Diary of a Meal-Planner-Wannabe (Week of Jan 4 – 8)

I know, I know…I’ve read all about meal-planning and the wonders of how it helps to set the pace for the week, how it helps mothers stay organised and all.  However, I have never managed to get it to work for me.  A good friend of mine was seeking for meal plans and grocery lists just last week and yet another one proclaimed that she already had her meal plan sorted out for January!

Where does that leave me?

Well, I decided to try out a simple meal plan for the first week of school for the year.  It was going to be just a trial run and I wanted to see how well I could keep to it.  I was going to allow myself to be flexible but yet try to get meals prepared in an organised manner, and hopefully by putting it down for the whole word to see, it would spur me on to stick to the plan.

And oh yeah…I managed to get some fruits for the whole week too, one of them were these succulent and juicy champagne grapes….they were teeny tiny but so good!!  And seedless!!!



Lunch: Mcdonald’s takeout. Yeah I know…kill me already.  But seriously, it was because the kids had their swimming coaching session  in the morning and it was the most convenient lunch on our way home.

Dinner: Orange chicken (recipe), Dragon beard vegetables stir-fried with roast pork served with steamed rice. Yay me! 🙂


Lunch: Chicken and pumpkin porridge; leftovers orange chicken from dinner last night.

Dinner: Soy sauce pork belly a.k.a. my kids’ favorite, apple and pork ribs soup, leftover orange chicken with steamed rice


Lunch: Chicken and pumpkin porridge leftovers; leftover soy sauce pork belly

Dinner: ABC soup (tomatoes, onions, carrots, potatoes), leftover soy sauce pork belly.  I have been cooking double the amount of soy sauce pork belly for the past 2 weeks, because it really does taste better on the second day.  Plus it saves me the time and effort to cook one dish on the second day.  Score!!


Lunch: Chicken and pumpkin porridge; chicken pie (bought from store cos chicken porridge tak laku :P)

Dinner: Chicken cacciatore reinvented, served with spaghetti.



Lunch: Leftovers from chicken cacciatore with spaghetti.

Dinner: Almost starved to death while waiting for my man to come home.  Will probably cook dinner on Friday next week.  For the record, we had Tex-Mex food that day.

And there you have it.  Not too bad for a meal-planner-wannabe, wouldn’t you say so?

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I’m Back … Putting the Past Behind with Hope and Gratefulness for a Blessed Year Ahead!


First of all, I would like to wish one and all a very happy blessed New Year!  We had a lovely time together, just family…but maybe this year, we’ll eat in on New Year’s eve instead…hahaha.

The past 3-4 months have been a difficult time for me.  I’m sure some of you must have wondered if I had retired from blogging altogether.

Well, I have not.  And I hope to be able to keep the blogging momentum up and running as soon as I can possibly can.  Actually, this post was supposed to have gone out before the year 2015 ended, but alas, I have been so bogged down that I have not had the chance to complete the draft.

So, as I said before, the past few months have been a difficult time for me.  I was overcome by stress earlier on, but in true “supermom” fashion, I did not realize I was in a vulnerable position, and as such, I did not recognize it as stress.  It is only now that I am in recovery mode that when I look back, I know that I had been incredibly stressed then…albeit without my knowledge.  My body fought back naturally but there came a time when my body could not defend itself anymore and so succumbed to stress.  Had I realized I was stressed, I would have been able to manage it better and prevent the avalanche of incidents happening.

Anyway, in late September, I contracted a bacterial infection called impetigo.  It usually affects eczema sufferers with broken skin, because the bacteria can then enter the bloodstream through the broken skin.  However, in my case, I know that I definitely did not have broken skin, so I was confused about how I could have gotten it…until I learnt that it also affects those whose immunity is compromised due to high stress levels, for example.

My infection was so serious that I lost the use of my hands while they were recovering.  I was initially treating the infections with natural alternatives, however, this takes longer…and while the healing was happening, unfortunately the infection spread to my little baby daughter too.  This in turn caused more stress for me, and subsequently the infection got worse…so I had no choice but to get antibiotics treatment for both of us.  This included topical steroids.

I was so depressed really.  I still find it incredibly painful and difficult to look at those photos of my infected hands, even now.  I couldn’t cook and couldn’t clean and could hardly even drive!

So after that incident of impetigo, I healed but not long after, had a sudden flare-up of eczema on my hands.  This, I knew, happened because I had applied topical steroids when I had impetigo, and the flare-ups were my body’s natural reaction to ridding itself of toxins. I braved myself to fight this spell.

