Thursday, September 27, 2007

More Readers For Your Blog

Have a Blog? Join in and Get Massive Traffic

When on the road, traffic is a 'bad' word. But in the blogging world, traffic is 'good'. Actually, it is more than good, it is essential. It's as vital as the blood that runs through your body.

So, how do you get traffic to your blog? Ask a professional internet marketer and they will have a list up for you in a jiffy. Me, I'm no professional but I do know one thing, content is important. Oh, blog hopping and commenting on other people's blogs help too. Okay, actually there is another thing. It's pretty new but there's been a lot of hype about it already (thanks to the many internet gurus out there). It's a get-traffic-widget called BlogRush.

I already have one up on my sidebar. Just keep strolling down, you will see it. Basically, you join the network of BlogRush-ers and your blog posts will be distributed to other related blogs via the widget. So join in and be a BlogRush-er, and wait for new blood to flow through your blog.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Homemade Costume: Cloak


I made this cloak for my girl back in 2004 for a halloween party. You guessed it, she was Little Red Riding Hood. 3 years later, this cloak is still one of my children's favorite 'toy'. If you read my post a few days ago on "
Motivating Your Child to Brush Their Teeth", you will notice my son wearing that same cloak. Of course he is not Little Red Riding Hood. It's his superhero cloak!

Kids just love playing dress up. This cloak is really simple to do. Well... I did screw up a bit trying to figure it out. But as you can see, my screw up also looks okay. If you want to make one for your children, click on the link below for the instructions:

NO SEW CLOAKS

Dancing Days

During my secondary school days, my group of friends me and did our fair share of dance performances. I remember we did one on the cha-cha and another on the rumba. We even did one we called the "mongolian" dance. Crazy! We totally made it up. Oh yes, there was also a perfomance on the Jive Bunny. Does anyone remember that album? It's a mix of jive, twist, Hawaii Five-O etc....

So, where did I learn all these dance moves? Believe it or not, I learned some at school. Do they even teach dancing in school nowadays? Plus, my mom also has dancing feet. She taught me a few moves too. Nowadays she is into line dancing. They have a group that practices at the golf club every week. Yeah, talk about the golf club. They used to have ballroom dancing classes. I would be the youngest there amidst all the "aunties" and "uncles". Some preferred to fox trot around the room. Me, I was into jiving. One of the 'uncles' there invited me to jive with him and I gotta say, he was a good leader coz' he was twisting me here and there. After that I was quite dizzy :) It felt really effortless on my part. Thank goodness I didn't get my feet all tangled up.

I haven't done any dancing in a looooong time. Nowadays people are into salsa and belly dancing? Hehehe, I'll have to think twice coz' after three kids, there are lots of jello to shake now, you know what I mean? Of course I could always lock myself up somewhere with some instructional videos and hide from prying eyes. But then again, with kids, there is no place to hide.

Well, if you are ready for some boogeying, DanceCrazy.com is the place to check out. They have a good collection of instructional dance videos. They offer step by step instructions that are easy to follow. With them you can put some fun dancing into your life.


Monday, September 24, 2007

Baby Toys

With the latest recall and awareness of lead painted toys, I'm sort of glad I didn't invest much in commercial toys for my kids. So, what do my children play with? I've found that children have a greater interest in "real" everyday things such as the laundry basket you see in the picture above. Their list of "toys" also include:
  • cardboard boxes
  • plastic cups, bowls and spoons
  • back scratcher
  • pots and plastic ware found in the kitchen
  • ladles (also found in the kitchen)
  • plastic bottles - you can make your own shakers, but right now baby is happy just banging an empty one on the floor
Balls are also a favourite in my home. Baby at 8 months now have already learned to throw the ball. It's a small ball just the right size for his tiny hands. One thing I learned at Kindermusik was to label the actions as we do them. So, I would roll the ball to baby and say out aloud "Roll the Ball". Or there is a song/chant that goes along with the actions.

Here is one that you can sing to the tune of "Farmer in the Dell."

We roll the ball, it's rolling.
Now roll it down the track.
We roll it down to Baby,
And Baby rolls it back.

Then when you bounce, throw, toss or kick the ball, you just change the words accordingly.
Baby also has developed a love for books. Yes, more often than not they do end up in his mouth. But I also see that he is trying to control his hands to open and close the book.

Mamas Tips:
Don't get caught up too much with commercial toys that entice you with their brain development capabilities. "Toys" that you find around your house are not only inexpensive, but they also do help in baby's development. Actually, non-battery operated toys probably do more in encouraging creativity as children think of different ways to play with it.

