Friday, October 31, 2008

Learning In The Kitchen

He doesn't play with his toys. He doesn't watch tv (except for commercials). He would rather pull up that stool and watch me prepare food. Yup, that's his favorite spot in the house.

Mamas Parenting Tips
  • The kitchen is a great place for children to learn. As I cut the veges and stuff, I teach him the names of the food. Not just visual, he gets to feel, smell and sometimes taste it too. Sensory learning -- great stuff.
  • As they watch you do stuff, they unconsciously pick up skills. For example, they learn that to crack an egg, you tap it against the bowl first. Or they learn that you don't eat the carrot's skin and you use a peeler to peel it away.
  • Of course, teach them that the knife is sharp and can hurt them. Point out what is dangerous in the kitchen. Teaching them these things is one way of keeping them safe.
So, don't shoo them away from the kitchen.

Football Web-TV Channel


There's a new football web-tv channel recently launched by Carlsberg. If you have a husband/boyfriend who is nuts over football, then this is one channel you DON'T want to tell him about.

What will happen if you do? Well, be ready to be a football widow then. No, that doesn't mean your beloved will be dead. Physically he is around but his mind, might and soul will be dedicated to watching football. I think some of you already know what I'm talking about. If he gets hooked to, he'll be eating, drinking and dreaming football. He probably is already, so you really don't want to encourage him further. They have 5 channels showing all aspects about football from the classic football matches to life as a fan. There's also video clips about football funnies and rituals from the Football Magic channel. Heck, they even allow you to upload your own favorite football moments.

So, remember... not a peep about this if you want to have a chance at some romantic nights with your darling. Unless you are a football fan yourself. Then by all means, knock yourself out.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Easy Recipes For Picky Eaters

When it comes to eating, my kids are not really picky eaters. Thank goodness! They are a bit apprehensive when it comes to trying new foods but at least they eat some vege. That's more then I can say of myself when I was growing up. I absolutely hated all leafy vegetables. I think I grew up on french beans alone. Of course now I am much, much better and eat my share of green goodness everyday.

If you have picky eaters in your house, I'm sure you ask the following questions:
  • What to feed my picky eaters? Yup, they can't be eating pizza, pasta, instant noodles and burgers everyday.
  • What are some easy recipes for picky eaters that are healthy and tasty?
  • How do you deal with a picky eater? Even worse, what if there are 4 of them?
  • What is the secret to getting picky eaters to eat vegetables?
Your answers are in here:
"Kids & Vegies"

What is in the book? Tips, games, coloring fact sheets, wall charts and easy recipes for picky eaters. With this book you can take the guess work out of your cooking. Plus you'll get them eating vegetables. With this book, you will have the expertise to serve up meals your picky eater will eat. Get your copy today and end your meal time battles.

Don't wait another second. Get it now and download this much needed information instantly. You can turn things around tonight. Click the link below to take a peek inside the book:

"Kids & Vegies"

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sausage Rolls

I made these sausage rolls for lunch yesterday and the kids devoured it.

  • Pastry Puff (can get from the supermarket, the cold section where they sell the ice creams, popia skin and frozen roti canai)
  • Sausage (Americans call hot dogs), I got the ones with cheese filling
  • Spinach (cut it up into small bits)
  • Onions (Cut into rings or dice it)
  • Egg and sesame seeds
How to cook?
  • First I cooked the sausage with some butter. Yeah, not a healthy option but yummy. If you're health conscious just boil the sausages. Cut into half and put sausages aside.
  • Then I sauted the onions with a little bit of soy sauce. Put cooked onions aside.
  • Stir fry the sausage with garlic, soy sauce and oyster sauce. Put aside.
  • Roll out the pastry sheets. I saw 2 different sizes at the supermarket. There's no fast rule here. Just be flexible and decide how big you want your roles to be. I cut my pastry roll into about 5x4 inch rectangles. I kinda stretched it out a bit too.
  • Lay your sausage, onions and spinach on the pastry roll. Make sure you have some room (about 2cm) at the edges so you can seal it up.
  • Fold the pastry over to enclose the ingredients inside. Pinch the sides to seal it all up. Sorry I don't know the proper technique to do this. I just did it whatever way as long as I don't see any holes :)
  • Brush the top side with egg and sprinkle the sesame seeds.
  • Put on a baking tray and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure you preheat the oven first to 220 degrees Celcius.
One thing I did wrong was to thaw my frozen puff pastry too early. By the time I started to work on the sausage rolls, the sheets were all sticking together. Remember to read the instructions on the packet on how long you should thaw before cooking.

It's okay if your sausage rolls don't turn out as professional looking like what you see in the bakery. Goodness knows mine are far from it. As you can see from the picture, some opened up as I baked it. Be brave to experiment. The one thing I like about these sausage rolls was how I managed to sneak in the vege.

Good luck trying.

