Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Things My Kid Says #9

Naomi is 5 years and 2 months old now and she is quite a chatterbox and loves to sing.

I noticed she mimics her friends' and teachers' manners of speech a lot and she often scolds or questions us and her brother like her teachers do on her. Sometimes my husband and I find Naomi's Aunty's style of speaking is funny, entertaining yet annoying at the same time.

Cheeky daughter is cheeky.

Kopitiam Talk

Our morning routine on weekend is to have breakfast out. One Saturday morning, we brought Naomi to a neighborhood food court for breakfast. She noticed her Dad was drinking a cup of coffee (mixed with evaporated milk) and she thought it was her favorite hot Milo.

πŸ‘§: Papa, I want this! *points at her Dad's cup of coffee*
πŸ‘¨: This one is not Milo. It's coffee.
πŸ’: Naomi, coffee is bitter.
πŸ‘¨: You sure you still want this?
πŸ‘§: *shakes her head*
πŸ‘¨: *continues sipping his hot coffee*
πŸ‘§: Papa, you drink cough ah?
πŸ‘¨: *bursts into laughter* Naomi, this is not cough. It's kof-ee.
πŸ‘§: Oh. Kow-fee.


Eraser

Few weeks ago, Naomi often used the word "eraser, eraser" after she accidentally said the wrong words or lines (as if she could correct the lines she already let out with an eraser!).

We found it hilarious. Example:

πŸ’: Naomi, which way should we take to go home? Left or right?
πŸ‘§: Left! Left!
πŸ’: Are you sure?
πŸ‘§: Yes.
πŸ’: Eeeekk.... It's right! We need to turn right to go home.
πŸ‘§: Oh! *closes her mouth with one hand* Naomi ι”™δΊ†! (read: wrong) ι”™δΊ†! Eraser, eraser!
πŸ’πŸ˜‚

Washing Hands

Every night, I make my children change into their pajamas before going to bed. Sometimes Naomi is willing to do this by herself but most of the days, she turns into a lazy girl who just lies on the bed while I change her.

Last night, she was lying on her bed playing with her Dad's phone while I helped her changed short pants to pajama pants.

πŸ’: Naomi, did you wash your bottom after you peed just now?
πŸ‘¨: *teasing* Naomi's bum is so smelly. Naomi never washes or wipes her bums after she passes urine.
πŸ‘§: No! I washed already! Mommy, you use soup to wash (hands) ah?
πŸ‘¨: Soap! Not soup.
πŸ’: πŸ˜‚

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Making Pizza with Kids

Earlier this year, Naomi had a field trip with her teacher and school mates to Domino's Pizza restaurant and Balai Bomba in town. She had a chance to witness first hand on how to make a pizza at the local Domino's restaurant and if I am not mistaken she even had the opportunity to make pizza with her friends. To cut the story short, she had heaps of fun that day.

A couple weeks ago, I thought of recreating this pizza making activity with her at home. Little did I know that after I shared this pizza-making-with-Mommy idea with her, she kept on asking about it every single day for about week as if I owed her something.

Last Saturday, I realized this idea as my husband would be available to babysit B at home when I was busy preparing the pizza's ingredients from scratch. This whole pizza making activity literally took me about 5 hours to complete because I had so much disruptions during the process.

Our fruit of labor.

I actually love doing a cooking or baking activity with my kids (read: Naomi because B is still too young) simply because it's fun, memorable, educative and it's a great Mommy-child bonding opportunity. On the flip side, I don't really enjoy dealing with the enormous mess in the kitchen when I conduct a cooking-baking activity with kids because when I cook or bake with my little companion, normally I'd have to use more plates, bowls, trays or utensils (which I had to wash clean by myself after the session ends). On top of this, there would be more wet messy surfaces for me to wipe later on.

As such, to minimize the potential mess in the kitchen, last Saturday I prepared almost everything for the pizza. I only let Naomi put pizza topping on the rolled pizza dough as a way to involve her in our pizza making session.

All set for pizza making activity with my 5yo.

Before I called Naomi to join me in making the pizza, I made her wash her hands first, which she gladly obliged. I then arranged all the prepared ingredients for the pizza topping on our dining table.

So excited to start.

This time around I chose to make Hawaiian Pizza for Naomi because Naomi likes to steal and gobble all the pineapple cuts on our pizza every time we buy Hawaiian Pizza. She was so impatient when waiting for me to finish shaping the mini pizza crust and wanted to snack on the sliced sausages on the table. I reprimanded her several times not to eat them because those sausages were not even cooked yet.

Little hands busy making pizza.

I taught Naomi how to do the topping on a pizza once and she did the rest like a pro.

 Don't disturb me, Mommy.

Naomi was so engrossed adding the toppings on the pizza, she didn't let me nor her Dad give her a hand.

