Monday, October 31, 2011

Five ideas for practical yet fun gifts for kids

(ARA) - The building anticipation, the frantic ripping of wrapping paper and the discovery of what those colorful packages hold - holidays and birthdays are great times to be a kid. But as any parent can attest, gifts received during holidays sometimes end up gathering cobwebs in the following months.

While it's fun to go for novelty items that catch a child's attention when they are opened, giving the children in your life something that will truly stand the test of time will be much appreciated by both child and parent alike. And a practical gift doesn't have to be boring, either. Here are five things to consider as you search for a gift that will get a lot of use.

* Consult with the parents. It may be against your instinct to ask the child's parents what their child needs, since everyone loves a good surprise. However, it won't ruin the surprise for the child if you take the time to find something that he or she could truly use, and parents know their children best.

* Books or magazine subscriptions. If there's one thing a child can't get enough of, it's stories. Books are a great gift because they are sure to be read and don't take up a lot of room. A subscription to a magazine carries the added bonus of being a new gift every time it comes in the mail. If you get something that caters to the child's interest, you can't go wrong.

* Add some fun to clothing gifts. When you were a kid, you might not remember clothing as the most fun gifts you received, but the fact remains that clothing is one of the most practical gifts you can give a child. To make your gift of clothing a little more interesting, throw in a fun clothing item with something more practical. You can never go wrong with a pair of jeans for the utility aspect and then a fun T-shirt from your recipient's favorite TV show or movie. The Signature by Levi Strauss & Co. brand offers comfortable and affordable jeans for kids for under $25, so you can pick up a pair and have room in your budget for something else to complement them.

* The gift of tickets. If you're having trouble identifying a toy or gift that the child would really like, tickets to a kid-friendly concert or another event are a great option. You could also opt for a pass to a science museum or zoo - another gift that keeps giving throughout the year. Or personalize it by offering to take the child somewhere fun, which is a nice touch if you're a favorite aunt, uncle or grandparent.

* Give something that's alive. No, not a cat or dog - unless you have a parent's permission. But a fun and unique plant can be a fascinating gift for children as they can take care of it and watch it grow. Consider pairing this with a child-friendly book about the type of plant you are giving or gardening in general. Plants are also a nice gift, because if gives children and parents a project they can work on together.

By finding a practical gift that the child in your life is sure to love, you'll make sure that the happiness you're hoping to give continues long after the holidays are over.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Terrific Thursday Freebie: MyMemories Scrapbook Kit

I hope you've been downloading the scrapbook kits. MyMemories only put them up for 2 weeks before they change the freebie to a different scrapbook kit.

Here is the preview to this week's scrapbook kit.

This Digital Kit Includes:
2 Digital Papers
5 Page Elements
2 Quick Pages

Click here to get it:

You don't have to pay full price when you buy MyMemories Suite. Here's a discount code that will slash $10 off the price. Plus, you get another $10 gift certificate to buy stuff at their online store. Just copy and paste this code:

Here's where you can get the software:

If you want an extra free scrapbook kit, share what you have done with the scrapbook kit above. Leave a comment to tell me where I can view your scrapbook creation. I will then email you the link to the bonus freebie.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Teach Values With Stories

We all want our children to learn and display values such as kindness, honesty, responsible, diligence, patience, optimism etc.... Well, here's one way to teach them that: through stories.

Check out

You'll find plenty of stories and each has a value attached. Read one every night before you put them to bed. There's a Workbook of Values for you to download too.

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Create Halloween magic on a shoestring budget

(ARA) - Ghoulish ghosts. Wicked witches. Things that go bump in the night. What better way to have a little Halloween fun than to decorate your home for that spooky night?

Halloween decorations can be expensive if you buy them in a store, but don't let that stop you from capturing the spirit. It's easy to transform the things you already have around the house into spooktacular decorations your trick-or-treaters will love.

"Many people don't realize how easy it is to create Halloween magic from next to nothing," says Rust-Oleum designer Angie Stinner. "All it takes is a few beverage cans, terracotta pots, pumpkins, some paint and a little imagination."

Here are a few projects from the archives of to help you deck out your home for All Hallow's Eve:

Create a gaggle of ghoulish ghosts. Reclaim a few aluminum beverage cans from your recycling bin and rinse them thoroughly. Flip up the tab on each can so it's upright. After the cans are dry, take them outside and give them a couple of coats of Stops Rust Gloss White spray paint. Make sure you cover the entire surface and let them dry for about 24 hours. Then take a permanent marker or foam paint pen to draw on ghostly faces. Attach a 4-by-4 piece of thin gauze to each can by draping it over the top and affix a pipe cleaner or piece of yarn through each tab to hang. They're perfect for decorating a porch, entry hall - even your child's room.

