Monday, April 28, 2008

Weekend Snapshot # 15



A weekend where not much happened. We stayed home. Thought of going to Ikea, but I decided to do some spring cleaning instead. One that could be completed in at least 6 hours, but I got distracted doing other things. Thus, prolonging the whole ordeal into a two-day stretch. Lol.



I simply love capturing the colours of the sky when the sun sets. I've lost count as to how many of these shots I have, and neither one is the same as the other. This was actually taken on the last weekend of 2007.

How was your weekend? Checkout more Weekenders here.

xoxo

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Outdoor Games and Activities for Toddlers

by Kara Kelso


It's a beautiful day and your toddler or preschooler is begging to go outside. What to do when you get out? Here's some simple ideas:

Walk to Park
The walk alone is enough to keep them busy. When you there, of course they'll even have more to do. It's a great time for you to relax a bit and enjoy the day, keeping an eye on them while they bounce from one activity to the other.

Play Fresbie
If you have a small backyard, you might need to go to the park to do this. However, if your yard is big enough this is a simple activity you can do at home.

Baseball/T-ball
Another possible at home activity if your yard is big enough. All you really need is some cheap baseball equiptment (plastic ball, plastic bat) for younger children.

Walk around neighboorhood
There's many interesting things to do while walking around the neighboorhood. You can count the animals and birds you see, count certain colored cars or house, or any number of fun games.

Pool Time
If it's a nice enough day, you can either fill up the kiddie pool in the backyard, or head to the local public pool. Either way it's sure to please the kids!

Be sure to see our other ideas for things to do with your children!


About the Author: Kara Kelso is the mother of 2 and owner of several online businesses. For more ideas like this, visit: http://www.idea-queen.com

Article Source: WAHM Articles

xoxo

Saturday, April 26, 2008

7 Things to Consider Before Quitting Your Job

by Angela Wills


Coming to the point in your business where you can begin to think about quitting your full or part time job is an exciting time! Don't let the excitement cloud your judgment. Begin by thinking carefully about this next big step. Here are 7 things you'll want to consider when quitting your job becomes a possibility:

1. Money - You knew this one would be in here, right? It's so important that you take the time to figure out exactly how much money you will need to work from home full time. There have been many an entrepreneur who's skipped this step and succeeded but you don't need to take that chance. Plan ahead to make sure you will make enough money to support yourself and your business.

2. Time - now this one is obvious but you need time to run your business. Some moms get an idea in their head that they will be able to work around their kids (at naptime, after bed, etc) and still create a thriving business. This is not a realistic way to think. If you have young children, plan to have a child care provider take care of them while you focus on your business - you'll get more work completed and be much less stressed this way.

3. Set a Schedule - Before you get into the day to day of running your home business set up a schedule of work hours that you and your family can respect and live with. Print out the schedule, have it laminated and post on your fridge or other prominent place so everyone knows when you will be occupied with business. Family and friends seem to have a hard time with the fact that you are actually working and can't stop anytime you feel like it for phone calls, outings, etc, so setting them straight from the start will help you get your work done efficiently.

4. Leave that Door Open - When you let your work know that you're leaving, do it properly. Make sure you give the appropriate amount of time to find a replacement and leave on a good note whenever possible. You never know when you might need your job back or a good reference so always leave that door open.

5. Money Saved - It's always a good idea to have money in the bank but when you are quitting a job this becomes more important than ever. Tuck away two or three months worth of pay and you can be sure you'll leave work with some peace of mind.

6. Taxes - As a small business owner you will be responsible for paying your own personal taxes at the end of the year. The best way to prepare for this is to put 25-30% of your income into a separate account for when the taxman comes knocking.

7. Time to Enjoy - Where's the fun in working from home if you don't take time to enjoy what you have created for yourself? Make sure that you don't book yourself so solid that you have no time for anything but work. Working from home is about working smarter, not harder!

As you know there are many things to consider on our journey toward working from home. The list above should give you some things to start thinking bout. Whatever you do, make sure to set yourself up so you have the best possible start to working from home and you'll be so glad you did. Best of luck on your new work at home journey!


