Thursday, June 26, 2008


CloveTWO has teamed up with Malaysian Institute of Baking (MIB) in a contest to offer a FREE BAKING WORKSHOP!
Am I interested? Heck ya! But to be among the 5 winners, I first have to convince the judge and jury why I should be picked. So here it goes, my top 10 reasons why I'm putting my hand up and screaming "pick me! pick me!"
  1. I am absolutely NOT allergic to baking powder.
  2. Sweet buns with hot dog filling is my son's favorite. Please teach me 'sifu'.
  3. I am NOT afraid to get fat. Let's indulge in chocolate.
  4. I think my kids have suffered enough eating their mom's not-so-perfect baking endeavors. But they are such wonderful kids to still eat them and say they are nice.
  5. I need to get away from the kids for a few hours. I need some "me time".
  6. I love the smell of a bakery. It's like aromatherapy.
  7. I want my friends to say "Wah! You so clever to bake now ah."
  8. My husband says I need to upgrade my baking skills.
  9. FREE & EXPERT GUIDANCE. A combination that doesn't come by often. Perfect for a "kiam siap" (kedekut / miser) person like me.
  10. I will give you a free golf lesson if you pick me. Hahahahah. Just kidding. Cannot bribe the judges right? Okaylah, pick me because I really want to learn and the Malaysian Institute of Baking is the right place to learn. Serious okay! I need professional help.
Well, I hope my top 10 list will make it into the contest's top 5 list.

If anybody else want to join this contest, I strongly discourage it. The less the competitors, the higher my chances mah. Hahahah. But if you are nice and leave me a comment here, maybe I will choose you to go with me (if I win lah). Yes, winners get to bring a friend. So, pray that I win okay?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Recognizing Early Signs of Autism

above the ordinary... by several hundred milesImage by Norma Desmond via FlickrThere seems to be more and more children these days with developmental and learning problems. Have the risks increased or are we just getting better at diagnosing them? Autism is one such disorder that seems to be on the rise. That's why parents these days are so diligent in keeping track of their children's developmental milestones. We want to be assured that our children are normal and healthy. And if not, we understand the importance of early intervention. The quicker we get help, the higher the chances of our child improving.

So, do you know the early signs of autism?

Autistic children basically have problems in these areas:
  • Lack of communication and language problems - very quiet, limited vocabulary, delayed speech, don't smile or coo as babies.
  • Social impairment - they are in their own world, problems with eye contact and facial expression, unresponsive when you try to connect with them.
  • Repetitive body movements and behaviors such as hand flapping.
  • They may show a fanatical obsession over a certain topic or fixate on certain parts of an object. For example: staring at the ceiling fan or hours turning a switch on and off.
  • Hyper sensitive to touch, sound, smells or taste - some don't like to be hugged or are irritated by certain types of clothing. Loud sounds can be distressing too.
  • Cannot stray away from routines
These are just some signs to look out for. However, autism can be manifested at different levels of intensity and there are different types too. Yes, it just makes the disorder all the more complicated. There are 5 disorders commonly categorized as being on the autism spectrum.
  • Classic autism
  • Asperger's symdrome
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)
  • Rett Syndrome
  • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
If you find your child displaying some of these early sign of autism, take action quickly.
More information when you get THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO AUTISM.

For Malaysians, you can seek more help at NASOM TeleAutism.

Zemanta Pixie

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cupcake Design

If you are interested in cupcake design but don't know where to start, just take a look at this video. It shows you basic techniques that are simple for beginners to do (like me!).

As mentioned in the video, this would be fun to do with the kids too.

Here are more ideas on cupcake design and cake decorating. The membership site provides you hundreds of step-by-step online videos, how-to articles, ideas, tips & tricks. Perfect for you if you are thinking of making it your hobby or even starting your own cupcake business.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Making Cupcakes Again

I had a service auction at church last Saturday. The sisters were asked to offer a "service" and others would bid for it. So, what could I offer? I settled for decorated cupcakes. That gave me the opportunity to kill 2 birds with 1 stone - cupcakes for bidding and cupcakes to entertain my children. So how did I do this time? You judge for yourself.

If you are wondering how to keep your kids busy during the holidays or maybe considering activities for a birthday party or playgroup, try a cupcake decorating session. I'm sure they will love it!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Luvs Diapers $5-off Coupon

Do you recognize this lady? She is mom-comedienne Anita Renfroe. Still don't ring a bell? She's known for her “Total Momsense” song to the tune of the William Tell Overture that became a YouTube sensation. I really enjoyed that song and I know many moms did too. Almost every mother was saying "you gotta listen to this song...."