Yep, we should have flooded the pizza with more cheese!

Our Mini Pizzas were finally ready to go to the oven and excited Naomi attempted to help me carry the heavy tray to the kitchen.

Let's bake them, Mom.

However, the moment I saw Naomi carry the tray, I quickly took her tray over because she held the tray almost vertically as she slowly walked to the kitchen. Worried Mommy worried all the pizza would soon plonk to the floor. LOL.

Me and my pizza.

Look who's the happiest when the pizza was finally out from the oven and ate a pizza when it's still hot?

Moving on, here's the recipe I used to make the mini pizza last week. The pizza crust was so soft like a bun and we have the liberty to put almost anything we fancy eating for the topping. The original recipe recommends using tomato ketchup for the pizza sauce but I took the trouble in making the Bolognaise sauce myself by cooking fresh chopped tomatoes, oregano, tomato ketchup and some seasonings.

Mini Hawaiian Pizza
(Adapted from Tintin Rayner's book)


Mini Hawaiian Pizza.

Ingredients:

For the dough:

200gr Bread flour
100gr All-purpose flour
40gr Sugar
1 Egg yolk
5gr Instant yeast
60gr Salted butter
150ml Cold water

For the toppings (free style):

Tomato ketchup/Bolognaise sauce
Shredded mozzarella
Sliced sausage
Sliced/chopped sweet onions, capsicums or mushrooms
Dried Oregano, for sprinkle
Shredded chicken
Pineapple cuts

Methods:
  1. To make the dough: Place all ingredients except butter into the bread maker. Once it has formed into a dough, add in butter. Knead twice and proof the dough for 30 mins.
  2. Turn the dough into small balls and flatten each dough ball by using hands or rolling pins.
  3. Smear the top of the flattened pizza dough with tomato or Bolognaise sauce. Add the toppings that you want then sprinkle the pizza top with dried oregano and cheese.
  4. Bake the pizza in a preheated oven at 180-200 C for about 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Friday, September 8, 2017

A Year Older

Yesterday I was another year older.

Since my husband now works in KL and my birthday happened to fall on Thursday, we didn't plan to do anything special for my birthday. However, my husband did plan to have a nice dinner together, IF he could knock off from work early.

In the morning, the man said he'd try to go home as early as possible yesterday (he always works OT) but ended reaching home at almost 8pm. By then, the kids already had their dinner and I was physically and mentally drained from separating a 5yo stubborn kid and 15mo playful toddler who were fighting over (usually abandoned) Peppa Pig toys. The eldest critter refused to share her toys with her brother and the youngest one purposely snatched and wanted to play with his sister's toys repeatedly when she's playing with them. Both kids were effectively shrieking, crying and kicking for about half an hour long.

"MOMMY, see! εΌŸεΌŸ take Naomi's toy!" "弟弟, GO AWAY!!!" "AAARGH!" "NOOOO.... MY TOY!" "NOOOO!" "Don't want 弟弟 touch!" "AWW.. AWW.. AWW.. GRRR.. HMPH! Naomi is angry now." "I angry ah!" "弟弟, DON'T TOUCH NAOMI'S TOYS!" "弟弟, DON'T TOUCH!" "弟弟, shooooo...!" "GRRRR!!" "NOOO, my Peppa Pig!"

It was as if I kept a roaring lion cub and a naughty little hyena in my living room. No less. Every time I pulled B away from his sister's toys, he got very upset and cried. Seconds later, he bounced back and nonchalantly approached his sisters toys again. Once whiny Tom and Jerry calmed down, both demanded attention and food to munch from me at the same time. I think my BP shot through the roof yesterday evening.

I heaved a sigh of relief when husband came home. Soon, we sent both kids to MIL's place because, after the whole nonsense and chaotic drama with the kids, all I wanted was a quiet dinner alone with my husband.

When we reached the restaurant, fortunately the restaurant was still opened. Our regular Korean restaurant closes at 9pm and we were their last customers of the day.

Late comer shamelessly took picture before eating.

My husband and I have been patronizing this Korean restaurant in Seremban, called Happy Together, for years and we always go to this restaurant to celebrate our anniversary or my birthday.

Me and le husband.

This restaurant is run by a middle aged Korean couple whose Ahjussi has very good command of English. To us, their Pork Bulgogi and Bimbimbap are simply the best in town. Even their side dishes are always very "proper" ones and normally, they also serve fresh watermelon cuts too for dessert.

My fave!

As usual, their Pork Bulgogi never fails to impress us. We've been ordering their Pork Bulgogi from the time it was only RM 25 per portion until it's presently priced at RM 33 per portion. Talk about customer loyalty.

Best Bulgogi in Seremban.

