Friday, November 30, 2012

Bows of Holly - a Shoebox Christmas

DUMC's Children's Church presents...
Bows of Holly - A Kid's Christmas Musical about giving.
In conjunction with this, we have been asked to contribute (with no compulsion of course) gifts packed into shoe boxes.

These gift boxes will be distributed to underpriviledged children.

If you feel like making a contribution to bring some Christmas cheer to some needy children, you can drop off your shoebox gifts at DreamCenter beginning tomorrow, 1st December.
As for the Christmas musical next Saturday....come one, come all! Admission is FREE for all! My Joseph and Joy-Anne will be singing in the choir.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

My Economical Christmas Tree

Our Christmas Tree is up!!!
I decided to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle in a Go Green bid this year. So decorations are all DIY from stuff I found around the house.
Scrap white paper (or any colour you like)....folded and cut into snowflakes. I think it looks pretty when it's placed over a small light bulb.
origami snowflake
Hanging presents - I used Ikea's Psylla beads to make the one on the left. Joy helped to arrange them before I did the ironing. The present on the right...I used cardboard packaging (from food stuff etc) and wrapped them with used gift wrap then tied a silver pipe cleaner around it.

Bauble - made out of ping pong ball wrapped in 'tissue' paper that came from the flower bouquet.

Candy cane - made out of Ikea's Psylla Beads.
Snowflake - also made out of Ikea's Psylla beads.

 And the star on's made out of tin foil. I arranged the lights to light up the 5 points of the star.
Oh and the tree itself is also a 'hand-me-down'. I like the fiber optic ends that light up and change colour. When the kids have all gone to bed, it's nice to just sit on my sofa with all the lights off except for the Christmas tree lights.
It's just so serenely quiet - perfect to reflect on the day and give thanks!

Fun at Friday's

We're still in the mood for celebrations.... it's like that as the end of the year approaches.
Super shirts - gift from some very super cool friends!
TGIFriday's had a irresistable promotion yesterday - 50% off all food! Yup...all food on the menu at half price!!!

We were planning to go out to Ikea/Curve to lepak and have dinner at Sakae Sushi coz it's Daalin's birthday month and he's entitled to a 100% rebate with the member card. But this deal was more appealing.
Actually, we were there last month on the 30th and Joseph wanted to eat there because he just loves the food there. But it was just too creepy with all the awful Halloween decorations. So we walked out and went to Sakae Sushi instead.
This time, it's back to normal. Kids eat free was also available.
Daalin had the Chop House Salmon while I had the Lamb Chop and we shared a Cajun Fried Chicken Salad.
Joseph had the Kid's Spaghetti with White Cream Sauce and also the Kid's Chicken Fingers. Yup...he ate TWO kids meal. Joy had her oats. Boring...

Christmas decorations are up.... I absolutely love this time of the year.
 Isabel is growing...but I'm still waiting for her to walk. She took 2 unaided steps today.
 Joseph walked at 13 months while Joy walked at 10.5 months. So she's not thatttttt slow yet.
I'm also loving these stress-free-no-school-days. Just have to scream at Joseph a little everyday to get him to do some studying so that his brain doesn't grow cobwebs! Other than that...I'm looking forward to seeing the Chrismas lights in Singapore!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tanjong Jara Resort - the Bora Bora alternative

Daalin and I went on a holiday. It was truly a holiday - one of those eat, sleep, shit and do next-to-nothing kind of holiday.

While I had dreams of lazing away in some luxurious over-water bungalow and swimming in crystal clear turquoise waters in Tahiti, some dreams have to remain just that - as a dream. Reality bites. Robbing a bank just isn't practical.

So we booked ourselves a 4D3N all-inclusive stay at YTL's luxury Tanjong Jara Resort. We visited its sister resort, the Pangkor Laut Resort last year and it was a wonderful experience. We expected nothing less this time and we were not disappointed.

This was intended to be a couple-holiday in conjunction with our 10th wedding anniversary. But because Isabel is still breast-feeding and very much addicted to my boobs, we decided to bring her along while Joe and Joy were sent to Yong Peng for a fun-filled week with their cousins and grandparents as well.

The package included airport transfers. But flight times are really bad. We would have to wake up at 3am to get to the airport for an early morning flight. So we decided to drive. Departing PJ at 7.30am, we arrived at TJR at 12.30pm.

The sound of a resounding gong greets every guest arrival. We were greeted with a refreshing cold towel and their signature roselle drink. I could instantly feel more relaxed! Check-in was a breeze - done with you seated on the large comfy sofas in the lobby. No need to stand at the counter.

We were quickly ushered to our room.
welcome fruit platter with personalised greeting

Due to a miscommunication with travel agent, we were given a complimentary upgrade to a Serambi room, instead of the Bumbung room.

view from our room door
Very spacious! There's a king-sized bed from which you can see the ocean...

...and another smaller day bed with romantic sheer curtains that would comfortably sleep my Joseph and Joy-Anne.

pantry and walk-in closet

VERY large bathroom with double sinks

behind the sink is the large bathtub

With stomachs growling, we quickly made our way to Nelayan Restaurant for lunch.

