Friday, August 29, 2008

Children, Music and Lyrics

{{Potd/2007-11-06 (en)}}Image via Wikipedia Okay, I just have to share this hilarious story. I borrowed a CD from my mom to do some line dancing and one of the songs in the CD is called "Kiss and Makeup" by Belle Perez.

Well, somehow, K grew a liking to the music of that song. And me, I started to get worried because the lyrics don't represent the kind of lessons I want her to be learning:

I don't wanna talk
I wanna kiss and make up
Let's not waste any time
I wanna kiss and make up
I never thought you were a lover next to being a friend
And tomorrow when we wake up we make up again

In this instance, I'm glad she doesn't listen very well. Of the whole song I think she only hears the "I wanna kiss and make up" part. Anyway, I decided to have a little chat with her.

Mommy: K, do you know what the song is saying?
K: I like the music.
Mommy: Yes, I know but sometimes, songs have good music but not very good words. For example, this song that you're listening to don't have very good words. What does it say? ... Kiss and make up right?
K: Yeah.
Mommy: Do you know what it means? What does she want to do?
K: She like to kiss and put on make up (patting her cheeks).
Mommy bursts out laughing uncontrollably.

I love her innocence. Anyway, I also tried to explain what that phrase meant as innocently as possible.

Mommy: Sometimes, girlfriends and boyfriends fight and argue and they get angry at each other. How do they become friends again?
K: (after some thinking)... say sorry.

Hahahaha. See! How to taint such innocence. Anyway, I explained that sometimes they did more than say sorry. That's where the kissing come in. I kind of left the other "physicals" out. And now she knows that "make up" has another meaning.

Sigh! I'm sooooo NOT good at teaching about the "birds and the bees." Better start looking for a children's book on that topic to help me out.

  • Be aware of the kind of music your children listen to. Teach them from young to differentiate between good music and not-so-good music.
  • Teach them that lyrics are just as important as the rhythm.
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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Another Jelly Cake

Made another jelly cake, this time for my daughter's birthday. It is strawberry pudding (bottom), raspberry jello (top) with lychee and longan. Wanted to make the jello top strawberry flavor too but they only had 1 box in that flavor on the shelf and I needed 2 boxes. But the strawberry/raspberry combination was quite nice too.

This picture looks real funny coz' of the glow of the candles. Anyway, just wanted to show ya'll her smiling face. Here's something else that is funny... At 8:30pm, K says she hears someone calling her outside. It turns out to be her friends (2 sisters, one of them her classmate) staying opposite our house, coming for some cake. I was quite shocked coz' she didn't tell me she had invited friends. Plus, since the were Malays, I didn't think they would eat our food (halal issues) and I wasn't prepared. Anyway, I was happy to serve them the jelly cake and I think they liked it too. After they went home, the returned a few minutes later, this time with a gift for K -- birthday "ang pow" (money).
I thought we were done for the night when 2 more visitors came. The 2 girls earlier had told another 2 boys (also neighbours) and they came for the jelly cake too. Hahaha. At that point, I thought all the neighbourhood kids were gonna come knocking and I was afraid I didn't have enough if they did. But, the 2 boys were the last visitors for the night.

We later asked K if she did indeed invite her friend to come. She said that she told her friend that it was her birthday and that she was celebrating at 6pm. "Celebrating" to us was cutting the cake. There was no party planned. But I guess her friend took it as an invitation cause "celebrating" usually means there is a party going on. Must tell our children to be careful with words :)

Oh, and another funny thing... my kids would fight over the lychee and longan but the 4 malay kids ate everything BUT the lychee and longan. They left it on their plates untouched and I threw them away when washing up. Does someone have an explanation for this?

Related post:

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

How Do You Define Real Beauty

Here's a question for you if you are a woman: Do you consider yourself beautiful?

Did you know that only two percent of women around the world describe themselves as beautiful? This fact was discovered by Dove when they commissioned a global study on the matter. I'm not at all surprised to hear this as we are bombarded everyday by pictures of "manufactured beauty" in magazines, billboards and tv commercials.

I think hardest hit are young girls - to be teenagers, teenagers and early adulthood. This is the time when their body is developing, when they are most influenced by their peers (and boys) and a time when being accepted and fitting in matters most. It's a time when self criticism easily overruns self esteem and self acceptance. I'm sure many of us (once again, I'm talking to women) have at least once in our life thought that we're not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not tall enough, not petite enough, not cute enough... basically something was not enough. We criticize our hair, teeth, nose, skin, legs, eyes, chin, triceps, thighs, hips etc....

Well, there is a new film coming up, launching in movie theaters nationwide (in US) on September 12, 2008 called "The Women." It's directed by Diane English. The show is a fast-paced, witty and emotional look at all things female, including loyalties, betrayals, careers, families and most of all, friendships. A remake of the 1939 classic film, The Women features an all-female cast of distinguished actresses, including Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith, Cloris Leachman, Bette Midler and Candice Bergen.

BUT what you really want to watch also is a short film called the The Women Behind "The Women". This short film follows 16-year-old teen journalist Cammy Nelson behind-the-scenes of The Women to learn, first-hand, how Hollywood creates the images we see on screen, highlighting the work and people involved in making a major motion picture come to life. I liked how she got to interview the movie stars and learned what they thought was real beauty. And believe it or not, they've also had "beauty problems" when growing up. It really challenges today's beauty stereotypes. Go over to and watch it. If you have a daughter, watch it with her.

So, what are we going to teach our children about REAL beauty?
  • Teach them they are a child of God. They have divine potential and their body is a gift from God.
  • Tell them they are beautiful and say it often. Have you told your daughter today that she is beautiful?
  • Expose the truth about how models they see in advertisement look beautiful. It's not all natural. There is make-up and digital touch ups.
  • Teach them that beauty does NOT equal happiness. To be happy is a choice.
  • Real friends accept us for who we are. Not only accept us, but support us. Real friends celebrate our unique differences, not try to clone us to be one of them.
  • HECK with the boys that do not have x-ray eyes to see through our physical appearance. Those kind of relationships don't last long.
  • Confidence and positive character enhances beauty.
  • Give them the bad news -- that most people's idea of beautiful are dictated by what they see in the media. That's why it's important to know the difference between "manufactured beauty" and "REAL beauty."
  • ALSO, you as their mother should think yourself as beautiful too.
What is your idea of REAL beauty? And what message will you share with all the women (young and old) out there?

p.s BTW,
Dove has a campaign called "The Dove Campaign For Real Beauty." Go to to read personal views of other women on the topic.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Things That Kids Say

Last Sunday evening, I told my daughter that we might be privileged to see Malaysian history in the making as Lee Chong Wei played Lin Dan in the Olympics badminton final. I explained to her how no Malaysian has won a GOLD medal in the Olympics before and if Lee Chong Wei won that night, he would be the first. She caught on to the excitement as she watched the game with much intensity. Every time he scored a point, she was like "YEAH!" even though he was 10 points down.

Anyway, almost towards the end of the match she makes this sudden discovery:

K: Hey, he (Lin Dan) is chinese and we are chinese. Isn't that funny mommy? ... (calling her brother) He is from China and our great-great-great grandfather is also from China. So, actually, if he win, we also win. Right or not mommy?
So who are you going to cheer for?
K: Both of them lah.

But I can tell you that when Lee Chong Wei lost, she also felt sad. So you see, even if we are chinese, the fact that we are Malaysian still rings true.

After Lin Dan won the match, he threw his badminton racquet and shoes into the stands.

Mommy: K, why don't you practice your badminton and maybe, one day, you can be in the olympics and win a gold medal?
K: Then, what will happen to my racquet and shoes?
(Mommy thinking - Win gold medal first then only decide if you want to throw your racquet and shoes. Apa-lah!)

Yesterday we went for a much needed hair cut. Here's part of the kids' conversation in the car:

K: Mommy, I don't want to cut too short. Until here (indicating with her hand) only. Because I like to keep long hair.
: Ya-lah, I know you like long hair because you want to look pretty for the boys. (And he said it in a teasing and "Ewww" kind of way.)
(Mommy shocked - my little 5 yr old know how to make such evaluation.)

(Mommy scared - What boys??? She is only 7 yrs old.)

I don't know what happened to my son yesterday. He went to the bathroom sooooo many times (maybe it was the cold weather). I took him to the bathroom when we got to the shopping complex. We had lunch and went to the bathroom again. I made sure he went before the movie. He had to go during the movie. He went again after the movie. When I was sitting in the chair getting my hair cut (about 1/2 hour later), he AGAIN said he wanted to go to the bathroom.

So, there I was, stuck in the chair with the cloth wrapped around me and the hair dresser snipping away, and my son with his loud voice declaring to the whole world that he needed to go "shee shee!!!" (meaning wee-wee). Not only did he tell me of his urge every 2 minutes, but even put it to song. Yes, he was singing a High School Musical song and substituted some lyrics for the word "shee shee." Eventually, he was hopping around and holding his crotch and still saying "shee-shee" every other second. What to do? What to do? It's not like I can just get up and leave. It wasn't a hair salon. It was one of those "cut-and-go" shops.

When the hair-dresser finished snipping, he held the mirror and asked "is it okay?" WHAT DO YOU THINK? Okay or not okay also have to be okay isn't it????? Can you tell I was very stressed out and highly annoyed. But after I calmed down I have to express gratitude for one thing -- that he didn't pee his pants.

Mamas Parenting Tip:
  • If you're gonna cut your hair and you have kids with you, make sure there is another adult to accompany you.
  • Teach your children they need to be more discreet when expressing their "bodily urges." The whole world doesn't need to know. Figure out what else you don't want broadcast to the public.
  • If you ever encounter a parent in distress, PLEASE offer your help.
  • And remember, for every bad thing that happens, it could have been worse.
And here is the latest out of my son's mouth:

KokoD: Mommeeee... baby just woke up and he's trying to kill me. HELP!

Don't you just love the drama and comedy you get at home?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Candy Bouquet Business Idea

Above is a video featuring a candy bouquet business owner. This is a good work-at-home idea for mothers wanting to earn some extra cash or deciding to have a career change. Just a few things I noted down from the video:
  • People like candy bouquets because it can be personalized. You can create all sorts of themes for all sorts of occasions such as wedding, centre pieces, sporting events, easter, and even for a school's prom night. I especially liked the idea of creating a theme around an engagement ring. How romantic is that?
  • Even the containers you use is flexible. You can use cute little pots or mugs.
  • If you want your candy bouquet business to stand out from the others, offer a variety of imported, special candy or chocolate. Not just unique in terms of taste but also in appearance. Glenda, the guest on the show and owner of Sweet Inspirations, talked about how she has chocolate that look like golf balls, footballs etc....
  • When doing this business, don't forget to also target businesses and corporations. Glenda mentioned she has many of those type of clients. I was wondering why would they need candy bouquets? Then I realized candy bouquets are perfect if you want to present a gift to a group of people. Maybe a boss wants to say "thank you" to all his staff for a job well done. It's also the kind of gift that creates an impact and is memorable.
  • To retain customers, offer extra services such as remembering special dates for them. I'm sure the ever forgetful but loving husband would appreciate your help in remembering his wife's birthday or anniversary.
I hope you watched the video coz' it showed some lovely examples of the different kinds of candy bouquets you can make. If you think this is the kind of work-at-home business you want to try, here is a guide that will get you started.

You don't need to spend thousands of dollars for a franchise. This guide will teach you how to attach the candies to the stick, how to wrap it, how to price it, market it and sell it. You'll discover how to put together 14 beautiful candy bouquets.

Candy bouquets are a big seller during Valentine's Day. Well, you have 6 months to learn, practice and perfect your skill. But you're probably a fast learner, so you'll be in time for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas :)

Well, this is a great opportunity to finally work from home. Do give the candy bouquet business a try.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Think Twice Before You Buy

Look around your house. Do you have too much stuff?

