Azka and Khalif loooooove to play with their rice box – they use it for everything: pretending that they’re cooking (I gave them some cooking utensils), put in the jars, play with their dump trucks, etc. But never crossed my mind that I actually could colored them – until I saw Reti’s Instagram. So, I made one – and I thought, why not doing the same to the pastas? Pastas have lots of shapes which make it interesting. Thanks to creative moms in Pinterest and Blogosphere, I could find many related posts about this. I love the pastas, we can also use it for the kids gross motor skills by making a necklace out of it, and with all the colors, it makes the activity even extra fun…! This activity is so simple, there’s no excuse why not doing it…! PLUS it makes the kids stay focus with for 45 minutes or so… We’re talking about a 21 months and 3.5 y.o in here, I KNOW…right! Sensory play is fun
During wintertime, our frequency of baking is 3x more productive than in other seasons – what we do basically eat, play, eat, play, watch, eat, play, watch, all day long (I became more loose with their screen time, I let them watch 110 minutes full-length movie so I could do other errands peacefully while they’re watching Cars or Winnie The Pooh or whatever on the PBS kids. I know, I know…. Still trying to not exceed 3 hours screen time tho‘). So in between of those activities, I put baking time 2-3 times a week. Baking is one of me and the kids favorite activities. During baking, Azka and Khalif cooperatively standing next to me in the kitchen; while Khalif contently happy of doing his mixing job, Azka wants higher task – which is measuring any ingredients that we use, cracking the eggs, pouring the milk, scooping the batter into the tins or pans or plates – and after he’s doing all this job, he demands to lick all the spoons and bowls that has been used; His face is utterly cute while licking it religiously.
So last week we decided to make Blueberry Summer Cake (which is ironic, because when we made it the snow storm is coming). It is one of the simple cake ever – I’ve made variety of quick breads and cake with blueberry before: banana-blueberry muffins, blueberry muffins, blueberry cheesecake, blueberry crumb cake, blueberry scones, blueberry pancake – basically all that I can do with banana, I did the same with frozen blueberry. It is so versatile that I always stock them in the freezer – oh, I use it for green smoothies too. I love this superfood – but I have to make sure to always buy the organic one or from the farmers market if I buy it fresh because the amount of pesticide in blueberry is the worst among other fruits.
So here is the recipe, originally from here which the person adapted from Martha Stewart:
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsps baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 tbsps unsalted butter (softened)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed)
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract ( I don’t use: I avoid to use it lately because of the alcohol in it)
- 1/2 cup milk ( I used soy)
- 1 cup blueberries
- 2 tbsps sanding sugar (optional – I don’t use, instead I give powdered sugar by the end as garnish)
Preheat oven to 350°. Generously grease a 9-inch round cake pan. Whisk dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar until creamy. Add egg and vanilla (if using), mixing well. Add flour mixture in 3 portions, alternating with the milk. Mix just until combined. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Scatter blueberries over the top of the batter and lightly press them into the batter. Sprinkle top with sanding sugar. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until cake is golden brown and firm. Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the cake. Transfer cake to wire rack to cool completely. (You’ll need to flip the cake twice so it can cool right side up.)
The cake is just the right amount of sweet, a bit delicate, and just lovely:
Quotes from the movie – “The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty” – I love the story and the soundtrack is one of the best movie soundtrack lately…! My favorite one is Dirty Paws by Of Monsters and Men and Rogue Wave - Lake Michigan. The movie synopsis: Ben Stiller directs and stars in THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY, James Thurber’s classic story of a day-dreamer who escapes his anonymous life by disappearing into a world of fantasies filled with heroism, romance and action. When his job along with that of his co-worker (Kristen Wiig) are threatened, Walter takes action in the real world embarking on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined. Read more at http://collider.com/the-secret-life-of-walter-mitty-clip/#rmZL3kR58S9DA1cH.99
It’s almost a month since my last post – and I didn’t complete the #30tulisan challenge. I forgive myself for the lack of commitment and ability to consistently able to write and post daily to my blog. You know, from time to time I’d like to give myself a break from social media, including blogging – That is when I became too obsessed with ‘likes’, ‘loves’, or stats hit / or when I can’t wait to post something in my blog for the sake that I want to bragging about my last trip to Montreal (fyi, it didn’t happened)/ or when I want to show off my selfie with my new Balenciaga bag (that’s of course didn’t happened too)/ or the time that I realize I did something just to please others or want their attentions/ or the time when I realized I write or post in a not sincere way …. That’s the time I knew that I need a break. Luruskan niat: aku menulis untuk apa?