However, little did I know that it was a really bad one that became worse and worse as time wore on.  I had breakouts everywhere on my hands, even on the back of my hands where I have never had any problems before.

I had to go back to those days of wearing band-aids on my fingers to prevent the pain of the cracks and bleeding.  This really got me down and pulled me even deeper into depths of depression.

Sometime in November, I suppose because of my state of stress, I fell sick and developed a very high fever over the course of 3-4 days.  The feverish spells came with chills and sometimes went up to as high as 40+ºC.  It was a very trying time for me and on day 2 of the fever, I woke up with hives all over me as well.  Both my hands were swollen to the extent that I was not able to move my fingers.  I was in too much pain…I had to resort to steroids again.

It was a mean and vicious cycle.  I knew I had to break it but I just didn’t know how yet.

The doctor recommended a blood test to rule of dengue fever.  I will be frank…a part of me wanted it to be positive for dengue so I didn’t have to take antibiotics.  Crazy I know…. anyway, the blood test came back negative for dengue and the doctor prescribed antibiotics.   Slowly I got better and better, but the stubborn eczema flare ups on my hands were still persistent.

I decided then that I was going to heal it all now with natural means, no matter how hard it would be: Izumio internally to flush out whatever remnants of toxins from the drugs, medications and steroids, and externally, I used essential oils coupled with a hand moisturizer liberally and religiously.

I found out that my hand eczema condition is called Dyshidrotic Eczema, typically it manifests itself in times of…you guessed it….STRESS.  Dyshidrotic Eczema symptoms are small itchy liquid-filled bumps that itches more when you scratch and scratch.  I had them all over the back of my hands and on my palms and fingers too.

It was embarrassing to show my hands to people so I preferred to be home most of the time.


During my healing, I had other factors causing me stress too.  I discovered a termite infestation in my kitchen!!  We engaged a pest control baiting service, and had 2 baiting stations placed: 1 in the kitchen and 1 on our main door frame.  However, 2 weeks later, I discovered another termite infestation site in the dry kitchen.  Termites just give me the ickiness…Just thinking about it makes my hands itchy and I can’t wait to get the whole termite colony dead!  Thankfully, the last update a few days ago by the pest control team was that the colonies would be eliminated by the Chinese Lunar New Year.

Other things attributed to the increase in my stress levels during the past few months as well.  I was leading a team project where there was severe lack of communication and accountability.  Let’s just say that I was extremely glad that the project is now over and done with; and I’m also thankful for the handful of people on that team who went the extra mile to make sure the project was completed.

This year, I’m going to try my best to not let stress get to me.  Yes, I have mouths to feed and yes, I have things to clean up, but I’m going to take it easy and just try my best.  I’m going to focus on God being the center of my life and surround myself with love for my family.  I’m going to put my home organisation plan into place as soon as possible and hopefully that will help me feel more relaxed.  I’m going to focus on helping others but I’m going to also remember to help myself.


To everyone, I wish you a fantastic year ahead.  Don’t forget to take time out for God, for your family and for yourself.  May you enjoy what the New Year brings and look forward to plenty of blessings ahead!

I hope to blog more often too, so please do come by and say hello! 🙂

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Do You Believe the Mind is a Powerful Healer?

Have you heard the story of Mr Wright?  He was a gentleman diagnosed with an advanced cancer called lymphosarcoma, and his is a really good example of how powerful the mind can be, to the extent of controlling how the body heals or deteriorates.

I will quote Mr Wright’s story here, told so well in Lissa Rankin’s blog:

Mr. Wright

As reported by Bruno Klopfer in the Journal of Projective Techniques in 1957, Dr. West was treating Mr. Wright, who had an advanced cancer called lymphosarcoma. All treatments had failed, and time was running out. Mr. Wright’s neck, chest, abdomen, armpits, and groin were filled with tumors the size of oranges, his spleen and liver were enlarged, and his cancer was causing his chest to fill up with two quarts of milky fluid every day, which had to be drained in order for him to breathe. Dr. West didn’t expect him to last a week.

But Mr. Wright desperately wanted to live, and he hung his hope on a promising new drug called Krebiozen. He begged his doctor to treat him with the new drug, but the drug was only being offered in clinical trials to people who were believed to have at least three months left to live. Mr. Wright was too sick to qualify.

But Mr. Wright didn’t give up. Knowing the drug existed and believing the drug would be his miracle cure, he pestered his doc until Dr. West reluctantly gave in and injected him with Krebiozen on a Friday.

To his utter shock, the following Monday, Dr. West found his patient walking around out of bed. Mr. Wright’s “tumor masses had melted like snowballs on a hot stove” and were half their original size. Ten days after the first dose of Krebiozen, Mr. Wright left the hospital, apparently cancer free.