Get advice, ideas and inspiration on working from home and outsourcing at http://www.angelawills.com.

Article Source: WAHM Articles

xoxo

Thursday, April 24, 2008

This Morning...

I missed my daily dosage of Sausage McMuffin yesterday. Boohoo. I had an errand to run at the US Embassy for my boss, so I went there first thing in the morning. No McD's drive-thru can be found along the way :p

Hence this morning, with great anticipation I drove up to my usual drive-thru on the way to work for my breakfast. But alas! They ran out of Sausage McMuffin, apparently due to the enormous response they get from those free coupons promotion that's going on now.

HOW CAN??? -_-

The guy at the order window said they're not serving breakfast today but I can order their normal menu instead. I just told him "No, thanks.", and drove away feeling somewhat let down. I wonder if they'll serve breakfast tomorrow.

Should I just go make the drive-thru again? What if I come out emptyhanded?

But of course, I can always get them from MV's outlet. It's just that MV's mall management think it's clever to not switch on the escalator going up from LG to G floor. I hate hiking up an unmoving escalator -- it's worst than taking the stairs!

Woe is me.

xoxo

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Money Money Money

Is it me, or things are getting expensive? In a sneaky way, I might add. A few cents added here and there without you noticing. But once accumulated you'll feel it.

I'm appalled at how much money I've spent this month which some what felt more than usual. And it's mostly on groceries. And perhaps petrol?

For example, last week I've spent a net total of RM400. Just last week alone, goodness! The week before that aren't any better -- more than RM400 for sure because we had to buy Mira's milk supply. Out of which, RM100 for petrol. Each week. I used to run on just RM40 a week :(

But of course, the car was smaller then. Still...

xoxo

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What Spice Are You?

Got this from Dottie's Place.




You Are Ginger



Like ginger, you are a total shape shifter.
You can be sweet, spicy, mellow, or overpowering.
You are both soothing and unique. You are popular... yet you are often overlooked.



I know two people who will take up this quiz reading this entry...
  1. Wawa; and
  2. Ursula (if she happens to visit my blog.)

Lol!

xoxo

Monday, April 21, 2008

Weekend Snapshot # 14



The Weekend Snapshot has it's own URL now at http://www.weekendsnapshot.com. And there's a new rule for posting our entry, which is every Monday at 3 AM GMT. That translates to 11 AM my time and works wonderfully well for me ;)

We were invited to attend MC's son Azriel first birthday party on Saturday.

Azriel's First Birthday Party
Myra trying her best to beat the crap out of the piñata

Piñata time with Chi-Chi The Clown. Before that, the clown entertained the kids with balloons and magic show. Mira was not interested, so she spend most of her time at the table with us.

How was your weekend? Go here to see more Weekenders.

xoxo

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Thirteen Ways To Eat Cheap And Healthy

by Debi Silber, MS, RD, WHC


Is it possible to eat healthfully on a budget? Not only is it possible, but your wallet…and body will thank you for it. Here are a few tips:

1-Buy "family size" packages of chicken. It’s inexpensive, healthy and a little bit goes a long way. At one time on a few baking trays, coat some with seasoning, others with BBQ sauce, some with dressing and some with spices. Once cooked use as needed in soups, salads, stir frys and sandwiches for a low fat, healthy option.

2-It's cheaper (but more tempting) to buy big bags of low fat pretzels, tortilla chips, popcorn. Invest in a few boxes of snack size baggies. When you're NOT hungry, portion out servings according to the package and then grab 1 baggie when you’re ready to snack. You'll eat less and save more.

3-Eating breakfast at home is almost always less expensive and healthier than eating out. For example, at home you can scoop out a bagel and fill with low fat cheese, cottage cheese, peanut butter, cream cheese, etc. You're cutting calories by scooping and eating far less topping than when you’re eating breakfast out. A portion size of cereal with low fat milk and fruit is also a healthy and inexpensive option. Breakfast at home can also be a great place to get in your “good carbs” such as high fiber breads, cereals, whole wheat waffles or pancakes as compared to a regular bagel or “mammoth sized” muffin you may grab “on the go.”

