Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Merdeka! Happy Birthday sayang

Yousof made this!

Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka! 

I don't think there are more excited kids out there than mine. They woke up at the crack of dawn today full of anticipation. Though, I doubt that they know exactly what Merdeka means. At least they aren't shouting "Mendekar!" like last year..hehe.

Thankfully, their Tok Wan managed to procure some free mini Jalur Gemilangs for them to wave enthusiastically. Although it was kind of dangerous because Hamzah preferred to bonk his siblings on the head with his flag rather than wave it in a patriotic fashion. Instead of singing the normal Merdeka anthem ("tanggal 31 bulan 8 ..57"), we all sang a song that everyone knew the lyrics to. "Happy Birthday!"

Because today is also the day that my little princess Aishah turns 3 years old. 

If I don't say it enough, remember I love you
If I don't show it enough, remember I love you
If I can't give you enough, remember I love you
If I can't or don't or won't ...remember I love you

Remember I love you from that very first day
Remember I love you no matter what I say
Remember I love you come what may
Remember I love you in my own way


My latest article for MBP is out. Check out The "perfect" Ramadhan buffet.


Today is my turn to post for the SWB magazine for their 30 days, 30 pictures, 30 sisters project. Check it out here.


Attention all chick lit fans! Yes you Nia..hehe. I just uploaded a new book Trading Up by Candace Bushnell (author of Sex in the City and Lipstick Jungle). Wanna borrow this book and more? Drop by at Hidayah's Book Club.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Post kampung blues

Nice view
 I Don't Wanna

I don't wanna do anything,
Nothing is all I wanna do,
Except maybe sleep a little longer,
Now that is absolutely true

I don't wanna get out of bed,
Or go to work today,
Just wanna stay under the covers,
No matter what you say

I don't wanna be here right now,
Somewhere else I wanna be,
Where deadlines do not exist,
Someone come and rescue me

Not my feet :(


The New You Giveway by The Honeybunch results are out! Alhamdulillah, my simple entry managed to get fourth prize. Thanks to Hanz, all the judges and sponsors. Can't wait to get the awesome prizes. :) Will make a special post on them as soon as the get here.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Kelik kapung!

It's been a while since we last went. I am so excited. See you on Monday! Please pray for our safety (and my sanity- driving back to Kelantan with 3 active kids!)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Just fry it

Now that it's the middle of Ramadhan, everybody's appetite has somewhat waned. We are eating less and less for iftar. This usually results in recycling the food for sahur but sincerely, to eat white rice with all the dishes a second time seems less appealing at 5 am.

The solution? Whip up some simple nasi goreng. I love my mom's nasi goreng (mine is not bad either..hehe). There are so many different kinds of nasi goreng to choose from:


When I was a girl whenever we went out for dinner or lunch I would order only one thing. Nasi Goreng Ayam Merah/Berlada (or in JB it's referred to as Nasi Ayam Goreng). I used to get confused between Nasi Goreng Ayam and NAsi Ayam Goreng but as far as I remembered, Nasi Goreng Ayam is just normal NAsi Goreng with chicken bits and Nasi Ayam Goreng is the NAsi Goreng with Ayam Merah and sup. There's this awesome gerai at Dewan Jubli Intan near Pantai Lido that makes amazing Nasi Ayam Goreng.

I went through a phase of liking Nasi Goreng Pattaya too. I thought it was so cool that they could wrap all the Nasi Goreng in the telur dadar. Sadly efforts to replicate this at home have so far been disappointing.

Nowadays I love ordering Nasi Goreng USA. Mainly because of the variety of stuff on the plate, fried egg sunny side up (preferably runny), Daging Masak Merah (or chicken at some places), sometimes with sausages thrown in. Perfect for a person like me who likes multiple lauk on my plate.


Lastly, another favourite is Nasi Goreng Seafood bacause I just love love LOVE all types of seafood, especially shrimp and squid.

For me, Nasi Goreng is probably the best solution for our sahur right now. Of course, at my house the Nasi Goreng that usually ends up on the table at 5 am is Nasi Goreng Biasa and Nasi Goreng Cina..hehe.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Toad fritters

Scary title huh? Actually, for some reason today I miss having cekodok (scientific name- cucur kodok hence literal translation is toad fritters). They may not look very pretty but they really are mouth wateringly delicious. Perfect for eating with family members over a not so hot cup of tea.


