Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How To Keep Your Toddler Busy

I found the perfect thing to keep my toddler busy - a slinky. An inexpensive toy that provided entertainment for a long time. Every few minutes he would call me and say "see mommy, I can do this". I was quite intrigued at the way he was exploring it. He would pull it, bend it, drag it, drop it, twirl it etc....

The end stopped eventually when it ended up like this:

Yup, it got twisted up. The next time somebody asks me why I bothered going to university to get a degree just so I can end up staying home to care for the kids, I'll tell them I have slinkies to unravel. It takes brains to do that you know.

Mamas Parenting Tip

  • Slinkies are a good source of entertainment for young children
  • Your education did not go to waste. It is your education that makes you a wiser parent.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Do You Get The Best Or The Worst?

When it comes to meal times, I am the last to eat. Not because I am a slow eater but because of the baby. DH and me will take turns to take care of her. So, I let him (and the kids) eat first and after he is done, I get to eat.

When you are the last one to eat, you learn a lot about your family (and maybe yourself too). How much and what kind of food they leave for you can say many things, it depends on how you interpret it.

So, as I sat down to have my dinner tonight, I was left with a fair amount of veges and 2 pieces of chicken. The 2 pieces of chicken were parts that nobody liked (even myself): chicken breast. So what are possible lessons I can learn from this:
  1. I have very selfish children. They eat the best and leave what they don't like for their mother to eat.
  2. I have spoilt my children. I always give them the best and that's why they only know how to "take" and don't know how to "give".
  3. My children don't think I am a very good parent and so don't think I deserve to have the best.
  4. I haven't taught my children properly.
  5. I need to be selfish and put aside what I want to eat first before letting them eat.
  6. I need to learn how to love eating chicken breast.
  7. I'm crazy for trying to gauge my parenting skills or how much I am loved by what my kids leave for me to eat.
Which answer will you pick?
And, if you were the last one to eat in your family, what would you get? The best or the worse?

p.s. I love my DH coz' he usually makes an effort to leave good stuff for me to eat :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Another Video All Parents Must Watch

This is an important message for all parents. I know Heavenly Father loves us. I'm grateful for the guidance and inspired words of His prophets and leaders of the church. I know when we follow their counsel, we can build happiness in the home. Enjoy the video.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Baby Is 11 Months Old

New trick for this month: She is starting to point. She will point to people, to your nose, to where she wants to go, to things she wants, to something that fascinates her etc....

She loves to play with her daddy. She can say very clearly "papa". Mama sounds more like "mem mem". A combination of mommy and nen-nen I guess. Hahahah.

I can see that her ability to understand what we say has increased. For example. when we ask "where is the bird?", she will look around like searching for one. If you ask her to give you whatever she is holding, she will put her hand out to give it to you. Unless she really, really wants it than her grip is like a clamp. Die also won't let go.

If she don't want to play with what you give her, she will just throw it.

Still not friendly to the women folk.

She can suck from a straw!

Happy 11 months old girl. You're still melting us with those big eyes.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mom's Fruit Garden

I went to spend a day with my mom on her birthday. And we came home with some yummy fruits from her garden. I am calling it her "little orchard". My mom is really good at gardening. Unfortunately she didn't pass on that talent to me. But I still get to enjoy the "fruits of her labor". Hehehe.

This is only one part of my mom's garden. This is the side of the house. Here you will find the following fruit trees: rambutan, banana tree, custard apple (nona), jambu air (rose apples), mango and passion fruit. Outside the house, she has planted Australian custard apple. She used to have a durian tree. Ooooh, it was D24 durians too. The inside was nice and fleshy. Sadly she had to cut it down coz' of termites. She had planted a soursop tree too coz' I liked to eat it. Forgot to ask my mom if that tree is still around.

This is the front of the house. No fruit trees but plenty of flowers. This was also where I used to practice my golf. I would chip balls from one end to the other end. My brothers and I would also practice swinging the golf club out here. Mom would always complain about the big divots we made. Before golf, this was also the garden where we played badminton. We would tie a badminton net from the window grill to the fence. Nobody really wanted to play with me coz' I was too little and wasn't as clever as them in playing. Boo hoo!
Not only golf and badminton, this was also our football field. I remember my brothers playing a little hockey here too.