Paint a pumpkin. Give a traditional Halloween activity a new twist. Paint a few pumpkins you've picked at the pumpkin patch with a spray paint like Rust-Oleum Chalkboard Paint. Give them 24 hours to fully cure, and then use chalk to draw pictures or write messages like "Boo," "Go Batty" or "Happy Halloween." Line them up on the steps leading to your front door and you're ready to welcome trick-or-treaters. Or, purchase mini-pumpkins at your local supermarket and spray paint them with on-trend finishes like Universal Copper Hammered or Oil Rubbed Bronze. Place them in a basket on your dining room table or scatter them around your house for a sophisticated alternative to the traditional painted pumpkin. The paint will preserve your pumpkins so they last through Thanksgiving.

Pilgrim's landing. Here's a project that can make your Halloween party extra festive and make great placeholders for your Thanksgiving table too. Purchase several inexpensive four inch terracotta pots from your local home or garden center - or recycle some you may have in your garage. Take them outside and give them a couple of coats of paint like Ultra Cover 2X Gloss Black spray paint or Rust-Oleum Chalkboard Paint. After the pots are completely dry, cut felt circles slightly larger than the opening of the pot and attach them with a hot glue gun. Then decorate the pots with orange ribbon, candy corn, dried flowers or other seasonal decorations to make festive pilgrims' hats. If you spray painted your pots, you can use a silver permanent marker to write names on the pots - or leave them as they are and use them again to decorate your Thanksgiving table. If you used the chalkboard paint, use any color chalk. The chalk will erase easily so your pilgrims' hats can be used over and over again.

Looking for more holiday decorating ideas? Visit

Friday, October 21, 2011

Logic Game: Factory Balls

Here's another Bonte Game called Factory Balls. They actually have Factory Balls 4 now. This is the first one. Dip the ball into the paint. Use the tools they give you to create a pattern that matches the one they want. Have fun thinking!

Once again, another game to help your children learn problem solving and creative thinking. Have a try and leave me a comment.

Click this link to play the game: FACTORY BALLS

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Terrific Thursday Freebie: MyMemories Scrapbook Kit

Here's another free scrapbook kit from MyMemories. Remember, you get a freebie every Thursday so don't forget to check back. You can subscribe to my feed or just fill in your email below to get updated through email. You can unsubscribe anytime.

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Here is this week's preview of the free digital scrapbook kit available.

You want it? All you have to do is click this link:

Each freebie is only available for about 1 week. MyMemories will constantly change the freebie. So don't be surprise if the link shows a different freebie instead.

Scrapbooking digitally is easy when you use MyMemories Suite scrapbooking software. I've been using it and I love it. It doesn't take long to learn how to create beautiful looking scrap pages.

You don't have to pay full price when you buy MyMemories Suite. Here's a discount code that will slash $10 off the price. Plus, you get another $10 gift certificate to buy stuff at their online store. Just copy and paste this code:

Here's where you can get the software:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Petronas Gas Station's Roof Blown Off In Storm

What a freak storm we had yesterday. Just as the heavy rain began to fall, a sudden strong gust of wind picked up. The next thing we know, the zinc roof of the Petronas gas station next to my house peeled off piece by piece and flew in our direction. Quickly I yelled for my kids to get in the house. The kids huddled together as the heavy rain fell and the thunder clasped. My daughter said it looked like a twister as the wind was swirling round and round. Of course we don't have twisters in Malaysia. Later my eldest brother said it is possibly as downburst or microburst.

After the storm passed, I went outside to see what damages had been incurred. Thank goodness, nobody's houses or cars were damaged. Nobody was injured too. Most of the neighbors came out and we related our experiences to one another. One neighbor had a frame picture fall and shatter some glass. Another neighbor had one of the zinc roof pieces blow into her house compound. Thankfully a pillar blocked the piece from hitting her car. A few houses were without electricity.

Later a few guys came to collect the zinc roof pieces laying on the road. My guess is they were from the gas station.

I'm very thankful that I decided to go outside to be with my kids. I was only outside a few minutes before the storm started. I was there to see what was happening and warn them of the danger. My eldest girl would have stood there to watch if I didn't ask her to get inside. They saw what was happening but it didn't incur in their minds that there was danger.

Here are some of the pictures I took.

 I'm standing on my porch. That is the gas station.

 One piece of the roof lying across the road right in front of my house. Thank goodness it didn't fall on my house.

Didn't realize until later that there was havoc at the back of my house too. My clothes stand had fallen. The other clothes stand was initially on the cement area was pushed out into the garden. Needless to say, all my clothes got wet. And I just hung it up to dry a few minutes earlier. All have to be washed again.

 I looked over at the gas station and they had stuff hanging down from the roof.

 A neighbor's house with their awning collapsed.
 I heard they just put that up not too long ago. 

