My husband and I agreed that the way the Police Station processed our PR documents was very efficient. We got the interview invitation from them just two months after we submitted the documents. Yet, the Sergeant/interviewer could not confirm with us if this would be the same case with the Immigration Office later on because after he makes the interview reports and passes the documents to his HQ, the next step of this application will be handled by the Immigration Office again. He could not confirm when and how the Immigration Office will contact us for the next step.

This interview in the Sergeant's office took about 30-40 minutes in total and we are glad that we have now passed the second stage of the PR application in Malaysia. 

Quick Tips:
  • Do not forget to bring the required original documents and two sets of the document copies
  • Make sure you and your spouse wear polite attire when attending the interview (no short pants or mini skirt, please)
  • Have quick pre-interview discussions with your spouse on your personal information (dates of marriage, where the couple first met, current or past working status, etc.). Make sure neither of the party has some sort of amnesia on your personal information so applicant and his or spouse can answer all the questions with confidence and the answers to the interview questions from both husband and wife are tally and wouldn't spark dubiousness
  • The police officer who interview PR applicants will most likely use Bahasa Melayu during the interview and for writing his report. If you are able to communicate or answer all the interviewer's questions in Bahasa Melayu, that'd be a plus value because it'd make the interviewer's job much easier

Good luck and I will update again on the next stage of this PR application when the information is available.

** Please note that this information is based on my personal experience and subject to change in accordance with any amendments to the rules and regulations from the Malaysian Government.