4-Try serving your meals on smaller sized plates. You’ll eat much less and save money. Eating dinner out can be expensive and the portions can be enough for at least 2 meals.

5- When you cook, you control the amount of fat used in preparation. Substitute broth, water and seasoning instead of all of the oil and butter used when you order some of your favorite meals.

6-For dessert, a single serving fudge pop or icicle has far fewer calories and is much less expensive than going out for an ice cream cone. You can also have a single serving pudding or pudding pop for less than 100 calories and just a few cents.

7-You can try cooking with whole grain or enriched pasta. A box is inexpensive, much healthier than regular pasta and you'll eat much less than the portions served when out.

8-Bring a healthy snack to work. For just a little bit of money, what you bring (yogurt, fruit, string cheese, trail mix) will be healthier and less expensive than what you’d buy when out or from the vending machine at work.

9-Make flavored coffee at home. Think about how much you spend on that fancy coffee concoction each day. It can be hundreds of calories and the price adds up over the course of a week.

10-Share an entree or order an appetizer portion. You'll eat less and save money.

11-Preplan-Bring healthy snacks and water bottles from home if you know you'll be out for the day. What you'll bring is almost always healthier and less expensive than anything from outside.

12- Experiment with beans. Beans provide protein, fiber and other important nutrients. They can be used in a multitude of ways and they come in many varieties. A can or bag of beans is also much less expensive than a cut of meat.

13-Value and economy meals don't save any money if it causes you to overeat and gain weight. You'll need to buy larger clothes and have higher medical bills as a result of all that "value!"


Debi Silber. MS, RD, WHC is a Registered Dietitian, Personal Trainer, Whole Health Coach, President of Lifestyle Fitness, Inc. and author of: The Lifestyle Fitness Program: A Six Part Plan so EVERY Mom Can Look, Feel and Live Her Best (recommended by Parenting Magazine, to be released 4/08). She’s been branded “The Mojo Coach” because she inspires and empowers overweight, overwhelmed and unfit moms to “get their mojo back” through gradual, lifestyle change. For more on the Lifestyle Fitness Program, please visit: http://www.lifestylefitnessinc.com or http://www.themojocoachblog.com . To join Debi on a free, live teleseminar, please register at www.askthemojocoach.com .

Article Source: WAHM Articles

xoxo

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Smart Things Your Preschooler Can Do With Smarties

by Melissa Pedersen


One of my favorite things to bake with preschoolers is Smartie Cookies.

Not only are Smartie Cookies fun to eat, they have fun ingredients too!

Here are some fun things and educational things to do with Smarties before you bake with them. (You may want to set some Smarties aside for baking, and play with the rest before you bake.)

1. Learning Colors. Help your preschooler group the Smarties according to color. Once she’s done, let her eat one from each group! Yum.

2. Counting. Help your child count how many Smarties are in each group.

3. Patterns. Make a pretty pattern out of the Smarties, and see how many times you can repeat it! Eat the Smarties that don’t fit in the pattern.

When you're done playing with the Smarties, here is my favorite recipe for Smartie Cookies.


Ingredients:

1 C margarine
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C white sugar
2 eggs
3 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 C flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 C Smarties (If you want to play with them first, you’ll probably need some extras.)

What to Do:

Cream the margarine, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the creamed mixture.
Stir in the Smarties last.
Bake at 350 F for 10 - 12 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Enjoy!


Melissa Pedersen is a preschool teacher who likes to turn everyday activities into preschool play. Visit her at the Free Preschool Activities blog for more fun and educational activities you can do with your preschooler.

Article Source: WAHM Articles

xoxo

Friday, April 18, 2008

Scheduled Time


Growing up, whenever I play too much instead of studying, my dad will use this line on me, 'A ship without its Captain sails aimlessly'. He'll teach me how to create a timetable for myself and urge me to set up one for the week. Being rebellious, I put it up and not follow. Heehee.

But scheduling does help, especially when, like me, you have too many interest to look into for your own good. I noticed whenever I do not have a schedule, I feel tired, stressed and unhappy because I couldn't find the time to do what I want to do. You'll hear me complaining on how short my time at home are on weekdays or how I wish I have more time so I could do many things, etc.