I love cekodok pisang, especially small ones (the giant ones tend to be chewier and less sweet). Used to love helping my mother mush up all the battered and bruised bananas. Such a good way to avoid wastage too, if the bananas are overipe to eat as they are, then just transform them into cekodok.


I like cucur udang too. Although, it's quite hard to find nice ones outside (they are usually too hard and oily). The best cucur udang must be the ones I had when I was in primary school. They used to sell it behind my Sekolah Agama for 20 cents. They would chop it up and put it inside a little clear pastic bag and just pour all that delicious sambal inside until it was completely soaked. I couldn't even eat it with my hands but had to slowly push little bits out of the plastic straight into my mouth. Heavenly.


Probably my favourite cucur in the world is cucur ikan bilis. Although when I was small I used to pick off all the ikan bilis. Then when I was at university, my friend taught us a secret as how to make the cucur fluffy and not heavy. Because to me, cucur ikan bilis is at its most delicious if it is fluffy with little air pockets inside and slightly crunchy on the outside. The secret is to prepare the batter in the morning , then leave it inside the fridge and fry them in the evening. I love cucur ikan bilis so much that I can have it as a meal by itself and can even finish a whole plate when its cold. Crazy huh?

What's your favourite cucur? Hmm.. I suddenly feel like making cucur for iftar today.. I wonder why? Hehe..

||Book Club||

Just uploaded 3 new books: The Compass by Tammy Kling, The Pact by Jodi Picoult and Swimsuit by James Patterson. Want to borrow these and more? Visit Hidayah's Book Club.

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown has safely reached Aini and I will be mailing The Time Traveller's Wife to Zakiah today InsyaAllah.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dusting off my braincells

I knew I should have paid more attention in class. Just spent the last 2 days trying to analyze part of my research results using a statistical package (relying heavily on the manual and Mr Google- plus checking in with my former biostatistics lecturer).


During medical school biostatistics gave me a headache, it was quite a difficult subject for me (in a sea of other difficult subjects..hehe). And although I did manage to earn a distinction for that semester I considered it 40%-mastering the subject, 40%-because it was tested simultaneously as Public Health, 15%- because of my innate ability to impress people during vivas (stick to my strengths and never let the conversation wander to stuff you don't know) and 5%- I have no idea where it came from.


Am glad that at least one part is over (and the results look promising). Will be starting the really hard stuff soon. Help!


Alhamdulillah, after stressing out about those numbers, I opened my Nuffnang account and saw that they gave me 2 new Buffered Earnings (Digi Broadband Sustenance and UOB Ladies Card). Thank you Nuffnang! Thanks to all readers and followers too. You made my day :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tell me your dreams by Sidney Sheldon

A few chapters into this book I felt a strange sense of de ja vu (never a good sign). A few more pages confirmed my suspicions. I had read this book before! I'm not exactly sure where or when (since I tend to pick up books off people's shelves all the time when staying over with relatives or friends) but I had no doubt what so ever.

Basic plot

Ashley is a normal single woman who works at an IT firm except for one small thing. She is convinced that someone is stalking her. Terrified and confused she has nowhere to turn. Soon she begins blacking out and waking up with hours, days or weeks totally missing from her memory. As the unbelievable truth reveals itself, she finds that sometimes life itself is a living nightmare.

What I liked about this book

Since it was based on true cases, it was very intriguing. Personally, I have never encountered such cases but I think that Sidney sheldon managed to convey it quite realistically.

What I disliked about the book

The story telling is a bit too simple and straightforward. Especially after the mystery has been solved, the latter half of the book where the trial takes place and the patient is treated seemed to have been a bit too linear. There was little room for my imagination to kick in.

Rating: 2.5/5

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Emergency arrival- just in time for Raya

Their happy day (almost one year ago)

Yesterday, I recieved a worrying sms from my younger brother in Sarawak. His wife had been warded in the district hospital due to high blood pressure (hypertension in pregnancy is quite common). We were a bit more worried after recieving the second sms around 9 pm when he told us that they were now being transfered to Hospital Kuching. I told him that he should be ready to expect the doctors to deliver the baby straight away because from his description, I believe that his wife had pre-eclampsia which is an abnormal state of pregnancy with high blood pressure, fluid retention (becomes bloated and puffy like) and albuminuria (loss of albumin via urine). This is a dangerous condition if untreated can lead to eclampsia (fitting or seizures during pregnancy).

As expected we recieved another sms at 2.30 am saying that Zila had been sent to the operation theater for an emergency Ceasarian section. We were praying hard for their safety (I had even smsed a few close friends to ask them for their prayers too in this month of Ramadhan). The baby was 35 weeks old, a little premature but hopefully mature enough to survive.

Just in time for our sahur we recieved good news! My 'little' brother officially became a father at 3.02 am 19/8/2010. Zila gave birth to a beautiful baby girl weighing 2.2 kg. My brother's sms:

"I'm sitting next to baby in care unit. 2.2kg, so small but she's doing fine, Zila is resting."

I smiled, his premature baby was the same weight as Yousof and Aishah and they were not even premature. :)

Congratulations to Izzat and Zila, welcome to the wonderful world of parenthood. May your lives forever be filled with love with this new addition to the family. 

Just arrived :)

To my first niece (name still a secret- can't break the news yet), welcome to this world. May you grow up surrounded by love and joy and become a good Muslimah. 


My kids are terribly excited. Hamzah wouldn't even give me back my handphone because he kept wanting to look at the pictures. I wonder when they will get to meet their brand new cousin...hopefully soon.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Week 1 Ramadhan- Food Highlights

I am not as 'advanced" as many other people who have a specific iftar and sahur menu all planned out for Ramadhan. Mostly at home we have a mixture of home-cooked and Pasar Ramadhan bought meals. If time permits then I will cook a simple main dish and rice, while my father will buy what ever extra lauk that takes his fancy that particular day. He's in charge of the Pasar Ramadhan shopping, and frequently comes back with more than he should (hehe). Sahur is usually whatever is left over plus something quick like fried egg or fish.

There have been a few home-made highlights though:

Iftar- Nasi tomato (source)

Sahur- Nasi lemak (source)
Sahur- Lamb Chop + fries + coleslaw (source)

Worthy of mention is my favourite iftar treat (now almost daily must buy item):

Otak-otak Gombak (pic is otak-otak Kempas hehe- source)

That's all for the weekly food update. Stay tuned for more breaking news (hah!)

PS: All pics are credited to their sources (I rarely snap pics of food at home, too busy eating!)


Just uploaded 3 new books: I know this much is true- Wally Lamb (Oprah's Book Club choice), Passion by Louise Bagshawe and False Impression by Jeffrey Archer. Want to borrow these and more? Come and visit Hidayah's Book Club.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The kuih QUIZ

Yesterday, I had an interesting conversation with my good friend who is a self-proclaimed kuih traditional enthusiast and I realized that I was not really one. All my favourite kuih(s) are of the deep fried variety (hehe). So I wondered how many traditional kuih(s) do I actually know. Would you recognize them if you saw them at your Pasar Ramadhan? Are they on your most wanted list? Let's see, shall we?


(Answers: akok, buah melaka/onde-onde, cara berlauk, jala emas, kuih lapis, kuih bakar, seri muka, tepung pelita, kole kacang and badak berendam)

So, how did you do? Easy peasy right. That's because I really don't know the rarer ones. Out of the whole list I like only half and my favourites are onde-onde, akok and kole kacang. Other than that, soft squishy kuih(s) really are not my cup of tea. Will eat but will have to be amazing for me to eat more than one.

This is just how I feel waiting for iftar..hehe (source)


Just uploaded 3 new books to the online book club, come and browse through these and more at Hidayah's Book Club. Will lend them to you for free :) More books coming soon.

Monday, August 16, 2010

My CRAZY secret project

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I love to read. For me, books are like a gateway to other worlds, where the only limitation is my own imagination. 

One of my secret ambitions has always been to have my very own library. Not just a collection on books on shelves to look at and to gather dust, but a real library where people can come and read all the wonderful books that I have read. 

Last week I got this crazy idea in my head and it just wouldn't go away until I did this. TADAA!





I love to read. I love to share. I would love to share my passion for reading with all of you.


It's a very simple concept. I have a book and I want to share it with you. Just follow these simple steps.
  • Browse through my collection of books. You may refer to the list of authors and genres or use the "Find that book" button provided.
  • Choose one you like. I have provided a plot summary and review for each book to help you.
  • Leave a comment under that particular post ("I want to borrow this book" or something similar).
  • Contact me at thehidayahstory@yahoo.com and leave your name and mailing address.
  • I will mail the book to you and you can read it.


In order to promote reading to others too please do these simple steps.

  • Tell all your book loving friends.