Anyway, back to the fruits. This was what I brought back on Saturday. My favorite Rastali bananas. Now I just wait for them to ripen.

They came from this tree and as you can see, there's still more. We didn't cut the whole bunch. What a big bunch of bananas eh? Of course-lah, what with all my mom's tender loving care.

  • Home is where mom is.
  • It's so joyful to eat produce from your own garden
  • Visit your parents often

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Son, Happy Birthday Mom

The birthday season has started. D1 turned 7 years old. No big party. Just a special dinner of his favorite dishes. He chose a cake with a Transformer picture on top. I made our family tradition jelly cake too. We invited 5 kids in the neighbourhood come by for cake. These are kids they play with all the time. He was a very happy boy that day. See, so easy to make kids happy.

Next, was my mom's birthday. Celebrating her 69 birthday, she had many candles on her cake. Even at this age, she is still very healthy and independent. In the next blog post, I'll show you her "little orchard". My boy D2 absolutely loves this grandma of his. He will call her on the telephone almost everyday. Unfortunately she has a hard time trying to figure out what he is saying. A few days ago, his sister found a plastic bag filled with his clothes. I asked him why he put his clothes in a plastic bag. He said he packed his clothes to go stay with grandma.
Happy Birthday Amah! May you have many more happy, healthy birthdays to come.

Amah with her many candled cake. Oh, and D1 had to make one of his funny faces for the camera. That's so typical of him.

p.s. If you're throwing a birthday party and need games, click this affiliate link. Saves you time and effort: Printable Birthday Games

Saturday, August 14, 2010

How To Teach Your Children To Read And Spell

A leader teach is able to help this student wi...Image via WikipediaMany of us are not trained in teaching our children to read and spell. Even though we do not have a degree in teaching, we still qualify to be our children's teacher. You just need to have a idea about what to teach or what they need to know. How to teach is up to your creativity. Not much creativity? Nevermind. There are plenty of "teachers" out there willing to share lesson plans and teaching tips. Not to mention educational softwares and programs that allow kids to learn and have fun at the same time.

If you want to know where to start on teaching your children to read and spell, click on this link and sign up for my e-course: HOW TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO READ AND SPELL.
I've even put together some charts and a check list for you to download. I call it my teaching toolkit. It's an 8-day e-course. It's got basic information that you might find useful. Do check it out and spread the word.
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Friday, August 13, 2010

More Education, Less Workbooks.

The kids just had their exams again. It was definitely a week of NO STRESS. Can you imagine that? Exams are on and the kids go about their usual business. To them, there really is no difference whether they are having exams or not. Me? I've learned to chill too. So far, they've been doing quite well. I haven't had an opportunity yet to say "I told you so". Therefore, I'm not going to worry about their exams anymore.

In fact, hounding them on exam results is the last thing I want to do. I already know that their school exam results is not an indicator of their intelligence or whether they are increasing in knowledge and skills. Yet, there is a little "kiasu-ism" in me that want to see my children top their classes. I'm trying hard to get away from that kind of thinking.

And so, I'm going to change my homeschooling strategy. Errr... actually its more like semi-homeschooling. Since the kids started to get older, I've not been doing much reading with them. I make sure they read books, but I haven't been spending that much time sitting and reading the books with them. When I do have my "semi-homeschool" time with them, it has been getting them to do workbooks. Obviously, they are not very enthusiastic when I say it's time for mommy's school. So after some contemplation, homeschool time with the kids now mean "let's read and discuss".

There are several benefits to having less workbooks and more reading:
  • No pressure on the kids. It doesn't feel like "work" which is a taboo word for them.
  • Can be on any subject, not just what the school wants them to learn. They can have better general knowledge this way.
  • More enjoyable learning. Less stressed out mommy which leads to less stressed out kids, which leads to love for learning.
  • Kids will have a wider vocabulary.
  • You can encourage your children's interest.
  • Practical learning.
My daughter K loves to learn about countries. So today, I sat down with K and went through a brochure about holidaying in Australia. As a follow up activity, I asked her to write me an essay on where she would like to go in Australia and why. You know what? There was no whining and no complains. If you know my girl, she is a major whiner. After dinner, she and her brother went upstairs to their room. I thought they were either playing or bumming around. To my surprise, I opened their door to see my son reading and my daughter writing her essay. Whoa! I thought aliens had taken over their bodies or something.