Lunch is a 2-course meal i.e. appetizer/soup and main or main and dessert.
appetizer - Caesar Salad with pan-seared tuna
Daaling's Nelayan Burger
 my Asian Burger
dessert - something vanilla icecream with poached pear and chocolate sauce
After lunch, we all knocked out to nap the afternoon away.

In the evening, we wanted to bring Isabel for a swim but she wasn't too keen.

So we ended up walking taking a walk on the beach...

Dinner was back at DiAtasSungei where they had a table reserved for us...

There are no printed menus at DiAtasSungei. The menu master - Chef Ann comes to your table to ask what you would like to eat. She makes suggestions and you can tell her your preferences.

We had mango kerabu and satay for appetizer, and then rice with butter prawns, stir-fried kai lan and black pepper chicken as the main course.

For dessert, it was chocolate volcano and pandan creme brulee (very good!)

chocolate lava cake with liquid 'lava' oozing out

And then the surprise... the staff brought out a cake for us! How sweet!

Back in the room, we were surprised with more thoughtful touches...
flower petals and a 'crab' on the bed
special pillow case

A hot bath had been prepared... but it had to wait till Isabel was sound asleep in dreamland.
The next morning, I got up early to spend some quiet time on the verandah and then took a jog on the beach. It was refreshing indeed to run with sand between your toes while accompanied by the sound of crashing waves. (The sea is very rough with very strong waves. Swimming in the sea is suicidal!)

Buffet breakfast at DiAtasSungei was healthy enough for us.
We each gulped down 3 glasses of our choice of freshly-squeezed juice (no water added of course!) and had a platter of fresh fruits and yoghurt before we had any hot food.

The waiter comes to your table to ask what kind of eggs or pancake you'd like. It is then served to you at your table. No egg station and no need to wait there.
While we've had better buffet breakfasts (namely Feast Village @ Pangkor Laut Resort, The Living Room @ Westin, Suria Cafe @ The Saujana) Di Atas Sungei met our palate standards because of the freshly squeezed juices and healthy fare. If however you are the carnivorous kind, this would probably rate 'lousy'.

After breakfast, we walked around the well-manicured gardens dotted with coconut and casuarina trees.
There are also plenty of deck chairs and 4-poster beds and a few hammocks along the edge of the gardens where you can laze and gaze at the ocean all day long.
For lunch, we went back to Nelayan Restaurant. The staff remembered Isabel's name. I thought that was really sweet.

appetizer - Thai Beef Salad

Fish and Chips

Mexican Tortillas

dessert - banana split
Dinner was back at DiAtasSungei.
grilled prawns - very tasty and juicy!

fried calamari

dunno what fish - ikan panggang style with very nice sambal

kacang botol

sizzling hot plate taufu with mixed vege
dessert - some-dunno-wat-french dessert and banana fritters
By the second day, I had become rather well-acquainted with the very-spacious common toilet near DiAtasSungei.
 That's because Isabel had to do a big business at almost every meal. So the baby-changing unit in the restroom came in very very useful.

We had a lot of time to just walk around and enjoy the beauty of God's creation.
our room - 1201. See that 'tempayan' on the contains water for you to wash off sand from your feet. How thoughtful!
 I think we got a very good room because we had a direct view of the ocean. Many other rooms of the same category do not have a direct ovean view.

There was this cute wooden tic tac toe game in the room. Isabel enjoyed knocking the pieces together.

 We also met a slithering friend...

 There's a Malay Herb Garden next to DiAtasSungei

very happy to have mama all to herself...

Day 3 - Isabel enjoyed another hearty breakfast of fruits, yoghurt and fresh milk. No boring oats, no way!

I wanted to try the croissants but the dish was empty because a fresh batch was being baked. The waiter overheard Daaling saying "boh crossant" and when the fresh batch came out of the oven, he brought a couple to our table. Such excellent service!
warm, fresh-out-of-the-oven, soft buttery croissants....very yummy!
Lunch at Nelayan Restaurant...
Red&White Salad
Fettucine Carbonara

Daaling had the Asian Burger
They remembered my preference for warm water instead of cold water. I didn't even have to ask for it. And they greeted Isabel by name.

Dessert - apple pie with vanilla ice cream
Dinner on the last night..... we had the satay and mango kerabu again.

mixed vege, butter milk prawns and lamb curry

chocolate lava cake and creme caramel.

In between meals, we lazed around, swam, walked and played with Isabel. It was just so relaxing .... no house to clean, no meals to cook or heat up, no kids to scream at (though I miss them so crazy much!!!), no laundry to do, no toys to pick up...
On the last morning, I managed to sneak out early for a quiet walk on the beach.
At our departure, no less than half a dozen staff, including Danilo the Guest Services Manager were there to send us off. They also did the customary gong-clanging 'ceremony'.
Would I come back here...? I certainly think so.
All the staff were very VERY friendly and the level of attentive service is nothing short of excellent. I certainly felt very valued as a guest.
So if you're in need of a relaxing, do-absolutely-nothing kind of holiday....think Tanjong Jara (or Pangkor Laut)!