So, what are some toys your children play with?


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Nice Award

This nice award was presented to me by a nice person: Peridot&Sapphire. She says she is my silent reader. Thanks for not being silent this time. Heheheh.

So, what am I exactly awarded for?
The originator of the Nice Matters Award states that it is meant for “those that are just nice people, good blog friends, and those that inspire good feelings and inspiration! Those that care about others, that are there to lend support, or those that are just a positive influence in our blogging world!”

Wah, so nice to have people view my blog that way. That is certainly my goal anyway. So, to pass this on, I will have to nominate 7 people. I see many people already have this award. If you are awarded 2nd or 3rd time, nevermind-lah hor. Just means you are doubly and triply nice :)

1. Scribbles for My Angels
2. Jenn
3. Min
4. J@n!ce
5. Joy
6. Jean's Diary
7. Singapore Girl

Addition (24 September 2007)
I'm also giving this award to Ken because he so "nicely" hinted that he'd love to receive it one day. Those lovely pictures of you children curled up in bed do inspire me to curl up in mine :)

Digital Photo Frames

If you are like me, you have tons of digital photos stored away on your computer. Mine are mostly pictures of my kids. Some of these pictures make it to my blog as I record down my adventures and misadventures of life with children. Like many parents out there, I too want to capture my children's growing years and leave behind a journal that will remind me of those magic moments. Children grow up so fast, don't you agree? Before you know it, they will be heading out the door ready to fly and build their own nest. Sob!

Anyway, back to those photos you have on your computer. Don't you sometimes feel it a waste that hardly anyone gets to see them? I know you can load them onto an online photo album, but what if you get visitors to your home? How do you share with them the photos without turning on your computer? Or if you have parents like mine, who not only do not have a computer, but don't know how to use one too. I've been procrastinating for the longest time to get some photos of the kids printed out for their grandma. So, I was very excited and impressed to learn about digital photo frame.

Unlike a traditional photo frame where you can only show one picture, a digital picture frame allows you to showcase pictures on your memory card like a slide show. Not only pictures, but home videos and background music.

So imagine if grandma had one of these? All you have to do is copy all your photos onto a memory card, and pass that to her. I'm sure she'll watch the digital photo frame more than she'll watch t.v.!

I would love to have one for myself too. The kids are always pestering me to show them their pictures and home videos. And I would be so happy to finally show off my digital scraps. Okay, so here's one for the Christmas list.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Inherited Naughtiness

(Pix is DS1 caught playing with powder a few years back)

Often I get mad with my kids' foolish decisions, loud and unceasing chatter, and boundless energy. But you know what, I think compared to me as a kid, they are indeed better in many ways.

My brother came over one night and started to relate some of the 'naughty' things I did as a kid. He reminisced about the time I lashed out my anger by throwing down the many pewter trophies on the shelf. He says, “why do you think we have so many dented pewters?”

I also remember slamming my mother's bedroom door many times whenever she scolded me. The louder the better. That habit came to a complete stop when my father decided to give me a good whipping for showing such disrespect. That was the only canning I ever had. That was the only canning I ever needed.

Another “naughty” memory was the time I pulled out all my mother's clothes from the cupboard and just heaped them into one big pile on the floor. I was angry at her for something and figured it was a good way to get back. Yes, revenge was boiling in my blood.

And here is another story often recounted by my brother -- my foolish act of jumping into the deep end of the swimming pool and almost drowning. My brothers were doing it and I thought why not join in the fun. Thank goodness my brother spotted me and pulled me out.

I was a chatter box too. Aunties and uncles would entice me with monetary rewards to get me to be quiet for 5 minutes. Embarrassed to say, I never did successfully earn those rewards.

My DH is no saint either. He has 'horror' stories tucked away under the carpet too. Pulling his cousin sister's hair and dragging her across the room is one of them. His tally of canning sessions greatly exceeds mine. Sorry I can't write too much about DH's naughtiness. It is under the X-files folder :) BUT it does exist.

After my brother's little visit, DH is quick to remind me where my children inherits their negative traits. I, of course, say he has a part in it too.

Mamas tip
When the kids get a little out of hand and you are going berserk, try to remember that you once was someone's headache too.

So, what are some “naughty” traits your children have inherited from you?

