DIY/Easy Fun Learning Activities with my toddler (Part 1)

In my effort to provide a positive and enriched environment for Sarah during my hours at home, I learned very quickly that many of the toys stocked in the common malls are not very educational, in that there seems to be a gap in the market for high-quality and open-ended toys that are affordable. Many of them were battery-operated/electronic/”interactive” toys that do not allow many opportunities for parent-child engagement. Rather, these toys, while imo are not necessarily damaging for her, were not only expensive, but seemed like they were designed with the intention of letting the child play/distract themselves on their own. As a FTWM, I’ve been trying my best to make full use of my hours at home to fully interact with my girl. Sure, many of the Montessori-based/more “posh” toy stores have great toys but the cost reallllly adds up and what with our mounting expenses with the new house, I set out out on my own (with the help of books, pinterest, and countless youtube videos) to craft DIY/easy fun learning activities for my toddler.

ALL of these activities were inspired by stuff I’ve come across online and in books. I recommend, of course, for those just starting out, to create a pinterest board and start pinning all the fun activities you come across. I have a “pick your play” board linked here that you may look through for some of my favourite ones.

Colour Sorting Activities

  1. Coloured ice-cream/popsicle sticks in recycled egg tray


2. Painted wooden pegs on an “artist palette”


3. DIY styrofoam cube with matching foam notes


4. Coloured pom-poms sorted into recycled colour-coded plastic containers


My Labour & Delivery Story! Part 2

39w + 6 days (cont’d)

So I vividly remember wanting to eat Japanese food – specifically, SALMON AND TUNA SASHIMI, because I’d read somewhere that it was quite safe to eat sashimi this far along into the pregnancy. So we complacently took a cab to West Coast Plaza, assuming that Hei Sushi was still there. Well, they had shut down. So no Japanese food. There wasn’t even any interesting halal options… so we settled for… LONG JOHN’S SILVER HAHAHAH. We ate a quick lunch and my husband said that we’ll head to Jurong Library for me to borrow some books (I had been fervently reading the weeks leading up to this day and had wanted to replenish my TBR list) and then we can try Isuramuya at Jcube before heading to my in-laws’ place to chill with them.

So that’s precisely what we did. I distinctly remember while we were relaxing at his place, asking him if I could take a look at his baby photos because I was curious how he looked like when he was little. He unearthed a huge Toyogo plastic box of old albums and we had a nice time looking through his old photos. My MIL even joined in the fun.

So we went back home and as usual, I had a difficult time falling asleep because of how huge I was. Then, at 3am, I woke up because I felt like I was leaking (like I had my period), and when I went to check, I had bled. We made the decision to get me checked at the hospital, just in case, even though deep down I knew I wasn’t in labour yet. I woke my parents up, told them, and I salam-ed them and asked for their forgiveness before making a brave exit out the door.

We chose not to bring my hospital bag yet, just the essentials, because I kept telling my husband that I think they’ll probably send us back. Otw, I was timing my contractions and they were 6-7 minutes apart.

4am – Got myself checked in to triage and the on-duty doctor checked me. 2cm dilated! I remember this was the second time I had my cervix checked and it was HELLA PAINFUL. I hated this so so so much. I would dare to even say that it was my most hated routine.

On-duty doctor said that it’s best for me to stay in the hospital because I was already so close to 40w and she felt that I would be giving birth in the next 12 hours. She went off, and a nurse later came to inform me that the delivery rooms were all occupied (LOL wth?) and that I should go up to my Level 8 ward to rest and eat some food.

From 4am-6am – I tried to get some sleep but my contractions were a steady 5-6 minutes apart. They were quite painful but nothing too bad.

From 7-10am – A few doctors came in to check my cervix and I had progressed only to 3cm. Another doctor came in to prepare my hand for the IV drip later on. Another doctor communicated with me that my obgyn Dr. Chan is aware of my situation and has advised the doctors to possibly induce me later to speed along the process. On hindsight, I don’t think I would have been in too much of a rush, but I think a large contributing factor was the nerves and the fact that I was a FTM and just wanted to be on the safe side of things.

10am-11am – I had roast beef and potatoes. And I drank (more like tried to down) the air akar fatimah thingamajic that my mother had prepared for me.

Sometime at 12pm – I realised that my contractions had slowed down and I told the nurse and she said it was probably because I was lying down and that maybe I should walk around to kickstart more contractions. I did it and true enough the contractions came back.

