Orange Juice and Fried Rice on Friday Morning

Preparation Time
Last Friday all Grade 4 students at Najla's school had a cooking competition. It's a group project. The obligatory menu were fried rice and orange juice however they still could modify the menu as long as the basic were still related to fried rice and orange. Najla and her group chose Hongkong Fried Rice and orange juice as their menu. 
The FIrst Winner: Sushi Fried Rice (Wow..such a creative kids!!!)
They practiced the cooking once in one of their friend's homes with the assistance of the mother but last Friday everything had to be handled by themselves, no more parents' interference.
Some are really good in cooking while others choose to be observers and supporters
Those amazing creations
I am sure that this cooking experiences are definitely a special moment for Najla and all her friends. Moreover her happiness was even doubled when the jury said that Najla's group became the second winner. Yay….way to go kids…proud of you all. As a wrap up, I am amazed to see all of the creations (since I don't cook. Yep, I don't get along well with kitchen and stuff). They definitely have the talent to be an excellent chef someday.

*All pics are courtesy of Tr Elyana.

Aruna & Lidahnya

My Today Breakfast Menu
Title: Aruna & Lidahnya
Author: Laksmi Pamuntjak
Publisher: Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Publication Dates: November 2014
Pages: 427

After reading Laksmi Pamuntjak's latest novel Amba, I am impatiently waiting for her next writing project. I love her poetical way in telling stories. Unfortunately Aruna & Lidahnya is not poetic at all instead it is more on pop stories.

The setting of the book is during Avian Flu outbreak in Indonesia. As an Epidemiologist (Outbreak Expert) with specialization on Avian Flu, the central character here Aruna is assigned by her office to investigate Avian flu cases in eight cities in Indonesia. Aruna is a 35-year-old-single-woman who is obssesed by food. 

While completing her assignment, Aruna asked her two best friends, Bono the Chef and Nadezhda the Food and Travel Writer, to come along with her. Thus here you will enjoy three enjoyable stuff which are food, traveling and friendship.

Since the food in the book are described in details thus all seems so tempting and delicious therefore I recommend you to full your tummy first before you start drowning in Aruna's thought. Enjoyable reading. Love it.

Three Hectic yet Fun Days in Singapore

We spent the last three days in Singapore. We stayed at Jen Orchardgateway Hotel. The hotel location is quite accessible since it is above Orchard Gateway mall and Somerset MRT station is within walking distance as well. 

I took Najla and Zea to Garden by the Bay. This is their first visit thus they're so very excited enjoying everything in there. Walking along every garden and stepping on the Cloud Walk were some of their favorite activities. I also love this place. I enjoy the beautiful different variation of flowers and trees, a man-made forest completing with a waterfall, a playground, water splash for the kids and more. I guess this place is on my top list on places to visit in Singapore now. Glad to find other new exciting place instead of all busy and crowded malls there.  

I found Singapore is quite hectic now especially since we stayed around Orchard area. Every place is full. Furthermore on Friday and Saturday night, we got difficulties to find a peaceful place to have our dinner. Perhaps it's also due to the coming Christmas, people shop here and there. In spite of the crowded atmosphere, the good things about christmas are beautiful ornaments and decoration spread all over every shopping malls. 

However my girls said that the best part of this holiday is the rooftop swimming pool at Jen Orchard Hotel. It's too good to be true. This awesome view finally made my hubby and I let the girls experience one of their magic moments which was swimming in the evening on a rooftop of the hotel accompanied by twinkling stars. Although it's a bit hard to ask them to leave the pool later on still I realized that they smiled in their sleep that night.

Friday Morning at Setu Babakan

My daughter, Najla, and her classmates visited Setu Babakan last Friday. This was part of her school monthly visit agenda. Setu Babakan is located at Srengseng Sawah, Jagakarsa, South Jakarta. It's close by to Depok area. 

Since 2004 the government declared the place as a Betawi Cultural Heritage. You will find a man-made lake here where people usually go fishing. You can cycle, watch some Betawi performances, try some Betawi signature food such as Kerak Telor or Kue Rangi or just sit still and enjoy the surrounding.

According to Najla's school teacher, the government is now busy preparing for a small man-made island where a Betawi traditional house will be erected  completed with children playground. Moreover a  theatre hall and a multifunction hall are soon to be launched.

One of the alternative weekend places for family instead of stuck in a crowded mall. Find more on Setu Babakan here.

*All pics are courtesy of Teacher Elyana.


Title: Interstellar
Director: Christopher Nolan
Producers: Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan, Lynda Obst
Casts: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine

"Do not go gentle into that good night; old age should burn and rave at close of the day.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light." --Dylan Thomas

Science fiction is not my cup of tea. However reading lots of positive reviews for Interstellar make me curious to know more about it. I watched it yesterday and tell you what, this movie is epic. I guess it is one of the best movies in 2014. Moreover I think it's the only science-fiction movie that could make me sit still and watch it religiousy for almost three hours. Three hours with science fiction stuff  is quite an achievement for me.

Instead of getting bored with the movie, I even didn't dare to blink and miss the stunning athmosphere. I sometimes forgot that I was in a movie theater since I felt that I was lost in space and sucked into the adventure of this new space exploration. 

It's a story about the earth in the near future. It can no longer sustain humanity. It's been devastated by drought and famine causing a scarcity of food and extreme climate change. A team of space travellers are ready to travel through a wormhole in search of a new planet to live. Just a simple story with a breathtaking execution. One more thing, Anne Hathaway is amazing as usual. A must see movie!!!