Mama Says You Should Check Out:
Easy Recipes For Picky Eaters
Discover the secret to overcoming meal time battles.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How To Lighten Your Household Chores

Special mention must be given to this little guy -- KokoD. He has been most helpful the past week. He has been helping me hang up the clothes and also taking them in when they are dry. It's really funny... it's like suddenly he decided he wants to help. He even washed the dishes after dinner for 3 nights. And mind you, it was voluntary. I didn't even ask. He insisted.

He's also been very, very good with babyD. Not just playing with him but taking care of the brother's needs. For example, he'll get water for the brother to drink or put music for the brother to dance. One day K was angry at babyD because he kept destroying her lego creation. So kokoD said "come baby, koko will take care of you" and he took baby out of the room so he wouldn't disturb the jie-jie.

When it comes to reading scriptures and doing worksheets, he's given me good attitude. No whining, instead concentration.

Such good behavior must be commended and that's why I'm dedicating this blog post to kokoD. He's definitely made my household chores lighter.

Mamas Parenting Tip
  • Give your children opportunities to work around the house. You have to start when they are still young. Even babyD helps around the house. He loves to take the forks and spoons to the dinner table and puts back his clean laundry into his drawers. Sometimes I will get him to carry the dry laundry into the house.
  • Involve them in your housework rather then chasing them away. There's always something they can do.
  • When they ask you to do something for them, teach them how to do it first. For example, when you make milo or milk for them in the morning, teach them how to do it. When you are folding clothes, let them try (then refold them later). Don't just do things for them and forget about the teaching part.
  • They don't teach these living skills in school, so it's up to you to equip them. At least when they leave home when they're older, you know they can take care of themselves.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Baby Story

BabyD is a very sociable fella. Here he is trying to make friends with our neighbour. The little girl is just a few months older. The pictures were taken by my daughter and I thought it was soooo cute as the two toddlers attempt to communicate without words.

I've done two versions of what the story may be. Why not add your version of the story?
Kids are so cute. We adults can only guess what goes through their minds.

Version 1: I haven't seen you in a while. I miss you.
Version 2: Oh look, your hands are as tiny as mine.

Version 1: Here's a kiss from me...
Version 2: Look, I have all my teeth already.

Version 1: you.
Version 2: Open up, let's see your teeth.

Version 1: I have to go now. We can't keep meeting like this.
Version 2: Oh-oh, I feel something yucky. I think I have to go now.

Version 1: Don't forget me. I'll be right here waiting everyday for you . Sob! Sob!
Version 2: I gotta go change my diaper.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Internet Withdrawal Syndrome

Friday my internet got zapped by lightning. Only today did they get it up and running again. Meanwhile, I had to endure internet withdrawal symptoms. Like a smoker trying to quit, I had to find something to substitute my "loss". So, what can you do when you're disconnected from the internet world?
  • Catch up on some scrapbooking.
  • Sing more nursery rhymes to the baby.
  • Experiment in the kitchen. I made chicken rendang for the first time.
  • Do more house cleaning. I finally washed my curtains. Cleaned the fans today too.
  • Write articles for submission later on. I wrote an article on golf (something I know about) so I didn't have to do much research on the internet for that.
  • Exercise. Go for walks and play badminton with the kids in the evening.
  • Read more books to the children.
  • Take naps.
So, do you get internet withdrawal syndrome?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Different Ways Children Play

There are a number of parents, including me, who advocate that we encourage children to play. It is through play that little children develop small muscle skills, eye-hand coordination, physical skills, memory, creativity and language skills. Through play, children have an avenue to practise skills already learned. They learn how to understand the world around them and it allows self expression.

So, don't think that play time is a waste of time. Don't bog down children with too many organized activities and study that they have no time to engage in play.

Here are different ways children play.
  1. Exploration
    This is where children use their 5 senses to observe and discover the world around them. For babies, you can do finger plays. Play with their fingers and toes with these favorite rhymes: "This Little Piggy Went to Market" and "Round and Round the Garden." The latter is my baby's favorite. As they grow older, give them time to explore nature and how things work. Of course, exploration has to be within safety limits.

    Look mom, I caught a dragonfly!

  2. Imitation
    Basically it's "monkey see, monkey do." If you talk and sing to your baby often, you'll see they will start to imitate your sounds and expressions. If you have toddlers, you'll notice a "mini-me" running around as they try to do the things you do. Sometimes they can be a nuisance and get in your way, especially when you are trying to get things done quickly. However, the best thing parents can do for them is to let them participate and not exclude them in your activity. If you want them out of your way, provide them with toys or similar safe objects to play with. For example, giving them play dough and they can pretend to cook and cut.

  3. Physical Play
    Give them time to run, jump, climb, crawl etc.... This helps them learn to control and coordinate their body movements. If you don't have time to take them to the park, just blast some music and let them dance around. Balls are every kid's favorite. Teach them to roll, throw, catch, bounce and kick it.