  • Write a blog post about this book club. Please link back to this blog (the book club blog).
  • Write an honest review of the book you read on your blog. Please link back to this blog (the book club blog).
  • If you don't have a blog, then just publish your review on Facebook.
  • You may keep the book for 2 weeks (upon recieving it- so notify me when it arrives safely).
  • After that, please mail it to the next person requesting the book (contact me to get their address). If nobody else has requested the book, simply mail it back to me.
*For those living in Kuala Lumpur or Selangor, you can personally drop by UKM (KL) to return the book if it is more convenient.

Hmm.. I wonder if this crazy idea will actually work... 

So that's it folks. My crazy little experiment. So far, I have uploaded 20 books by more than 15 authors from 12 different genres (and I have over 50 more books to go- will update the list of books as frequently as I can).

My only hope is that there will be people out there who will like this idea and participate. Since I'm not recieving any money from this, I will do it for as long as I can afford. Plus, because it is a project based on mutual trust, I reserve the right not to entertain any shady characters..hehe. 

How many people think I'm crazy? Hands up! I see you..hehe. (Feel free to check it out here or click on  the HIDAYAH'S BOOK CLUB tab on the navigation bar on this blog).


Just right for today, my latest MBP post is out. Creating little bookworms. Check it out. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Shhh! Top Secret!

A secret that I can't tell,
Soon I will if all goes well,
Just for all of you out there,
Something that I want to share,

A secret project still not done,
Something interesting and alot of fun,
A little experiment so to speak,
Will let you all know next week,

A secret dream that I've always had,
Some will say I'm completely mad,
To try something so absurd,
Shhh! Can't say another word!

Wait and see ;)
*pic Googled

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tag: I am a Muslim!

I'm not usually a big fan of tags, but I do like doing those which are interesting (syigim manages to find many..hehe) but I am very happy that kak Lina tagged me with this one (Sorry for the delay). I think it's an appropriate on to do this Ramadhan.

1. What is your first do’a or Quran in the morning?

Alhamdulillah. Then try to start the day with Bismillah (although sometimes I rush and forget..uhuhu)

2. What is your last doa or Quran for the night?

Actually, Yousof will lead everybody in reciting the doa before sleep. He reads the doa for everything :)

3. What is your favourite surah in the Quran?

Surah Ar-Rahman because it reminds me to be thankful. During Ramadhan, I like to read Surah Al-Qadr because it is my biggest wish able to experience Lailatul Qadr.

4. What is your favourite Islamic hobby?

I sincerely hope that all my hobbies are Islamic (it really doesn't make sense to categorize your hobbies into Islamic and non-Islamic, right?). My favourite hobbies currently are reading and blogging.

5. What do you live for?

I live each day hoping that Allah will make me a better person than I am right now. I hope that in the course of my life, I will be able to make a difference in somebody elses (most of all my children). To be able to make even just one person become better by knowing me, because Allah gave me so many wonderful and inspirational people too.

6. What is your greatest indulgence that is Halal?

I don't really spend on unnecessary things (not a big shopper), I don't go crazy over designer bags or shoes or make-up or perfume or clothes or jewellery. The only thing that I buy for myself (just for me) are story books and the only thing I indulge in (just for me) in terms of "me"-time is blogging. Oh, I like good food too..hehe.

7. What is your worse fear?

My worst fear is that nothing will change. To wake up each morning with the same routine and go to bed again. Living life like a detached zombie. To have no passions, dreams or aspirations and to settle for monotony and mediocrity.

8. What makes you angry most?

Situations that I can't change.

9. What is your inspiration to be a better Muslim?

It comes from alot of different places and people. Each person I meet,or stumble upon. A mother with a kind word for her daughter, a young man showing courtesy to a stranger, a young child being honest- all these people remind me how beautiful Islam can be.

10. What is your best Islamic habit?

I try my best not to judge. Even if I hear the worst thing about a person, I check myself first. They may have a reason, they may have had a lapse in faith or made a bad decision. Everyone makes mistakes, everybody deserves forgiveness. Only Allah has the right to judge.

11. What can you do to make Muslims better?

I wish that I could remind everyone I know how beautiful and simple Islam really is. That it isn't just a set of rules and regulations. It's the way we live our lives. In everything we do, in every breath we take, if we remember that we are Muslims, InsyaAllah we will be better people.

12. If you had a million dollars what Islamic charity would you give to?

I would ship the money to Palestine.

Tag 5 Muslimahs to do this.