Well, it's time to review your buying habits. Not just because things are getting more expensive or economic times a bad, but also because it's not healthy for us or the planet. Take a look at this video called "The Story of Stuff". Below is just a teaser. Watch the full story with your children because they need to learn too. And after the video, I believe a walk through the mall or supermarket will be different. Hopefully you and your children won't be quite enticed by all things pretty and shiny.

The video is 20 minutes long but the animation is very entertaining and makes the concept very easy to understand. Here is a link to 10 big and little things you can do.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Shopping For Children's Shoes?

Once again I had to go shoe shopping for my children. Their feet grow so fast. And even if they've not outgrown the shoe, the wear it out so fast too. I'm always awed when friends past down to us some of their children's old shoes. I wonder how they keep it so nice. Don't hope to get any old shoes from us. They always end up in a state fit for the dustbin.

I have to be thankful though, that K's school shoes are still okay. Those white canvas shoes have proven durable even though they are used 5 days in a week. They may not look like the first day she started school, but after washing and a little white polish, it's presentable again. (By the way, I make her wash her own shoes. And I don't like the idea of dumping them in the washing machine). For RM23.99 each, they've been her most value-for-money shoes. That's more than I can say for her pretty church shoes that only last a few months even though she only wears them once a week. I like those canvas shoes too for another reason -- it's flexible. Meaning, I have her wear them for sporting activities too. Ya, not quite the right thing to do. She has been bugging me for some children's trainers.

Looking through, I was impressed with their range of shoes. I asked my daughter to pick out a pair that she likes and she chose this pretty canvas shoes:
You can find all sorts of shoes: Prewalkers, first walking shoes, non-school shoes, school shoes, canvas, sandals, boots, trainers, slippers, wellies and English classics. I really like how the images of the shoes turn 360 degrees too. That way, you can see not only the front of the shoes, but also view the sides and the back.

After surfing this site and reading through their advice, I realized that there's a lot more to consider when buying shoes for our children. Definitely not the way I've been doing which is pretty much choosing the best looking cheapest pair that fits :) Getting a pair that fits correctly, gives proper support, is breathable and feels comfortable should be our priority. Especially when it comes to baby shoes because their feet are still so soft and can be damaged by ill fitting shoes.

Taking a look our my girl's feet, she tends to overpronate. Some people know it as "pigeon-toes." If you stand at the back of her, you see how her weight is mostly toward the inside of her heels. Her church shoes are all crooked. If her feet doesn't correct itself, I will have to get her some shoes with additional support for the inside of the heel.

So, how often do you shop for children's shoes and what it the best that you've found?

Breastmilk Is Not A Drug?

Breastfeeding an infantImage via Wikipedia Did you know that World Breastfeeding Week was last week (1-7 August 2008)? Okay, so I'm a bit late in writing a blog in honor of it. But better late then never right?

Well, for those that don't know, I've breastfed all my 3 children. My eldest was breastfed for about 15 months, my second son went a little past his 2nd birthday and my now 19 month old baby is still going strong. I was lucky as I didn't encounter much problem. And being blessed to stay at home, I could play the role of a live cow giving fresh milk on demand. My kids loved the idea of an "open bar."

Anyway, just thought I'd share a funny conversation I had with my son. As I heard the stirrings of my baby waking from his sleep, I commented:

Me: Ah, someone is looking for his drugs. (Afterall, there are signs of addiction - gives them comfort, satisfying, can't live without it, withdrawal symptoms if they can't get it).
Son: You cannot call your 'nen-nen' drugs mommy!
Me: Why not?
Son: Because drugs are rubbish and you throw them in the dustbin. If you call your 'nen-nen' drugs, then you have to throw them in the dustbin. How are you going to throw your 'nen-nen' in the dustbin?
Me: Okay, I shall not argue with the lawyer.

So, for your information, breastmilk is not a drug OKAY!!!

Mamas Parenting Tip
To ensure you are 100% successful in breastfeeding your baby:
  1. Imagine you don't have money to buy formula milk. Errr... for me I really didn't have money to buy formula milk. No need imagination. Hahahah.
  2. Become deaf to all the nonsensical stories you hear from older folks about how you don't have enough milk or you're starving your child or your milk is not nutritious enough blah, blah, blah.
  3. Get yourself educated on the matter.
  4. Never say die.
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Monday, August 11, 2008

Frugal Birthday Cake

What do you do when your children's birthday come rolling by? Bake your own cake? Buy a cake off the counter? Pre-order a special cake? Opt for cupcakes?