Mr. Wright was rockin’ and rollin,’ praising Krebiozen as a miracle drug for two months until the scientific literature began reporting that Krebiozen didn’t seem to be effective. Mr. Wright, who trusted what he read in the literature, fell into a deep depression, and his cancer came back.

This time, Dr. West, who genuinely wanted to help save his patient, decided to get sneaky. He told Mr. Wright—that some of the initial supplies of the drug had deteriorated during shipping, making them less effective, but that he scored a new batch of highly concentrated, ultra-pure Krebiozen, which he could give him. (Of course, this was a bold-faced lie.)

Dr. West then injected Mr. Wright with nothing but distilled water. And a seemingly miraculous thing happened—again. The tumors melted away, the fluid in his chest disappeared, and Mr. Wright was feeling great again for another two months.

Then the American Medical Association blew it by announcing that a nationwide study of Krebiozen proved that the drug was utterly worthless. This time, Mr. Wright lost all faith in his treatment. His cancer came right back, and he died two days later.

Amazing how powerful the mind can be, huh?  It can either make you or break you…

positivity1© Viktor Hanacek

Then there is the story of Sally who suffered severe brain injury due to bullet shots, but her mind was strong enough to heal her body, even when her doctors said they could do nothing.  In How Your Mind Can Heal Your Brain, Linda Gabriel tells Sally’s story beautifully:

Something terrible happened to Sally a few years before we met.

A random intruder shot her and left her for dead.

A bullet lodged deep within her chest. Emergency responders rushed her to the operating room and  soon surgeons were struggling to control the bleeding in her collapsed lung.

At first no one saw the other wound.

Then an O.R. nurse  noticed a small pool of blood near Sally’s head. A portable x-ray revealed a second bullet had pierced her skull and destroyed a significant amount of Sally’s brain.

Emergency surgery saved her life, but Sally was now blind. Her brain’s speech center had been devastated, and her motor function was severely impaired. A large piece of her skull was gone.

Sally couldn’t see. She couldn’t talk. She couldn’t walk.

However, after surgery, Sally soon regained consciousness. She couldn’t see or talk, but she could hear. So she was able to understand her neurosurgeon’s words when he stood at her hospital bedside and told her about the extent of her brain injury.

The news was devastating

The doctor explained that her brain was permanently damaged. Sally was toldshe would never see again; told she would have difficulty speaking for the rest of her life, told she would need to make arrangements for long-term nursing care and because  she had been recently widowed, she would need to find full-time childcare for her 2-year-old son.

That was the bad news. The good news?

Sally would be severley disabled, but she would survive.

Perhaps – with years of physical therapy – her doctors said she might be able to learn to walk again. But, no promises.

She couldn’t speak, but one thought echoed through Sally’s mind: NO.

Why am I telling you this sad story?

Because by the time we met, Sally could walk.

She could talk.

And she could see. 

In fact if you met Sally today, you would never guess that once upon a time, she had suffered permanent brain damage.

In case you’re doubting the seriousness of her brain injury, let me assure you Sally wasn’t exaggerating. The crime and subsequent trial had been big news in her part of the country. Before we met, I happened to read an in-depth article about the incident. Her recovery is nothing less than a medical miracle.

Yet Sally doesn’t consider herself special.

She’s not a motivational speaker. She hasn’t written a book or appeared on Oprah. She’s not famous; she’s a very private person, in fact ‘Sally’ isn’t her real name.

She’s a normal woman – a wife and mother who runs a thriving small business with her new husband. She’s not particularly religious – though she admits she’s a bit more spiritual now than before her injury.

The Power of the Positive No

One day I asked Sally what she thought might be the key to her miraculous recovery:

“That moment in the hospital when the doctor told me about my prognosis, I suddenly got very stubborn.  I had no reason to believe my own opinion more than his, but for some reason I simply refused to believe him.”

She smiled as she told me how she just mentally said, “No” to everything he said. “I wasn’t in denial, she explained, “I knew my situation was very serious, and I couldn’t speak, so he had no idea. But I just found myself mentally saying ‘no’  to everything he said with simple, calm conviction.”

“You’ll never see again.”


“You’ll always have problems speaking.”


“You may never walk again.”


Sally refused to accept her doctor’s description of her future. She cancelled the order.

Make it part of the dance.

Did I mention that before the injury, Sally had been a talented professional dancer?

She once told me that dancers have a rule:

“If you happen to stumble or make a mistake during a performance, a good dancer knows how to ‘make it part of the dance’ – and just keep on going.”