Then, we tried their Tteokbokki for the first time. It's yummy but the sauce was too spicy for my liking and it left a very hot sensation in my (weak) stomach afterwards. LOL.

Too spicy for me but still good nonetheless.

Happy Together Korean Restaurant
Address: 109-1, Lorong Haruan 5/4, Oakland Commercial Square, 70300 Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia
Phone: + 606 632 9646

Some thirty minutes later, we left the restaurant with very happy tummy then headed to the nearby mall for a bit as husband wanted to get some cakes for me and hunt a present for Naomi's upcoming birthday.

At about 10.30pm, when we were about to leave the mall, husband got the call from his mother asking whether we're OTW her home already because one of the kids was not happy. As predicted, when we reached MIL's house to pick up the kids, FIL was carrying velcro baby whose eyes were wet because he's been crying looking for me. FIL shared that his back was sweating already from carrying velcro grandson who didn't want anyone else but him while my husband and I went out. Apparently dude kept on walking to the front door and peeked outside the house many times to see if Mommy was coming home before his grandparents brought him upstairs.

When we reached home, it was already about 11pm. I was kind of tired and sleepy but had to take compulsory birthday pictures with my small cakes and blow the candles first.

Failed tiny hearts!

We purposely bought two small cakes and light two candles because Naomi got upset when we told her that yesterday was not her birthday yet and only Mommy got birthday greetings and cakes.

My precious trouble makers x 2.

Finally, I slept almost like a log last night (tho' still had to wake up few times during the wee hours to breastfeed B) and I think I was too tired yesterday until I overslept. My heart almost jumped out of my chest this morning when I realized the clock on the wall showed 7.26 the moment I opened my eyes because Naomi's school starts at 8am, man! I morphed into a kancheong spider early this morning and luckily, the kids and I made it to Naomi's school just in time. Phew!

Don't know why I am writing about my birthday (which is not so important) yet still haven't written the report of B's first birthday party here and his birthday took place 4 months ago! Lololol.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Making Old School Cake (Bolu Jadul)

I planned to update my blog about my life and children (just like I used to!), but I still haven't gotten the time to select and edit their photos. Not to mention, B caused my laptop to fall to the hard floor (from a waist tall desk!) few weeks ago. Alas, my hard disk was impossible to salvage then to my horror, I found out that my husband had formatted my only back-up data in the external hard disk without my knowledge. My world crumbled once more when that happened and I was literally mourning the loss of my 10 years' worth of data for a week. I got thinner because I totally lost my appetite and was generally very upset that whole week. Undoubtedly, I was mostly devastated that I've lost all my and my children's precious pictures that I took since the invention of digital camera and smart phone. *grumble*grumble*

Moving to a happier topic, here is an old-school cake recipe that I tried a couple weeks ago. I am not sure if it's actually a sponge cake because the texture of the cake is a bit spongy. Anyway, this recipe only uses simple staple baking ingredients, easy to make, yummy, soft and very versatile.

 I love pretty cakes!

OLD SCHOOL CAKE (BOLU JADUL)
(Source: Lia Nuzul)

Ingredients:

4 Eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp Vanilla extract, optional
100gr Sugar
80gr Melted butter
100gr Cake flour
20gr Milk powder

Methods:
  1. Sift flour and milk powder. Set aside.
  2. Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla essence using high-speed mixer until pale and thick.
  3. Lower the mixer's speed and add in the sifted flour.
  4. Fold the melted butter into the cake batter and incorporate well using a plastic spatula.
  5. Slowly pour the cake batter into a lined tin. 
  6. Bake the cake in a preheated oven at 170 C for about 25 minutes or until cooked through.
  7. Let the cake cool down completely before start decorating it.

Everyone's favorite.

You can decorate the cake with any topping you want - buttercream, nutella, PB, chocolate ganache, anything you desire or available at home. I topped mine with simple buttercream (a mixture of butter and condensed milk) and generous amount of dark chocolate rice. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

How to Get Permanent Residency (PR) in Malaysia: Part 4

Sometime around end of May, I received an interview invitation letter regarding my PR application with the local Jabatan Imigresen as I had previously shared here.

Fast forward to three months later, my husband and I had the interview with the Immigration Office Negri Sembilan earlier this week. Other than the required documents that we ought to bring (as per stated in the invitation letter), both my husband and I actually didn't really prepare much nor we were nervous for the interview with the Immigration officer. However, the night before we were scheduled to have the interview, I started feeling a little worried and decided not to be over-confident with the imminent interview by asking some thoughts or feedback from my Indonesian fellows who had gotten their Permanent Residency in Malaysia.