Well, she is now the spokesperson for Luvs diapers. If you're Malaysian like me, you've probably never heard of this brand of diaper before. So, just a quick summary about these diapers -- they offer premium leakage protection for less than the pricey brands. In other words, you get the premium features without paying extra. Bottom line -- it's economical and efficient (and I get to try them for FREE. Yay!).
Well, back to Anita Renfroe being the spokesperson for Luv diapers. She has written another comedic song and video, a sequel to the original “Mom-sense” jingle. AND you get a peek of the video here on my blog. This video won't go live until June 25th. The song/video is about a day in the life of a mom and all the things she juggles with family life and managing a home. It's fresh, irreverent, timely and funny.

AND another treat for you-- Get $5 off your next purchase of Luvs diapers.
Head over to on 25th June 2008 to grab those limited coupons. It's available on a first-come, first-served basis. Mark that date on your calendar!!!
*Sorry, offer only for US residents.
Zemanta Pixie

Friday, June 13, 2008

Recycling Woes

I recently posted about frugal lifestyle, but there is another lifestyle change - green lifestyle.

I've been trying to recycle plastics, aluminum and glass but I tell you, the g'ment don't make it easy. I put these items aside and when it comes time to discard them, I have to go hunting for recycling bins. I used to take them to the Kg. Tunku post office but the bins are no more there. And since I moved house, I have not seen one recycle bin anywhere here or near here.

And what's up with these recycling bins? They are so small. Sometimes there is no more place and I'd have to put the trash on the outside of the bin. I would give them to the dumpster truck but I'm not sure if they recycle them. The ones that come by my house is just a lorry and the rubbish is just thrown to the back (not sorted out). At least in PJ they use real dumpster trucks and I see the trash collectors trying to sort out the stuff a bit. But I believe that is for their own financial gain right?

DH mentioned how in Japan they would designate different days to collect plastics, glass etc.... Is this true? Anyway, I just think it is ridiculous how we are encouraged to recycle but not much is done to make it easy.

Anyway, this is what I do to teach my kids about recycling or living green:
  • Don't throw away paper that has only been printed on one side. Can use the other side for scribbling and drawing.
  • Throw organic trash (like vegetable ends, garlic and onion peels, fruit) into the garden or make compost.
  • Turn off the water when brushing teeth. Teach them where the water from the tap comes from. Young children don't usually think about limited water supply. Give them the bigger picture and point out those big water tanks.
  • Teach them to turn off lights, fan, TV, radio etc.... My kids always ask us to turn on the air conditioner. They don't understand that air conditioner uses lots of energy. I think I need to introduce the meter box to them and show them the running numbers and tell them what it means.
So, what ways do you live green?

A Frugal Lifestyle

With the cost of living going up, up, up, the call has been made to change our lifestyle to one that is more frugal. So, what kind of changes can be made? Well, that is the point of this tag. Mumsgather wants to know, but I think this tag originated from Cuddly Family. She too has specifically called out my name to participate.

Well, truthfully, my frugal lifestyle started like 2 years ago.
  • Moved away from the city where the rent is cheaper but the house don't get smaller.
  • Work from home. Don't need to travel unnecessarily. We try not to go out more than 2x a week.
  • Home-preschooling. Kindergarten these days are just wayyyyy to expensive.
  • Not signing up kids for 101 tuition and activities. No need to pay extra fees and no need to chauffeur them all over the place. There's plenty they can learn at home (if you take the time to teach them.) Try not to be overly "kiasu."
  • Shop and pay bills over the internet.
  • Switched to modern cloth diapers.
  • Eat at home. I get to practice my cooking skills too.
  • Cultivate a garden that is edible. We have 4-5 papaya trees, 2 banana trees and many mulberry trees. Plenty of herbs to make "leong char" (cooling drink). 3 neem trees to help in cleansing blood (but only FIL and DH drinks it. Urgh! Too bitter for me). Vegetables not so much these days, but we used to have long beans, brinjal, ladies fingers, chillies and bok choy. Tomato is difficult to plant. Even if you've cemented up your entire porch, you can plant some of these in pots. It's time to switch from being a consumer to being a producer!
  • Air conditioner in the room conked out long ago. We didn't bother to replace it and just use fan. The only other room with air conditioner is DH's office. That one we use only when really "beh tahan" (going to die from the heat).
  • Get an energy saving plug to reduce electricity bill.
  • Turn off main switches for tv, radio and all electrical appliances when not using. Don't just leave them on stand-by mode.
  • No more using condense milk for making milo. Switched to using powdered milk. Actually, we also don't buy milo anymore. Not since they raised the price. Not only expensive but somehow the chocolate also taste like it's been watered down. We've been drinking Tesco's house brand "ChocoMalt" and it's okay.
  • Make sure kids always carry their water bottle when we go out. That way don't have to buy drinks whenever they are thirsty. I also switched to steel water bottles. No more worry about plastic poisoning. They also last longer. The plastic ones always end up leaking or broken.
What more can I do to be frugal? Err... hate to admit it but there needs to be less consumption of junk food in my house. I believe I'm the biggest culprit (*face going red*). Apart from that, I think I'm already very frugal.

