During the last few of weeks of carrying Sarah in my tummy, mi familia camped in Taiping. (Our Janaminda Training Center is there). Abie was busy with INFAQ shooting so I was in charge of the first few classes. Driving the big ‘gedebab’ hiace around town was fun and hefty..hahaaa. Home-class-home-lake garden-home-jayeng mini market (not Giant, k)-home-pasar malam. That’s the routine.

van.jpgAll this while I’ve never really driven ‘our second home’ – prefer to be co-pilot instead so I can catch up on my slumber.. zzzzz (I love napping!! I do.) So when I HAD to chauffeur myself , I found myself ‘steering-wheel crazy’!!! imga0751.jpgyabadabadoooo. Behind the wheel, I felt kinda powerful…a big momma driving a mammoth machine. But I admit, I shied away from narrow parking spaces. Lady driver la katakan.. It’s not that I was afraid I might hurt the little cars around but I didn’t want my huge hiace to be hurt. Yeah right!!! Then again, finding parking spaces in Taiping was not mind-boggling, honey. But finding a spot in KL is a real toughie.

The van can only be parked outside, so ‘adios’ MidValley, IKEA. Either we park far and walk or wait for empty spaces outdoor or just avoid these places.

Alamanda surprisingly is hiace-friendly, so the van can go through the bar. SmarTAG no problemo, so far so good.

KLIA? This is funny. We used to think that it couldn’t go through the bar. Until one fine day…….. we saw another hiace parked nicely among other cars in the basement. BINGO. (But that’s paid parking spot, nevermind, we’ll stay with big buses and blend in with them).

It’s been a year having the van in the family. The kiddos even include it as part of the familia. It’s big, bulky and looks like a flowerhorn fish. But I love it. We all love it. We even traveled to Haadyai by bus (with kiddos) to do a research – how do Thais ‘make-up’ the van interior.

Can’t wait. My first goal – to paint it black! Elegant, huh?


As English Coaches, both of us always look for ways to get students to talk. We’ve found one of the right switches – playing Game of Life in class. This game is best played with secondary school students up to adults (we conduct Spoken English for adults as well). When we play with junior classes (primary 4-6), we’d simplify the game.

Our boys have been begging us to allow them to play for ages, sorry for the exaggeration. But we’ve always said, “Not now, coz you are still small. See the age group here? 9 and above? You are five and four right?”

They stopped asking. For a while. Whenever Muhammad and Musa followed us to Janaminda, our training center and saw the G.o.L box, the begging started again. Same answer given. Until one day…

Hey, if this works with other people’s kids, of course they are big kids, we could make this game work for our little kiddos, right? Both of us haven’t played the game for quite some time, just supervising the students in class and helping them with scripts. It’d be FUN to play together with the kiddos. Aha!!! New homeschooling syllabus created.


Skills ‘caught’ from the game:

  • counting (they spin the wheel and count the steps, counting money, paying others, counting change)
  • polite expression (saying PLEASE, Thank You, My Pleasure, Excuse Me)
  • taking turns
  • decision-making (which van to choose, which path to take)
  • real life scenario (buying insurance, taking bank loans, investing in a stock – never underestimate your kids, when you explain and answer their questions well, they CAN understand)
  • social interaction (role playing – become a doctor, teacher, entertainer, athlete, etc.)
  • organization (in arranging the bills, the cards);

and basically, we just have tons of fun playing the game. So, ayah and ibu out there, we really recommend this game as a family bonding time.
Visit the nearest Parkson (just bought a new one in Alamanda recently) or Toys r Us and bring back this bundle of joy.

Price range: RM 119 – 130. C’mon, investment guys!!!

If you want to know more about this game go to


CSI in the HOUSE


‘Crime’ scene: kitchen

Suspect-cum-victim: the girl

Evidence: bits and pieces of cili kering, a knife, a bleeding index finger (blood trickling..) and a little girl in terror

Investigator: the mother

Photographer/interrogator: the father

Sequence of events: The boys taking nap. The baby sleeping like a baby. The father also napping. The mother … resting in peace (pun intended).

Mother heard some noise in the kitchen. Suspected something fishy but the suspect said she was taking milk from the fridge. Heard clinging noise (spoons and forks, kot?)