1pm – I was finally wheeled into the delivery room and I got changed and all and I remember feeling like everything looked so weird and…. frightening.

4pm – Sometime around here, even though I wasn’t in MAJOR pain, I made the decision to get an epidural because I felt myself getting weaker (I was so exhausted from just waiting and waiting for the room to be assigned to me and I had been up without any proper rest since 3am basically) and I knew that i REALLY wanted the energy to push when the time was right.

5pm – Anesthetist came and Mizi had to leave the room. I remember feeling so vulnerable without him by my side :'(, just like how I was alone and cold in the triage earlier. Props to the lovely midwife who guided me through the process when I was acting like a major baby. I kept saying “omg is it done is it done” hahaha I was SO anxious. They made me sit up on the bed facing to the side. The anesthetist was behind me and explained the process and the nurse was in front of me facing me, and she hugged me when the dr was about to push the huge catheter into me because I told her I tend to flinch and that was a huge no-no. Luckily everything went well and honestly the epidural wasn’t even painful.. it was just nerve-wrecking because it was my first time!

6pm – Right after the epidural, another doctor came in and started me on oxytocin and manually broke my waterbag using some metal probe and YES THIS WAS ALSO VERY UNCOMFORTABLE just like the cervical check ugh ugh ugh. But yeah, my waterbag was burst and water was just gushing out uncontrollably.

6pm-9pm – A few cervical checks here and there… the epidural was heavenly.. I could basically nap for abit and I didn’t feel anything. Basically just very weak and limp and I was itching to get all the wires taken away from me… despite that general feeling of wanting to get up and move about, I was grateful for the pain management.

9.30pm – A doctor came by, checked me, and said that I was 9cm dilated! Dr. Chan would be on his way and I could start pushing!

9.45pm – A new midwife and a team of 2-3 other assistant nurses came in (was abit sad because I really liked my previous midwife) but  they were sweet nonetheless! They started setting my legs up and prepared the surgical tools (I heard the clinking and clanking of scissors and god knows what on the table in front of me and was sooo freaked out hahahaha) for the doctor and taught me how to push. Did a few practice pushes and failed miserably lol. Apparently “pushing hard” gains a whole new definition in the delivery room. HARD MEANS HARDDDDD X 303085201048391

10.00pm – Dr. Chan strolls in in crocs and bermudas (LOL SO CHILL) and guides me to push. I start pushing and pushing. It feels like an intense gym work out. Oh yeah did I mention I started involuntarily shaking violently around 9.50pm? They said it was a normal side-effect of giving birth. I was so embarrassed LOL because I COULDN’T CONTROL THE SHAKING and I didn’t know why!

Mizi was completely magical at guiding me along the pushing. The midwife kept saying “harder! harder!” which was helpful yet demoralizing? It’s a very conflicting feeling because she was looking down *there* and her eyes kept lighting up as though she saw some progress but then I would run out of oxygen and needed to stop pushing and draw a deep breath, and I think that caused the baby to move back up my cervix? IDK HAHA but yeah her eyes would light up and then when I fell short she would keep saying “push harder!”

10.40pm – I reached a point where I REALLY felt like I couldn’t tahan already because it was literally like the end of a looooong 40 minute round of lighting crazy weights and running out of energy already… I started grunting and half-screaming and suddenly Dr. Chan said, “ok Izza ssshh shhh no screaming please.. you’re a champion pusher.. just a little bit more.. I want you to give a strong push and then when I tell you, just push softly.” So I followed his instructions and suddenly I felt something whoosh out of me… and Dian Sarah was born!

He carried her up and I saw this bundle of magic being lifted right in front of me. The nurses and the doctor gave her a quick wipe and I heard the beautiful song of her cries. It was surreal. Absolutely incredible. They promptly placed her on my chest, and the thing I remember the most till this day, was how she stopped crying and kept looking at me. I started tearing tears of gratitude and relief. I looked over at my husband – his face was the image of pure bliss.

The doctor guided him in cutting the umbilical cord. Don’t get me wrong – I was a MESS. I kept looking at her and enjoying our skin-to-skin while the doctor sewed me up. I could feel bits and pieces of it but it was nothing compared to the ordeal I had been through.