So I did, it wasn’t a 5 months break like last year, but it’s pretty much a relieved for 1 week not posting and checking anything on Instagram and Path- and 3 weeks in this blog. I could focus myself to something else, my hobby, more circle time with the kids, decluttering our apartment, more time in the kitchen, though (sadly) not so much time with the books – but more time in front of the screen and leisure myself catching up with some good music, TEDX inspiring sessions, and some movie trailers (yeah, trailers first, full-length can wait), and if the weather permitted I’d love to do some physical exercise or just a quiet time with yoga or pilates. Wait for me spring!
Anyhow, this winter -just like the previous years- gave me extra burden by long hours staying at home, plus the kids were not feeling well for 3 weeks, papa went home late (not complaining, I’m a fully supportive wife, love you Papa, semangat!); sure we have a lot of things and activities to do at home, but sometimes what a mother really needs is a 5 minutes peaceful moments for herself. When I said 5 minutes, I actually meant at least 2 hours. But if 2 hours too much, gave me 5 minutes, that’s the amount of sanity I need. Curcol much? I’m sorry.
Apart from that, I can say that I’m happy to see all the whimsical beauty of winter wonderland that all the snow storms brought so far…. It took my breath away (literally) by capturing these, and it was my first thing to do in the morning after the storm. It’s the moment to remember and it was one of the best 45 minutes ‘me time’ so far. This one taken around my neighborhood 5- 10 minutes walk, simple things that caught my eyes. Snow is very exhilarating.
Subhannallah, Alhamdulillah, Allahu Akbar. As I’m writing this the snow is falling all over again… It’s just so pretty, me and Ara couldn’t stop saying “Bagus banget ya…”. Listen, the snow is falling over town. Listen, the snow is falling everywhere. Between your bed and mine. Between your head and my mind. Between Tokyo and Paris. Between London and Dallas. Between your God and mine. John Lennon and Yoko Ono- Listen, The Snow Is Falling.
If you Google images the title, there will be hundreds of similar posts from foodie in the blogosphere. So just consider I am one of those people that loves the combination of Nutella and banana – especially in this winter days, that all you want to do is just gobble things of whatever available in your fridge. Plus, it only needs several basic items and 10 minutes preparation or 15 minutes in total including cook time. What are you waiting for?
Recipe is from here:
1 cup milk (I used Soymilk)
1/3 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I omit this)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
About 1/2 cup Nutella
1 to 2 bananas, sliced
Sift the flour with the salt into a bowl. Make a well in the center and add the eggs. Pour in the milk, slowly, stirring constantly and, when half is added, stir in the melted butter (and vanilla if you’re using any). Beat well until smooth with blender or whisker. Add the remaining milk, cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before using, you can use it directly – if you’re running out of time
or the kids are whining. The batter should be the consistency of light cream.
Heat a well greased 6-inch skillet and use a very low heat. Add 1/3 cup batter. Tip skillet from side to side until batter covers bottom. Cook until the bottom is golden brown (will take about 1- 2 minute) , turn and remove to a plate. Repeat with remaining batter. Spread a thin layer of Nutella or any spread that you use onto crepe and place banana slices down the center. Roll or fold crepe. Serve immediately with any fillings you please….! If you must serve them later, wrap the crepes in plastic wrap and place them into a sealed plastic bag. Refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.