Smorty: Earn Money Blogging

Blog for money, that seems to be on everyone's mind these days. Blogging for money is a hot trend right now. I know many of you bloggers out there have already signed up with a “get paid to blog” program. Well, here is one more to add to your bag – Smorty.
No need to worry about having to blog about things you don't know or don't want. Some people can blog about anything under the sun. Me, I have a problem with that. I'm very picky over what I write. If possible, I would like to maintain my blogging theme which is about parenting, kids and family life. Okay, so once in a while I also blog about how to earn extra income. So if there is an opportunity to write about credit cards, accounting software or home loans, I would totally skip it. This freedom to choose is one reason why I signed up with Smorty.

Minimum payout is US$6 per post. Depending on your pagerank and Smorty smart score, you can earn up to US$100 per post. I eagerly await the day I earn that much for writing a post that is only 150-400 words long. I think my hands would shake as I write. Hahaha. How often would you get paid for approved blogs? WEEKLY! Yeah, you don't have to wait forever.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Motivating Your Child to Brush Their Teeth

If I ask my children how many times they need to brush their teeth in a day, they will confidently answer "two times - morning and night." So clever hor. But in reality, they usually only brush once a day. They always forget to brush in the mornings, after they wake up.
Well, I also very tired of reminding them. So, what to do?

2 days back
Me: Who brushed their teeth this morning?
(No answer)
Me: Nobody brushed?
DD: We forgot.
Me: Ow, that's too bad. I wanted to give 10 cents to the person who had brushed their teeth. I guess nobody gets it then.
DD: Okay, I'm going to brush now.
Me: No, it doesn't work that way. From now on, I will give 10 cents to the person who answers "yes" when I ask "who brushed their teeth this morning?" BUT, you won't know when I will ask. I won't ask everyday. If you want the 10 cents, then just make sure you remember to brush everyday. So when I do ask, you can say "yes".

Yesterday Morning
Me: Did you guys remember to brush your teeth?
Children: Aiyah, no.

This Morning -- They woke up early and had already gone downstairs. Not long after I see them rushing back into the room and into the bathroom.
DS: Mommy, I'm going to brush my teeth.
DD: Me too.
(After brushing)
DS: Mommy, can you give me 10cents?
Me: But I haven't asked the question.

Later he asked me again if I was going to give him 10 cents. Again I said he must wait for my question. Eventually I asked the "golden" question and they both got their 10 cents. I didn't want to disappoint them. And the funny part was, he came to me a few minutes later and said "here Mommy, you can have back the 10 cents, so you can buy food." Hahahaha.

Mamas tips:
Some might not agree with monetary rewards to encourage certain behaviors in children. They say intrinsic rewards work better than extrinsic rewards. Meaning, it doesn't help when children do something just to get a reward. It would be better if they did it because of internal motivation e.g. brushing teeth so my teeth don't rot, so my breath is nice, or so my teeth are clean and white.

So why am I doing this?
  • Well, for one thing, telling them I'll give them a hug after every brush just doesn't seem to work anymore. I had to get their attention and offer something that would stick in their mind (for a while, anyway). I know they have been playing with their pile of coins lately, so I decided to go with that current interest.
  • They still don't really understand the value of money. So whether it is 10 cents or $100, it doesn't make a difference. The 10 cents is just a gift token. You could replace it with anything that is of value to them, e.g. a sticker, an ice cream etc....
  • How you play the game matters. There are different ways to apply positive reinforcement. You could give the reward every time your child brushes his teeth, or you could make your reward schedule unknown. I chose to do the latter. Meaning, my children won't know when they will be rewarded. According to my psychology lessons (that I learned way back in Uni), having an uncertain reward schedule works better. An example is why do people get addicted to gambling? Because they don't know when they might hit that "jackpot". It is the "I might win this time" that gets people hooked.
  • Of course this reward is only to get them started. I will eventually stop using it. The "proper" reasons for brushing teeth will continue to be taught. AND hugs and praise will continue to be given :)
p.s. And I thought my psychology degree was just a wall decoration :) I guess it does have some use afterall. Hahahah.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Adelaide anyone?

Australia seems to be a popular holiday destination among Malaysians. I remember when I was in primary school, I would envy my friends who would go there for holidays. Australia also seems to be a popular choice when it comes to migration and studies. Again in primary school, I lost a friend as her family moved there. Sharon Liew, I wonder where you are now. After SPM, a whole bunch of my friends also selected to do an Australian based program. Me, I took off to the United States.

Well, I got to visit Australia eventually. My golfing adventures took me to Perth and Brisbane. I have good memories of Perth. My first trip there was a tournament at Joondalup Country Club. My second trip was a tournament at Lake Karrinyup Country Club. The family I stayed with was wonderful to me. Jan and Barry, I still think of you. Sorry I haven't written for soooo long.