I was so exhausted, SO HUNGRY, that I immediately felt extreme nausea and had to let the nurse take Sarah away because I wanted to puke. Which I did, and later once more, because I thought eating a burger right after delivery to ease my hunger would be a wise decision. LOL. Never again.

After that, I told the nurses that I needed the rest and gave them the green light to take Sarah up to the nursery to be fed. That was the best decision for me at that point in time.

Well, after that, I thought I could be wheeled up to my ward to rest and connect with my daughter. NOOOOO. My doctor refused to let me go because I had an extremely low heart rate which was unexplained. I had a shock of my life when she said if the numbers dipped any further, I would have to be sent to the ICU.

Alhamdulillah, my heart rate went back up to normal within 2-3 hours. By then, I was SO desperate already to be back into my ward and just have a loooong sleep. I was aching everywhere, still a little nauseous, but really, I knew deep down that if they had just unplugged me from everything and let me sleep, I would be back to normal.

Finally, at about 5am on 20th December, I was wheeled into my ward where my husband and I spent the next 4 hours having the deepest sleep we’ve ever had since then. LOL.

Update on my (not-so) new-year resolutions 2019

Cruelty-free makeup and skincare only  

Makeup? What makeup? I’ve sworn off makeup since the start of the year. Couldn’t keep up with it. Maybe I’ll write a more detailed post about my beauty philosophy sometime in the near future… but I can give some hints : I don’t wear makeup because taking it all off for solat and then having to reapply is a pain in the butt!

Drink more warm water (no iced water!)

Ehhhh why did I even make this my resolution? Warm water grosses me out. Iced water all day errday please and thank you.

Be more outdoorsy and adventurous with Sarah

I’ve been bringing her down to walk around the park near where we live, and void deck bubble-play time has been our most loved activity. Sarah loves picking up random leaves, flowers, and twigs. We try not to discourage her from exploring… i can only imagine how much she can benefit from sensory play! Perhaps I’ll cancel the warm water resolution and add a new resolution : Do at least 5 DIY play tricks with Sarah by the end of the year.

Hair cut and treatment every 3 months

So we’re in May, and I’ve gone for ONE major haircut and treatment at Karva Jcube. It was quite expensive to be honest and the treatment I picked (the mint creambath) didn’t produce any long-lasting effects. The massage and cooling sensation was daaaamn syiok, though. But nothing I’d pay more than $80 (it cost me more than that) for. The next haircut and treatment is due by the end of June. Think I’ll do it in Bandung when we visit in 2 weeks’ time.

Visit the mosque more often

Alas, I’m ashamed to say that I’ve not accomplished this resolution. Nowhere even near. We’ve been spending Ramadhan mostly exclusively at home, with a very fixed schedule of a simple iftar at home, followed by putting Sarah down to sleep by 8pm, and then resting for the next gruelling day. Before Ramadhan, I had longed to explore child-friendly mosques and was excited to learn that  Al-Khair had a family room where mothers and their children could perform their terawih prayers in peace. But coming home everyday after a tough term in school left both husband and I totally spent. Alhamdulillah, though, I’ve been sticking to my 5 daily prayers and I’m so grateful that Ramadhan had facilitated my newfound determination.

Work out with husband more and eventually land ourselves gym memberships


Be more proactive with dentist visits

We’re going this weekend!

Read 20 non work-related books

Done! I’ve completed my Goodreads challenge! This one was surprisingly a breeze. Reading for at least 30 minutes before bedtime has helped me to complete this relatively quickly.

Move into my new home!

By end of this year!

Take only public transport one day out of the weekend

So far so good. We’re still struggling with the temptation of “Aiyah, let’s just Grab Taxi, ok?” but we’ve been planning our days to go to places that are closer to home. And when we do that, we take public transport.

2019 Goals!


  1. Cruelty-free makeup and skincare only
  2. Drink more warm water (no iced water!)
  3. Be more outdoorsy and adventurous with Sarah
  4. Hair cut and treatment every 3 months
  5. Visit the mosque more often
  6. Work out with husband more and eventually land ourselves gym memberships
  7. Be more proactive with dentist visits
  8. Read 20 non work-related books
  9. Move into my new home!
  10. Take only public transport one day out of the weekend

garden day out + reflections of the past 8 months


Dian Sarah is now 8 months! Nevermind that I completely left her birth story hanging (HAHAHAHAHA), look at this little squish! She’s hitting all her milestones alhamdulillah alhamdulillah alhamdulillah and she never fails to amaze me. Before being a mother, I thought it was the world’s biggest cliche to say “They grow up so quickly!” but oh my goodness, this is so true. I was crying in bed one night not too long ago, i’m talking about ugly crying with breathless sobs ok, just because “Sarah is no longer a baby!! waaaaa!!” My husband had to calmly reassure me that she will always be our baby, but not before slapping me back to reality because we co-sleep and I was legit crying so loudly that he was afraid I would wake her up LOL sorry.

