Friday, April 30, 2010

Caterpillar Story

This is my beautiful Periwinkle plant. It's a very hardy plant and the best flowering plant in my garden (not like I plant a lot of flowering plants).


Then one day, it became "botak" (bald) overnight. We thought it was the rabbit but she seemed an unlikely suspect. Upon further inspection, we found the culprit. Can you see it?

Yeah, there were more than 15 of this "it". This was the last one on the plant that was not "murdered" yet. Decided I should take a picture of it before it's execution. Just in case you are a pro-caterpillar person, I have already been reprimanded by my brother for being a butterfly-killer. And yes, he is right. The plant is growing back it's leaves again. But I still really, really, really hate caterpillars/worms/leeches or anything that looks like it.


Well, guess what? The butterflies must have had a convention or something and spread the word about how wonderful my garden is to bring up their little ones. The victim this time is not my periwinkle plant but my curry plant. I didn't know caterpillars ate curry too :) This time, I put some of them in a jar. Sorry, I had to kill the rest. I'm pleading my case under the excuse of exercising pest control. Anyway, my kids were taking a good look at their "science experiment" when suddenly out darted this red color fork-like tongue. Immediately there were screams of "eeeeee" and "ewwwww". Take a look at the pictures below. What is that??????




I've never seen such things before (so disgusting and "geli"), so I went to Mr. Google for some answers. I believe it is called an osmeterium. It can emit a foul smell, so you could say it is a self defense mechanism. So many years of schooling and I never knew of such thing.

I have about 4 caterpillars in a jar... errr... actually 3 left (1 died). I hope they make it all the way to becoming a butterfly. Not just because butterflies are better looking than caterpillars, but also I want to know WHICH BUTTERFLY IS THIS!

P.S. You can read about my previous 3 caterpillar projects here:

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Gum Care Tip

A few weeks ago my teeth became extra, extra sensitive to cold. I ended up in a dentist's chair to get rid of a toothache. I had a hole in my tooth and had to get a filling. But the hole was not my only problem, I have a very bad case of receding gum lines.

The dentists asked me if I brushed my teeth very hard and use hard bristle toothbrushes. My answer "Yes". She asked me how long I have been brushing this way. My answer "I don't know. A very long time." She said "Probably since you knew how to hold a toothbrush eh?"

That got me thinking... where did I get the idea that I need to brush my teeth vigorously hard to get it clean? And the best part is, I think I've passed on that idea to my kids.

The dentist advised me to switch to a soft bristle toothbrush and brush gently. And that is the message that I passed on to my kids when I came home. My daughter said "Oh, ok" and my son said "I thought I need to brush very hard to get all that dirt off my teeth."

MAMA'S PARENTING TIP:
Teach your children to brush their teeth gently. Don't let them suffer from receding gum lines later in life.
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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Baby is 7+ Months Old

BabyK continues to progress at a fast rate. 2 weeks ago I was elated that she could push herself off the floor onto all fours, like this:

Hey, no escaping out the door.

Then, she learned how to push herself off the floor into a sitting position.
video


A few days after that, she started to do this. Yup, she pulled herself into a standing position.
This is one very busy baby. We can all learn some lessons from babies. So today, it is
BABY'S PARENTING TIP:
  • Work hard
  • Keep moving forward
  • Progress everyday
  • Don't give up
  • Improve
  • Learn new skills.

Stylish Mother's Day Cards

To my American and Canadian friends, there is a very special deal over at Tiny Prints waiting for you. There have just launched a new line of stylish printed greeting cards called Tiny Prints Greetings. They have cards for Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthdays, anniversaries and graduation.

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What's The Deal?
  • They are WAIVING the first year's membership fee.
  • You get the first 3 greeting cards absolutely FOC (free of charge).
This is perfect for that Mother's Day and Father's Day that is coming up. Grab that deal now. Just click on the affiliate banner below:
Personalized Greeting Cards from Tiny Prints.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Buns, Buns and More Homemade Buns

Friday I made cinnamon buns. Yummm!



Today, I made sausage buns (and a few cinnammon buns).


It's bun fever in my home now. Really putting that breadmaker I bought a few months ago to work.

This is the dough recipe I used. I found it online and it turned out really good. I will just list down the ingredients. For further details on how to make it, you can click here: Harvest cinnamon rolls.

Dough Recipe:
1 cup milk - warm (they asked to heat it in microwave but I didn't)
1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature and beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 cups bread flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons instant active dry yeast
1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten (optional)* (I didn't use it)

The cinnamon buns I made came out really huge. I admit I'm no expert at spreading the dough, rolling and cutting them. It turned out to be quite a messy job. If you really want to do it right, I guess you can check out YouTube. Maybe that's what I should have done in the first place. Hahaha. This video below shows you how to spread the dough so it forms a rectangle. The guy has another video that shows you how to roll the dough after that.



If you want to make the sausage buns, you just take some dough and roll it in your hands (kinda like when you play with playdoh and roll it to make it look like little snakes). Then you take a sausage (Americans call them hot dog) and twist the dough around it.

MAMAS PARENTING TIP:
Just a warning about sausage buns that you buy at the store: This one time a friend of mine bought sausage buns for a "makan" gathering, I discovered that it was moldy inside. Some people had already eaten some. They didn't know because they didn't look inside. Also, on a few occasions my kids got a stomach ache after eating sausage buns we bought at the store. I suspect the sausages were not fresh anymore and that's why they were selling it for cheap. So, do think twice if you're going to buy sausage buns at the store.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

How To Easily Back Up Your Blogger Posts

It's painful to lose your blog that you have nurtured for many, many years. So, don't forget to backup. If you have a blogger account, you can use this utility to backup. You can save all your posts in an atom/XML file. Check out this page to download the utility.
Blogger Backup

Okay, that is my good deed for today.

Baby is Almost 7 Months Old

*This digital scrapbook was done with Polaroid My Memories Suite.
Click here for more information: Software For Scrapbooking

From the moment she opens her eyes, she is ready to explore. She can wiggle her way around now and she's always after something e.g. books and papers left on the floor, water bottles, the table fan buttons. I can't imagine when she can actually crawl. That means she will get to things faster. Oh boy! Right now she can push herself off the floor. She's been practicing hard. She gets on all fours and rock back and forth, as if ready to launch. Her siblings say she is doing "pumping" exercises. No wonder she has so much upper body strength. Hehehe.

I see no teeth coming thru yet.

She can call for you like if she wants you to carry her. Instead of saying mama or papa, she will just whine like "hmmmm hmmmmm" and have her hands stretched out.

She's not really eating solids these days. She seems to have lost interest. Maybe it is because she was sick a few weeks ago. But there is no fast rule that babies must eat solids at this age. Until she is ready, breastmilk is still #1.

Lil' K, lil' K, you really know how to keep your mommy on her toes.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Put Fun in Fundraisers

Last year, my girl came back from school with a card. It was a card that most parent's dislike. No, not a report card. It was a donation card. The kind that have you asking friends, colleagues, neighbors and relatives to write their name and how much they are willing to take out of their wallets. I hate doing that. When I was younger, my school had me do that too on occasions. I remember my mother was so bold as to approach the Yang diPertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan (the king of our state at that time) to donate. They used to play golf together once in a while.

Anyway, this kind of fundraising is not a good idea if you ask me. It's a win-lose situation. I know charity means not asking "what's in it for me?". However, shoving a donation card into someone's hands and asking for money is like slapping them with a summons. There is no excitement there. People would appreciate getting something back in return. How about brochure fundraising? For example, over at FastTrack Fundraising, they have brochures for gourmet cookie dough. So, instead of a donation card, people get to flip through a brochure to select what yummy cookie dough flavor they want to buy. There's also brochures for scented candles, magnetic fridge frames and Crayola cooking kits. Another cool fundraising idea is to sell discount cards. You could approach local stores like restaurants, hairdressing salons and recreation places to participate. Everybody likes discounts.

So, a message to whoever is planning a fundraiser, especially schools (cause really, the mom is always the one going around asking for money, not the kids), please be a little creative and make it fun.

p.s. If you have lots of money and want to do some good in the world, you can check out the philanthropy forum.

* Brought to you by your friends at FastTrackFundraising.com

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Homemade Buns

Mung Bean Buns


Normal buns (dinner rolls)

This is what I've been busying myself with the last 2 days. The kids have not really been eating the bread loaves I've been making. So, I decided to make sweet buns instead. Looks like I can't make them fast enough. They are gone in a wink of an eye. Just as I take them out of the oven, I will have one kid ask "Mommy, can I eat one now?"

The first batch was made with just bread flour and mung bean filling. Then Sis. Joyce suggested that I mix in some wholemeal flour so the kids' little tummies would feel more full. Tried that and the buns still came out good.

Okay, if you have a breadmaker and want to try making these buns, here is the recipe.

BUN RECIPE
2/3 cups water
2 eggs (beaten)
2 tbsp butter (my butter was hard so I just broke it into chunks)
3 cups bread flour/high protein flour (if you want some wholemeal, make it 2 3/4 cups bread flour, 1/4 cups wholemeal flour)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp yeast

If you want to add some filling, this is what you do. The filling could be red bean, mung bean, chicken floss (expensive) etc.... After the dough is ready, just pinch out a small ball of dough. Oh, put some butter on your hands so it doesn't stick to your fingers. Okay, flatten out the small ball of dough on the palm of your hands. Add in some filling. Fold the dough up to cover the filling. Then, flatten the dough slightly. How big the balls of dough depends on how big the buns you want.
Arrange them on your baking tray. Brush on some egg white on top of the balls of dough (this will give you the nice brown color on top). If you want, you can add to the taste by sprinkling on some sesame seeds (looks pretty too). Leave them on the tray and cover with a cloth for about 30-45 minutes. You'll see the balls of dough grow in size.
Pop them in the oven. Bake 200 degrees for about 15 minutes (until the top is a nice light brown color).


This is how you eat them: OPEN WIDE WIDE... AUM!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Get A Read or Spell Software for F.R.E.E.

Just a heads up for parents with children who are just learning to read and spell. Head over to this blog post of mine to learn how you can get a free ClickN Kids account: