Monday, May 31, 2010

Kids Make It Better

A few days ago I was introduced to the cutest children's book. It's called "Kids Make It Better" by Suzy Becker. You know how kids say the darnest things? Well, just imagine what answers you'd get when you ask them to solve world problems like pollution, war, homeless people and animals, the hole in the ozone, bad economic times, prejudice etc.... I'm sure we adults will never in a million years come up with an answer like "put chocolate milk in the water fountains" when asked what we could do to improve our school. My favorite was the answer to water pollution: "Have scientists make fish that love to eat tons of pollution." And you know what, there really is such a thing.

There are many problems in the world today. I believe our children should know about it. After all, it affects them too. I am definitely going to include this book into my kids' homeschooling. The words are simple and it has appealing whimsical full-color drawings. The best part is, it is not a book that you passively read. It's more like a journal. The reader is presented with two pages of fill-ins, prompts, and a space to draw his or her own ideas. I wonder what solutions my kids will come up with? What would they say would mend a broken heart and how would they stop nail biting?

When it comes to children, you think you will get crazy answers, but many times they surprise you with very wise answers. And there are cases where kids have made a difference in the world. The book gives some examples of such kids. Like the book says "Yes, Kids Can!"

If you're looking for a project your children can work on (especially for summer vacation), this is a good one. Click on the affiliate link below to get your copy today.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

No More Screaming... I Hope

"A SOFT answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger."
Proverbs 15:1

This is the scripture that my family is trying to put into practice this week. One thing that my house could do without is shouting. I'm ashamed to admit that the fault is probably mine and DH. We tend to shout when we get angry and upset and the kids have learned to do the same.

So, last Sunday, I called for an emergency family meeting. I introduced this scripture and asked the family if we would like to put it to the test. I said it would be like an experiment, to see how the home environment will be like when we turn down the volume of our voices and opt to use "soft answers". Well, not just soft in terms of volume but also soft in terms of gentleness. (If those families on "Nanny 911" can do it, so can we).

I noticed the nannies on "Nanny 911"like to use charts. So, me thots that a chart would be good for us too. So I drew up this simple chart and anyone who violated the "soft answer" rule would get a monster face. Oh, Mommy and Daddy is also included in this chart. Of course we need rewards to go along with this little program, but kids' and parents' rewards are different. The older 2 kids get 7 hrs/week computer time, younger boy will get 10 scoops of ice cream, daddy gets 10 hours of service from the rest of us and mommy... well, mommy is still undecided but it'll definitely be something to do with dessert. Rewards will be reduced for every 2 monster faces. For example, 2 monster faces will result in computer time reduced by 1 hr or 1 less scoop of ice cream.

So, is it working for us? Well, shouting sessions have definitely become less. Everybody is making an effort to change the way we talk to each other. We're not perfect but at least we're trying.

Anybody else up for this challenge?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sale On Baby and Children Stuff

LittleWhiz is having their Mid Year Sale 2010. If you need/want to buy stuff for your kid(s), this would be the time to do it. They have slashed the prices and that means great savings for you. For example, they have a 4 in 1 Convertible Baby Cot Promotion Package that is selling for RM859. Original price is RM1382.80. That is RM523.80 for you. Save RM500 over bucks. No kidding man.

So, do check it out if you are on the look out for booster seats, car seats, bags, cooler, breastpumps, nursing bras, cloth diapers, nursing poncho, baby carrier and baby slings, baby cots, baby gift sets, strollers, teething toys, developmental toys, organic baby products, crib sets, receiving blankets, swaddle blankets, rattle booties, socks, bumbo baby sitter, Dr Brown BPA free bottles, breastmilk storage bags, safety gate, playpen etc.... Ya, so many things.

I've bought stuff from them before. So far so good.

Just click on the affiliate banner below and start browsing.

What Do You Wear To Sleep?

Are you a pajamas person? I used to be. When I was growing up, I used to wear those cotton 3/4 pant pajamas. They were very comfortable, especially for our hot weather. I haven't been able to find those kind of pajamas nowadays. The ones I see at the store are all long pants. I did find some that were selling online at womens pajamas. They call them cropped pants. This online store has lots of varieties to choose from: flannel, thermal, footed, cotton, chemises, lingerie, silk and satin. I didn't even know there is such thing as moisture wicking pajamas. Sounds like a good thing though coz' the weather these days is soooo hot, you sweat like crazy. They also have couple matching pajamas, but I doubt my husband is the "let's match pajamas" kind of person. My kids on the other hand would jump on the idea of matching pajamas with each other or with me.

When I was studying overseas, I indulged myself in a pair of silk pajamas. Ooooh, they felt very nice on the skin. They were my favorite thing to wear when I was home. Yeah, pajamas were not only for sleeping. They were for lounging around the house too.

When I was pregnant, I wore caftans to sleep. It was comfortable as there was lots of room for the big bump. Plus, it was nice and airy. Good for those hot nights (I mean weather kind of hot okay).