I received various answers or feedback from my Indonesian fellows here on the potential questions that the Jabatan Imigresen would likely ask us during the interview. My friends' feedback widely varied, in my opinion, because each Immigration office in Malaysia or the officer/interviewer has different questions or rules or standard for the PR interview. I would say, the general guidelines or tips to make a good impression for the PR interview are as follows:
  1. Wear polite attire during the interview
  2. Bring all the required documents
  3. Be punctual
  4. Memorize all the important dates in your marriage life (as in the marriage date, birthdays and such)
  5. Try to speak Bahasa Melayu during the interview
  6. Study some general knowledge about Malaysia 

Some friends of mine mentioned that I did not have to fret or worry about the interview because the officer would likely throw questions at our Malaysian spouse instead of us during the interview. As long as the couple are able to answer the interview questions in Bahasa Melayu, we'd be overall safe. However, some other friends shared that during their PR interview they were also questioned about their general knowledge on Malaysia (such as the number of states in Malaysia) or the state that we currently live in. There was even a friend who was asked to sing Malaysia's anthem, Negaraku, at the end of her interview session.

Hearing the last two, I became somewhat panic. The night before my scheduled PR interview, I gave myself a crash course on general information about Malaysia and Negri Sembilan (the state where I reside) with the help of my Malaysian friend and Wikipedia. I tried my best to memorize below information just in case questions along these themes would be raised during the interview:
  • The number and name of states and federal territories that Malaysia has
  • The neighboring states of Negri Sembilan
  • The name of Negri Sembilan's current Sultan
  • The name of Negri's Sembilan's current Menteri Besar
  • The name of current Agong
  • The lyrics of Negaraku (I have heard this over and over again since Naomi went to school three years ago but have yet to memorize the lyrics)
  • Rukun Negara (which I could not memorize overnight)

Then came the morning for the PR Interview with Jabatan Imigresen. Before we headed to the Immigration Office, my husband and I dropped Brennan at MIL's place so she could help us baby sit Brennan for a couple of hours. We arrived at the Immigration Office just in time but were asked to wait for about 15-20 minutes before being called to have the interview.

A very pretty young lady interviewed us (as expected, the interview was conducted all the way in Bahasa Melayu) in a small room dedicated for interview sessions (BTW, Milo and some other drinks put on the table were for sale!). The first thing she did before she commenced the interview was briefly checking my documents that were submitted last year in her folder. She asked for the copy of my new passport because she didn't have that yet.

Moving on, the interviewer began asking my husband's and my personal information e.g. our names, our parents' information, occupation, education level, monthly income, current address, number of siblings, our children's details, marriage date, how we met and our dating duration before getting hitched. After checking my educational background, she questioned me why I chose not to work at the moment given the fact that I hold double degrees in Business and Economy. Then, she posed more difficult and specific questions that we really had to think carefully before answering such as "When was the first time you were granted your spouse visa in Malaysia?" "How many times did you go back to your home country since you got married to your husband?" "When was your first time entering Malaysia after you got married?" The interviewer did cross check all my answers (the dates) with the immigration stamps on my passport records inside her folder.

Next, she wanted to know my reasons for applying Permanent Residency in Malaysia. At first, I responded her by saying that if I had PR then I would not need to renew my spouse visa every year or every few years. Eeek.. wrong answer. The interviewer was way more pleased and felt that I gave a more bonafide answer when I explained that I wanted to have my PR because I already have two children and the elder one is studying here, which are true.

Following this, the interviewer quizzed me, "Do you know the name of the current PM?" I answered yes and told her the name of Malaysia's current PM. "What about his Timbalan (Deputy)?" I just smiled at her and honestly confessed that I don't know. I only know that the current PM's latest deputy was appointed not long ago. "You sure know about Negaraku, right?", she continued. "Yes.. But I don't really remember the lyrics". THANK GOD, she didn't ask me to sing the anthem. 

(Clearly, other than Negaraku, all the topics I hastily studied the night before the interview were not posed because the interviewer asked me something else. LOL).

Just before the interviewer ended the interview, she told us that she already had all the documents she needed. She didn't take the required documents as stated in the interview letter because she already had the copies from my previous document submission. Finally, she mentioned that we'd get the news on my PR application again by mail in 2-3 years' time because after the interview, she will have to submit my application documents to the Putrajaya office as there is one person there who is in charge of approving all the PR applications in the whole Malaysia. It will surely take a long time to get approval because there are so many PR applications to process or approve. She informed us as well that we can check my PR application status every 3 months or so by periodically visiting the local Immigration Office, not by phone or online.

This interview with Jabatan Imigresen only took about 15-20 minutes in total to complete... so I'd consider it was fast, at least faster yet definitely more stressful than the one with the Police.

Alas, the waiting game is still going strong (apparently) and will update again when there's more information to share.

** 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 Immigration Department.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Three Years

Time heals all wounds they say. 

We disgress.

The pain lessens but the wound remains. It is never gone, we'd say.

Remembering the little boy who quietly tiptoed into our world. Eerily silent, eyes closed. Lifeless.

August the 15th.


3 years.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Making Taro Chiffon Cake

Last weekend I was on a shopping frenzy with my SIL while our husbands stayed at her house with the kids. Both of us were basically burning our cash in exchange of baking goodies and cheap butter at a famous baking shop in Puchong. LOL.

Actually, I was looking for Taro Powder and Poppy Seed there because I wanted to try making some cakes with those but could not find any in that shop. Luckily, I found Taro Essence there so yeah... "No Taro Powder, No Worries."

I was also hunting for a new chiffon tin because the one that I already owned for 6-7 years now is way too big. A large chiffon cake tin is more suitable for recipes that use 9-10 eggs and above and I intended to make smaller chiffon cakes for the longest time now so we don't have to deal with so much leftovers if we could not finish the cake after 2 days.

Faced with so many choices of chiffon cake tins in that shop, I, one true blue Virgo, naturally became very indecisive. I spent nearly half an hour standing in front of the tins' shelves basically trying to decide whether I should get the 20cm or 23cm chiffon cake tin. After much deliberation (and lack of legwork at home prior to going to the shop), I purchased the 23cm tin.

Alas, after trying the 23cm tin twice, I realized that I should have bought the 20cm tin if I were to bake chiffon cakes using 6-7 eggs in order to get a tall cake. What to do now... Since I already bought the slightly bigger tin, I have to accept slightly shorter chiffon cakes (again) and consider buying a new one again, provided if my husband doesn't nag at me for potentially hoarding various cake and bread tins in our kitchen.

Today, I tried baking chiffon cake in Taro flavor for the first time. It's surprisingly pretty good... especially since I am never a fan of Taro cakes or drinks before.

So pretty, aren't they?

TARO CHIFFON CAKE
(source: @tintinrayner)

Ingredients:

Group A:


6 Egg yolks
100cc Milk
60gr Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Taro Essence or Taro Powder
120gr Cake Flour
1/4 tsp Baking Powder, optional
30gr Sugar

Group B:

6 Egg Whites
90gr Sugar
1/4 tsp Cream of Tar-Tar (COT)
1/4 tsp Salt

Soft and fluffy purple chiffon cake.

Methods:
  1. Group B: Beat egg whites, salt and COT until foaming. Gradually add sugar in few batches using high-speed electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  2. Group A: Whisk egg yolks and sugar until they change color or a little pale. Pour the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  3. Fold the egg whites to the cake batter using spatula until well incorporated. 
  4. Pour the cake batter onto a chiffon cake tin (do not grease the tin).
  5. Bake the cake in a preheated oven at 160 C for 55 minutes or until it's done.
  6. Invert the cake tin until the cake is cooled before removing the cake from the tin.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Making (Egg Whites) Chocolate Chiffon Cake

I made a cake that required about 8 egg yolks over the weekend. This said, I had a lot of leftover egg whites (nearly 300 ml!) sitting quietly on my fridge.

Yesterday, I cleared these egg whites from my fridge by turning them into a really nice chiffon cake. Usually, chiffon cake recipes would call for yolks and egg whites with 50:50 ratio. However, I found a Chiffon Cake recipe which uses a lot of egg whites so it's perfect for my mission to finish up my leftover egg whites before they went bad.

Here's the modified recipe that I used to make my chiffon cake yesterday afternoon. You can replace the milk with coconut milk (up to you!) and change the chocolate flavor with other essences, like pandan or banana for example.

(Egg Whites) Chocolate Chiffon Cake
(Chiffon Cake Putel)

Ingredients:

Group A:
1 Egg, at room temperature
1 tsp Vanilla essence
100gr Liquid milk
75gr Vegetable oil
30gr Sugar
1 tbsp Cocoa powder
150gr Flour
1 tsp Baking powder

Group B:
300ml Egg whites, at room temperature
1 tsp Cream of Tar-Tar or lemon juice
100gr Sugar

Methods:
  1. Group A: Sift flour and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. Group A: In a bowl or container, lightly beat milk, oil and cocoa powder with a fork. Set aside.
  3. Group B: Beat egg whites and cream of tar-tar or lemon juice until bubbling using high-speed electric mixer. Slowly add in sugar in 3 batches into the egg whites and continue mixing until stiff peak forms. Set aside.
  4. Group A: In a large bowl, beat egg, vanilla essence and sugar together for about one minute. Pour in the milk + oil + cocoa powder mixture. Once incorporated, add in flour in two batches. Mix well.
  5. Gradually fold the egg whites into the above mixture in batches by using rubber spatula. Do not stir.
  6. Pour the batter onto the chiffon cake or tube tin (do not grease the tin).
  7. Bake the cake in a preheated oven (160-170 C) for 45-55 minutes or until done. 