The Silkworm

Title: The Silkworm (Ulat Sutra)
Author: Robert Galbraith
Translator: Siska Yuanita
Publisher:Gramedia, 2014
536 pages

I am not a fan of the legendary Harry Potter. I only read the first book and realised that I wasn't into it. But when J.K. Rowling transformed herself into Robert Galbraith and introduced her private detective, Cormoran Strike in The Cuckoo's Calling, I fell for it. I have never read any crime stories for quite a long time and this criminal story brought back my old memory about Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple in Agatha Christie's books.

In her latest book, The Silkworm, the author again tells us about her private detective, Cormoran Strike and his assistant, Robin Ellacott, dealing with a new case about a missing novelist, Owen Quine. The case is even more interesting for me since the plot is related to author, publisher, competitor, haters and also mistress. Following the detective's investigation, compiling the facts and evidence and finally starting to take a guess about the killer suspect turned out to be super exciting. Good for my brain exercise, lol. If you miss crime series book, this Cormoran Strike series won't disappoint you.

The Red House

After finished reading Mark Haddon's work A curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, I wait for Haddon's other books. I like his witty way in elaborating every piece of a family. When I found The Red House having a 30% discount at Aksara bookshop, I directly bought it.

But after struggling for the first 50 difficult pages and started to doubt my ability in dealing with English literature. I finally gave up finishing Red House, a story about eight members of the family  and how they react during their mother's death. Perhaps the author changed his way of writing and telling stories and I am  not accustomed to it. 

One thing I love about my all-time-favorite author, Haruki Murakami, is the way he tells his stories. I always know his style. It's actually just a simple way with simple words but never fail in capturing my attention. 

A Weekend Getaway: Sentul

Playground at TumbarJinten Restaurant
We spent our last weekend in Sentul area. Arrived there during lunch time, we directly headed to Tumbar Jinten Restaurant. It's a nice place with a good food.  
Feeling happy with a happy tummy, we continued checking  in at Harris Hotel Sentul. It's a simple modern hotel. I love their color. It's orange. You can find orange everywhere. The wall, their bolster in the bedroom, the hotel sandals, the sofa even the staff's' t-shirts color. Such an energizing atmosphere. The hotel is really kids friendly. There are lots of activities to do. But the best part is the hotel's pool. All kids will love it. The girls were busy swimming, playing in the playground and dropping by at the kids club. The hotel also provide free bike if you want to go biking around the area.

The hotel location is also accessible. For our dinner, we decided to drop by at Ah Poong. Since it's saturday night, the place was quite hectic. We had a quick dinner and left the area soon. I think it's better to visit this place in the morning so the kids can do lots of things there such as boating or just playing in the eco-park.
An orange classic car at Harris Hotel
Checking out on Sunday noon. We tried to find a not-so-crowded place for lunch. Finally we arrived at Taman Budaya Sentul. Enjoyed lunch at Kopitiam Oey while the girls couldn't take their eyes off the pony ride, the flying fox, and the playground. Yes, there are a huge park here. It's heaven for the kids. Too bad we arrived there on a hot sunny day. Therefore the girls couldn't really explore the area. Never thought that Sentul could be one of the alternative places to spend with kids. Sure we'll be back. Next time we should be here early in the morning thus the weather is still friendly enough for the girls to play outside. 

Hidup Sederhana

Title: Hidup Sederhana
Author: Desi Anwar
Publisher: PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 2014
288 pages

Membaca itu kegiatan soliter tetapi sekaligus jauh dari kesepian. Kegiatan sederhana yang membuka pikiran kita ke kompleksitas dan kemungkinan yang tak terbatas; suatu keheningan yang membawa kita ke perjalanan-perjalanan di luar yang dapat kita bayangkan."

--Hidup Sederhana by Desi Anwar.

People are expert in making life complicated. We fill the life with hope, worry and fear. We blame the past, we worry about the future and disregard our present moment. We fill our life with materialism. We buy everything and hope those things will turn into happiness but in the end we feel nothing. Just an empty feeling.

In Hidup Sederhana, Desi Anwar delivers her simple idea about life and how to deal with it in a simple way. As the author said in the introduction, "...bila kita menyederhanakan hidup, kita akan memandang hidup secara lebih jernih dan akan lebih menghargai keindahannya. Hidup menjadi sebuah perjalanan yang paling nikmat dijalani bila kita menyadari pemandangannya yang menakjubkan. Ketika Anda duduk bersandar seraya menyeruput secangkir teh, bahkan ketika kita bergerak ke arah tujuan kita." 

The book is a compilation of author's writings. Simple topic accompanied by beautiful pictures from all over the world and also touching quotes here and there. I have lots of favorite topic in this book, some of them are: Jalan Kaki on page 40, "Dan saya menikmati berjalan-jalan di atas tanah berselimutkan daun-daun kering ini, mendengarkan bunyi gemerisik di bawah sepatu saya. Saya juga senang menendang-nendangnya, yang membuat dedaunan kering ini bergemeresak dan berhamburan di udara yang berangin. Dan merebaklah aroma musim gugur di udara, menebar keharuman bumi." So poetic and sincere.

Other example on page 217 about Kebahagiaan, "Tampaknya kebahagiaan itu bukanlah memiliki apa yang kita inginkan, tetapi menginginkan apa yang sudah kita miliki. Kebahagiaan bukanlah suatu keadaan yang harus dipenuhi seperti rasa lapar yang perlu dipuaskan, melainkan keadaan bersyukur, doa syukur atas karunia makanan yang disantap."  

Since this book is a compilation, you don't have to read it from the first page until the end. Just choose any topic you are interested in, read it slowly, digest every idea while sipping a cup of tea and in the end the words there will inspire you. As a wrap, when you finish reading the whole book, you will have a new perspective of life and have a new way to live your life to the fullest. A must read.   

Check Desi Anwar's great website here.