Enjoy it with some hot chocolate-coffee and marshmallows….! (Yeah, sweet-tooth I am)
Another winter storm that hit Midwest to East Coast, including New England areas. It wasn’t as bad as the first Polar Vortex that happened two weeks earlier, but still leave a trace of 8-12 inches of snow and dropped temperature around -14C in New Bedford. These pictures are taken at the afternoon after the storm, all taken in South End of New Bedford. I was obsessed with pile of snow on the rock, such a sight!
I actually feel guilty when I took and posted these pictures. I know that some of my relatives, friends, and many people in Indonesia right now is facing a major disaster by flooding in Jakarta, Bandung, Manado, Pamanukan, and other areas that I don’t know. Also people in Sinabung which currently facing difficulties with their temporary camp-site and lack of foods related to the active volcanoes… My minds, pray, and thoughts are with them. I really hope everything will be gradually better and all right in there. I remember back in 2000-2009 when I lived in Jakarta, I had to deal with the flooding every single year… Pulomas is one of the “langganan” area, my family dealt with no electricity, hundreds books and items are broken because of the flood, not to mention the energy of moving the furniture from the first to the second floor, and I couldn’t express how uncomfortable the time when the flood is finally over and we had to cleaning up the mess and dealing with hundreds of flying cockroach and debris. Right now in US, my little family facing a different kind of ‘disaster’, a storm that the aftermath could be celebrated with sledding, making snowman, or at least good for sightseeing. In some part, I am thankful but on the other hand I feel kinda selfish that I feel ‘grateful’.
I believe that after the storm or disaster, something good would come up. I pray for you, my families in Indonesia.
This is a very late post from my visit to Circa Vintage Ware last July 2013.
As a self-proclaimed thrifty person and a vintage-lover, it was a tremendous shock for me to finally found this hidden gem after three years living in New Bedford….! THREE YEARS and that store is just five minutes walk from my first apartment. New Bedford itself is a home of many vintage shops, I wouldn’t be surprise to find another one. But this one is different. Circa doesn’t need any big promotion in every newspaper in order to be known, with its hidden location inside the New England Demolition & Salvage Building (another great vintage store to visit when you are in New Bedford), it was named by GQ Magazine as one of ‘The 25 Best Vintage Stores in America’. My shock continues as I learned that Circa’s gems have been seen on Leonardo DiCaprio, Zooey Deschanel in New Girl, Rumer and Scout Willis (Bruce Willis’ daughters) are regulars, and Tom Ford’s director of design Peter Hawkins flew in for inspiration (source: here). The store is a one of the coolest vintage shop I’ve ever been (in fact that I rarely visited any vintage shop in here, hehe).
When I entered Circa, I spent like ten minutes jaw-dropping and going around the store like a loon with the “ooohhs” and “aaahhs” when seeing thousands of pieces from several decades for sale; the store got everything from casual t-shirts, masquerade, 1920s -1940s suits and dresses. There are also racks of vintage prom and bridesmaids dresses, stacks of hat boxes which I luvre, rows of worn-in cowboy boots, cases of sparkly jewelry and one-of-a-kind outerwear. I noticed that the price is a bit out of my reach, the range is around $40 and up, at that time I couldn’t help but compare the price with Pasar Senen, Gedebage, and other thrift stores in the nearby area (“how expensive!”); later on I learn that it’s consider cheap for the pricing of that vintage items compare to other vintage shops in NY or Boston, let’s say.
After asking for a permission to take some photographs, suddenly Chris Duval, the owner, asked me whether I was looking for something in particular. I told him: ”Uhm, no, I just looking around. But this place is amazing…! I’m forever vintage lover, and I’ve been to Gifts to Give (a charity shop in the next building) and The Artificial Marketplace all the time but never knew that there’s a vintage shop in here” I said bluntly without realizing that I actually sounded like a dimwit. Chris was not clearly not agree with my statement “Err… yeah, but we are completely different from Gifts to Give”, he said with a little laugh but not trying to underestimate Gifts to Give he continued “I like Gifts to Give, but we’re different”. And at that point I just realized that I distort between a VINTAGE shop and a THRIFT shop – as well as a vintage items and second-hand items.
Vintage Shop is a privately owned store in which all of the items for sale were purchased by the store and are being resold at some sort of premium. The store can get their merchandise from any number of sources, but the most common source is a rag house through which they can purchase large bails of clothing. Other sources of stock include swap meets, vintage fairs, and individual hunting at estate sales or flea markets. Vintage clothing is a generic term for new or second hand garments originating from a previous era. Generally speaking, clothing which was produced before the 1920s is referred to as antique clothing and clothing from the 1920s to 20 years before the present day is considered vintage. Retro, short for retrospective, or “vintage style” usually refers to clothing that imitates the style of a previous era.
Thrift Store and charity stores sell used clothes that were donated by individuals. Depending on the individual store, profits from the sales that go directly to charity vary, but all sales contribute in some way monetarily to the charity who owns the thrift. It could be found in places like Salvation Army, Gifts to Give, Savers, GoodWill, and church thrift shop.
Consignment shops are places where individuals can sell their used clothing through a dealer. The shop, as the dealer, takes a percentage of the profit for each item sold. If items do not sell during the period they are on the sales floor, they are returned to you and you receive no compensation.
So now that we learn the difference between vintage and thrift items, maybe the term “Vintage GAP” or “Vintage H&M” would not be right, when you got the items from a thrift store, though it is possible to say something like “Vintage ZARA” considering the price or value or the year of production. We could always tell the vintage look from one to other items based on its brand and model though.
*Circa Vintage Wear 73 Cove St. New Bedford, MA, 02744-2535. (508) 997-9390
Her (2013) is an American science fiction romantic comedy-drama film written, directed, and produced by Spike Jonze (Where The Wild Things Are, and some well-known music videos of Weezer, Beastie Boys, and Bjork). The current TIME magazine had Joel Stein interview with Mr. Jonze, and the result is made me really curious about this movie – it is about a man (Joaquin Phoenix) who develops a relationship with an intelligent computer operating system(OS) with a female voice and personality (Scarlett Johansson). I haven’t watched this movie in full, but already addicted to its soundtrack. No wonder this song is stuck in my head, Karen O and Scarlett Johansson’s voice are really soothing and the lyrics is very touchy, indeed. I learn the guitar chords as well with Papa Ara. I just can’t wait to watch the movie…!!
Oh well, anyway this song is best served with someone special next to you…*wink*
I’m lying on the moon
My dear, I’ll be there soon
It’s a quiet starry place
Time’s we’re swallowed up
In space we’re here a million miles away
There’s things I wish I knew
There’s no thing I’d keep from you
It’s a dark and shiny place
But with you my dear
I’m safe and we’re a million miles away
We’re lying on the moon
It’s a perfect afternoon
Your shadow follows me all day
Making sure that I’m
Okay and we’re a million miles away
Today we decided to stay at home instead of going to Family Center for “Recycle Seminar” kinda thing. Winter makes the kids lazy to go out, maybe because the hassle of layered-up or probably based on my observation lately, they tend to “follow” their Papa who always prefer to be at home rather than going out. This is actually good for me and my escape plan during weekend, the kids just easily release me without too much battle. But during the weekdays, especially when the temperature is warmer than the usual (15 degree Celsius in January is like “wooohooo”), I would love to go out.