It's all about life balance -- between work, your loved ones, your own free time and other commitments.

After weeks of not having a schedule, I started a new one over the weekend. I use Google Calendar to do this; paper ones bores me. Lol. One good thing about the calendar is you can send a reminder to your mobile via SMS.

I am happy to report that my life has been much easier and simpler to manage ;)

xoxo

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Death, Not By Chocolate

Yeah, the title for this blog entry is a bit off. Just using something less macabre with what I'm about to write. I'd like to document this, though.

Yesterday morning, my uncle, Pak Teh, passed away. I took the day off for the funeral and to give support to Dad.

According to Dad, heart attack was the cause of death. Earlier this year, he had undergone an angioplasty surgery at IJN. Strangely, I didn't know about this, I could have visited.

There's a lot of things I do not know, y'know. Pffttt! Some time, my Dad won't bother me with these details because he thinks I don't need to know. BUT... when there's a wedding, he'll forced me to attend on his behalf. He won't go, but he'll force me or Kim to go instead. Eventhough I don't want to :p

Sigh. But I digress.

Later in the evening, DH received news that one of his childhood friends passed away of heart attack, too. The friend was only in his late thirties. DH is worried of his health I think, because just recently he's been told he's blood pressure is pretty high.

But I reckon he's not SO worried lah looking at how he still act and eats the same. Worry today, tomorrow is a different story. Typical isn't it?

I think we need to go for a full medical check up plus looking at how to lead a healthier lifestyle.

xoxo

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Daily Breakfast - New Obsession

My real motivation for coming to work early every morning...


Sausage McMuffin with (stale) coffee, but I'm not complaining. For only RM4.20 (after tax). My weekday mornings has never been the same again.

xoxo

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Death of Sub Rosa Society

Sub Rosa Society was my Fighters' Club gang's name in Facebook. I built it from ground up; from choosing the name (which literally means Secret Society), our logos, recruiting members who are mostly personal friends, setting up the group page and lobbying for alliances with other gangs.

And eventhough we were small (with only 7 members), we're rather tough. You will not win easy, we will fight until the very end with our skilled sniping and jumping ;)

But alas, I had to disband it last Friday.

It was a difficult decision but one I had to make. I hardly could spend as much time online (yup, the 3am-thing) as I used to for the past two months. When my gang members were under attack recently I couldn't be there to support them.

Luckily, they won most of the fights. I supposed the amount of hard work I put in previously, somewhat paid off.

I am bound to join another gang soon -- one of our allies. I have been made group Admin and Ally Leader before the so-called merger (I think most of us will join them as they're our strongest supporters and vice versa) and I shall just resume the job from then on. Right now, I'm just waiting for the others to leave the gang before I terminate it.

I shall be the last to leave.

Goodbye SRS. It's been fun :)

xoxo

Monday, April 14, 2008

Weekend Snapshot # 13



Met up with the Mommies on Saturday for lunch. We have this date blocked a month ago as everyone else was pretty busy. However, Nong had to pull out in the end due to a family commitment. So there was just me, MC, Lah and Nora with the two M's -- Myra and Mira.

Berrilicious Chocolate Pavlova

One of two desserts we had. The other was Lemon Meringue Pie. Inasmuch as we're in constant contact with each other on a daily basis, we still have lots to catch up on. Hence, this was the only photo that got shot of the day. Lol.

We went to Delicious, Bangsar Village II at noon and left to head on our way at 3pm. On the way home, I was caught in one very heavy rain with poor visibility. It subsided as soon as I reached home, so I took the chance to take a nap eventhough the plan was for me to clean up our den. Hehe.

On Sunday morning, we woke up to an unwelcome visitor of the night...

Batman A-Visiting

Yup, bats! Not one, but two. This one was seen hanging by the sliding door's frame outside. Of all places, right smack in the middle of the door's opening. The other was found on DH's windbreaker that was hanged near the entrance door. We weren't sure how to chase it out or what to do with it.

While DH and I were having a heated argument on how best to disposed it off, it flew towards our direction! And some how managed to find its way out by flying towards the kitchen balcony and out to the open air. He must have sense he's not wanted here :(

Poor thing.