 Walking up the hill, I got to peek at the damages to the gas station's roof. 

My immediate neighbor's awning was torn off and nearly blew into my porch. Thank goodness the fence stopped it. Or it would have damaged my car and my  porch awning.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Making Halloween festive without breaking the bank

(ARA) - No longer is Halloween just a night for kids to trick-or-treat. In recent years the holiday has skyrocketed to become one of the most celebrated times of the year.

In fact, nearly two-thirds of adults have dressed up every year for the past two to three years, and more than half of adults plan on decorating their homes this year, according to a recent survey released by Savers, Inc., a global thrift retailer with Savers and Value Village stores across the country.

"Halloween is a welcome escape for so many people," says Mary Ginnaty, senior buyer at Savers, Inc. "It's a holiday where you can take a break from everyday worries, alter your ego and just have fun celebrating with friends and family. Folks love that."

But with the turbulent economy remaining top of mind, some Halloween shoppers may be worried about how to create new costumes and decorations without spending a fortune in the process. There's no need to fear, though - just consider these tips for a festive All Hallows' Eve that won't leave your credit card haunting you:

* Set a budget - The first step of any shopping venture should be to set a budget that the whole family agrees on, and stick to it. Halloween is no different, so make sure you decide in advance how much you want to spend on costumes, decorations, candy and any other miscellaneous merriment.

* Mix new and used - One of the best ways to save money and create a completely original costume is to combine new and previously owned pieces. For instance, pairing a fancy little girl's dress and vintage jewelry with new accessories like a wig, tiara and wand makes for a completely customizable and unique princess look. You could also purchase a prepackaged costume, such as a vampire, and then punch it up with secondhand items like tuxedo pants, shiny dress shoes and white gloves to make the look even more authentic.

* Take the road less traveled - When shopping for a Halloween costume, visit a thrift store and be sure to browse every department - especially areas you don't typically shop. For instance, if you're looking to create a men's pirate costume, check the women's section for billowy and ruffled tops and loose-fitting pants. Many men may not realize the women's section offers completely different styles and textured materials, which could be perfect for a variety of costume ideas. Women, too, should check out the men's and boy's sections for things like vests and authentic uniforms.

* Consult the experts - If you're having trouble pulling together the exact look you're going for, search online and in magazines for inspiration. Some stores, like Savers and Value Village even offer trained costume consultants who are completely dedicated to helping people put together the perfect costume on any budget. They can help shoppers find a new ready-made costume, offer advice in mixing themed accessories with clothing items found in their closets, or find unique secondhand finds for those looking to create a completely handmade look.

* Do-it-yourself decor - When shopping for decorations, don't feel like you need to pay top dollar for standard store-bought goods. Crafting spooky Halloween decor for just a few bucks can be as simple as applying a layer of black spray paint to secondhand silk flowers or quirky ceramic knick-knacks, like owls, crows and cats, and sprinkling them around your "haunted house" for a creepy surprise.

* Pass a good value on - After Halloween has come and gone, don't forget to donate your costume at a Community Donation Center. You'll help benefit a nonprofit in your community, and give someone else a great Halloween look next year.

For more Halloween costume ideas and downloadable DIY project instructions, visit

Friday, October 14, 2011

Logic Game: Duck, Think Outside The Flock

I came across Bonte Games. If you want to train your children to think, you should get them to play these games. Maybe not so suitable for really young children (unless they are a genius, and maybe they are). You should try it out too. See if you have the brains to figure it out.

This one is called Duck. No instructions given. You have to figure out what the task is. It could be as easy as putting the ducks in a row. Once you complete the task, the ducks will swim away. Good luck.

Drop a comment to tell me how you did.

Click here to play the game: Duck, think outside the flock

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Terrific Thursday Freebie: Scrapbook Kit From MyMemories


MyMemories has been very gracious indeed to allow me to offer you a scrapbook kit every THURSDAY. And how much do you have to pay for it? NOTHING.

Isn't that awesome?

The freebies will change constantly. Each kit will definitely be there for at least 1 week. So grab it quick because it will not be there forever. This is also a reason why you should visit my blog every Thursday. I'll give you a preview and the link to the freebie.

This is the preview to this week's digital kit. It includes 9 page elements and 2 quick pages. It is perfect for 2 page layouts.

If you've been wanting to do digital scrapbooks, this is a perfect excuse for you to start. It is so easy to do, especially when you use MyMemories scrapbook software. And now you have this free digital kit to use. All you have to do is plop in your photos, journal in some words to highlight the memory and paste a few elements here and there to make it look nicer. You can use these digital kits to create a photobook or post them online for friends and family to see. I'm sure they'll be going "ooh" and "aaaah".

Here's more good stuff...