Of course the kids win, I always feel guilty whenever I see Azka’s puppy face (“Cape Ibu, mau di rumah ajaaaa”), so I don’t want to rush them for the sake of being ‘out’. So, let’s do something crafty kids…! See those broken crayon, and recyclable bunch of papers, milk’s carton, and plastic containers in the blue bin? Get some of it, and choose what kind of activities that you want – as I pointed to Azka some pictures in Pinterest. Here what we made:
1. Recycling Old Crayons. This is a very easy and fun activity: gather old broken crayons that your child won’t need or hard to use because it’s too short. Use a silicon muffin cups and ‘bake’ in the 275F preheated oven for 30 minutes. The time is vary, but mine got melted around 25-30 minutes. After that just cool-off to be solid again. The result is a cute colorful of crayons ‘cupcake’; you can use it again as a crayon or leave it like that for decoration. And if you have other silicon shapes like: stars, leaves, trees, etc… That would make more amazing result!
This one from other blog (directly linked):
2. Milk Carton Dump Truck. Azka initially pick this craft outta milk carton, because he loves dump truck. But I did most of the cutting things, he helped assembling the tape and parts. Not really smooth and neat, but hey! We’re reuse and recycling x)
3. Colors, Lights and Shadows. I love the color shadow and the kids really enjoying pouring the food coloring liquid. Sadly we’re out of stock for all primary colors; only a little yellow and green that only creates the shades of green colors (lime, apple, grass, etc). Later on I hope we could do this again and talk more about the science behind.
4. Around The World With Friends. I want my kids to explore as many places as they could when they grow up, and learn about their own cultures as well as other cultures – and take what is good and leave what is bad. And I never been good at geography, I wish I could learn about it in more excitement when I was young – doing this activity as if we’re traveling somewhere with friend and look up the location at the globe and read about that specific tradition in one country, could be one way to introduce them about multicultural world that we live in. How to play? Just grab a postcard, tell them about the stories, who is the sender, where was she, look up at the globe, tell what continent, see more about that country in the book, or you can also draw a flag, learn how to count in one’s language. The possibilities is endless!
5. Memory Game. I got this idea from Uie’s blog a while ago. And to be honest this activity had been done on summer instead on winter, hehe. But in the spirit of recycling old cardboard, we can make this game. Let’s the kids choose what shapes do they want to memorize and choose the colors of each. Mom does all the cutting. It’s fun activity! Maybe I should make more of this as this is too easy for Azka (but a bit hard for Khalif, as he kept on scattered the pieces).
Will make more crafty activities next week….! Bear with me winter!
Darn, it is almost the 18th and my commitment to write every day for #30tulisan challenge has already been neglected for five days. I know that I could always catch up to write if I force my self to write five posts successively in a night. But the reason why I had to neglect this commitment is: I don’t have time to write. There, I said it! I know, I know…What a cliche reason! But, seriously. These past week is a crucial week for Papa Ara as he dealt with his Committee Meeting presentation, which was a very important meeting that arbitrate our future. In result, of course I need to spend extra time with the little ones and by the end of the day I was worn out. I do still have time to do my ‘me time’ activities for two hours before bedtime, but I prefer to read a book or watching a movie, and keeping up with updating news (and socmed status) instead of writing. Whoops.
One of the book that I read is my old time favorite: The Alchemist. I read two times in 2002 and 2005, but in Bahasa Indonesia. At that time I found this quote really powerful: ”When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”; it’s so compelling that I keep it in my mind during the difficult times when I dealt with my bachelor’s Final Work. Right now I need to reread it to remind me that I have to find my Personal Legend. I know my Personal Legend is to be a (good) mother for Azka and Khalif, but other than that, I know that I have something that I could achieve as part of my personal achievement and work my passion on it. I still have to figure it out: what and when is the right time to pursue it. I believe in the power of dream. But in order to believe, I have to have the most important thing in that state itself: Dream.
Wish me luck in the search of my Personal Legend.
Ps: Alhamdulillah, the Committee decided to approve Papa’s proposal and he could now focus to other big task of being a PhD: Proposal Defense. I just hoping he won’t get any Permanent Head Damaged when he finished his research. Finger crossed.