So, how was your weekend? You may find more Weekenders here.

xoxo

Sunday, April 13, 2008

How Meal Planning Saved My Marketing

by Cristina Favreau


“What do I make for supper tonight?” Ah, the eternal, daily question. It’s so discouraging to have to wake up in the morning and think about so many hours ahead. One day, I decided to fight back and never ask that question again. How? Meal planning. So that Saturday afternoon, I sat down at the kitchen table with my recipe books, calendar, pad and paper, and I planned our meals for the entire week — recipe book page numbers, side dishes and all! From that plan, I was able to create my entire grocery list for the next day.

I can’t quite put my finger on my exact feelings that week, but it was a mixture of relief, pride and accomplishment — I won that battle!

When I decided to apply the same concept to marketing my business, the results were just as good. That’s when I found my marketing recipe book — Get Clients Now! by CJ Hayden. It basically walks you through the entire process of customizing your marketing plan for an entire month (she even uses meal planning analogies — action menu, success ingredients, choosing your appetizers, main course and dessert action items).

Like meal planning, the benefits of designing a marketing action plan are:
- You are actively working towards a measurable and reachable goal.
- You know exactly what to do when you go into your office.
- You’re no longer stuck in analysis paralysis (the equivalent to staring blankly in the fridge).
- You feel a sense of relief, pride and accomplishment, knowing you’ve taken an active role in marketing your business. You’re prepared, ready for action, and seeing results.

Being a busy Mom and ambitious small business coach, I love that when I have a few minutes to steal away into my office, my marketing plan is right there, taped to my desk. I simply choose an item to concentrate on and work on that. Having my marketing plan prepared for the entire month, I no longer sit at my desk asking “Where was I? What do I do now?”

So what’s on your marketing menu this month?

Copyright. Cristina Favreau. All rights reserved.


Cristina Favreau is Mom to 16-month old Zachary and is expecting a girl end of February. As a small business coach and licensed Get Clients Now! facilitator, her focus is on helping service professionals make marketing & self-promotion easy to understand & to implement. She starts at your level; usually after only one session, you’ll identify where you’re stuck in the marketing process & come up with immediate strategies to gain momentum & take immediate action. Visit www.cristinafavreau.com.

Article Source: WAHM Articles

xoxo

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Tips on Getting Up Early

by Amber Bishop

Getting up early is one of the secret weapons of the super successful. The saying goes “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” - Ben Franklin. The reality is most people are not willing to do the work it takes to learn how to get up early. It is a skill or trait that can be learned and not a genetic disposition that some people are born with. In the following few paragraphs I will outline how you too can learn to be an early riser.

The first ingredient for successfully waking up early, is determining that you are going to do it. Your mind set in this has a lot to do with the outcome. But that is not all. There are some tips you can use to trick your body into cooperating with you. Like we stated before this is a skill that can be learned just like anything else, so we need to provide our body or our muscles some memory that allows it to act without thinking. Think about training for this event like you would a marathon. In time it will be second nature. As a home schooling, work at home mom with three young children, I have to wake early before the family to get prepared for our day. For years I had this goal in mind, but never had the reason to do it, until I started home schooling our children. It was at this point I realized for my own health as a person, I needed to create some space for me, and waking up early was the way I was going to get it.

Choose the determined time you would like to wake up. Then take about a week to work your way down to that time. If you are used to getting up at 7:00 don’t jump to 5:00 the very first day. Walk yourself down in half hour increments. Make sure you set your alarm clock across the room from your bed. That will force you to get up and actually turn it off. Once you are up, go directly to the bathroom and start brushing your teeth. This is where muscle memory comes in. Take a day or two and spend about a half hour at some point in the day, other than first thing in the morning and set your alarm. Lie down in bed, and wait for the alarm to go off. Once it goes off, get out of bed directly, shut it off and go to the bathroom and brush your teeth. Do this 4 or 5 times in a row for a few days and then see how easy it will be to wake at your early morning goal. You have provided your muscles with some memory.

