Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Listeria and Pregnancy

What's listeria? How does it affect pregnant moms?

Listeria is a bacteria that is found in nature and lives in some foods. Listeria can be found in most animals, soil, vegetation and sewerage. Because of this, Listeria can easily enter our food chain. An infection with Listeria can cause mild ‘flu-like’ symptoms, urinary tract infections or even quite serious illness. In adults who have an impaired immune system, Listeria can cause illnesses such as meningitis, pneumonia and encephalitis. The bacteria that causes Listeria is called Listeria monocytogenes.

In pregnancy this bacteria can pass across the placenta and reach the baby. Listeria during pregnancy can cause abortion, premature rupture of membranes, premature birth and very sick babies. Listeria infections are not new, however it has only been known since 1980’s that it can be passed onto humans through food.

An infection with Listeria can be easily missed as it often presents with vague symptoms. A blood test or a test on the amniotic fluid can identify a Listeria infection. Listeria can be treated with certain antibiotics. If a baby contracts a Listeria infection it can become extremely sick with respiratory problems or meningitis. The baby can even die. Listeria infection is quite rare in Australia, but when it occurs in pregnancy it can have serious complications. It is for this reason that information is now being made available to pregnant women, so that they can make safe choices on the foods to eat during pregnancy.

The bacteria that causes Listeria is sensitive to heat. So by cooking food well, you are able to destroy it. When cooking meats ensure that the meat is cooked right through. Rare meat is not recommended. If you use the microwave to reheat, ensure that the food is steaming hot right through to the centre. While heat destroys Listeria, refrigeration does not. Listeria is one of the few bacteria that are able to grow on food in the refrigerator. So if food has been stored for longer than twelve hours after cooking - it is recommended that you do not eat it. Also avoid chilled ready to eat foods.

The best way to avoid Listeria is to have good food hygiene. Wash your hands before preparing any food. Raw fruit and vegetables should be thoroughly washed before eating. Food should be well cooked; no raw or partially cooked meats and seafood should be eaten in pregnancy. Food should be served piping hot. Do not eat lukewarm food. If using the microwave ensure that the food is well heated through to the centre. Hot soapy water should used to wash all food utensils. It is particularly important to wash chopping boards and knives after preparing raw food. Proper storage of food is essential. Store all your cooked food separately from uncooked products. Make sure that the raw food cannot drip onto cooked food. If you have cooked leftovers, place them straight into the fridge once they have stopped steaming (do not let food cool on the bench). Use all left overs within 12 hours of cooking or alternatively freeze for later use. Ensure that cooled food is kept below 5 degrees Celsius. Also do not eat food that has passed its used by date.

There are certain foods that are considered to be of high risk of Listeria contamination. The foods to avoid during pregnancy include:
Soft white cheeses eg. Ricotta, brie, camembert, blue vein and fetta
Unpasturised dairy products
Cold meats
Dried/fermented sausages
Raw seafoods eg. Oysters, sashimi
Smoked seafood (canned is okay)
Pre packed and prepared salads
Soft serve ice-cream

Freshly prepared and freshly cooked foods are the safest for consumption during pregnancy. It is important to eat a well balanced diet that contains plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, breads, cereals, meat, fish, eggs, lentils and nuts. Ensure meat is well cooked. All hot food should be piping hot. The following foods are safe to eat in pregnancy:
Washed fruit and vegetables
Home made salads
Hard Cheese
Processed cheese
Canned foods
All meats - thoroughly cooked, hot and fresh
Pasteurised diary products

Information extracted from here.

Hungry....Happy New Year!

It has been rather ‘interesting’ for me this past 1-2 weeks. Not so much the activities which have been going on, but more of my eating/meal time patterns.

One day I’ll be eating normally, i.e. breakie, then perhaps an in-between snack, then lunch, then something to keep me awake and dinner. Portions are normal. Then suddenly the next day, it will be the same, but I just can’t seem to down my dinner. Then the day after, breakie is a minimum without the snack….and this pattern changes daily. All will change except lunch. Lunch would seem to be the only normal meal. And today, again, breakfast seems to not able to go into my tummy. Hmmm nevermind, I’ll just have to adjust and live with this for the next 27 weeks…

I find it rather strange having this weird eating patterns as previously I was just walloping whatever I wanted whenever I felt hungry….

Anyways, Happy New Year everyone! May the New Year bring all the best that you’ve ever wanted!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Alvin, Simon & Theodore

They were my favourite when I was young. I'll never miss any episode. I used to record every episode, back then it was via the VCR. Hmmm, come to think of it, I may even still have copies of it stored back home in Penang. The now unused VCR is also somewhere in the store...I wonder if it is still function-able?