Mother went to crime scene to investigate. Caught in action. The girl holding a small knife looking at the mother with eyes wide open. “Want to peel the onions,” said the girl. “…dangerous. Gimme the knife, please.” Suspect obeyed. Mother returned to enjoy the tranquil afternoon.

Suddenly… “Uwaaaaaa aaaaa aa” Mother rushed to the crime scene (still in ‘pantang’ ya). The girl showed a bleeding index finger. No sharp object in sight. Mother called Father. Mother saw a bigger knife near the sink. Mother cleaned Girl’s cut. A small, cute cut. After the wailing ended, interrogation began.

Father interrogated: Were you using a knife?

Suspect/victim: (shaking head)

F: What hurt you? What happened?

S/V: (sobbing) Spoon…

Hmm…we smelled a rat….but don’t jump the gun yet, don’t get too excited folks.

Same question asked, same answer repeated.

Then come the leading question.

Father took the knife and asked: Which part of this knife hurt you?

Girl: pointed to the middle of the knife.


F: Would you want to use this knife again?

G: (Hid behind Mother, shaking her head profusely). CASE CLOSED. Mother, Father and Girl learnt their lessons.


Learning is Fun!

Abang reading a poem to SarahReaders are Leaders  

Muhammad reading a poem, “The Boys’ Song” to Sarah while she’s being dressed by Umie. Alhamdulillah, Abang’s reading has improved tremendously once we’ve found the right switch. He loves maps, countries, factual stuff. He loves poem because poems have rhyme and they are songs without music, right?

Musa reading song lyric. Jefferson Starships’ “Sarah”. Remember the 80’s song? ‘Sarah..Sarah..storms are brewing in your eyes’ (dedicated to Sarah who always sleeps. After all, she’s brewing up a storm, aye?)

Maryam taking her turn to ‘read’ from her colourful and glittery picture book. We were in the van on the way to Mak Njang’s house. There was a picture of a tree but she ‘read’ it as ‘broccoli’. Oh, one more, a picture of a rattle but Maryam recognized it as a …. ‘lollipop’! Well done, kak Yam.

learning journey

we are a travelling family. the white toyota hiace is our second crib. full of books, toys, crumbs of food, kiddos’s shoes, pillows etc.
when our english sure boleh seminar road tour is in full swing, we live in and out of the duffelbags n hop frm one hotel to another (2-3.5stars yeah!)
hence we make use of the time in the van for kids’ schooling. our ‘sillybus’:
1. simple du’a, selawat n zikr
2. nasyid n english nursery rhymes n pop songs
3. playing ‘i spy’
4. reading
5. chatting
6. q n a session
and whatever topics/lessons deemed appropriate. tiring but fun n fulfilling!
so hooray vanschooling!
ps: sorry lowercasing all letters, usg abi’s phone

homeschool’s cool

Thank you to fellow homeschool mama, mamafiza ( for her very organized time blocks for h-skuling.

I’m a ‘kalut’ type of mum (so many things to do at once)- though I prefer to call my style of managing my kids’ schooling as ‘organized chaos’ (gulp!). ‘Apa taknye, mengajar ikut dan je’. Ex: Hey, let’s do cursive handwriting today, kiddos! Ok let’s take a nap. Ready, now let’s do a play..Muhammad, you’ll be The King, Musa The Tailor, Maryam The Little Princess.

Mis estudiantes So when I got the schedule from mamafiza on how she organizes her kids’ activities, it’s like I’m seeing a light at the end of a torchlight.

I must say that credit goes to the kiddos’ Abi (my habibi) who is very creative and passionate when he’s teaching-playing with them. He’d make time to play chess with the boys, quizzing them (and Maryam too) on World History and Geography and answer their endless questions about this world and nature. Thanks Abi!

Today is day 33 of my ‘pantang’ – got an invitation from familyplace, a h-skuling community in Subang Jaya, to attend their dialogue session. They want us to share our h/s approach with other parents. Honestly, when we homeschool our kids, we are learning m0re from our kiddos. What looks good in books and on papers does not necessarily work out in practice.

Gotta go. Wanna have my nightly chat with Maryam (my little fashionista). Adios! Salam.