My favourite thing to do on a Thursday is to support my local hospital market and buy CKT from the amazing Malaysian food stall. Their CKT or char kway teow is prepared with an amazing side of sambal that inspired me to go home and try to make it. It came out quite well and I served it in my own version of nasi lemak.
Step 1: Grind 2 long red chillies and 2 garlic cloves in a classic mortar and pestle until it forms a paste. I bought my mortar and pestle from a specialised asian grocery store for around $50.
Step 2: Slice 4 eschalots and fry in medium heat in a wok for 5 minutes or until soft
Step 3: Add paste from mortar and fry for a further 2 minutes
Step 4: Add 2 tablespoon of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1 tablespoon of hot chilli sauce (I use Sri racha), 3 teaspoons of garlic paste and 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. Add 2 tablespoons of water if needed
Bottle of Sri racha that I used for recipe
Step 5: Stir fry for another 5 minutes or until thick.
The sambal can be added as an accompaniment to most asian dishes. I made it as a side for Nasi Lemak, served with coconut rice, stir fried chicken, pickled cucumber and peanuts.
Sambal served with my version of Nasi Lemak
We have heard it many times, “be the best version of yourself”, “how to feel confident and stay confident” etc. however, it wasn’t until recently that I have given this idea more and more thought. I want to be the best that I can be, and I want to do the best. I believe this began when I had E-male and the desire to do the best for him really began. However the inner mantra has now extended to all my pursuits regardless of whether or not they effect him.
What does it mean to be the best? My mother always used to say to me, “don’t put off for tomorrow what can be done today.” This was meant to discourage my youthful tendency to procrastinate, but now those words have taken on a new meaning; when undertaking a household task, or tending to my child, do it to the best of my ability. Don’t take any short cuts or do a half-ass job. Complete the job before the day is through and go to bed confident and satisfied. This might sound trivial but if we attend to the minutiae in our lives with vigour, all the tasks together will achieve an overall broader sense of fulfilment and betterment.
This may require more effort and time, but the rewards exceed this. Going to bed feeling lighter is endlessly more satisfying and having a good night’s sleep is always a bonus for a sleep deprived new mum!
I am not writing this post to indulge self-pity, nor to pigeon hole myself into a certain demographic of mothers. I am writing this to acknowledge and recognise that mothers are emotional beings, beyond the emotions that demand us to give to our families . Once we have a child, we should not forget our own emotional needs or replace these with those of our children’s. As I embarked on my new journey into motherhood, I recognised the need to be gentle with myself while mourning the loss of my former self; I was forced to mother myself in the absence of my own mother who has passed away, and I discovered a new self that I am proud to say is strong, confident and knowing in ways I never could comprehend ‘Before Baby’ (BB).
My journey began when I joined a local support group for mothers who are without their own. I learnt what I was missing was my space; a time-out from E-male to reflect and be present in that moment. It didn’t make me less of a mother, in fact it made me a better mother. I no longer mourned the person that I was ‘BB’, and instead re-focused my feelings to allow more clarity to deal with the new feelings I faced in motherhood.
Mindfulness for a Motherless Mother – what does that mean?
Mindfulness means a complete awareness of the present moment, and a deep understanding of the realities of the present moment. Cultivating mindfulness will allow a clear comprehension of the present situation, to alleviate any feelings of fear or apprehension when presented with a future unfamiliar environment.
To have mindfulness as a motherless mother provides a huge sense of empowerment. I developed self-confidence I never knew I could possess, but realised was much needed in motherhood. I was suddenly able to tap into an innate and instinctual ability to know what was best for my son. I couldn’t defer to my mother for her wisdom, so I became the sole keeper of E-male’s wants and needs…and it was so rewarding!
What I have come to realise is that even when faced with life situations that are less than ideal, it can actually be better for us. I don’t depend on anyone else so won’t feel ‘abandoned’ when that person isn’t there later on in motherhood. I have learnt all the skills on my own and have more knowledge and wisdom than I thought I could have, had I depended on another for their insights.
My tips for cultivating mindfulness
You don’t have to be a motherless mother; these are useful for any of us who are facing an internal emotional struggle of who we are vs. who we used to be. Or it can be employed if you’re simply struggling with the many conflicting emotions that can be part of motherhood;
- Give yourself a break. Dedicate part of your day, even if it is half an hour, to doing something self-indulgent. It could be as simple as putting your feet up on the couch and watching your favourite TV show or curling up with a magazine. The key is to focus your mind away from your day.
- Don’t look backwards or forwards. Sometimes it is very easy to focus on the ‘what ifs’ or the ‘what has been’. This can be dangerous, particularly if we are forgetting the present. Focus on what is needed here and now.
- Believe in yourself. You are the best person for your child, you know what is best and no-one else.
- Allow yourself to make mistakes. We are only human and not infallible. The best way to learn and develop a new skill is by acknowledging and understanding our mistakes.
- Enjoy the journey! Give yourself the chance to stop and smell the roses and to see life for its humour, light and wonder. The thorns merely provide the lessons we need to garner knowledge and wisdom.
3 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup corn starch
2 cups of water
Step 1: Combine ingredients in a small saucepan.
Step 2: Warm until mixture thickens
Step 3: Cool and pour in containers
Step 4: Add food colouring to create desired colours
This one is easy. All you need is an ice cube tray, 2 slabs of cooking chocolate and a dozen fresh strawberries from your local farmers market:
Step 1: Finely chop the two slabs of dark cooking chocolate chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl that fits snuggly in a saucepan (this stops water spraying into the chocolate).
Step 2: Half-fill saucepan with water and bring to a simmer. Place bowl on top, making sure it doesn’t touch water (or it will overheat).
Step 3: Stir with a metal spoon until melted. Avoid wooden or plastic spoons – these retain moisture that makes chocolate seize (harden).
Step 4: Fill the two ice trays with melted chocolate and put strawberries in them.
You can freeze them and enjoy, a wonderful sweet delight!
Presenting the 101 most useful websites of 2012. These sites, well most of them, solve at least one problem really well and they all have simple web addresses…a cinch to remember!
- screenr.com – record movies of your desktop and send them straight to YouTube.
- ctrlq.org/screenshots – for capturing screenshots of web pages on mobile and desktops.
- goo.gl – shorten long URLs and convert URLs into QR codes.
- unfurlr.come – find the original URL that’s hiding behind a short URL.
- qClock – find the local time of a city using a Google Map.
- copypastecharacter.com – copy special characters that aren’t on your keyboard.
- postpost.com – a better search engine for twitter.
- lovelycharts.com – create flowcharts, network diagrams, sitemaps, etc.
- iconfinder.com – the best place to find icons of all sizes.
- office.com – download templates, clipart and images for your Office documents.
- followupthen.com – the easiest way to setup email reminders.
- jotti.org – scan any suspicious file or email attachment for viruses.
- wolframalpha.com – gets answers directly without searching – see more wolfram tips.
- printwhatyoulike.com – print web pages without the clutter.
- joliprint.com – reformats news articles and blog content as a newspaper.
- ctrql.org/rss – a search engine for RSS feeds.
- e.ggtimer.com – a simple online timer for your daily needs.
- coralcdn.org – if a site is down due to heavy traffic, try accessing it through coral CDN.
- random.org – pick random numbers, flip coins, and more.
- pdfescape.com – lets you can quickly edit PDFs in the browser itself.
- viewer.zoho.com – Preview PDFs and Presentations directly in the browser.
- tubemogul.com – simultaneously upload videos to YouTube and other video sites.
- ctrlq.org/dictation – online voice recognition in the browser itself.
- scr.im – share you email address online without worrying about spam.
- spypig.com – now get read receipts for your email.
- sizeasy.com – visualize and compare the size of any product.
- myfonts.com/WhatTheFont – quickly determine the font name from an image.
- google.com/webfonts – a good collection of open source fonts.
- regex.info – find data hidden in your photographs – see more EXIF tools.
- livestream.com – broadcast events live over the web, including your desktop screen.
- iwantmyname.com – helps you search domains across all TLDs.
- homestyler.com – design from scratch or re-model your home in 3d.
- join.me – share you screen with anyone over the web.
- onlineocr.net – recognize text from scanned PDFs – see other OCR tools.
- flightstats.com – Track flight status at airports worldwide.
- wetransfer.com – for sharing really big files online.
- hundredzeros.com – the site lets you download free Kindle books.
- polishmywriting.com – check your writing for spelling or grammatical errors.
- marker.to – easily highlight the important parts of a web page for sharing.
- typewith.me – work on the same document with multiple people.
- whichdateworks.com – planning an event? find a date that works for all.
- everytimezone.com – a less confusing view of the world time zones.
- gtmetrix.com – the perfect tool for measuring your site performance online.
- noteflight.com – print music sheets, write your own music online (review).
- imo.im – chat with your buddies on Skype, Facebook, Google Talk, etc. from one place.
- translate.google.com – translate web pages, PDFs and Office documents.
- kleki.com – create paintings and sketches with a wide variety of brushes.
- similarsites.com – discover new sites that are similar to what you like already.
- wordle.net – quick summarize long pieces of text with tag clouds.
- bubbl.us – create mind-maps, brainstorm ideas in the browser.
- kuler.adobe.com – get color ideas, also extract colors from photographs.
- liveshare.com – share your photos in an album instantly.
- lmgtfy.com – when your friends are too lazy to use Google on their own.
- midomi.com – when you need to find the name of a song.
- bing.com/images – automatically find perfectly-sized wallpapers for mobiles.
- faxzero.com – send an online fax for free – see more fax services.
- feedmyinbox.com – get RSS feeds as an email newsletter.
- ge.tt – quickly send a file to someone, they can even preview it before downloading.
- pipebytes.com – transfer files of any size without uploading to a third-party server.
- tinychat.com – setup a private chat room in micro-seconds.
- privnote.com – create text notes that will self-destruct after being read.
- boxoh.com – track the status of any shipment on Google Maps – alternative.
- chipin.com – when you need to raise funds online for an event or a cause.
- downforeveryoneorjustme.com – find if your favorite website is offline or not?
- ewhois.com – find the other websites of a person with reverse Analytics lookup.
- whoishostingthis.com – find the web host of any website.
- google.com/history – found something on Google but can’t remember it now?
- aviary.com/myna – an online audio editor that lets record, and remix audio clips online.
- disposablewebpage.com – create a temporary web page that self-destruct.
- urbandictionary.com – find definitions of slangs and informal words.
- seatguru.com – consult this site before choosing a seat for your next flight.
- sxc.hu – download stock images absolutely free.
- zoom.it – view very high-resolution images in your browser without scrolling.
- scribblemaps.com – create custom Google Maps easily.
- alertful.com – quickly setup email reminders for important events.
- picmonkey.com – Picnik is offline but PicMonkey is an even better image editor.
- formspring.me – you can ask or answer personal questions here.
- sumopaint.com – an excellent layer-based online image editor.
- snopes.com – find if that email offer you received is real or just another scam.
- typingweb.com – master touch-typing with these practice sessions.
- mailvu.com – send video emails to anyone using your web cam.
- timerime.com – create timelines with audio, video and images.
- stupeflix.com – make a movie out of your images, audio and video clips.
- safeweb.norton.com – check the trust level of any website.
- teuxdeux.com – a beautiful to-do app that looks like your paper dairy.
- deadurl.com – you’ll need this when your bookmarked web pages are deleted.
- minutes.io – quickly capture effective notes during meetings.
- youtube.com/leanback – Watch YouTube channels in TV mode.
- youtube.com/disco – quickly create a video playlist of your favorite artist.
- talltweets.com – Send tweets longer than 140 characters.
- pancake.io – create a free and simple website using your Dropbox account.
- builtwith.com – find the technology stack of any website.
- woorank.com – research a website from the SEO perspective.
- mixlr.com – broadcast live audio over the web.
- radbox.me – bookmark online videos and watch them later (review).
- tagmydoc.com – add QR codes to your documents and presentations (review).
- notes.io – the easiest way to write short text notes in the browser.
- ctrlq.org/html-mail – send rich-text mails to anyone, anonymously.
- fiverr.com – hire people to do little things for $5.
- otixo.com – easily manage your online files on Dropbox, Google Docs, etc.
- ifttt.com – create a connection between all your online accounts.
Visit The 101 Most Useful Websites on the Internet.