Another helpful ally would be a friend who will get up early with you. See if you have any other friend in your circle that has the same goal. Use the mutual goal as a way to hold each other accountable. Start working out together first thing in the morning, or setting a time to IM about the things you want to accomplish on any given day. It always helps in the beginning of adding anything new into your life, to have a partner to help you along the way.

Once you have implemented you early morning routine, there is no need to go to bed super early. Just allow yourself to go to sleep when you feel tired, nothing more and nothing less. This way your body’s internal clock will begin to regulate itself and you will find yourself waking at the prescribed time without the need for an alarm clock.

Lastly, think of all of the wonderful things you will be able to accomplish in those few morning hours before the world is awake. Maybe you will begin to exercise again, or for the first time even. Possibly your business will begin to expand and take off, you will be more organized and understand why people are always saying that they accomplish more in those few hours in the morning then most people do all day.


Amber Bishop is the co-founder of http://www.smartmoms-smartbusiness.com and http://www.smartmoms.freeforums.org online resources for work at home moms. She is also the owner of http://www.homeschool-diva.com She stays home and home schools her three children will building a successful home based business.

Article Source: WAHM Articles

xoxo

Friday, April 11, 2008

Someone Need To Start A TOM Too, Methink

Why?

Because I've just discovered news about the latest Tomb Raider game called Tomb Raider: Underworld. The game will be released this December, scheduled for all 6 platforms simultaneously namely PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, NDS and PC.


Would be nice to play this on either a PS3 or Xbox 360, wouldn't it? And a bigger, Hi-Def screen than our current TV, too.

Read more about it here, here, and here.

I'm going to pass the buck to DH to create a TOM* for both requirements above. Lol! I don't think I can afford to create another one for this year.


*short for Tabung-O-Meter

xoxo

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sushi Overload

I'm such a glutton. I shouldn't complain how fat I've become now, really. It's all my fault! Lol.

Daisy told me last month about Sushi King's RM2 Members Bonanza promotion that runs from 7th to 10th of April. Thus, on Monday the both of us went trotting down to the nearest Sushi King restaurant here in MV to gobble up yummy sushi for lunch.

I had 9 plates of sushi, mostly Sake and a couple of Unagi, which normally costs for RM4 and RM6 per plate respectively. My total only came up to only RM20.70!

Tuesday morning on the way to work, I suddenly had an urge to have sushi again for lunch. Daisy was not up for it, so I SMS-ed this other friend of mine whom I know loves sushi (and good food) as much as I do.

But alas, MC had to cancel our date at the last minute due to work.

In the end, I went there alone, ate 10 plates of sushi (and this time I only pick Sake and Unagi), and came back to the office smiling and satisfied. Thanks to Daisy for letting me use her member card.

xoxo

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

This Shit Makes My Head Spin!!

I felt ill. I think I threw up a little in my mouth while reading this article -- Dad & daughter admits incest, produced babies.

WTF??

It was said that they appeared in a television news show in Australia recently, asking for "a little bit of respect and understanding". WHAT??

I'm sorry but NO, I can not comprehend that part. I can not comprehend how a FATHER can have SEXUAL relationship with his DAUGHTER, no matter if both are consenting adults. Unless you're not biologically related, when the father-daughter relationship is just something on paper or through marriage. But this case is different.

Tolerance my arse! I am a rather tolerant and liberal person. But not for this. Read these articles here and here. You may find more if you Google for it.

Goodness, they have a baby together (and rather proud of it!)!!

OMG! Excuse me while I go barf my guts out.

. . . . . .

Stupid man! Can you not get a hold of yourself or your urges when it first make its appearance? You're supposed to be the adult in this matter (being the father to YOUR child, hello?). This is what happened lah when you stop using your brain.

Does that mean you'll do the same thing to your baby daughter? The one you had with your daughter now? I'm just asking is all, looking at your current behaviour, Mr Deaves.

And apparently, this was not one exceptional case. There was more!

German man loses incest law battle
"The man's lawyer has argued that there is no reason why two people who love each other should not be allowed to live together purely because they are siblings."

Well, of course they can live together, they are siblings. But the sexual bit, how?

There was also about a man who forced his wife to have sex with their teenage son while he watch.

I'm SO traumatized now.