Use my affiliate discount code above to slash $10 off your purchase of MyMemories Suite Scrapbook Software. PLUS, you'll also get another $10 gift certificate to buy from their online store. WHAT A DEAL! Just copy and paste the discount code as you check out.
* Code is good for those in US and Canada only

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Need Digital Scrapbook Ideas?

Scrapbooking enthusiasts will appreciate this book. The many sketch layouts will inspire you to create beautiful scrap pages yourself. If you want to invest in a scrapping idea book, this is the one you should choose. Definitely worth your money.

You'll find beautiful, well balanced layouts that are very doable. It caters for traditional scrappers but digital scrappers will not lose out. Just a heads up that you might be disappointed if you're looking for double page layout ideas as this book features single page layouts.

It has many positive reviews. If you are low on scrapbooking inspiration, this book will fire you up. It'll make a wonderful gift too. Christmas is not too far away.

*Contains my affiliate links.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Make Halloween frightfully easy and affordable

(ARA) - Halloween decorations and costumes are meant to be frightfully fun, but the price tag for pulling together the big night doesn't have to be scary.

Here are three fun and unexpected ways to keep costs low and let the creativity shine with enchanting accessories, do-it-yourself decorations and devilishly simple party planning.

Keep costumes personal and affordable

Masks are an easy and affordable way to jazz up a kid's costume. They are also a great alternative for moms who don't want to dress up in full costume, but still want to get in the spirit. Host a pre-Halloween Masquerade Mask party and invite each guest to bring one embellishment - sequins, glitter, feathers and buttons - to create one-of-a-kind masquerade masks. The host can provide paper masks, glue and scissors, and set up a designated area where kids can decorate their own masks with friends. Plan to make it an annual gathering and remind everyone to save materials throughout the year.

Decorate on a dime

Take advantage of free resources and do-it-yourself crafts to use as decorations and fun activities for the whole family. Visit to download free printable pumpkin and eerie decorative lighting stencils. Print out the stencils and have the kids cut them out with safety scissors for pumpkin carving or painting. Kids can glue stencils onto white paper bags to line the driveway or walkway and place flameless candles inside the paper bags for an extra spooky Halloween glow. Moms can apply trick-or-treat bag iron-ons to a white canvas tote to complete the Halloween look from head to toe.

Simplify party planning

Many people find the idea of hosting a Halloween gathering stressful. "It doesn't have to be," says Sabrina Soto, Target Style Expert for Home. "Small touches can make a big Halloween statement - try placing a decorative notecard that says 'witches brew' next to the punch bowl and one that says 'eye balls' by a bowl of peeled grapes."

Make a glam centerpiece with mouth-watering Halloween treats displayed on a spider web two-tier tray, flanked by spooky candelabras with black and silver candles. It instantly creates an eye-catching focal point on the table with a spooky Halloween feel. A big trend this year is haunted gingerbread houses; have kids decorate them at the party for a fun and delicious activity.

For take home gifts, pack treat sacks with apples and tooth brushes with cards saying "fang scrubbers." (The other moms will appreciate the healthy gesture.)

"Halloween is a time to be creative and let your imagination guide you," says Soto. For more creative and affordable Halloween tips, costumes and decorating ideas, visit

Monday, October 03, 2011

Have A Problem With Public Breastfeeding?

How do you feel about public breastfeeding?

As a mother who breastfeeds, I understand the apprehension to breastfeed in public. Especially if you are a first time mom. You are scared about attracting attention to yourself, you are afraid people might stare in disgust and you know that there is a risk someone might just tell you off.

Well, let me tell you something. I'm on baby no.4 now and I don't really worry about that anymore. I've realized how discreet we can be when breastfeeding in public. Most of the time, nobody notices.

If you are still apprehensive about breastfeeding in public, watch this video and take courage. This mom echoes the voice of many breastfeeding mothers. For those of you who think you have a valid reason for shaming a mother who breastfeeds her baby in public, listen up. Hope you can be more open minded.

*Note: This video does contain some cusswords. She is ranting afterall.

So, what do you think? Are you for or against breastfeeding in public?

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Sale On Baby Stuff

If you need to buy some baby stuff, this is a good time to buy. LittleWhiz just announced they are having a sale this month (1/10/11 - 30/10/11). I've bought stuff from them before and am very happy with their service. Plus, you can really save money during their sales.

So, if you've been looking to buy stuff like a baby car seat, stroller, breastpump, baby monitor, diaper bag, disposable breast pads, nursing bra, or baby toys, you must head over to their website to see their great deals. They carry lots of good brands like Combi, Britax, Dr. Brown's, Evenflo, Fisher-Price, Graco, Lamaze, Leap Frog, Medela, Bumble Bee, Tommee Tippee and many more.

Click on this affiliate banner of mine to see the many offers they have.