I've always tried to bake my own cakes for my children's birthday. Not to say I'm an expert at it, but it does help to save a little money. You can always try to bake from scratch, or you can cheat like me (sometimes) by using cake mix that come from a box. I especially like Pilsbury's Lemon Cake Mix.

Well, this year for my son's birthday, I chose to try a jelly cake. At first I thought of maybe ordering one but it cost's about RM60 for one. Frugal times calls for frugal living. So I decided to make one myself. Tadah! Here it is...

This is what it looks like after being cut. The pudding is below, the jello on top with peaches. So, it doesn't look very fancy like the commercial ones where the cake is in the shape of a cartoon character or something. But this pudding/jello cake was delicious and my son gave me a thumbs up.

Unfortunately, with this cake I couldn't put wordings like you normally have on top of a cake. With the jello on top, I don't really think you can write anything. BUT, you could always buy those plastic "Happy Birthday" words and just poke it on top. I did think of getting some cute cocktail umbrellas for further decoration too. Maybe next time.

So, how frugal exactly is this jelly cake?

Pudding Mix or Malays call it Dadih (Happy-Grass brand, Mango flavor) - RM4.90
1 can evaporated milk - RM2.75
1 can peaches and 100gms sugar - estimated RM4.00
2 packets Nona Crystal jello (orange flavor) - RM3.90
TOTAL - RM15.55

No baking, no special cake decorating skills needed. 100% loved by kids (and adults).
My daughter's birthday is coming up. Maybe I'll make another one but with different fruit topping.

If you think this jelly cake is not "special" enough, you could make it instead as another dessert dish for your party. Well, hope you like this frugal idea for a birthday delight.

Zemanta Pixie

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Chinese Or Kebangsaan School?

Mumsgather asked me for my input on this issue. Even though I have this as a comment on her site, thought I'd post my reply here too (since I already burned plenty of grey cells to compose it).

I chose the Kebangsaan school nearby because of convenience. But mind you, when I was still living in PJ, I did enrol my daughter at a chinese school. So, like many parents, I was two minds about it. Eventually it came down to these few things:

1. Is it really that important to me that she learn chinese? This question will be unique to each parent. As for me, it's not really high on my priority list. Her life is not going to be dependent on it. I know some people think it's a shame when you're chinese and can't speak chinese. Well, shame on me then. I do speak some hokkien though. Anyway, I look at it as just another skill. There are so many skills out there to learn. Why give soooo much emphasis on just one?

2. Is chinese school the only answer to learning chinese? Some people say yes, some people say no. I figure it depends on the child. If the child really is interested in the language, they'll pick it up whatever the method, be it through school or tuition. But if they don't care for it, it would be like "dragging a horse to water but not making it drink" sort of thing. They'll probably learn the language but hate it at the same time. Also have to remember that there is no time limit or age barrier to learning chinese. My mother is a good example. Because she had the DESIRE to learn, even though already in her 60s, she joined a class and enjoyed herself thoroughly learning the language with good friends.

3. Love of learning is more important. I didn't want my daughter to "suffer" or struggle and lose sight of why she is learning. Yes, in the kebangsaan school now she has a lot of 'free' time. She finishes her work at school and come home with no work. I don't have to "suffer" getting her to finish her work. She gets to go to bed by 9pm. I am still in charge of her education. We still have time to learn whatever we want to learn. It's like part time homeschooling. But then, I know this option is not for everybody. It depends on your situation and your outlook of what "real" education is.

It's a shame that we have to choose between two evils. But instead of looking at "chinese school" vs. "kebangsaan school", we would do better at looking at the schools individually. Even among chinese school and kebangsaan school, there are good and bad variations. Maybe it's not good to lump them all into one generic category.
Personally, if I had a choice, I would send my kids to a mission school or a school with strong traditions like Convent. Even though not as good as before, but standards still okay right?