Okay, now to pass the "how would you change your lifestyle" baton to:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bunga Tongkeng Soup

This "bunga tongkeng" is sure hard to find. My mom bought this from Seremban the other day. The only place I know that sells this was a stall at SS2 Chao Yang pasar malam (night market). But that was 2 years ago. Haven't been there since I moved, so I don't know if they still sell it.

Anyway, this bunga tongkeng (sorry, don't know what it's called in English or Chinese) is good for making soup. Mom said the lady that sold it mentioned it could also be fried with egg.

Here is the soup recipe.
  • Bunga Tongkeng
  • Minced pork (flavor it with a little salt, soy sauce and oyster sauce)
  • Garlic (some minced and some whole)
  • Onions (some sliced and one quartered)
  • Salt
How to cook?
  1. Boil water in the pot
  2. Fry the minced garlic and onion slices till golden and then add into the soup.
  3. Put the bunga tongkeng into the soup.
  4. Add some garlic pips and quartered onions.
  5. Drop in little scoops (or balls) of minced pork.
  6. At the end, add salt to taste.
I believe you can use pork ribs ("phai kuat") to replace the minced pork. Mom says bunga tongkeng is good for the eyes. Sorry I can't quote any medical or science guru on this. So you'll just have to take my mom's word on this.

If anyone knows where in PJ/KL you can get this bunga tongkeng, let me know.

Want To Know About Homeschooling In Malaysia?

If you are one of those parents who are not happy with the current school education and what to know more about homeschooling, then make some time this Saturday (14th June 2008) and join Chong Wai Leng and gang who are giving free talks on the subject.

Financial Care Center.
1, Jalan PJU 5/3B, Damansara Perdana, 47820 Petaling Jaya

Map available at
Please email: to register (state no.of people coming)


2.00 pm: Registration

3.00 pm: Why We Need Alternatives in Education: K V Soon

3.30 pm: Learning Beyond Schooling: Bringing Out Children's True Potentials:
Chong Wai Leng
3.45 pm: Homeschooling as a viable option: David Tan & Sook Ching
4.15 pm: Questions & Answers
5.30 pm: Session Ends.

Wish I could go but I have a church activity whereby we are making cream cheese tarts to give to the fathers the next day for Father's Day.

Monday, June 09, 2008

One Way To Keep Your Kids Busy

This baby cot was first used to "cage" baby, especially when I needed to cook and stuff. But then, he started to climb over the raised railing and that got dangerous coz' he would fall over head first. So I lowered the railing and the big kids started to have fun with it.
Well, if you ever need to keep your kids busy, give them some blankets and have them make a tent. I'm sure you've done this sort of thing when you were younger. I know I have. There's just something intriguing about crawling into covered spaces.
So, if you can't camp outside, just camp inside first.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Parenting An Autistic Child

One of the most pervasive myths that surround autism is that a child who has it will never show affection and can’t accept getting affection from anyone. There have been literally piles of stories of parents taking their child to a psychologist and the doctor telling the parents that your child can’t possibly be autistic because he gives you a hug now and then. While this opinion is just flat wrong, studies have shown that autistic children do process sensory touch differently than a non-autistic child and that this is where the myth that autistic children don’t like to be touched comes from.

Autism and the way it affects kids really runs the gamut from light to severe. An excellent point to remember when dealing with an autistic child is that every single autistic child is different and will react to almost everything differently. Here are some tips for showing your autistic child affection, and remember, your experience may vary.
  • Trial and error. For some kids with more severe autism, a simple, random hug can be sensory overload. They can become agitated, upset and even violent if they are touched without prior warning. You will probably need to have a trial and error approach when it comes to hugging and touching your autistic child. Some methods may be responded to in a positive way, other ways won’t be. You just have to try and see.

  • Let the child come to you. If you think your autistic child needs a hug, instead of rushing into his personal space and just taking one, speak to the child, bend down to his/her level and open your arms. Smile and let the child know that they are loved and see what the response is. If they don’t come running in for a hug, don’t be offended, it may just not have been the right time for the child.