Now that I'm back to breastfeeding, its t-shirt and pants for pajamas. Very boring if you ask me. I think I would like to get back to women's pajamas. I don't know. Maybe it's the relaxed feeling you get when you change into some nice comfy pajamas at the end of a looooong day. Don't quite get that feeling with t-shirt and shorts. I guess I'll have to add "buy women's pajamas" to my shopping list. Hope I find some nice ones to choose from. Silk again? Hmmmm..... something to consider.

My Heart Dropped When I Saw This

Every evening, D1 goes bicycling with his dad. Day before yesterday, he came home with this face.

Waaaa! Can you imagine how I felt when I saw all those cuts and bruises on his face? My heart dropped. As I was cleaning him up, I couldn't help going "aiyoh, aiyoh, aiyoh". DH of course told me to "cut it out" as it was making D1 feel more miserable. The worse part is, I couldn't put any plaster (bandaid) for him. If you know my son, bandaids have a miraculous way of making his injuries less painful. Later I was out in the garden cleaning out the fish pond, I could hear him upstairs screaming and crying away as his father dabbed iodine on the wounds. I think his screams could be heard by every house on my street.

You must be wondering "what happened?". Well, we suspect one of his bicycle brakes (the back one) was not working very well. So, when he pressed the brake, the front one worked and the back one didn't. Hence, his bicycle tipped forward and he fell forward on his face. Listening to him tell me the story of what happened, I think he may have been following too closely to his dad. That is why he suddenly braked.

Anyway, thank goodness he didn't break any bones or sprain any muscles. Thank goodness he didn't get hit by any other cars or bike.

This incident reminds me of one day long ago, when my mother came home to find my brother lying on the bed, bruised and injured from a motorcycle accident. I now know what she felt at that very moment.

  • Make sure your kids bicycle is in good working condition.
  • Get bicycle helmet and knee pads (that's on my to-do list).
  • Teach them some road rules and signs.

What were some heart stopping injuries your child encountered?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What To Do With Leftover Satay Sauce?

We bought satay at the "pasar malam" last Saturday. It seemed such a waste to throw away the delicious satay sauce. So, I kept it in the fridge and tried to figure out what to do with it on Monday. This is what I eventually cooked up.

I don't know what to call it yet. Basically it is satay sauce stir fried with fried tofu and long beans. Thankfully, it turned out to be quite delicious. So, if you want to try, here is the recipe.

  • Egg tauhu (Cut to a squarish shape. As square as you can.)
  • Tau Kua (Cut into squares.)
  • Long beans
  • Garlic (minced)
  • Soy sauce
  • Satay peanut sauce
  • 1 Egg (break into a bowl)
  • Wheat flour and rice flour (Around 70% wheat flour and 30% rice flour)
How To Cook?
  1. Dip the tauhu in the egg, then coat with the flour mixture.
  2. Deep fry in oil, then put aside.
  3. Saute the minced garlic until almost turning brown, throw in the cut long beans.
  4. Add some soy sauce for taste.
  5. When long beans are cooked, add the tauhu back into the wok.
  6. Pour in the leftover satay sauce.
Last minute I decided to add some fried garlic. If you're a garlic lover, you will love the extra garlicky taste.

Okay, so what do you do with your leftover satay sauce?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Baby is 8 Months Old

Baby is now 8 months old. She didn't put on much weight from her last check-up which was about 2 months ago. She's now 7.8kg (up 300gms). I often wonder how some parents get their baby to finish 1 bowl of porridge or cereal. My kids were never into porridge or cereal; And this baby is no different from her siblings. Don't look like she likes meshy food. She would rather chew on an apple. I've had some success giving her tiny pieces of bread. I bought some sweet potatoes from the store yesterday. Gonna try my luck with those.

Her favorite game: Peek-a-boo.
We play this 2 ways.
1) We put a handkerchief in front of our face. She will pull it down. Sometimes she tries to put the handkerchief in front of our face. Unfortunately her hand coordination is not too good yet, so the game doesn't quite work. But it's amazing coz' you see her intelligence growing and she's trying to communicate.
2) We hide under the blanket and she comes looking for us.

She is standing.
This is her favorite position right now. You'd think babies liked to be carried. Well, not quite anymore as this little girl will wiggle and wiggle till you put her down. Once or twice I caught her letting go of her support. "No baby, you're not steady yet. Maybe next month okay."

She's trying to imitate our speech.
The only way to get her to stay still when I'm putting on her diaper is to play "Round and round the garden, goes the teddy bear." Recently, I've heard her say "wow wow wow" when I do that. Also, grandpa often takes her to the door and asks her to call "Rabbit!" So funny to hear her calling for the rabbit. (Yeah, we're so unimaginative that we have no other name for our pet rabbit).