Don't you agree that this cake should be categorized as high protein food given the amount of egg whites used to make it? LOL. Anyway, my husband thinks this cake is so soft, smooth and nice. I like it too!

Few tips in making chiffon cakes:
  • Make sure the ingredients used are in room temperature to avoid the cake cracks on top.
  • Pour the cake batter slowly and as low as possible. Then gently tap the chiffon cake tin a couple of times against the kitchen counter to get rid of large pockets of bubbles in the middle of the cake.
  • Always invert the cake tin until it's fully cooled before removing the cake from the tin with a sharp thin bladed knife.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Kuantan for the First Time

This year we got to enjoy a 4-day long weekend thanks to Hari Raya. Seeing that everyone was likely going to spend this long weekend to somewhere nice, I too wanted to do likewise. However, flight tickets during this peak season were crazy expensive so my husband and I settled for a road trip to a place that the kids and I had never been before, Kuantan. At first, I hesitated going to Kuantan because it would at least take us about 4 hours in the car to get there. I was mostly worried about how the kids would handle the long car trip, especially Brennan.

After much contemplation, we gave this plan a green light as we didn't want to be stuck at home during this precious long weekend. You have no idea the kids' stuff that we packed into our car before we hit the road. It was as if we were traveling half the globe while in fact, we were just going to be out of town for 3D2N.

Before we commenced our road trip, Naomi saw her Dad putting the swimming inflatable floats and her beach sand toys into the car so she knew for sure she would be going for a swim. As such, she literally repeated "I want swimming." "Naomi wants swimming" "Papa, I want swimming.""Where is the swimming pool, ah?" every 15 minutes for the whole 4.5-hours' trip. Picture the scene when Donkey, Fiona and Shrek are OTW to the Kingdom of Far, Far Away in Shrek II and Donkey relentlessly asks "Are we there yet?" until Shrek and Fiona got fed up. My husband and I experienced this scene in real life when we were on our way to Kuantan.

Lemang and Chicken Rendang for our lunch in the car.

Other than putting up with the winding roads and Naomi's incessant questions about swimming despite our promise, explanation and answers, I think the road trip to Kuantan went relatively smooth and fuss free. Brennan didn't even poop in the car which was a good thing.

The kids were so overjoyed and relieved when we finally reached the hotel, after being stuck in the car for nearly 5 hours.

Finally! Big bed to jump and roll around!

Here are the places that we checked out in Kuantan. Unfortunately we didn't manage to cross off all the places-to-visit-in-Kuantan items in our list because some of the tourist attraction spots closed for few days during Hari Raya holiday.

Teluk Cempedak or Cempedak Bay

After we checked in to our hotel, it was already about 4pm. We didn't really have a plan of places to go at that hour because it's also near dinner time. The receptionist at our hotel recommended Teluk Cempedak, a famous beach which is situated not so far away from our hotel in the city center. We're glad we followed her advice.

Perfect evening weather in Teluk Cempedak.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who was the happiest of all to see the beach?

No prize for guessing.

No prize for guessing. And excuse my tired face.

Teluk Cempedak is quite a beautiful and clean beach with golden sands. It's definitely worth visiting if you go to Kuantan.

Babysitting by the beach.

The evening weather was perfect for beach time when we went to Teluk Cempedak. It was neither hot nor rainy.

Wore her full swimming gears.

Someone immediately ran to the beach to get wet and the other one decided to take power nap first.

Baby on croc attracted people's attention.

I noticed Teluk Cempedak has rather powerful waves so I refrained B from playing in the water for safety reasons especially since he's so tiny.

Little man was mesmerized by the beach sand grains 
covering his feet and the sound of the waves.

My husband also felt the same when I expressed my concern about the strong waves in this bay. He commented that the strong crashing waves could even make a child like Naomi fall down when she stood in the shallow water hence he was always standing next to Naomi when she was having a good time playing in the water. Also, an uncle who was taking a dip in the water advised my husband to be careful when swimming in this beach because of the small jellyfish that may accidentally sting us.

Not her writing.

Beautiful scenery aside, other things that I like about Teluk Cempedak is that the area surrounding the beach is very well maintained and has a good infrastructure too. The public toilets, albeit not fantastically clean, are located not so far away from the beach so it's very convenient for visitors to clean up or take a shower after spending time at the beach. Visitors would have to pay about RM 0.50, I guess, to use the washrooms for shower.

After going back to the hotel to bathe Brennan then went to East Coast Mall, one of the newest shopping center in the heart of Kuantan, for dinner.

Sungai Lembing

On our second day in Kuantan, my husband drove us to Sungai Lembing, a tin mining town in Kuantan that once was dubbed as El Dorado of the Eastknown aka the richest town in Pahang. It's a famous tourist spot and about 45 minutes' drive from Kuantan's city center.

