Friday, July 30, 2010

Where Do Missing Socks Go?

Has anybody solved the mystery of missing socks? When it comes to babies, it's usually the mittens and booties that go missing. It's baffling! You send two for washing and only one comes back.

Well, in my case, I might have figured out how it is happening. Take a look at this picture.

My tree is eating them up. Either that or someone is trying to grow socks in my garden.

Just look at how deep inside it was. It was not easy to see it. You can say I was even lucky to spot it. I don't know how many days my FIL has been watering it. Where are the other missing socks? Maybe the plant digested them already. Who knows?

What's your theory on missing socks?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Want To Learn How To Golf?

If you are interested in learning how to play golf but don't know much about it, you can check out my brother's website that he has dedicated to beginner golfers. He has taught golf for many, many, many years. His insights and advise is invaluable. So, pay his blog a visit and shoot him any questions you may have.

And while you're there, tell him that he has an awesome sister :) Hahahahah.

Oh yeah, the website address is: http://provic-lions.blogspot.com

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Donuts Without the "O"

For some very odd reason, I cannot find my donut cutter. I know I saw it in my kitchen a few days ago, and now it is gone. I've looked all over for it. I just cannot find it. I suspect a rat may be making donuts somewhere.

Anyway, D2 saw me making bread dough and he asked "Mommy, can you make donuts?" This guy has become a donut freak. Well, without a donut cutter, what can I do? I rummaged through some cookie cutters I had and decided to use one in the shape of a fish. So, now we have fish-shaped donuts.


Mamas Parenting Tip
Be flexible. Make do with what you have.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Back To Cloth Diapering

My new stash of cloth diapers

I started using the modern cloth diapers with D2. I bought Bum Genius and was very happy with them except the gathers around the leg area (gusset) became very loose eventually. I continued to use them for D2 but only during the night time. He is already toilet trained but was still wetting the bed at night. We finally stopped the night diapers recently. Made sure he went to toilet before going to bed and then getting him up one more time in the middle of the night.

With babyK, I didn't dare use the loose Bum Genius diapers. Definitely don't want "stuff" leaking out. So for 10 months we've been using disposable diapers for her. Then I read that "Kasihku Sayangku" allowed to trade-in old diapers for new. Woohoo! That is just what I needed. I traded in 6 old diapers and got RM12 for each. I bought their pack of 8 KS 4th generation 1-size bamboo cloth diaper. Each diaper comes with 2 inserts. So in the end, I spend about RM300 for 8 new diapers (that's including postage for shipping my old diapers to them, they shipped the new diapers to me for free). I believe spending below RM40 per cloth diaper is a pretty good deal.

So, how do I like this brand of diapers?
  • It has a very soft feel.
  • Fits very well. Except that baby likes to pull the velcro. Meaning she likes to pull off the diaper. Thank goodness she doesn't do that after I put pants on her.
  • She stays pretty dry even after many hours (oh, which reminds me I need to go change her diapers now.)
  • I like the solid colors.
  • No rashes (so far).
  • It takes longer to dry compared to the Bum Genius. I guess it's because of the fluffy bamboo.
  • I found it quite difficult to rinse away baby's poo. I couldn't just spray water and the poo come off (which is what I did with Bum Genius). However, I was glad the yellow poo stains vanished after washing and drying. Maybe it won't take so much effort to wash once baby's poo becomes more solid.
Anyway, I'm glad to be once again doing my little part in taking care of the environment. Kudos to Kasihku Sayangku for doing something different and meeting the needs of a mommy like me. For those of you who have used cloth diapers to trade in, better do it soon coz' the offer is only until the end of this month (31/7/2010).