The one thing that really struck me in Perth was the pace of life. Compared to bustling PJ, it's very quiet and peaceful, especially in the evenings. I could never get enough time for my souvenier shopping because by the time I was done at the golf club, the shops were already closing. But I hear Adelaide is even quieter.
Thank you badjonni for this beautiful picture of sunset in Adelaide)

Now, what would one do in Adelaide?
  • I hear there is a Botanic Garden, a place with tranquil lakes, landscaped gardens and shady trees.
  • Central Market where you can find the freshest food in Australia.
  • Mt. Lofty Summit to feast your eyes on the beautiful panoramic view of Adelaide.
  • St Kilda's 1.7km Mangrove Trail where you can learn more about the mangrove ecosystem.
  • St. Kilda Adventure Playground. A place that will put a big smile on your kid's face as they go crazy with numerous swings, slides and flying foxes.
  • Adelaide is also known as the City of Churches. So, why not visit some of the churches, especially the Holy Trinity Church which is one of the oldest.
If you are already settled down in Adelaide, check out this Adelaide classifieds. Trying to earn a few extra bucks, you can put up things for sale. You can advertise your services such as babysitting in the "Jobs in Adelaide" section. It was interesting looking through this section as some things you would never find in Malaysia like fruit picking and topless barmaids! They also have a "Dating in Adelaide" for the lonely souls. Of course, do be careful with internet dating.

Well, I hope one day to bring my children to visit Australia. I would love to introduce them to Ms. Koala and Mr. Kangaroo.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Baby Milestone: 8 Months

video

I was soooo happy yesterday when I saw baby trying to stand unaided for the first time. He has been using the chairs to pull himself up and would enjoy himself standing up. BUT I really didn't expect him to let go. The video is actually his second attempt. His first attempt was only a few minutes before that. I quickly called DH down to catch this magic moment. This is one BIG advantage of working from home - you get to catch many of baby's FIRSTs.

Anyway, here is baby D's other 8 month milestones:
  • Just had a checkup at the clinic today. He is 9.6kg.
  • Still loves to chew on everything and anything. Here he is with some teething toys bought by his #1 fan, Sister Joyce from church. The one that looks like a Bee actually buzzes when you bite on it. Talk about gum massage. Hahahah. But his favourite is the one that looks like a hand. Thank goodness those aren't my real fingers. Imagine a shark on a feeding frenzy!
  • He has upgraded his crawling technique. No more army crawling. He is now up on his knees. He is still trying to get the hang of it, so he crawls fairly slowly this way. Of course I'm sure he will step on the gas and be speeding on 5th gear very soon.
  • He has been babbling "papa" for a few weeks now. DH wants to believe that baby is referring to him. I say baby is actually trying to say "pau pau", meaning please carry me (hehehe, this is mean Mommy trying to spoil Daddy's fun). Anyway, today he kept saying "mama". YAY! Mommy sooooo happy indeed. Of course, there is also the possibility he is actually saying "mum mum" meaning give me some food :)
  • Talking about food, this baby is also a snacker. He is okay with the main meals we prepare for him. But you should see his enthusiasm when he spots someone snacking (be it on bread, mooncake or sweets). Check out how he hunts and mauls his brother who just raided some chocolate from the fridge.
video
Well, hopefully the videos don't take too long to load. Do enjoy his antiques. So this is baby D at 8 months old.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ambitions

Mommy: Son, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Son: I want to be a postman.
Mommy: Huh, a postman? Why a postman?
Son: Because I like to deliver letters.
Mommy: That's all?
Son: And I get to ride a motorbike!

You know how you hear of parents wanting their children to be doctors or lawyers? How about you? Do you have high dreams for your children?
When I heard that my child wanted to be a postman, I admit I was not very enthusiastic. As parents, you hope your child will choose a profession that will be highly reputable, plus if possible, bring in a big, fat check. Am I right?
Of course my son is only 4 years old. And so I quickly dismiss his intentions of being a postman as I know, sometime in the future, his ambitions are bound to change again. Just a few months ago he wanted to be a policeman. Also a few days ago, I heard he wanted to be a Pokemon trainer and part of the Fantastic Four team member.
I'm trying very hard not to be bias towards any profession, nor look down on any. Although we do not wish our children to end up as a garbage man, you still have to teach your children to be grateful for them.
And so my question this time is:
  • What sort of profession do you see your child doing?
  • What sort of profession will you object to? (Of course anything that gets you in jail or immoral activities are a clear no-no, what else?)
  • Will you give your child 100% freedom of choice to choose their own vocation?

Monday, September 10, 2007

PINGO: Over 5 Free Hours of International Phone Calls!