One of the reasons why I DON'T read the news. I prefer ignorance than let myself be affected by things like these. Say what you want. I prefer to lead a peaceful, long life, thanks.

Curses to Gmail web-clips.

xoxo

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

My Notebook: Cirque Du Freak

I am not exactly sure how I should write this review -- by book or the whole trilogy. Simply because I bought the first trilogy in three separate books instead of one three-parter book which was titled Vampire Blood Trilogy. In the end, I chose to write it individually.

As I mentioned earlier, I stumbled upon this book by accident at Borders. I was looking for vampire stories; saw this book on the 'Buy 3 for the price of 2' counter. I read the introduction chapter and was intrigued.

How could you not, when it was said that this book is a true story? Hehe. That's why when I saw this book again in MPH, I quickly bought it without further ado.

However before that, I've never heard of Darren Shan. Not even in the kindred spirits forum I frequent. I also wanted to be sure I'd like the series enough to continue reading them until the end, so I did some research on the interweb.

On top of that, I must admit I was a little bit confused about the author / the character name. They're both the same. I found out that the author used it as his pen name and also wrote a character using the same name, too.

The story is about Darren Shan's extraordinary journey from being just an ordinary school boy to becoming a creature of the night. Darren was just minding his own; going to school, playing football with his friends until one day his BFF Steve Leopard gets an invitation to visit the Cirque Du Freak.

Darren, being a boy (;p), has always been fascinated by spiders. He used to collect them when he was younger and spend hours hunting it to keep as pets. It comes as a no surprise when he was drawn to one of the circus' star attraction, an enormous poisonous fanged spider called Madame Octa.

Not only that, Madame Octa belongs to Mr Crepsley, of soon we'll find out from Steve Leopard who's a vampire fanatics (he'd love to become one), that he's a vampire! That didn't dither Darren to steal Madame Octa from Mr Crepsley, however, while he was asleep in his coffin.

Darren's life took a turn when Steve got to know about Mdm Octa and while they were making her do tricks, she bit Steve. Mdm Octa's poison is fatal and only one person has its antidote.

That's right. Mr Crepsley!

Darren had to face the vampire to ask for a cure without which, Steve will die. In return he has to agree to become Mr Crepsley's half-vampire assistant. And thus, this is the start of an adventurous journey for Darren and Mr Crepsley.

The book, eventhough it was written with children as young as 10 years old in mind, was well written. It's a bit gory in some parts, but I don't think it's very disturbing. There are a lot plot twists and cliffhangers, too.

I enjoyed this first book immensely and quickly bought the next 5 books at a go. If you like Harry Potter, I'm sure you'll enjoy this just as much or even more. And what a coincidence to find they are already filming the first book for a movie with Salma Hayek acting the role of Madame Truska, one of the freaks in the circus :p

Next, I'll review book 2: The Vampire's Assistant.

xoxo

Monday, April 7, 2008

Weekend Snapshot # 12



Huzzah for 'Scheduled Post Publishing'! I can now post this entry while I'm sleeping. Lol.


Orchids. Aren't they lovely? I went to visit a couple of nursery nearby, but was shocked at how expensive they sell a pot of orchids here. I don't think I'd buy a pot that cost RM50, thank you. One that I'm sure will die in two weeks.

I suppose I'll have to pay Sg Buluh a visit one of these days...

How was your weekend? To view more weekenders, visit here.

xoxo

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Neophyte

neophyte \NEE-uh-fyt\, noun:
1. A new convert or proselyte.
2. A novice; a beginner in anything.
3. A n00b.


Blogger In Draft
Blogger's testing a variable set of new features. You can only try them if you post your entries via Blogger in Draft. I've tested its 'Scheduled Post Publishing' and it worked. Coolness! I can now write as many entry as I fancy in advance and then schedule it to post in the future. That way, it's guaranteed that my blog will be updated daily, instead of how it is now.

There are times when I have lots of things to write about and had time to write about them. I then create multiple entries on that day, but put them as drafts to be posted later. The problem is, I am only able to post them whenever I get the chance to be online, which is not as often as it used to be. With 'Scheduled Publishing', it'll help me a lot.

One extra star for Blogger! I'm sure glad I moved back here. Hehe.

There are other features they're testing out now which you can take a look at (and try them out) when you login using http://draft.blogger.com. Check out their blog here to learn more about them.


Cash Is King
I took a day off from work last Friday. Partly to attend Mira's Parents-Teachers Meet, check out THE school, as well as to sort out some banking matters.

The meeting with Mira's teacher went well. She said Mira's very quiet in class and hardly speaks to her. Just recently she started to speak up by calling her 'Teacher Amma'. The teacher's proper name is Uma. Lol. The teacher's happy nonetheless, because it means Mira's warming up to her.

Mira's very playful in class, too, especially when she sits together with her set of friends. They had to be separated in class because no work get done if they sit together. The teacher said there was this one fine day when the four of them went downstairs to play and came back soaking wet!

She's close to Xing Yee, a brawny and tough girl in her class. I cannot imagine it, seeing how timid Mira is. Lol.

After meeting with her teacher, I drove to THE school for my appointment. Those who knew me knows how much I revered THE school. I wish to send Mira to that school once she start her primary. Well, that was the plan anyway...

THE school has extensive facilities, teaches a year advance syllabus, 100% passes in major exams and reminded me much of how my old school operates. When I spoke to them last year, their fees are reasonable enough for us. However, starting from next year, they'll start to increase their fees (like major jump!) and when it comes to Mira's year, it'll become too expensive for us :(

So there goes my dream. Unless I win a lottery or money falling down from the sky or something.

Speaking of money, I'm a little bit worried about my TOM. I wonder if I have enough time to save up to my goal amount. I only have 240 days left. So far, I only managed to save so much and so so much more to go. Yikes! Maybe I need to increase the daily amount?

Or maybe not. Let's wait and see how I fare in 3 months.

I've reactivated my eBay reseller account today. Not sure what is it that I wanna sell though. Lol.

xoxo

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Apples in April

Wow. We're already in April. The fifth day of the month. Has it been a week since my trip to Bali? Was that real or just a dream? Must be real because I've photos of it. And I thought I'd blog about my trip but now I'm too lazy to collect my thoughts on it.

You may just be content with my Flickr album, then. I've written some things there, of which I don't think I should repeat it here. A bit redundant lah! However, it is still a work in progress. I've so far uploaded the Day 2 sets of the trip.

Speaking of dreams, I had a weird one last night. I dreamt I was a contestant in Akademi Fantasia. You heard me right!! RTFLMAO! That bloke Ramli MS was the principal and I was to perform a song by Anita Sarawak, which troubled me so because I could not remember if I know how to sing the song or not.

It was so bizzare that I woke up dumbfounded. What the heck was that about. Lol.

Mira has discovered a new word which she likes to repeat to exclaim shock -- Oh my gosh! The way she says it sounds familiar (that Rugrats show on Nick) but I don't think she has watched that show before. But then again, you'll never know with kids ;)

I've just finished reading the second part of the Saga of Darren Shan. I'm hooked. I'm trying to check myself from rushing to the nearest bookstore to buy the next installment of the trilogy. I'm not sure I can wait though...

I stumbled upon the book innocently enough. I spend some time at Borders to check out the Twilight series and the Black Dagger Brotherhood (BDB) books. I couldn't remember the author's name of BDB (JR Ward, now I remembered!) and wasn't sure if I should buy Twilight or some other romance book when I discovered Cirque Du Freak by Darren Shan.

It's another coming of age series ala Potter, just so you know. If Potter was a wizard, Darren Shan is a half-vampire.

As I couldn't make any decision, I left without buying anything. That weekend we went to Jusco and I went into MPH, saw the book, picked it up and paid :p

There are 12 books in the whole saga. You can opt to either buy the books separately or in a band of threes. As an introduction for me, I bought the first book (which costs only RM19.90) as stand alone. I was intrigued by it's tale and by the end of that week, I bought book 2 and 3 plus the second trilogy set (book 4-6) from Borders.

I'm now itchy to get my hands on the third trilogy set of book 7-9.

Itchy... itchy... itchy!

xoxo