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Why We Need Bookshelves

Why we need bookshelves?
To put books, files, papers, toys and babies of course!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Making Donuts

We have gone from bun fever to donut fever. Today is the 3rd time I've made donuts this week. As usual, they don't last very long. I can make about 20-30 plus donuts and they will be gone by the next day. The biggest dinosaur is the youngest boy (D2). He will eat like 3-5 donuts in one go. In a way it's a good thing because if the donuts sit on the table for a few days, they won't taste very nice. It is best hot out of the wok.

Instead of putting caster sugar on top, I like to use sifted powdered sugar. It looks like snow covered donuts and so I call them my "snowy donuts".

For the dough, I use the same recipe as the one I use to make buns. I have modified the recipe a bit though. Instead of just using bread flour, I mix in some whole wheat flour as well. So below is the dough recipe I've been using and I like it a lot. Mind you, I'm using a bread maker to make the dough.

Bun and Donut Dough Recipe
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 1/2 cup butter (I usually just use a fork to chip my frozen butter into chunks)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence (If omitted also okay. I ran out of it and the dough still tastes good)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 4 cups bread flour (or sometimes they call it high protein flour)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I usually put less than that. It's okay if it doesn't reach the 1/2 cup measuring line).
  • 3 tsp yeast (Pile on top of the sugar. The yeast feeds on the sugar).
I put in the ingredients into my bread maker in the order as listed above. After the dough is ready, I use the donut cutter to cut the dough into donut shapes.

This is what my donut cutter looks like, just in case you were wondering. Flatten the dough first (either with your hand or rolling pin). Then use the cutter to press out the shape, just like you do when making shapes with a cookie cutter. Make sure you sprinkle some flour on your hands, rolling pin and table surface so the dough doesn't stick.

Cover your dough with a cloth and then leave it for about 45 min, so it will rise again. After which you just fry them in oil. They cook pretty fast so make sure the oil is not too hot, or you will end up with very black donuts.

So, if you want to save some money, you can try to make your own donuts instead of splurging at Dunkin' Donuts.

ATTENTION
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Thursday, July 08, 2010

How Do You Get Yourself Exercising?

I'm terrible when it comes to exercising. There's always an excuse not to do it:
  • Baby's awake. I'll need to take care of her.
  • Slept late last night. I just need a few more minutes of sleep.
  • I'm too tired after doing all the housework (or whatever work).
  • It's too hot.
  • I feel so lazy.
  • I'll do it tomorrow.
I'm sure you have a lot of excuses too. I've been looking at my bulging tummy the last few months and it is not getting any smaller. I guess after 4 kids, it is now more difficult to "shrink" back to normal size.

Well, no more excuses. It's useless for me to keep complaining about the extra fats and not do anything about it. The only person who enjoys my love handles is babyK. As she drinks her nen-nen milk, she will pinch all my bulging belly fat. Painful for me, "shiok" for her. So yesterday (and today) I got out the sports shoes and walked/jogged around the neighborhood. Took out the gym ball and did sit ups and stuff too.

My body hurts a little now. But no pain, no gain right? Just 2 days of exercise and I am feeling much lighter already. I think even the stomach has gone down. It's probably just my imagination. Hahahah. Weight loss isn't going to happen in 48 hours (not for me that is). But one thing is for sure, when you start exercising, you start to feel better about yourself.

There really is no gimmick when it comes to exercising and losing weight. You only need one thing: WILL POWER. You just need to make up your mind that you're going to do it and then do it. Just get rid of all the excuses and do it.

So, are you guys exercising and what keeps you going? Please share.

p.s. If you are interested in losing those unwanted weight after pregnancy, check this affiliate link out: Postpartum Weight Loss

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Saturday, July 03, 2010

Message for Mothers

Just want to share this wonderful message on motherhood. It's not easy being a mother. There are many stressful and frustrating days. May you be lifted up by this message.


Cekodok (Fried Banana Balls)

D2 just loves to eat "cekodok". I've been buying them in the morning for his breakfast. I decided that maybe I should just learn to cook it myself. Since I had some banana handy yesterday, I put my cooking skills to the test. Plus, I have a new toy to play with.

Say hi to my new Philips food processor

The "cekodok" turned out quite nice; as nice as the ones I buy from the shop (that's what D1 said).

I bought more bananas this morning and fried some more today. This time, I documented the process to share with you.

"Cekodok" Recipe
  • Bananas
  • Flour
  • Baking Powder (to make it fluff up)
  • Brown sugar (white sugar is fine too)
  • Oil for frying
How to Cook
Mash up the bananas. You can do it with a fork. I just put it into my food processor and let it do all the work. So effortless :) Add the sugar, maybe about 2 tbsp. You can add more if you want it sweeter. But we are trying to be healthy right? So, cut down on the sugar ok. Then add in the flour gradually.

Don't add too much in one go because you want to check the consistency of the mixture. You want it kinda thick but still be able to glide off your spoon. Don't get it too thick coz' then the "cekodok" will be too hard. Here is a video I took just to show you what consistency I worked with.

video

Heat up your oil. If you want to know whether the oil is ready for frying, take a little bit of batter and put it in the oil. If you see bubbles, the oil is hot enough. Put your fire on medium-low so it doesn't cook too fast and burn. Take about 1tsp of mixture and drop it into the oil. It makes a nice, cute size.


Take them out when they turn dark brown. Put them onto a plate lined with kitchen towels to soak up the oil. Enjoy!

Notes:
  • I didn't specify how many bananas to use because bananas come in different sizes. Plus, some people want to cook a lot (like me coz' I have so many hungry dinosaurs) and some just want enough to feed 2 mouths. For instance, today I used 10 medium sized bananas. Anyway, work on trying to achieve the right consistency in the mixture. That way, you can prepare as much or as little as you want.
  • You can substitute flour and baking powder with self raising flour.
  • Some recipes call for powder milk and vanilla essence. You can try putting those in of course. I tried putting some powder milk yesterday. Didn't really taste much difference from today's. I think the basic bananas, baking powder, flour, sugar already tastes good.
  • At the shop, I pay 10 cents for one. Today, I made 59 (it only lasted about 15 minutes before it was all gone). I paid RM3.10 for the bunch of bananas. Plus, the ones I made are bigger than the ones at the shop, and have more banana taste. Guess I won't be buying anymore.

My biggest fan!

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Friday, July 02, 2010

Children and Hobbies

I'm sure you've heard the saying "An idle mind is the devil's workshop". That's why DH and me are always nagging our children to do something beneficial and educational; something that will develop their mind, body and spirit e.g. read a book, develop writing skills, work on their maths, do their workbooks, read the scriptures, learn their church primary songs, engage in sports, draw, clean the house, wash the car, help in the kitchen etc.... We are doing our best to get them away from the computer and television. We have been encouraging them to find out what they like to do and what they are interested in. In other words, we want them to develop a hobby or hobbies.

Currently, these are what the kids are into:
D1 cycles every evening. He and daddy does about 10km. Check out his new bike.

At first it was just cycling around the block. Then the rides were gradually extended as his strength and stamina increased. We'll see if he can be like Johan, an 8 year old boy who cycled from Pangkor to Penang (250km) in 4 days. Click on the link to read the story.
His other interest is drawing. Goodness knows how much paper he has gone through. He went through our whole stack of recycled paper like a hurricane.
He is beginning to be a collector too. What does he collect? Erasers! Yeah, kinda crazy. He has been using part of his pocket money to buy erasers at school. He was also so happy one day when he came back from school coz' he found some erasers on the floor. I guess I won't have to spend a whole lot on birthday and Christmas presents for him ;)

K is still wondering what she is interested in. She is a tough one for me coz' she likes to bum around. I know she likes music. She is always going online to look for song lyrics. I do wish to get a piano (when we have more space in the house). She has learned to read notes a little and can play with her right hand. I wonder if there's a music teacher around my area?
She kinda likes learning about other countries. I bought her a notebook so she could do like a scrapbook of different countries. Unfortunately, she has not put in much effort.
She says she likes doing craft but we don't see her doing much in that department. I was thinking of signing both of us up for a jewelry making class. We'll see how that goes.

D2... he likes to eat. Hahaha. No, we will not count that as a hobby. He likes to read books. Phew! After all my effort, at least one loves to read books. He is at the stage where he wants to do whatever his brother does, good and bad. Yikes!
He still likes to hang around the kitchen when I cook. I'll have to do some baking sessions with him in the future.

BabyK... well... her hobby now is to put whatever in her mouth except if it's food.

Mama's Parenting Tip
  • Don't bog your children down with too much academic activities. Give them time to pursue stuff they love.
  • Let your children know that playing computer, watching television or sleeping does not count as a hobby (well, not in your home).
  • Be attentive and identify what your children have an inclination for. Help them develop their hobby.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Tom Yam Baked Fish

This has become one of my children's favorite dish: Tom Yam Baked Ikan Pari (Stingray). The first time I cooked this, I didn't cook a lot because I thought the children wouldn't eat it since it is a little spicy. The next thing I know, they are the ones finishing up the dish and everyone is sort of fighting to get some. I think the kids like the "Ikan Pari" because it is easy to eat. It's not like the other kinds of fish where you have to be careful of the bones. Plus, the sourish taste of the Tom Yam probably increases their appetite.

Anyway, here is how I do my Tom Yam Baked Fish.

Line the tray with aluminium foil. Then put everything on top of a banana leaf.
Everything = Ikan pari (stingray) covered with tom yam sauce, 2-3 stalks of lemon grass (crushed), tomato (quartered), sliced ladies fingers (okra), 1 big onion (sliced).

This is the Tom Yam paste I used. I put in about half a bottle of Life Tom Yam paste and a packet of Adabi Tom Yam Kung paste. This one time I used the Adabi packet without the Life brand paste (because I had run out), it didn't taste as good. It was salty and not very sourish.

Wrap it all up. Poke some holes on top. Put it in the oven for about 45 minutes. I had my oven at 200 degrees celcius.

Tadaaaa... this is what you get at the end. Squeeze some lime over for more umph!




Buying Insurance Tips

When I was 22 years old, I was approached by my boss' son to buy a life insurance policy. My pay wasn't very much and I had to pay for my car every month. I also was giving my mom some pocket money. Usually at the end of the month, I would have very little left. Saving money was really a struggle. And yet, my boss' son managed to convince me to get a life insurance policy.

Although the cash value of the policy doesn't amount to much, I'm glad that I made the decision then to get it. Something is better than nothing.

I know many people, me included, are afraid to meet insurance agents. We are afraid to be pestered to death. However, getting insured is an important matter. Life is full of uncertainties. We don't know when we may encounter death, an illness, an accident or a loss. Unfortunately, deciding what policy to get and with which company can be a difficult task. It is so important to get multiple quotes to do comparisons. After all, you want the best deal right? This is one thing that I didn't do when I bought my insurance. I was young and foolish then (and probably blinded by the good looking boss' son).

If you want a better understanding of the different types of insurance, you can check out Insurance on Wikipedia. If you want to find some local insurance agents, there are some websites that prove to be good resources like LocalInsurance. For example, if you looking to get a home insurance in Illinois, you just need to fill out some details and then, experience agents in your area will get in touch with you to offer the best deals. Because of the competition, you stand a chance to save some money because they all want your business. You can get quotes on auto, home, heath and life insurance.

Here are some quick tips as you shop for insurance:
  • Read through the policy carefully. Don't miss out important details.
  • Don't agree to extra coverage plans that are not necessary. They will throw these at you so you spend more and they earn more. So, just pay for the coverage that is required.
  • Once again, get multiple quotes. Buy from the one that gives you what you need at a good price and not from the one that is the cutest :)
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