Anyway, it just goes to show how our approach in teaching them can make a big difference in their education. The workbooks? Well, there are still quite a few on the shelves and they will still have to do them. But it will be more like practice sessions. I will let them do however many (or few) pages they like. I won't really emphasize on it anymore.

Well, just thought I'd share a little bit of how my homeschooling (oops, semi-homeschooling) was coming along. Next on my list is to enroll in a beading/jewelry making class with my girl.
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Friday, August 06, 2010

My First Photobook!

This is what I've been busy with the last week of July - My first photobook. There was a promotion and I didn't want to miss it. It took me about 3 days to put it together. I'm glad I got it done coz' I've been wanting to do it for the longest time.

My plan is to have a yearly photobook for the family. That way, we can all look back and see how our family has changed, grown, progressed etc.... The children can look back and remember the good times. As for me, I'm losing a lot of brain cells as I grow older. I don't remember a lot of things. The photobooks will remind me of how cute they were when they were young. It's also a way to blackmail them later e.g. "You don't listen to me, I show this embarrassing photo to your girlfriend". Hahahah. Just kidding. I think it will also be a way for the children to see things through my eyes coz' I'm the one doing the journaling.

Here are some of the pages I put together.

MAMAS PARENTING TIPS (or rather, photobook tips)
  • Keep a family journal. I use to keep a journal for each child. I thought when they grew up, I could present them their own journals. Then I figured it would be easier to just have a family journal. I'm sure the kids would also like to read about what's happening to their siblings, not just themselves. Plus, we are all connected. So one journal for everybody.
  • Try to write your journal weekly. If not, do a monthly update. This will be most helpful when you put together your annual photobook. Just cut and paste your journal to match the photos.
  • Take lots of pictures every month. That way if you forget to write in your journal, you have pictures to jog your memory.
  • Organize your photos properly. For me, I have a main folder to mark the year. Then I have sub-folders to mark the months. For example, I have a folder named "2009". And then that folder will be divided into "Jan", "Feb", "Mar" etc....
  • Learn how to take good pictures. When it comes to scrapbooking, taking beautiful pictures will enhance your design. Click this affiliate link to check out some Digital Photography Secrets.
  • If you do digital scrapbooking, make sure you're doing it in the right size: 3600pixels x 3600pixels. I made a mistake of doing mine in 500 x 500. That is fine for web publishing but if you want to print it out, it is too small. If you do it in the bigger size, you can always downsize it for web publishing. But if you do it in a smaller size, you cannot blow it up later on. Well, you can but it will be all blurry. Click here to learn about a very handy and easy to use scrapbooking software that will help you design beautiful pages for your photobook. I just got it and thank goodness I had some digi-scraps from using this software that I could plop into my photobook.
  • If you are having problems designing a page, you'll need some inspiration. Your inspiration is here: 500 Scrapbooking Sketches. Yup, you don't have to crack your head on how to do a layout. Just pick a sketch and design away.
  • Some photobook companies require you to download their program to design the book. If that's the case, create some pages when you are free. Then when they have a great discount or promotion, your photobook is ready to be uploaded.
  • If you don't like the idea of downloading a program but would rather using an online software, check this affiliate link out. Join Mixbook and receive a FREE photo book!
Ok, have to make sure my family's 2010 journal is up to date so I can be ready for the next annual photobook. Can't wait for bbK to turn 1 next month too so I can create a photobook to showcase her 1st year.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Nice Fruit Salad

It's been a long while since I made some fruit salad. I use to make it a lot back in 2006 when I lived in PJ and could get strawberries cheap: RM10 for three boxes. Here's my old blog post on how I used my fruit salad to teach my kids.