Sally made a decision to make her brain injury “part of the dance” of her life.

She’d stumbled but she chose to keep moving forward no matter what.

Sally took her physical therapy seriously. If she had a bad day, she remembered to ‘make it part of the dance.’ She worked hard to restore her ability to walk. She reclaimed her ability to talk. And somehow Sally found her own unique way to reconstruct her vision piece by piece. Today she sees well enough to read, drive, and look into the eyes of her son – without glasses.

Her doctors still can’t explain how she can do that.

I hope Sally’s story inspires you. If you’re dealing with a challenge such as a life-threatening illness or injury it’s helpful to remember that not everyone has the worst-case scenario your caregivers may be describing. Side effects of treatment don’t always occur. Your prognosis isn’t written in stone.

Perhaps you’ll follow Sally’s example and draw upon the power of your own mind to help yourself  – and maybe even heal yourself.

You are more than your body. Your mind is stronger than your brain.

When someone tells you something will be difficult or painful, they’re programming your subconscious. It’s like a hypnotic trance. This is especially true if it’s a doctor or other authority figure.

People who’ve been told to expect serious side effects often will suffer them, even when the “medicine” is a harmless sugar pill. Studies have proven this.

It’s called the nocebo effect – the opposite of the placebo effect.

For better or worse, the mind has the power to create real physical results, even when it involves the brain.

Think about that for a minute.

So the next time experts tell you how bad things are going to be, I invite you to let your subconscious know YOU have other plans.

I’m not telling you to avoid medical treatment. If you are having a health challenge, of course see a doctor and  follow her advice. You’re not saying no to the actual treatment.

But when experts tell you about bad things that may happen such as scars, pain, or negative side effects, I invite you to indulge in a harmless experiment and simply say a strong internal, NO!  

This isn’t an argumentative “No.”

It isn’t a fearful “No.”

It’s the same thing you might say to a waiter offering you a platter of some food you don’t like to eat – a polite, yet firm,

“No thank you.”

I invite you to welcome the healing effects of your treatment, but firmly reject the rest of the side effects.

The power of the mind is amazing. Take advantage of it.

So you see, the mind is indeed a very powerful thing.  Napoleon Hill once said, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”  Coincidentally, this is one of the quotes that has stuck with me through the years, and it is also one that my Mom kept repeating to me when I was young(er).


© Caroline Sada

When faced with a problem or a difficult situation, do you think of how you would celebrate when you solve it, or do you immediately think of all the bad things that could happen?

Do you tend to overthink things and visualize the worst there is to come?  Or do you always feel that the best is yet to come and an obstacle is always a stepping hurdle to success?

Do you feel that by expecting the worst it prepares you for whatever you are going to face, or do you find that the expectance of something bad that may or might not happen is hampering your focus to succeed in the task at hand?

I’d like to think of myself as a positive person, for I can almost always see the good in every kind of situation.  Of course, I am only human and I do sometimes think about that “What if…?” scenario, however the difference is that I do not wallow in it and create a fortress around me that engulfs me in that deep deep sorrowful state.

Now that I am in this life-saving mission of mine, I find that it is more important than ever to remember and be aware that the mind is indeed more powerful than we think.  True, I am sharing with my friends and loved ones these amazing natural health supplements, Izumio and Super Lutein, that have been proven scientifically and through tons of testimonials, that they effectively treat and heal all sorts of conditions and illnesses.  However, if the patient concerned does not believe his body can heal and does not command his mind to summon healing power on his body, not even the best treatment in the world will help.

It is so important to understand that, and I never fail to stress this to anyone I share the availability of these supplements with.

How powerful your mind is depends of course on only yourself, for you alone are capable of great things your mind perceives and conceives.  Don’t shoot down possibilities before they are impossible.  Surround yourself always with positivity, and think happy thoughts.  A happy mind makes a powerful one.

I’ll leave you with one last story, an inspiring one, about Stamatis Moraitis.  This is how happy endings are meant to be.  Lissa Rankin tells it well:

Stamatis Moraitis

Stamatis Moraitis was a Greek war veteran who was living in the United States when he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and told he had only 9 months to live. He was offered aggressive treatment, but after 9 doctors apparently assured him that it wouldn’t save his life, he decided to save his money, decline treatment, and move with his wife back to his native Ikaria, a Greek island where he could be buried with his ancestors in a graveyard overlooking the Aegean Sea.

He and his wife moved into a small house on a vineyard with his elderly parents, where he reconnected with his faith and started going to his old church. When his friends got wind of the fact that Stamatis was back home, they showed up with bottles of wine, books, and board games to entertain him and keep him company. He planted vegetables in a garden, basked in sunshine, savored the salty air, and relished in his love for his wife.