Anyways, now this is the sequel we're talking about...the movie!

All set and planned for Alvin & the chipmunks 2 at 9.20pm on Christmas eve. Reached the cinema at about 9.15pm and while hub was queuing for snacks and as he took out the tickets from his pocket (bought the day before), we realized it said ’11.20pm’!! Oh No! how could this be? He happily thought he got the 9.20pm tickets yesterday without realizing the attendant at the counter issued the wrong one. So what did we do?

We decided to walk around and waste 2 hours…when 5 minutes into it, we thought we’d try to watch another movie. Then suddenly I suggested why don’t we try and see if we can get the tickets for the already showing 9.20pm show? And so we managed….hahaha finally. Otherwise poor mum will have to wait a little longer for us to get back home. This sequel is better than the first – more entertaining!

And then I digress....

But I noticed, it’s really weird. It’s already showtime, so by then , if reserved tickets were not taken, it would have been released. And so on the ticketing screen, it would appear not taken. But when we were trying to change out tickets, it seemed like the cinema was full to the brim, but in actual fact, when we went in, it wasn’t. There were so many empty seats in front of us, the same row as ours, but on the ticketing screen, it appeared as though our 2 seats were only available in that particular ‘zone’.

Also, prior to that, I tested out the new TGV e-ticketing system. It was really strange also. There was a ‘pay later’ option and another option to pay via credit card. So, since I was just trying it out, I choose the ‘pay later’ option, where I will pay when collecting the tickets only. (essentially this was identical to the one used by Cathay Cineplexes which I used to book couple of years ago) However, this time, it was really strange. ‘Pay later’ customers have seats on a different ‘block’ while ‘paid’ customers have seats on another block. ‘Paid’ customers have seats further from the screen while the former is nearer to the screen. The ‘strange’ thing I was trying to highlight was that when it came to choosing my seats, and confirming, the block which I was assigned to is already full but yet they kept asking me to choose my seat. HOW?? My assigned seats were not even shown? Now,

1. I tried to click on empty seats on a different ‘block’ but I wasn’t allowed.
2. I clicked on ‘next’ to proceed to getting my reservation number, but wasn’t allowed. I was told to choose my seats.
3. Now, how silly can this get?
4. I proceeded to ‘change selection/showtime’ then only it was ok. Funny.

Shouldn’t it naturally just say that the reservation is full and ask customers to choose different time slots/ shows?

Anyway, go watch this!! It's really entertaining!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

TwoPixels Photography Anniversary Giveaway

TwoPixels Photography is giving away a free photo session to 3 lucky bloggers, each worth RM450 to commemorate its 1st Anniversary!

When I read bout this, I was excited. Yes, many people out there, including me love freebies…and what more, I’ve been thinking of a family portrait session for a long time, but decided only perhaps after No. 2 comes along.

Looking at the photos posted on TwoPixels site, made me think that I should have done a photo shoot previously, while preggy and when baby was just born. I especially love the photos of the newborn aptly categorized as 'pixels out of the oven'. They were just so adorable...

The one and only photo shoot we had been a studio shoot when AIR (his acronym) donned a peapod costume. Perhaps it’ll be a good time now, cos at 11.5 months old, lil’ AIR loves to pose for the camera with a variety of smile and cheeky grins, AND I’m ¼ of the way with No. 2 now! Not very visible, but perhaps not long after it’ll be…

Now, I just hope that I’ll be one of the lucky 3….

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Another long weekend ahead, lots of food and merriment!

To all my other friends....enjoy the long weekend and have fun!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Introducing 'Poppy'

Poppy (I certainly am not sure how it’s supposed to be spelt, but for now, I shall leave it as it is, until AIR learns how to spell and if he decides otherwise) is a brownish stuffed puppy/dog recently added to the ‘family’. The funny thing was, when we first saw it and handed to AIR, he took to it immediately and when we gave him other options, he just didn’t want the others. Not even the more dog-like stuffed dog or the stuffed cat.

I wasn’t even sure why it was called Poppy but out of the blue daddy just went ‘poppy’ to him and so Poppy just stuck. I guess having one as ‘Puppy’ –the hush puppy toy is enough and we shouldn’t confuse the lil’ boy…hence ‘poppy’. Hehehe not very creative but it’s ok la.