*the first ever tag that had me in tears doing it


Alhamdulilllah, Ajjah announced the results of her giveaway yesterday and I won! Each contestant had to leave a suggestion for Ajjah as to what she could write about in her blog. There were many interesting suggestions given. This was mine:

Write about the stuff you love and you can't go wrong .. whatever makes you.. YOU :)

If good food gets you drooling,
Or travelling's your cup of tea,
Books or movies that get you going,
Then go ahead and tell me,
If shawls & dresses catch your eye,
Or celebrity buzz rings your bell,
You can write anything if you try,
Coz gal, you write so well! ;)

The prize? This really cute headband. I am sure that Aishah will be the one who will be claiming this prize instead of me..hehe. Thank you Ajjah.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Ford County Stories by John Grisham

I am a HUGE fan of John Grisham. I've read many of his books and whenever I go book shopping I always end up with a Grisham somewhere in my shopping bag. So I was excited to read his collection of short stories, which I bought at BookXcess for a very reasonable price.

Basic book description

These collection of short stories all take place in a place call Ford County, where life is simple and everybody knows everyone's name.

  • Blood Drive: A mercy mission that did not go as planned.
  • Fetching Raymond: A glimpse into the last moments of a death-row inmate waiting for salvation
  • Fish Files: Small town lawyer catching the break of his life.
  • Casino: The ultimate revenge for a broken man.
  • Michael's Room: A lawyer comes face to face with his sordid past.
  • Quiet Haven: A conman uses his guile and charm to prey on the elderly.
  • Funny Boy: A dying man who finds compassion on the wrong side of town.

What I liked about this book

It was refreshing to read a short story collection since I have been quite busy lately. John Grisham manages to always add an interesting twist to his stories. My favourite was Quiet Haven and Michael's Room because they kept me guessing right until the end.

What I disliked about the book

The problem with short stories is that it is quite difficult to establish the characters. Several of the stories seemed to have no purpose and were merely a narration of events. A few had very familiar themes that had been done before (I don't know whether they came first or Grisham came first). Plus, I think the whole book as a series would have been more cohesive there was some connection between each story (like featuring a character from one in a less prominent role in the other).

A quote I like from this book

"Where are we going?" "You're going to hell, I reckon." (Not exactly the answer you want to hear when being held at gunpoint, hehe).

All in all it was an ok read, although I prefer John Grisham's normal novels and am more partial to Jeffrey Archer's short stories.

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Aishah's the zig-zagging princess

Last Saturday was the IIUM Educare's Sports Day (Childcare edition). Aishah was so excited about it because she was involved with the performance and taking part in the zig-zagging race.

She had been practicing the performance at home all month. Singing a song I could not for the life of me make heads or tails of! What was even more exciting was that she had graduated from the Chicken Dance to this new one. I was excited to see the actual performance.

So Yousof and I went as her personal cheerleaders, Hamzah had to stay home because I really couldn't look after him in that hot, stuffy, noisy and crowded sports complex.

~Waiting to perform~

The thing about Aishah is, she's outgoing and brave (compared to Yousof who tends to be more timid). So, immediately after arriving we sent her to sit in the children's waiting area. I saw many parents who had to sit with their children there, but Aishah just gave us a smile and wave. Yousof and I went upstairs to the grandstand balcony to get a better view.

~Yousof, her biggest supporter~

The performance was sweet but a bit of a mess because half the kids refused to dance at all, 2 cried so hard that they had to be taken out during the performance and almost everyone stepped out of their markers. Hehe, what do you expect from 2-3 year olds? I am proud to say that Aishah danced ever single step and actually looked like she was having fun doing it!

~Anyone know this song? Acoustics was bad so I still don't know~

Her zig-zag race was the last one of the day. She had been running zig-zag all over the house (I'm not sure she remembers how to run in a straight line anymore). She had previously confided in us
"Ummi, Auni kan (her friend) tak reti lari zig-zag, dia KURUS ajer."
"Bukan KURUS lah Aishah, LU-RUS" says Yousof. Hehe.

~Zig-zag zoom~

She actually won 3rd place (as one of the judges was desperately trying to tell the others) but as usual amongst the chaos, the teacher in charge of spotting who was No 3 managed to award the prize to someone else. I didn't make a fuss. Wouldn't be very nice to take back the prize from another kid, right? Anyway, numbers 4-10 get a medal for participating (1-3 get small trophies).

~A winner~

Aishah didn't care (probably due to the fact that she doesn't quite understand yet). She loved her prize. This is Aishah when she competes with Yousof.

"Yeay! Yousof MENANG!" shouts Yousof.
"Yeay! Aishah KALAH!" shouts Aishah (equally as happy).

~She's only just learning~


I'm planning something new and big. Can't wait to share it with all of you.


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