Six months passed, and not only did he not die, he was actually feeling better than ever. He started working in the untended vineyard during the day, making himself useful, and in the evenings, he’d play dominos with friends. He took a lot of naps, rarely looked at a watch, and spent a lot of time outdoors. At one point, 25 years after his diagnosis, Stamatis went back to the United States to ask his doctors what had happened. Apparently, the doctors were all dead. Stamatis finally died this year in Ikaria. He was 102 years old.

positivity3© Leigh Kendell

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In Loving Memory of My Mother-In-Law

goodfight© Viktor Hanacek

My mother-in-law passed away last Thursday.  We all miss her but Jesus is keeping her safe now.  May her soul rest in peace.

Heartfelt thanks to everyone who has reached out to us in prayers, comfort, support and condolences in our time of bereavement.

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The Le Creuset Lifetime Guarantee – Fact or Fiction?

A little more than a month ago, I discovered, to my utter dismay and shock, that the inner enamel base of one of Le Creuset French ovens, had a big gaping chip!  I had no idea how it happened because I only discovered it while I was washing up after dinner.


I was totally devastated.  Not only was it my most frequently used one, because of the perfect size for my family when I cook stews and sauces and soups, but it was a piece of kitchenware that I had grown so fond of.  The big crack opened up to show the iron portion beneath and it was totally unusable for it will only begin to rust.


I know that Le Creuset offers a lifetime guarantee on its products, but I wasn’t too hopeful on how the Le Creuset guarantee would work in Malaysia, even more so because my Le Creuset kitchenware was purchased in the United States.  Nevertheless, I had to give it a try and decided to call the Le Creuset office in Kuala Lumpur to inquire how I could pursue a claim.

The customer representative informed me that I had to send the damaged item in for inspection by the Quality Control team, and after about 5-7 days, if they deem the damage is caused by a manufacturing defect, then they will arrange for a replacement.  I then asked what if it cannot be replaced, can they repair it for me?  She told me the Malaysian branch does not handle repairs and we have to send it to France, which will cost a fortune!

There was also no Le Creuset branch in Penang, so I had no choice but to ship it to KL.  After all, I could not use the pot at all, so I might as well send it in and hope for a replacement and honoring of the Le Creuset guarantee.

After about 2 weeks, someone called me to let me know that the inspection was completed.  However, before I was told that a replacement would be given, I was asked several questions like how often I use the pot and for what reason, etc. Apparently the inspection tests had shown that the enamel layer had also minute cracks that could not be seen by the naked eye.

Long story short, the lady told me she would give me a replacement, but may not be able to obtain the same color as my pot.  The colors they would be able to give are dependent on their stock, and so a week later, someone else contacted me to let me know that I had a choice of these 3 colors:

  • Volcano (an orangey hue)
  • Kiwi (lime green)
  • Cherry (red)

Before we purchased the set in blue a couple of years ago, my husband had indicated he liked the orange Le Creuset, but since the Cobalt Blue was the only color on clearance, we decided on that instead.  So now, it was a no-brainer that our choice is the Volcano pot.

Next came another problem.  Le Creuset KL WILL NOT ship the pot to Penang. Not even if I paid them to do it!  What??!!  That’s totally ridiculous!  Apparently it’s not their company policy.

Well whatever.  They can’t expect to have customers only in Klang Valley, yes?

So in the end, I arranged for my own forwarder to pick up the said item from their store and bring it to me in Penang.  This part was smooth, and after all the drama, I now have a new Le Creuset pot in a glorious orangey hue.  Ain’t she a beauty?


Because this is so different from the color I currently have on my other Le Creuset items, it will now be treated as a focal piece in my kitchen instead.  Love it!! xx

Coincidentally, this incident happened around the same time my girlfriends and I were discussing whether it is worthwhile to invest in a Le Creuset, as opposed to other cast iron cookware from other brands, which are more reasonably priced.  I’ve only argued on and defended Le Creuset based on the taste of food, which is definitely more superior compared to using just a plain pot or slow cooker, but now it is clear to see that paying premium for a set of Le Creuset kitchenware or even just a Le Creuset French Oven is worth every penny.  We are paying for satisfaction and reassurance, and a heritage we can pass on to our future generations.  (The only thing Le Creuset Malaysia could improve on is their shipping options.  They currently do not ship outside of Kuala Lumpur and I had to arrange for my own forwarder to pick up the item to ship it back to me, at my own expense.)


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