Few days later, only did I discover that Poppy has actually got 1 ear and 1 leg longer than the other.
Hahaha….nevermind, it IS still the much loved stuff dog for AIR.So now the other 2 stuffed toys have taken a seat back, though he still does like them, but Poppy have seemed to have won his heart….for now.

Cutest Baby On The Planet 2009

Name: Asrul Irfan Riley
DOB:14th January 2009

MomBloggersPlanet has been running a themed ''Cutest Baby' contest since June 2009. Top winner for each month have automatically qualified for this contest. To make it a round number, MBP have encourage all readers out there to nominate their baby/ies for the remaining 6 slots for this ultimate contest of the year!

For more information on this, please read this.

It's really easy, no theme and no more extra writing...all you have to do is....

Nominate your baby NOW!!

Just follow the steps below and you could grab one of the wonderful prizes.
1. Get the best photo of your baby – ONE picture only!
2. Insert the photo on TOP of your entry. Mention his/her name and date of birth.
3. Write about this contest with title Cutest Baby of the Planet 2009
4. Include a link to this nomination page in your entry
5. Include a link to MomBloggersPlanet in your entry
6. Put the Cutest Baby of the Planet 2009 BANNER on your sidebar (where I can clearly see) with LINK to this page
7. Leave a comment here with link to your blog post (permalink).

For more details, click here.

Now, it's time to rumage through the albums and folders for photos!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Memories of Marang

On rather short notice, I was asked to go to Marang to issue a permit for site work. I agreed but had to leave on a Sunday. OK la, nevermindla.

I was so kelam kabut that I only remembered that I left my PPE in the office when I was about to reach home on Thursday. Luckily my colleague who was going with me to site was still in the office and she grabbed it for me.

The last I was in Marang was in 2005 when I went there from JB with the JB group of athletes for the annual Kapas-Marang Swimathon. And I didn’t think that this trip, I’d be going anywhere near where I was then.

However, when we were looking for hotels or more precisely Seri Malaysia Hotel, we ended up the same spot the bus dropped us off for breakfast and then on to the ferry to Pulau Kapas. Ahh, it brought back sweet memories. The thought of waking up blurry from the bus being told we were at our destination already and told to go grab breakfast and the journey after to Pulau Kapas.

Flash back to the days which led to the event, which looking back I wondered how on earth I actually agreed to go for it and how I did it. A 6.5km swim through the open sea from Pulau Kapas to Marang. Oh goodness I still remembered there were stages where I felt like after many strokes, I didn’t even move. The strong current was horrible. Looking at the waves yesterday and this morning, it reminded me of THAT very day. But the waves today were worse. Sea was really choppy but the wind was really nice.

Anyway, the days which led to the swimathon were filled with endless swims. Imagine 130laps of swim in the pool….most of the time by lap 40 or 50, I’d have lost count. By that time, I’d resort to time to check my distance. It was pure monotony and it the beginning it was almost torturous. What could you do when you were in the pool? If I was on the treadmill, at least can watch TV, read a book or listen to some songs to keep myself entertained. But in the pool? It was terrible, trying to come up with something to keep myself sane.
After a while I became a familiar face at the Tmn U pool in Skudai. Larkin, though my favourite, wasn’t favourable to me after dark because on one end of the pool, it wasn’t properly lit. Hence, it was kind of scary. So Tmn U it was though slightly more expensive, but nearer and I felt better.

Marang today was viewed differently. We had a superb and really cheap dinner last night amidst strong winds in a sea-fronting restaurant. If the winds were not so strong, we’d have sat outside. But it was so strong that I think if food was served, it’d be blown away almost instantly. Breakfast was also very cheap but funny, Rhu Rendang, about 2km from Marang, where the site exactly was, seems like it has quite strange cooking style. Everything seemed to have ginger added to it. My colleague’s fried rice and kueh teow had ginger, breakfast which included some weird kuih which had green bean and coconut fillings also had ginger and to top it all, currypuff also had ginger. Yes, the regular potato curry in the curry puff had ginger in it. Weird.

Neways, that was Marang....and I wonder when will be my next Kapas-Marang Swim. It was my first so-called cross the open sea swim. Desaru swim, although in the open sea, it was just 2 rounds of a short 750m into the sea. You don't get the 'effects' of open sea or the feeling at certain points when you're all alone 'floating/swimming' in the vast ocean. It is scary but also fun at the same time :)

Now with baby in tow, I may think twice before plunging in the the deep waters of the ocean.....

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


It’s amusing when we play with him now. He’s really entertaining. Other than the fact that he sometimes refuses to sleep, when he’s already so sleepy, otherwise he’s just a very happy baby. Thank God.