Play is the main agenda of the day.
Play = exploration. She is always looking for things to explore. You look at her face and you can almost hear her brain cells clicking away. The siblings are also enjoying her more now.

Well, that is babyK at 8 months old.

p.s. Scrapbook layout was done with My Memories Suite scrapbooking software. It is really easy to use. If you want to get one, click the following affiliate link and use this promo code for 15% off: MMS15off (Valid until the end of May 2010. Not much time left. Quickly get it before the offer ends).
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Friday, May 14, 2010

A Flying Whale?

D1 just burst into my room babbling about how D2's whale is flying in the air. What? A flying whale? Ok, let me clarify what's going on by showing you the picture of the "flying whale".

Disappointed that it's really not a flying whale? Actually, the "flying whale" is D2's bicycle training wheel that is somewhat damaged and so, is up in the air rather than touching the ground.

This is the conversation about the flying whale.

D1: Mommy, mommy, D2's "whale" is flying in the air.
Me: What? D2's got a whale? (Of course I know what he meant was "wheel". I just wanted to pull his leg a little).
D1: No, no, his "whale".
Me: Yea, you said "whale". I didn't know he had a whale. Wow, where is he keeping it?
D1: No, I said "whale" (getting exasperated).
Me: Yeah, I know that's what you said - whale.
D1: I mean the "whale" that can roll.
Me: Wow, he has a whale that can roll. That's fantastic. I want to see it.
D1: NO. The... (he was going to say the word but stopped to think)
Me: The what?
D1: The TIRE.

Hahahahah. Of course I eventually taught him to say "wheeeeeeel" instead of "whale".

Cheap Children Books

Just a heads up that BookCloseouts is having their "Smart Start to Summer $0.99 Sale". Yeap, they have selected children books that have been discounted to 99 cents! This is ending 26 May 2010. Don't miss this opportunity to stock up your home library.

Just to make sure I have it clear, this is 99 cents in US currency. If you are Malaysian, don't be disheartened. It is still a good deal if you convert to RM. But I would advise that you buy in bulk to make it worth your while coz' you have to spend on shipping. 2 things you can do:
  1. Combine order with your friends
  2. Buy more with the intention to sell, either to your friends, online or at a weekend bazaar.
I used to get some books from here when I was running my 2nd hand online bookshop. You can get some very good selections at very good prices. Definitely better than some of the books you get locally here in Malaysia.

I've been borrowing some children books from the library at my housing area, and it is very disappointing to see the low quality of English in some of the books. The English is downright terrible in some of the locally published books. For example, there was a book about how a boy got sick after getting caught in the rain. He changed his shirt but was still "a little shivering".

Anyway, back to the book sale, do take a look and see if any of the 99cent books appeal to you. Just click on the affiliate banner below.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Candy Flowers

Mother's Day is next Sunday and the primary children at church usually hand out a gift to the women folk. Well, my primary president wanted to give out chocolates and I suggested making candy flowers to make it look more presentable. So, she got me the stuff and this is what I crafted.

I hope the ladies will like it. If you want to learn how to make this, I've got the instructions here: How To Make A Candy Flower Bouquet

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Happy Mother's Day Everyone

Here is a video by Kelly Corrigan and it is perfect for Mother's Day. Every mother needs to hear the words "Thank You". Those 2 words does wonders for our spirits (especially when we are down) and makes us want to do more. Here is my "Thank You" to my mother:
  • Thank you for making sure I have enough to eat
  • Thank you for trusting me to drive your car around (even when I just got my license)
  • Thank you for making those trips up to visit me and the kids
  • Thank you for worrying about my welfare
  • Thank you for taking me to the swimming pool when I was a kid and teaching me how to swim

Through Facebook, Kelly asked her friends and fans to list all of the things that mothers want to be thanked for and to share photos. What a great idea. Here is what I want my kids to thank me for:
  • Cooking everyday
  • Choosing to stay at home (not running away) even though I often get headaches from the noise, fighting, whining and complaining.
  • Giving you the best milk as a baby - Breastmilk
  • Taking you to church every Sunday and teaching you the gospel
  • Stocking up the shelves with books, books and books
  • Getting up in the middle of the night to change your diapers
  • Taking pictures to document your childhood days
  • Teaching you how to do chores around the house so you can be independent latter in life
  • Always letting you eat the drumstick
  • Putting bandages on all your cuts and bruises
Okay, okay... don't want the list to get too long. Hehehehe. So, what would you like to be thanked for this Mother's Day?

Monday, May 03, 2010

Teething Blues

Baby's first tooth is making it's appearance. So happen, my good friend from loooong ago (my primary days) was very kind to purchase a Sophie the Giraffe for babyK. She's in S'pore and couriered it over. I wanted to take a picture of baby chewing on Sophie, but instead this is what I got.

She saw my camera case and immediately dropped Sophie. So quickly she crawled over and grabbed the camera case. If only she was this enthusiastic about food.