Just recently, some of my friend's children came home from their studies in the United States to do an internship. Being around them reminded me of my university days... assignments, early morning classes, quizzes, tests, writing reports etc.... But most of all, the feeling of missing home.

I remember when I first arrived in the United States, I wanted to call home to tell my parents I was okay. But I soon realized I couldn't as I didn't have an calling card. It took me a few days to figure how things worked before I could make that call back home.

Deciding on an long distance phone card can be just as confusing. You're not sure which one will give you the best deal. Well, you don't have to be in a limbo like I was.



Pingo is a prepaid calling card service that saves you big money on long distance calls. You don't have to worry about hidden fees. The price you see is what you pay. The only other fee you have to pay is a nominal monthly maintenance fee of USD 98 cents. The calling rates at Pingo are very low and very competitive. To see the full list of countries Pingo reaches and their calling card rates click here.

PINGO also has a Business & Family Plan. You can create sub accounts for business associates and family members, then manage those accounts from a single master account.

Pingo is a great communication option. For example, if you are going away on a business trip, get an International Prepaid Phone Card. Stay in touch with your loved ones for an affordable price.

Now when you sign up with PINGO, you'll receive $8 in FREE Calls! You will receive up to 5 hours of free International calls. Here is the code for the special discount: “ppp3”. It is valid for $3 off Pingo. So, in summary, you receive $25 phone card for just $17.

Also, you can join Pingo’s calling card affiliate program. Earn $15 for each friend you refer.



Tag: I Am Loved

I am so honored to received this tag from Mumsgather. I love reading her blog too as I feel we have a lot of children related experiences in common.
Okay, so spread the love, spread the love. I spread the love to:

Friday, September 07, 2007

Sleeping In Their Own Room

I'm sure everyone has a story to tell when it comes to their children's sleeping habits. Just look at how my daughter sleeps. She is a master contortionist. I don't know why they like to sleep froggy style???? Something to do with reflections of the time they spent in the womb, maybe?

Anyway, my topic for today is getting children to sleep in their own room. Many parents are afraid to co-sleep with their children because they are afraid they may never claim back their sleeping space. The question "how to kick them out of my bed later ah?" weighs heavily on their minds.

Well, I'm here to tell you there is hope. You won't believe it, my daughter decided ON HER OWN, to sleep in her own room herself. And with the door closed too. Yeah... no hassle, no bribing, no pleading, no tantrums, no running back to my room, no nice decoration to make it enticing, no nothing. I didn't even ask her to go! And sometimes, her brother decides he wants to sleep in the other room with his sister too. Wow, a 2-in-1 package deal.

How did I do it? Errr... I really don't know. The following may have helped:
  • It's their playroom. So, maybe the room is associated with fun.
  • We keep referring to it as THEIR room. Maybe she likes the idea of ownership.
  • When my mom comes to visit, she sleeps there with her.
  • We keep telling her that one day she will have to move to her room. There was hinting that "one day" would be the day she starts Std.1. Well, she starts next year. Maybe the deadline helped.
But she does keep asking for that double decker bed. Sorry dear, no money now.

So to all the parents out there who fear you may have to pull out all your hair before you get your children to sleep in their own room... it may turn out to be not so bad after all.
I'm just glad I still have my small baby to cuddle in bed while my other babies are growing up. Sob!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Teaching Kids About Safety

I was quite tickled the other day when Baby D tried to crawl after his siblings as they rushed out the door to go play outside. Thank goodness my daughter remembered to close the gate, or I'm sure he would have crawled out with them. I can already see the impatience in this little baby's eyes to do the things his siblings are doing. Oh no! Another 'Energizer battery' in the making.

Mamas tip:
1. When your child gets about 3+ years old, teach them how to lock/unlock the door. Their fingers and hands should be strong and skillful enough now to learn how to turn a key. Reason for this is not so they can flee like a refugee, but rather for emergency cases like you pengsan (faint) and they need to let the paramedics in :)
2. When they can open the door:
  • tell them when they are allowed to open it and to whom and for what.
  • teach them to close and lock it at all times (you'll hear yourself repeating this for a few years). Children are so innocent that they don't know how evil lurks out there. I keep reminding my children how open doors may just be an open invitation to unwelcome visitors. I tell them about the knives or guns these people might have and their intention to steal things or to harm us. Not that I want to scare them (well... maybe a little) but they need to learn that there are consequences to their actions.
3. Oh, and one more thing, make sure they know not to leave the keys in the keyhole or anywhere near the door after they lock it (this is if you have a grilled door).