Now he entertains my mum by blowing his toy trumpet. He will do it with a ‘suck and blow’ action. It’s funny how he puffs up his cheeks and then blows it all out, with all his might. At 5-6 months old, he didn’t take interest in the piano. Now sit him in front of the piano and he will bang away.

He imitates almost everything we teach him. He ‘sayang’ the cat in the picture book but not the peacock. (that we didn’t teach, we only thought him to identify) He has two of those Jusco bears, 1 small vibrating bear and 1 slightly larger Farley bear but sheds its fur. He’s taken no interest in the Jusco bears but loves to ‘sayang’ the small vibrating bear and the bear which is shedding fur. So now, the bear shedding fur is kept away from him. He loves the really tiny Garfield soft toy too. I wonder where he learnt to ‘sayang’ the toys….

His antics are really cute. To us, at least. hehe

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dinner, Diaper, Shopping...

The day we went out unprepared, was the day baby decided to test us.

Hubby was so confident. We were going for dinner and grocery shopping last night with my mum and I asked if everything for baby was packed. Since I was the last one home, hubby usually would’ve prepared the bag. He told me it wasn’t necessary as he’s just eaten. However, I packed his milk and bottle and pacifier in case he wanted to sleep. Usually his next diaper change would be almost 10-11 pm. So I just packed that bottle, taking hubby’s words that everything else is a-OK.

Upon reaching the makan place, I noticed his diaper was quite full. Another hour, should be ok, I thought. Unfortunately, after dinner, when hubby took him to wash his hands, he realized his nappy has leaked. Boy oh boy! And part of his romper already wet.

So off we went to buy diaper and new baju la. We were at the hypermart so baju choices were not great. The ones we wanted – no size. So ended up with one big diaper pack and one baju, paid and changed immediately, tang tu jugak. Then grocery shopping continued.

The best part of it all – as we checked out, the already opened diaper pack (we took the free sample to use but the main package still intact), was not even queried by the cashier. Not observant at all. Didn’t even ask to check the receipt or ask how come we didn’t put it on the checkout counter. If I really didn’t pay for it, I could’ve walked away with that diaper pack.And then, as we walked off from the cashier, I realized we paid RM25.20 for a pack of Ngan Yin groundnuts. My goodness. Checked with the cashier and was told to go to customer service to get the refund. Apparently when scanned, it was RM25.20….so a complete refund was made. Now, if I haven’t checked the receipt….


When’s the right time to break the news?

The Nursery Ran Away!

Looks like this blog has been really neglected. When I went to Fong’s blog I realized it’s been 3 weeks since my last update. Aiyo….actually I do miss blogging…

Nothing much has happened, actually not really….many things have happened but it just seemed not that interesting. Haha I just don’t know what I’m rambling about.

One week ago, the nursery sort of ‘absconded’. Yeah, the person running the nursery was without help. For perhaps almost one month plus. Since November to be exact. She claimed she will be getting help in December, cos in end Nov, a different lady was there for a couple of days, but unfortunately December came and the lady was not there. So hubby and I decided that we should look elsewhere. One person with 3 babies and 4 toddlers (3-5 year olds) is not easy. I’ve seen the toddlers who were eager to help, but that’s just not right.

AIR is happy there….he enjoys the presence of the husband of that lady…and he seems to be doing fine. We were reluctant to move him away but I think it calls for the best move.

Ok, the story was about the absconding. Hehehe so I was away at site one Monday slightly more than a week back and suddenly at night, going for dinner I receive an sms saying the lady has fallen and hurt herself and will not be able to run the nursery the next day. Called hubby and we were both left in a lurch. Thank God my aunt was available and she took him in the next day. And for the next 2 days. On Tuesday, I sent a text message to both the lady and her husband but no replies. Called the lady on her handphone and it was switched off. Call the husband and it wasn’t answered. And I thought to myself that this is getting suspicious.
All I wanted to know was when will the nursery be operational again and how was that lady. So I asked hubby to call the next day and by now, the husband’s phone was also switched off. Crap!

We were due to go back to Penang for the long weekend, and mum has made arrangements to come over to help temporarily. Thank God.

And almost one week later, two days ago, hubby called the husband one night and he answered. Now he says the decision will only be made in another couple of days and if they nursery will cease operation, they will refund. Yesterday evening the husband called me and told me that they will resume operations on Wednesday. His wife is still not able to run the show but he has solicited his sister’s help to assist.

And we still hang on the decision to shift to a different nursery. We’re beginning to lose trust in them.