  4. Constructive Play
    This entails building or making something. Building blocks and lego are some examples of constructive play. This is great for their eye-hand coordination. It also helps in teaching them about patterns, size, shape and colors. Art and craft projects are wonderful activities too. Young children love to cut and glue. You can teach older children simple origami and they can use that in card making. For simple craft ideas, check out FUN KIDS CRAFTS.

  5. Make-Believe and Pretend Play
    I'm sure you've seen your children acting out their little make-believe stories or pretending to be someone they know like a teacher. This pretend and role playing develops their language and social development. This is how they understand people around them. Fantasy play no doubts encourage creativity.
My Super hero son

So you see, playing is not wasted time for children. Now that you know the different kinds of playing, maybe we can do them a favor and support them in these areas.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Eat This Not That! for Kids!

Every kid loves junk food and every mother wishes their children will eat healthier meals. Well, this book by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding is a favorite for many and has made Amazon's best seller's list. It guides parents to make better food choices whether eating in a restaurant, at home or at school. It also touches on holiday meals and vending machine snackes. I'm sure you'll appreciate the kid-friendly snacks they share. Reading the detailed analysis and nutrition tips on many of our children's favorite food choices, your eyes will be opened to which food is helping them and which food is harming them with hidden fat, calories and other nasty stuff. For example, did you know organic "health food" cereal has as much sugar as a soda? I bet that never crossed your mind coz' when most people see the word "organic" and "health food", we automatically think its good.

You'll find this book fun to read with great illustrations. Even your children can go through the book and decide which foods they want to swap for a better alternative.

Click here to get a copy today:
Eat This Not That! for Kids!: Be the Leanest, Fittest Family on the Block!

Talking about eating healthy, I've found my secret to getting my children to eating vegetables voluntarily. And... I'm talking about raw vegetables too. I say "my" secret coz' I don't know if it'll work for you. What's the secret?......... jeng, jeng, jeng, jeng...... Vietnam Rolls.

Take a look:

Diced tomatoes, mango strips, cucumber strips, shredded carrots, scrambled eggs and pork strips. The pork was cooked with garlic, light soy sauce, little bit of dark soy sauce for color, honey and black pepper. Don't add water, just stir fry on low fire so you don't burn the honey. Oh, add a little corn starch towards the end to make the meat smooth. (For beginners, add water to cornstarch before putting it in the wok.) If you don't eat pork, I'm sure you can substitute with other kinds of meat. You can even go meatless and be 100% vege.

Butterhead lettuce.

Get some vietnamese rice paper and soak it till soft. Lay down the butterhead lettuce and then pile on all the other stuff. Add mayonaisse (or not). Wrap it up like a poh pia or burrito.

If you don't like the rice paper wrap, just use the vege to hold the other stuff. That's what I do. I think it tastes better without the wrap. But of course, it's more difficult to hold everything together. My kids love this. They would never eat the tomatoes, carrots, cucumber or green vege by itself, but they love the combination.

It's easy preparation and a good break from eating rice everyday :) I love how the mango gives it a bit of tangy/sweet taste. This may not be the exact way to make vietnamese rolls but this is how I saw my friend make it and it works well for me. Give it a try and let me know if this "secret" works to get your children eating vegetables too.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Watch Out For Curious Children

My girl won't be happy about this post. So, hopefully she won't find out that I've written this. It's funny to me but embarrassing to her. Anyway, you parents need to know this so you can be ready for such things too no?

So, what is it?
  1. One night, my girl comes out of our bedroom covering her mouth. So, we ask her "What's wrong? Is it you have a mouth ulcer?" She just shake her head and refused to move her hand away. After much persuasion (and a little scolding), she exposed her face to us. What did we see? 2 small nicks - one near her nose, the other down towards her chin. Yes, my dear child tried to shave herself. DH was on the verge of scolding her but I told him to stop. I could see she was already embarrassed. I didn't think she needed us to make her feel worse. DH asked "what are you trying to shave?" She answered, "my moustache." Sigh! How come I didn't notice her moustache? Hahahaha.

  2. Another night we were sitting on the couch watching tv. She was holding a tiny, tiny ball of blu-tack and using her fingers to play with it. Next thing I know, she turns to me and says "mom, how do I get this out from my hair?" Alamak! Lucky thing the blu-tack she had was just a little bit. I remembered reading that if you get chewing gum in your hair, use ice to harden it and it will come off. I figured it should work the same for blu-tack. Unfortunately, it didn't work. In the end, her grandma snipped off her hair.
I know I'm not the first parent to have her child do such things. So, this is a heads up for parents who haven't yet experienced such "silliness". Actually, the right word should be "curiousness." Don't know what else they'll think off. Oh yeah, watch out for the "stuff this up my nose/ear/whatever" act too. And remember, they usually feel bad and dumb after they do it. So go easy on them.

p.s. Here's my "curious" experience - I burnt my hand trying to figure out how hot the car cigarette lighter was. What's your "curious" experience eh?