  • Try hand signals. If your child is too sensitive to hugs or touches to show affection, you can try positive reinforcement in addition to hand singles. Things like a simple thumbs up accompanied by a smile and some positive comments can let the child know they are loved and what they did was good. You can also offer the child a chance to hug during these situations and they might just take you up on it.

  • Make sure everyone is on the same page. If you, the parents, are starting to make progress on getting your autistic child to be more affectionate, you don’t need a sibling, teacher or grandparent who doesn’t know or understand your child’s boundaries messing up all of your hard work. If you’ve begun to implement an affection program with your autistic child, make sure everyone who would possibly try to hug or touch him/her knows the rules. Consistency and repetition are crucial to autistic kids, and this applies to a situation like this, as well.
Trying to figure out a puzzling condition like autism can be a lifelong challenge. For many parents, the affection issue may be the biggest. But with patience and learning to go by the child’s cues and not your own, you will be able to connect with your child in a deep and meaningful way.

Concerned About Autism?

Learn The Facts About Autism & What Really Works Now.
There are many more resources and information about diagnosing, controlling and treating Autism in:
The Essential Guide To Autism

Friday, June 06, 2008

Personalize Your Cards and Announcements

When I was in the U.S., I would get wedding invitations and birth announcements from friends. I can tell you that there are much nicer than the ones we Malaysians send out. The reason being their cards and announcements are always personalized with photographs. So much so they become keepsakes. Yes, I've kept some in my journal. I mean you wouldn't throw away a photograph of a good friend would you?

Just imagine receiving a birth announcement like this:


* Pictures taken from Izzyprints. You can order your cards online from them and get them within 2-3 working days.

How cute is that? I'm sure every parent is eager to show off their little bundle of joy. Plus, friends always ask to see pictures of the cutie pie when you tell them that you've delivered. Now after 3 kids, I wonder why I never send out these personalized birth announcements. I guess it's just not our culture but I'm sure this trend will catch on here. Just like how digital scrapbooking is catching on like wild fire. Parents here have grown to appreciate the artistic value of combining pictures and journaling.

I think personalizing party invitations are a good idea too. Not just children's birthday parties, but any party. For example, if you are having a Christmas get-together, you can do a 2-1 card: greeting and invitation card rolled into one. Send friends and relatives a card that includes a picture of your family. Show them how your family is growing -- growing in number, growing in height, growing in maturity and maybe growing around the belly too :)

With today's technology, I don't see why we should stick to boring cards. Just look at blogs, the ones that are nice to read are ones that have pictures right? So the next card or announcement I send out, will definitely be a little more personal. Make sure if you get one from me, you stick it on your fridge yea?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Talent Show Idea

This cute tadpole song is really cute. My children love it to bits. It also seems like a cute thing to do for a children's talent show. So, if you are searching for an idea, try this.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Natural Migraine Relief

If you are a migraine sufferer like me, I'm sure you will be interested in learning of this free and natural migraine relief. It was introduced to me by my step-mom. See the pine plant below?
(Mine here is still a baby plant)

Sorry, I don't know what it's called. Looks like a Christmas tree but the leaves are soft, not the pokey pine needle kind. It's quite common here. Heck, you may even have it at your house or neighbourhood and didn't know it's medicinal value.
Anyway, just boil the leaves with water and drink it, like tea. My step-mom drinks it everyday (instead of just plain water) and she says she hasn't had a migraine for a year already. Her neighbour takes it to combat high blood pressure.

As for me, I haven't been so diligent in boiling it everyday. I should do it at least a few times a week. But so far I've drunk this pine tea whenever I get an attack, like today. Boil about 1-2 litres of it, not just one cup. It does help to either eliminate or at least lesson the headache.

So if you have migraine like me, give it a try and let me know if it works for you too.

p.s. How is this related to parenting? Who can be an effective parent with a head that feels like it's going to crack open? Definitely not me.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Father's Day Craft

The children were restless so I had them work on the Father's Day gift. Decided to do something really simple - a card with service coupons attached.

Ended up only my girl did the card. My son was more interested in folding the little doggies and writing messages under the ears. Poor daddy has a drawer full of doggies now. We had to actually stop him from making more.
There are 4 service coupons attached: watering the plants, washing daddy's dirty plate, taking care of baby and cleaning the house.

Doing the craft is quite educational. To decorate the front of the card, I had to teach her how to create a border that is equal in size: how to use the ruler and measure, make marks then draw the lines. Also when she wrote "Happy Father's Day", she was writing it too small. Had to tell her stuff like defining the space she wants to fill and then estimating how big the words should be. These sort of things we adults do without thinking. But for a child, it needs to be taught. Anyway, in the end she did a pretty decent job.

So, what do you guys have planned for Father's Day?