Hello from ζž—ζ˜Ž, Pahang.

Actually our main agenda in Sungai Lembing was to have a look at the tin mine, El Dorado. We went there at the wrong timing though because the Museum and El Dorado Tin Mine in Sungai Lembing were closed during Hari Raya holiday and we only found out about it when we got there. What a bummer.

In the middle of the bustling town.

After my husband found a car park in the crowded little town (that is well packed with tourists from all over Malaysia!), we had noodle lunch at a busy shop on the main street, few shops away from the 3D Gallery. Apparently, Sungai Lembing is well known for its homemade tofu, silken tofu and soya drinks that are produced using the local river water.

Very nice Yong Tau Foo Noodle.

We had very yummy lunch on our first visit to Sungai Lembing. I don't know the name of this shop but it's located in the bustling center of Sungai Lembing, opposite the Food Court. Below is the photo of the noodle/YTF shop.


Since the main tourist attraction that we'd like to see in Sungai Lembing was not open, my husband brought us to check out the popular Kolong Pahat's Hanging Bridge.

The famous hanging bridge.

I was very surprised to see the amount of tourists, including bikers and those who arrived using the tour buses, checking out this bridge. The moment we were about to cross the bridge that connects both sides of the river, I loudly asked my husband if this bridge was strong enough to handle the large number of people standing and walking on it.

So many folks crossing over this bridge.

This bridge is relatively long and shaky. It's undeniably nerve-wrecking to cross this bridge especially since I was fully aware that there were A LOT of people trying to cross the bridge at the same time. To cross a scary hanging bridge like this, in my opinion, you need to walk fast to ease your fears of height or the shaky bridge. Sadly, I was not able to do this. All of us had to walk at snail pace because there were many people in front of us and next to us. Not to mention, there were some kids who purposely shook the rope rails of the already shaky bridge and fearless kids like Naomi who was jumping in the middle of the bridge... #wahlao Crossing this bridge reminded me of why I avoided joining scouts at all cost during my schooling days. No kidding.

One long bridge, isn't it?

What's going on at the other end of this bridge? Why is the bridge so famous you wonder?

Naomi was so tired.

Possibly because of these two shops behind me? One sells roast pork and the other one sells handmade noodles, I guess? Not too sure about the latter. Actually not long after we knew that there's nothing much on the other side of the river, we walked back to the bridge and crossed it again to get back to our car.

As we left Sungai Lembing to Kuantan city center, my husband recognized this tall limestone hill where Gua Charas (Charas Cave) is. Previously I did tell him I was not so keen in entering a boring dark cave with the kids, so we skipped visiting Gua Charas - a decision which I regretted later on.

Gua Charas in the background.

Pahang Buddhist Association (Wan Fo Dian Temple)

On our way back from Sungai Lembing, my husband suggested us to drop by one of the biggest temples in Kuantan.

Beautiful Chinese garden at the back of the temple.

I thought it was going to be another typical Buddhist temple like many other temples in Malaysia but I didn't expect this temple to have beautiful scenery with a huge lake. The garden attracts so many visitors too, even during a scorching hot day.

Another worth visiting place in Kuantan.

The kids had fun running around, touching and taking pictures with the comical monk statues around the garden.

Doing what the monk does.

And looking at the fish and tortoises in the lake too.

Both kids were excited with the fish and tortoises.

I didn't go to the inside of the temple so can't say much about or post pictures of the inside of the building.

Pahang Buddhist Association (Wan Fo Tien Temple)
Address: Jalan Sungai Lembing, Bandar Indera Mahkota, 25200, Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia

We had our late lunch at a Chicken Rice/Wantan Noodle restaurant which name or location I can't remember but we bumped a friend of mine from Seremban while having lunch there.

Quite nice lunch here.

Natural Batik Village

One of the things that I really wanted to do in Kuantan was visiting Natural Batik Village - not so much for shopping batik fabric or shirts itself but more for doing a batik painting session with Naomi. Thank heavens, when my husband called them on our second day in Kuantan, the staff informed that they're open until 7pm (it was Sunday and Public Holiday too) so off we went to paint some batik!

Happy girl was very happy with the painting activity.

Upon reaching the premise, we immediately went straight to the painting areas to pick the fabric design (mostly with flowers or animal design) that we'd like to paint with the fabric dyes and brush. The big fabric is priced RM 10 each and the smaller one is RM 8 each. I got the big ones for Naomi and myself because it's only RM 2 different anyway and I reckon, it's easier to paint on the bigger clothes.

I don't mind doing it again if I had extra time in Kuantan.

I chose to paint the fabric with orchids design and Naomi wanted to paint the one with a smiling turtle in the middle. We spent about 2 hours there, slowly channeling our inner Van Gogh while the husband was babysitting Brennan who could not sit still.