Anyway, I was at the store the other day and there was a good deal on strawberries and grapes. So I got some and added to the fruit salad some green and red apples too. I wanted to buy some kiwis but they were quite expensive. It would have been nice if I had some mangoes. Oh, I should have put in some bananas.

Anyway, I enjoyed it and the kids enjoyed it. I'm glad I had my little kitchen helper to cut up some of the fruits. Yes, my girl volunteered to help because she couldn't wait to eat it. If only I had a machine to peel the grapes for me.

I like my fruit salad plain. I don't add any stuff to it like evaporated milk. But I guess adding yogurt would be nice. However, it still tastes nice just plain. The different fruit flavors blend very nicely. I like to put strawberries because it gives the salad a bit of tangy taste. And the red color makes it look nice. AND the most important thing is that it's a HEALTHY dessert.

Here's me wishing for more cheap strawberry days and plenty more fruit salad desserts ahead.

p.s. If you're looking for smoothies recipes that will help you lose weight, prevent obesity in children and also to keep chronic diseases away, check out this affiliate link of AMAZING SMOOTHIES.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Sale on Bumbo Sitter

If you've been considering a bumbo sitter for your baby, you will want to hurry and get it at LittleWhiz while they are having their MEGA MAD MAD SALE.

The price: RM139.90
Original: 249.80
YOU SAVE: 109.90

Click this affiliate link to get it today. Offer is for limited time only:

And according to the promotion at their site, it comes with a tray too. Many mothers like the bumbo sitter because they can plop baby down and have their hands free to do stuff like folding clothes or feeding the baby. Heck, you can even use both your hands to eat. When you become a mother, that becomes a luxury. Also, baby doesn't have to lie down all the time. With the bumbo seat, they can see the world like we do.

But do be careful and still keep baby close by. Some mothers don't recommend it when baby is able to arch their backs or push up with their feet. It becomes a little dangerous then coz' baby can flip out of the seat. Also, don't put the seat on an elevated place like table or countertop.

When can you use this for your baby? When your baby is able to hold up his/her head without support.

It really is selling for a decent price. Don't forget, it comes with a tray too. So once again, here is the link. Click it and you'll be taken to the home page. You should see the bumbo seat listed there. They have many other baby things for sale too.

Spongy Banana Muffins

I had some bananas and decided to make banana muffins. Tried a recipe I found at this blog as it had few hundred people commenting how delicious it was. So I decided to give it a try and yes, it is yummy. Pretty easy to make with basic baking ingredients. I give it a thumbs up.

Here is what you need:
  • 3 or 4 Large bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 slightly beaten egg
  • 1/3 cup melted margarine or butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
Here is what you do:
  • Mash up the bananas. Just use a fork. Don't have to be too finely meshed. I had mine a little lumpy. That way you find little banana lumps in the muffin which is awesome.
  • Put the melted butter, egg and sugar in with your mashed bananas.
  • In another bowl, mix your flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  • Then slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
  • Next, line your muffin tray with muffin cups.
  • Spoon the batter into the muffin cups (Not full, about 1/2 - 3/4 way).
  • Bake it. I set mine to 200 degrees celcius and it takes about 20 minutes.
Mamas Baking Tip
When I first made this banana muffin, I wrote down the ingredients but not the instructions on how to make it. I thought "how hard can it be?" Well, my brain wasn't working too well that day and so I mixed the stuff wrongly. I stupidly mixed the butter with sugar, and then put the flour in. Obviously I had some lumpy flour. Then I put that into the mashed banana (which I used my food processor to chop up). Anyway, bad idea.
Just remember the wet ingredients - dry ingredients rule.

p.s. If you're interested in video tutorials on how to decorate cakes, cookies and cupcakes, click this affiliate link and give these guys a look: CAKE, COOKIE AND CUPCAKE DECORATING IDEAS

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Baby is 10 Months Old

Well, babyK is actually 10 1/2 months now. Still no indication that she wants to walk. Her siblings were walking at this age. BUT she can do this:

She can stand but only when we ask her to. At the moment, she is happy crawling all around.

Another trick that she has recently learned is to shake her body when she hears music. Sometimes, she will sing along. Her favorite song is "Happy Birthday". When she wants us to sing it, she will clap her hands and shake her body.

The only solids that she likes eating is "keropok", fruits, biscuits, ice cream (little bit only) and egg taufu. Not very healthy I know. But she's not into meshed-up food so I'm glad to give her whatever she wants to eat. As long as she is eating. Still fully breastfed and that is still the main source of nutrition.

She has figured out that mommy wakes up very early to go for morning walks. So she has also learned to wake up very early. Yup, she'll wake up around 6 something in the morning just so she can go walk-walk with mommy. That "sensor" of hers is very sensitive. She just knows when mommy is not sleeping next to her any more. BUT, when we try to wake her up early to go to church on Sunday, she wants to sleep in.

Will crawl to whoever holds the house keys or whoever is heading out the door.

Is she very sticky to me? YES!!!!! But recently she also shows that she wants to be with her siblings. If they are downstairs and she is upstairs, she will crawl to the staircase and yell for them. If they are in their room, she will crawl to their room and play there.

Still putting everything in her mouth. Still eating paper. Aarrgh!

This girl is getting so big. Can't believe that her 1st birthday is coming soon.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Look Ma, No Training Wheels!

We took D2 off the training wheels coz' the wheels were giving problems. You can read our encounter with "flying whales".

After 1 week of trying, D2 can now cycle on 2 wheels. No more training wheels for this fella. In the beginning, he was quite disheartened because he couldn't get it. He didn't know how to push off and his feet couldn't stay on the pedals. He also didn't know how to stop. When he wanted to stop, he would crash his bike.

Well, after some practices, he finally got it.

p.s. Just to let you know, at the end of the video, D2 falls down. But don't worry, he didn't get hurt. No cuts or bruises. He just got up and cycled away.

  • You can start teaching a 3 year old how to ride a bike on two wheels. At first I thought he may be too young. He proved me wrong.
  • If you're going to get a bike for your child, get a good one. Don't buy those cheap plastic ones. They don't last long.
  • Find out where is the nearest bicycle shop and make friends with the owner. There will be many visits to fix the bike chain, change the tires or fix the brake.
  • Don't have to give too many instructions when teaching how to ride a bike. Give a few pointers and they will figure the rest out by themselves.
  • Get your band-aids ready.
  • Give lots of encouragement. Magic phrase is "you almost got it!" That keeps them trying.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Gardening For Kids

As my daughter was helping me out in the kitchen the other day, she decided she wanted to plant the spring onion I had bought. After cutting it, she took the leftover bottom part (the roots) to plant. She then asked if we had any other seeds to plant. We had some packets of seeds in the store room and she chose to plant some "bok choi" and "bayam" (spinach).

Talking about "bayam", I got to tell you something funny. The little brother saw the big sister planting seeds, so he wanted to see. After the sister was done gardening, I heard him calling me. He said "mommy, come and see the "ayam" is growing already" (*in Malay, ayam = chicken). Hahaha. So funny.

Anyway, out of the blue this girl suddenly had a desire to plant something. She even asked if she could plant the apple seeds. It would be nice to have an apple tree. How unfortunate that they don't grow in this part of the world. So, she asked me to keep the rambutan seeds next time we had some.

Of course, I have to constantly remind her to go check on her little seeds and care for it. Putting the seed in the soil is not the end of gardening. We'll see how diligent she is in seeing through this project of hers. Hopefully I will have some vege to harvest later on.

Mamas Parenting Tip
  • Give opportunities for your children to do some gardening. Even if you don't have a garden, it's okay. All they need is a small pot. Give them some hands on education.
  • When you're out and about, try to identify the different trees and plants they see. We have a lot of palm oil trees here in Malaysia. It is only right that my children know what they are. I still remember I was in the car with my children and I told them the trees we were passing by were palm trees. My youngest son then quipped "how to pump the tree?" :)
  • Opportunities to learn science is all around. Actually, opportunity to learn anything is everywhere and anytime. Just got to keep the eyes open to grab those opportunities.