I’ve had the time of my life being a mom. All jokes aside though, mothers all over the world, you deserve the MOST respect. Work at home mums, stay at home mums, working mums, ALL mums – you guys are the strongest group of people. I pray that all of us are granted lots of patience, strength, and determination to keep learning to be the best that we can be for our families. Even if you’re aspiring to be a mum, hats off to you for all the love you have and wish to spread to others. ❤

Even though it’s already been 4 months since I’ve re-entered the working world, things have been admittedly tough. I was so enthusiastic about starting work when I was at the tail-end of my maternity leave (blame my tak-boleh-duduk-diamness), but barely 2 weeks into the job, I found myself struggling to catch a breath of air.

When Term 3 started (I’m on Week 10! Teachers’ day is just round the corner), work really reared it’s ugly monstrous head. Term 3, and fellow teachers I know you know what I’m talking about, is basically a term of hell. I’m talking 9 weeks of not being able to come back on time because of exam duties, setting papers, non-stop remedial sessions, and this and that. You name it, I had to do it.  Not to mention the inevitable office politics that naturally happens with change of management and leadership. *rolls eyes* Idk if any of you can relate, but I find it hard to reconcile the pure innocence and immense joy I feel at home with my little one, and then to come to work and be surrounded by negativity and a sickening need for perfection. I CAN.NOT.

Mom’s guilt is always a thing, whether I like it or not. I have been practising this mantra of reminding myself, “Alhamdulillah for my job. This job that provides my family. This job that provides me with resources to help my husband in raising a child to the best of my ability.” This was something I came up with when I was grappling with the dilemma of whether I wanted to stop working to stay at home. I had to be practical, and given my reality and circumstances right now, I had to make certain sacrifices. Of course, staying at home is not totally out of the books yet. It’s a discussion my husband and I’ll bring up again when the time comes. For now, alhamdulillah always, for the good and the bad.

insurance for my little one?

Hi readers!

Now that I have a little one under my wing, I’ve been advised by some to start considering getting some kind of insurance for my daughter. Would anyone like to share what type of insurance policies/education/endowment savings plan they would recommend?

Thanks in advance!

My Labour & Delivery Story! PART 1


Meet my daughter Dian Sarah!

It’s been 5 weeks since Sarah was born. I remember researching on birth stories incessantly when I was reaching the end of my pregnancy… I was on youtube constantly watching my favourite youtubers’ labour stories, stalking expired forum threads on the “worst case scenarios in the labour ward” and don’t even mention the googling of every single symptom in the book. I was so out of it that I was even asking every single mother I knew, “what do contractions REALLY feel like?” and never getting a satisfactory response. Looking back, it was really funny that I thought there would be a textbook answer to all my questions, because there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all when it comes to labour and delivery. Something I would only learn with experience. Let’s backtrack a little, shall we?

39w + 5 days 

This was on a Monday. Hubby had decided to start clearing his annual leave at the start of this week seeing as to how my EDD was on Wednesday. We had already packed our hospital bag (we had a backpack + a small luggage but more on that later) but we wanted to just rest and spend some time together.

I woke up feeling like I was leaking because I felt like I was peeing but I wasn’t trying to pee? Like it was just 4 short leaks like “pssst pssst pssst pssst” and then it was done. I went to the toilet and true enough my undies were slightly wet but there wasn’t anymore leaking. I told hubby and I was sliiightly concerned but then again no contractions for the rest of the day.

39w + 6 days

I felt the short leaking again sometime in the morning but again, hubby said we will only head to the hospital if there was a bloody show or if I was in unbearable pain (LOL I don’t know how we spontaneously decided on these because 1. no birth plan because we decided not to have a birth plan HAHAHA 2. we are sooo bo chap we didn’t even consider like what to actually do during crunch time because I was really just expecting contractions before heading out)

I was already sooo over my pregnancy by then. Actually I was already over it by 37w. This was partially due to the fact that I had unknowingly pressured myself into giving birth THE MOMENT I hit full term (37w) because everyone around me who had given birth in 2017 had seemingly given birth somewhere between 37-38 weeks. So I THOUGHT I would follow this trend and hopefully have my baby as soon as it was medically possible haha. What I conveniently forgot was that the baby will only come out when he’s ready…. and sometimes these things just take so much patience and you cannot “psycho” your baby to come out on your own terms. I tried EVERYTHING. I legit drank like 3 cups of raspberry leaf tea, I walked at least 2.4km at the neighbourhood park every morning from full term onwards, and I ate a few dates daily! HAHAHA so desperate.

So to take my mind off things, we decided to head out to:

  1. Have lunch.
  2. Get some walking done
  3. Have some coffee together
  4. Go to the library to return some books
  5. Have dinner and then visit my in-laws before potentially giving birth sometime during the week

I’ll continue what happened on that fateful day (LMAO) in part 2!


27 weeks

So it has come to this. Just feeling like a beached whale (LOL) most of the time, lounging around for free and having a free pass to drinking cold sweet drinks whenever I want just because I’m now much, much, more visibly pregnant. I also got my first offer to a reserved seat on the MRT a few days ago! Woohoo. 😛

I know this is probably just the beginning… I’ve had a very smooth 2nd trimester alhamdulillah. That sudden burst of energy around weeks 15-20 were soooo welcome after feeling like a lifeless vegetable during the 1st trimester. Then towards the end at weeks 25-26, the swollen feet, back pains, itchy tummy, etc etc just came full blast. Pregnancy really hits you in waves ; some moments you’re dancing on a cloud of euphoria and the next, you’re a sweating human wishing you had chosen to just stay home and curl up in bed all day. Oh well.

The mood swings have been there all right. I was none-the-wiser till my dear husband and siblings made comments like, “Eh, why so bitchy?” Hahahaha I’m mainly very grumpy towards my poor little nieces and nephews. Which doesn’t bode well for my own child, right? Hahaha.

All in all, I’m having a great time. Alhamdulillah. I still feel blessed every single day that we have a little one to call our own insyaAllah in a matter of a few months.

20 weeks!

1. How many months are you? 5
2. Family’s Reaction? positive!
3. Do you know the sex? hahaha funny story. went in for the detailed scan a couple days ago… was soooo looking forward to finding out the sex (all the months leading up to this day), and baby REFUSED to uncross his/her legs! after 3 rounds of scanning on the same day and still the same thing. ohhh wells. i guess we’ll have to exercise patience.
4. Biggest craving? sweet stuff, milky drinks, at times spicy soups?
5. Best part of being pregnant? having a baby at the end of it all! oh and also feeling loved when my husband admires my growing bump. 🙂 🙂
6. Worst part of being pregnant? FIRST TRIMESTER NAUSEA! swollen feet! being overly hormonal and over-thinking. having to be 1000x more careful about everything. haha but nothing is worse than the nausea and vomitting for me.
7. Names picked out? we’re set on a name if it’s a girl (it’s a name we’ve thought of since before getting married LOL) … we have a few names up for debate for a boy 😉
8. Who will be with you during labor? my husband
9. Birth plan? we’ll think of one when i reach my 3rd tri!
10. Will you film it? no
11. Natural or Medicated? hahaha i think we’ll go for whichever. i’m not opposed to a medicated birth (i.e epidural) because both my sister and sister-in-law had those and didn’t have anything negative to say about them. i’m of course aware that a natural birth is what most would aim for.. but i’m flexible. as long as my anak comes out safe and happy, insyaAllah
12. Scared about labor? haha nervous and still full of questions, yes. scared? no. it’s part of what i’ve signed myself up for, no? 🙂
13. What do you look forward to after pregnancy? kissing my baby a thousand times everyday hahahah
14. Breastfeed? i’ll try insyaAllah
15. Plan to work or be a stay at home mom? will have to continue to work
16. Will you make your own baby food? hmmm seeing as to how i’m cooking for my husband and family almost everyday, i hope so. quite comfortable in the kitchen already. but of course things will change inevitably, so we’ll see.
17. Do you have nursery ideas/themes? no. we’re just using the spare bedroom which is like a guest bedroom/solat room/storage room hahahaha