Not bad for first timers, eh?

After we're done painting our batik, we're supposed to collect the final results the next day because the staff would need to rinse and clean the wax on the painted fabrics with special chemicals then dry them before passing them back to us. As we did not want to wait, go back again to this place on the next day nor have the final products delivered to our house (they charge RM 15 for the postage, if I heard correctly), we waited for the staff to simply blow dry our batik works of the day before leaving the place. Consequently, our painted batik fabrics' colors were kind of run off by the time we got back to Seremban, not as pretty as they were just freshly painted. However, come to think of it, we treated this this batik painting experience for novelty and fun, rather than to keep the final products as particular souvenir or have them framed, so it's okay.

"Mommy, I finish with the big turtle. I want the small turtle."

Naomi was ecstatic with this activity. She kept asking to paint another one, the turtle in the smaller fabric, but we didn't grant her wish because we still had more places to visit in Kuantan so could not afford to spend too long time in this batik shop/workshop. Naomi constantly mentioned "the small turtle" for the next two days, I tell you. She clearly really had a great and memorable time here.

Natural Batik Village
Address: Kampung Cengal Lempung, 26100, Balok, Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia
Phone: +6095447335

Pantai Batu Hitam

We planned to visit Cherating Beach after we were done with Natural Batik Village. However, as my husband was searching a beach that has toilets nearby, we ended up checking out a wrong beach. We only got to know that we hit the wrong beach after we finished playing at this beach.

Who's the happiest every time we go to the beach?

Pantai Batu Hitam offers a vast stretch of grayish sandy beach, not so strong waves, shallow water and has separate toilets for male and female nearby. This beach is so much quieter than Teluk Cempedak in terms of the numbers of visitors. Therefore, I think my husband and Naomi had so more fun playing here than they were in Teluk Cempedak.

Don't forget the croc!

I also let Brennan play water in this beach for a while... not too long because I forgot to pack extra dry clothes for him and myself then little man so I didn't want the both of us to get wet. Brennan also pooped while he was busy playing with the beach sands and waves, so yeah... I had to rush him to the toilet to clean his bum and sand covered feet.

Alas, Cherating Beach was not ticked from our list!

Done having fun in this beach, we drove back to the hotel so Brennan and I could take a shower then we went to have dinner at a food court not faraway from our hotel.

Sungai Pandan Waterfall

On our last day in Kuantan we attempted to go to El Dorado mine in Sungai Lembing again although we were doubtful if they're even open on the 3rd day of Hari Raya. My husband called their office but nobody picked up the phone. As I noticed their advertisement on their parked tour bus that says they open every day, we decided to try going there once again presuming that they're somehow busy hence not picking up the phone.

Right after we checked out from our hotel and had our breakfast, we drove to Sungai Lembing again. Before we went to Sungai Lembing, my husband took us to see Sungai Pandan Waterfalls (sometimes referred as Panching Waterfalls), a popular picnic and recreation spot in Kuantan. To enter this place, we were charged RM 7 for the car park and adult entrance fees.

I didn't know that this place is actually a popular recreational spot with some kids so engrossed taking a cool dip and splashing water in the waterfalls and some families were even picnic-ing on the sandy grounds beside the streams.

The jungle trails.

To see this view below, we needed to walk across the jungle trails and cross a shaky bridge (again!) with wooden flooring that's missing two or three nails.


The visitors of the waterfalls, when we were there, were not that many so it's generally less scary to cross over the shaky bridge as we knew it would not be too overloaded with people.

Never crossed over so many shaky bridges with loosen wooden flooring 
in two days' time in my life.

We even managed to take a quick family picture while standing in the middle of the bridge.

Family picture with the beautiful waterfalls in the background.

All in all, this place is worth visiting if we're in Kuantan because the cascading waterfalls are indeed scenic... Nonetheless, I definitely would not be interested picnic-ing, let alone, camping here.

Sungai Pandan Waterfalls
Entrance fee for adults: RM 2, for children (7yo-12yo): RM 1
Parking fee: RM 3
Operating hours: 9am-5pm (weekdays), 9am-6pm (Sunday, Public and School Holidays). Close every Friday.

Moving on, we continued our journey to Sungai Lembing and pressed our luck with El Dorado for the last time. Well, well. We were not fated with El Dorado mine this time around because it's still closed when we went to Sungai Lembing for the second time in two consecutive days.

After having lunch at the busy town of Sungai Lembing, we concluded our family trip to Kuantan and went back to Seremban. Another 4 hours' long road trip with two kiddos but we survived!

Lastly, should we go to Kuantan again in the near future, four top places that we would very much like to visit there would be El Dorado Tin Mines, Gua Charas, Cherating Turtle Sanctuary and Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary.