Thursday, September 29, 2011

Simple Pumpkin Painting

Gaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!Image by Steve Snodgrass via Flickr
With each annual visit to the pumpkin patch, teachers, room mothers, scout troop leaders and parents alike often wonder how to make the most of the prize pumpkin that was chosen by a child. Forget the messy and dangerous ideas of carving. Pumpkin Painting is the perfect solution to a creative dilemma!

Painting silly, goofy or scary faces or other designs can be a fun, yet relatively simple activity for children and adults. Preschool age children can even participate in creating their own designs for their pumpkins. You certainly can't say that about carving pumpkins!

The easiest design to paint on a pumpkin is a traditional jack-o-lantern face. But here are some other ideas for festive designs:
  • silly or goofy faces
  • favorite cartoon characters 
  • fall leaves 
  • scarecrow
  • witch
  • princess
  • turkey
  • spider 
  • ghosts
  • cats 
  • goblin 

Painting pumpkins is a very economical craft as most supplies are readily available (you probably already have some of these in your home):
  • washable markers
  • acrylic craft paints
  • newspaper
  • spray sealer 
  • accessories such as raffia, jewelry, hats, etc.
 Before beginning, decide what design you are going to paint and trace that design onto a clean pumpkin. You can freehand the design or select one of the many designs in the ultimate e-guide for pumpkin painting, Easy Pumpkin Painting. Once you or your child has painted their first pumpkin, chances are you’ll want to paint an entire pumpkin family to proudly display at your home.

Pumpkin Painting is an annual family tradition at our house. We hope it will be at yours as well. Easy Pumpkin Painting is a guide that contains step-by-step instructions and color photographs of exactly how to paint the cutest Halloween pumpkins. It also contains templates that you can use to paint your first pumpkin in about an hour! Easy Pumpkin Painting makes painting pumpkins, well, Easy!

By: Easy Crafts Network

* Post contains affiliate links.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, September 26, 2011

Homemade baby food serves up healthy eating habits and savings


(ARA) - When it comes to caring for your bundle of joy, you only want what's best. And these days, with early nutrition top-of-mind for many, it's no wonder that a growing number of parents are turning to homemade baby food to help instill healthy eating habits from the start.


Prepping and pureeing easy, everyday ingredients in the home also gives you the satisfaction of knowing exactly what is going into your baby's belly, from avocado and green beans to diced apples, sweet potatoes and peaches. Using fresh-from-the-market finds also lets you avoid preservatives and additives. And by introducing a variety of healthy foods at an early age, parents can help children develop a taste for similar flavors for the rest of their lives.


Another benefit to pureeing baby's meals at home is the savings. Ranging from 50 cents to $1.50 per jar, the cost of buying premade baby food can quickly add up. By preparing homemade meals for your little one, you're not only ensuring better control of his overall diet, you're also helping keep an eye on your household budget.


Follow these easy tips and tasty recipes to discover ways in which you can hop on this back-to-basics movement and be well on your way to puree perfection.


Preparing the baby food

  • Avoid costly specialty baby food mixers or gadgets and opt for an equally effective, easy-to-use food processor, like those from Black & Decker, that puree for baby but also stand up to other culinary tasks.
  • Steam, bake or broil the ingredients. Healthy tip: steaming maintains the most nutrients.
  • The liquid the vegetables and fruits were cooked in can be added to the puree to adjust consistency. Breast milk or formula can also be used to thin the puree.

Storing the baby food
  • Transfer the baby food puree into ice trays or a baby food container. If freezing in glass, use "safe to freeze" jars or containers.
  • Fill each cube with the puree.
  • Cover the tray with a lid or plastic wrap and place in the freezer.
  • Each cube is equal to about 1 ounce of food.
  • Once the cubes of puree have set and are frozen, you can transfer them to freezer bags.
  • Label the bag with the date of preparation as well as the type of food. The baby food cubes should be used within one month of freezing.
  • When it's time to feed the baby, remove the number of food cubes needed, thaw and reheat.

By following these simple, at-home recipes from Black & Decker, you'll help develop healthy eating habits for your tot, all while keeping your overall baby budget in check.


For infants 4 to 6 months


Green Dream

1/2 ripe avocado, peeled

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup fresh or frozen thawed peas

1/3 cup sliced fresh green beans


Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Place in food processor and process for 10 seconds or until smooth for 4- to 6-month-olds or leave slightly chunkier for 6- to 12-month-olds.

Makes about 1 cup.


Cinnamon Apples and Yams

3/4 cup peeled, cored and diced apples

3/4 cup peeled, diced yams or sweet potatoes

3/4 cup water

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until apples and yams are soft. Let cool slightly, then place in food processor and process for five seconds for 4- to 6-month-olds or leave slightly chunkier for 9- to 12-month-olds.


Makes about 1 cup.


For babies 6 to 9 months and 9 to 12 months


Peachy Rice Pudding

3/4 cup soy milk

1/2 cup diced fresh or frozen peaches

2 tablespoons diced ripe banana

1/4 cup cooked brown rice

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon


Bring all ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Let cool slightly, then place in food processor. Pulse on and off 10 times for 6- to 9-month-olds or leave slightly chunkier for 9- to 12-month-olds.


Makes about 1 1/2 cups.


Lemon Chicken

1 teaspoon unsalted butter

1/2 cup diced uncooked chicken

1/4 cup whole wheat couscous

3/4 cup water

1 tablespoon snipped green onion tops

1 tablespoon minced red bell pepper

1/8 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest


Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add chicken; cook and stir for five minutes. Add couscous and cook for five minutes more then stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and remove from heat; let stand for five minutes. Let cool slightly then place in food processor. Process for 10 seconds. Scrape down sides and process five seconds more for 6- to 9-month-olds or leave slightly chunkier for 9- to 12-month-olds.


Makes about 1 1/2 cups.


For more information on food processors, visit www.blackanddeckerappliances.com.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Poster Your Images

What do you have on your wall? Most people like to put up family pictures. My DH, he likes to put up posters with motivational quotations. For example, these are some sayings from his posters:
  • Think Out Of The Box.
  • Failing Doesnt' Make You A Failure. Giving Up Does!
  • Challenges Can Be Stepping Stones Or Stumbling Blocks. It's Just A Matter Of How You View Them.
  • Worry Is Like A Rocking Chair. It Gives You Something To Do But Doesn't Get You Anywhere.
  • Success Is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity.
I've noticed that many people have started to think about Christmas gifts. You know what? A poster is a nice gift to give a friend. Maybe even a family member. Almost all of us have tons of images lying in our computer's hard disk. It is so easy to convert some of those images into custom posters. I know some of you are lucky to have a DSLR camera. I've seen plenty of awesome looking photos on blogs. Imagine adding some motivational words to an beautiful picture and then send it for custom poster printing. I think that makes a unique gift with a personal touch, don't you?

I know my son would love it if I converted some of his bird pictures into a poster. He is a budding birder. Here are some of his pictures:


Amazingly, poster printing is quite affordable. You could get a 24" x 36" poster printed for $19. It's a small price to pay for turning a lovely memory into a work of art.

Well, that's just a thought about what you can do with your tons of images and ideas for gifts.

*This post is brought to you by PosterBrain

Thursday, September 22, 2011

How To Make Your Days Fun and Yummy This Fall

Apples are an all-American success story-each ...Image via Wikipedia
Christine from Menu Central Planning has just announce a deal that will impress you: SPECIAL FALL EBOOK BUNDLE.

She's got TWELVE products all bundled up for only $10. That's a 90% discount. But you gotta hurry, coz' the offer ends after 3rd October.

What's in the bundle? Let's see if this gets you excited and charged up for the fall season.
  1. All About Apples (Valued at $5.97)
    Who doesn't love a fresh crisp apple this time of year!  This e-book walks you through the various apples and their uses, the best way to buy apples, what to do if you end up with a ton of apples, delicious yummy apple recipes and much more.
  2. All About Pumpkins (Valued at $5.97)
    Pumpkins are great for both decorating and eating!  Learn how to choose and store pumpkins, fun uses for pumpkins and of course delicious pumpkin recipes!
  3. Delicious Fall Recipes (Valued at $8.97)
    This resource includes 29 super fun and creative fall & Halloween recipes the whole family is sure to love - everything from Halloween Party Fondue, to Vampire Bat Stew, to Ghosts on a stick.
  4. Eat Whole Foods - For the Health of It  (Valued at 12.97)
    Thinking of cutting out processed foods from your family's diet?  In this ebook you learn what whole foods are, why they are important, info on organics, how to eat whole foods on a budget and much more.  If you are interested in learning more about whole foods - this is a great guide!
  5. Halloween Week Menu  (Valued at $6.97)
    Halloween is often one of kids favorite holidays!  How about making the entire week super fun!  You'll get a Halloween week dinner menu (with a grocery shopping list of course) to make it a fun food week your kids will never forget!  (Don't worry - these are super easy recipes that the entire family will enjoy!)
  6. Halloween Fun Recipes & Party Games (Valued at $5.97)
    Even more Halloween recipes and some great games to play at your Halloween Party.  With this bundle you certainly won't be at a loss for creative Halloween ideas!
  7. School Lunches Made Easy (Valued at $8.97)
    If you have school lunches to pack each day, this guide will be your new best friend!  Discover easy lunch ideas, organization tips, and even printable charts to help you out!
  8. It's Sleepover Party Time (Valued at $6.97)
    Sleepovers - so much fun for the kids, but sometimes a lot of work for the parents!  This illustrated recipe resource takes you through a few of our very favorite sleepover recipes - step by step!  Now feeding all those kids is taken care of!
  9.  Slow Cooker Recipe Book (Valued at $14.97)
    How about using your slow cooker in the fall and getting the aroma of dinner drifting through the house all day? Plus, feeding the family is a cinch come supper time!  You'll receive 54 pages of Christine's favorite slow cooker recipes.
  10. Spooky & Fun Halloween Recipes (Valued at $5.97)
    More Halloween Recipes - what can I say!  There are so many yummy ideas!
  11. Seven Simple Steps to a Super Halloween Party (Valued at $7.97)
    Would you like to host a simple Halloween Party but you're just not sure where to start?  Then this is what you need!  Just follow their 7 easy steps - Invitations, Decorations, Music, Food, Games & Activities, Crafts & Goodie Bags.  With this resource the Halloween Party Stress will be gone!
  12. Thanksgiving Planned for You (Valued at $12.97)
    Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year?  If so, here's the plan to reduce your stress!  Christine has prepared the menu, the shopping list, and the to-do list.  Take a deep breath, follow the guide and know that this year you can actually enjoy the holiday!
You'll find this fun bundle here:
Special Fall Ebook Bundle

*This post contains my affiliate links.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Be Careful When Using Baby Slings

If you haven't heard yet, warnings have been issued on the use of baby slings. The warnings were sparked by the death of a 2 day old baby in South Australia. The mother was carrying the baby in a sling underneath her shirt and jumper. Although the autopsy report doesn't conclusively say the sling was the cause of the baby's death, but it was considered a risk factor.

So now, professors and specialists are sounding the warning for mothers to be careful when using baby slings.The US Consumer Product Safety Commission would like parents to be aware that soft fabric slings have the potential to suffocate a baby, especially those that are 4 months old and below.

Pouch slings, especially, can pose a health hazard if baby is held in a position that blocks the airways. So, the call is for parents to constantly check on the baby when using the sling. Make sure their nose and mouth are not covered.
 
If you are looking for the best baby carrier, check these out. They come highly recommended:

Monday, September 19, 2011

New resource helps moms overcome dinnertime challenges


(ARA) - As every parent knows, the dinner hour can be fraught with friction and frustration - how can you get your picky eater to abandon his "no green foods" rule or make your chatterbox stop talking long enough to take a bite?


Relax, says mother of three, parenting expert and author of "The Big Book of Parenting Solutions," Dr. Michele Borba, who notes that all parents want to feed their kids well and enjoy the time together at the table. "Sometimes, the littlest members of the family establish patterns at mealtime that are difficult to break," Borba says. "Thankfully, there are scores of parents out there who have gone or are going through the same challenges; one resource to try is Mom's the Word on Dinner, an interactive forum that's hosted by Ragu(R) on Facebook.com/ragusauce. It's a great community where moms can discuss and, hopefully, provide solutions to the everyday dinner time challenges from picky eaters to table manners."


Other tips for dealing with picky eaters, provided by Borba and registered dietician, Dr. Felicia Stoler include:


  • Don't make it a big deal. "Research shows that picky eaters can become even pickier depending on how we respond," Borba says. "It's best to be neutral and calm and hold off on lectures. In fact, the less said about the food, the better."
  • Branch out. "The best way to get the pickiest eaters to discover new foods is to send them to a friend or family member's house," Stoler says. "I am amazed at what picky kids will eat at my house and what my kids have tried at other people's homes."
  • Turn your kid onto cooking shows. "One mom swore her kid was the world's pickiest eater," Borba says. "One day she caught her daughter watching a cooking show and it was the 'moment' she'd been waiting for. She bought her a small recipe box and showed her daughter how to find recipes on the internet. Each week her daughter found a recipe and encouraged her mom to make it. The best part: she ate it."
  • Mix favorites with new tastes. "Children will refuse to try new foods without anything familiar on their plate," Stoler says. "Try filling their plate with their favorite foods and add a small amount of the new food to inch them toward exploring new flavors.  My son loves pasta so I just make sure to mix in different vegetables each week to have him try something different. On top of that, Ragu(R) Old World Style(R) Traditional pasta sauce has two servings of veggies in every half cup so I always feel confident that he's receiving a wholesome meal."

Finally, trying a family-friendly recipe like Ragu(R) Veggie Pizza Cupcakes that's fun to make and eat with the kids will get everyone around the table and asking for seconds. For more tips and recipes, and to join the conversation, visit Facebook.com/ragusauce.


Veggie Pizza Cupcakes


For meat-lover's cupcakes, substitute cooked ground beef for the veggies. Simply mix it in with the sauce and continue as in recipe.


Ingredients

1 package (12 oz.) refrigerated biscuits (10 biscuits)

1 teaspoon olive oil

1-1/2 cups assorted diced fresh vegetables (red bell pepper, zucchini, summer squash, onion)

1-1/2 cups Ragu(R) Old World Style(R) Traditional Pasta Sauce

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (about 2 oz.)


Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unroll biscuits and press each into a 3-inch round. Evenly press each biscuit in bottom and up sides of each cup in 12-cup muffin pan; chill until ready to fill.

2. Heat olive oil over medium heat in 10-inch skillet and cook vegetables, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in pasta sauce and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer 2 minutes or until slightly reduced.


3. Evenly spoon vegetable mixture into prepared muffin cups. Bake 15 minutes. Evenly sprinkle tops with cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and biscuits are golden. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Gently remove pizza cups from muffin pan and serve.


Preparation time: 15 Minutes

Cook time: 20 Minutes

Yield: 10 pizza cups

Nutrition Information per serving

Calories 140, Calories From Fat 45, Total Fat 5g, Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 5mg, Sodium 460mg, Dietary Fiber 1g, Sugars 5g, Protein 4g, Vitamin A 6 percent, Vitamin C 25 percent, Calcium 4 percent, Iron 6 percent.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Chicken Rendang

There's a guy selling lemang* near my house. I bought one to try it out. The medium sized cost me RM10. What is lemang without some rendang right? So I also bought some rendang from him. One small container was RM5. I bought one but my mom looked and said "that's not enough", so she bought another container. The rendang was nice but they used old chicken. We don't like old chicken. Plus, it seemed like there were more bones than chicken. The quantity was also too little.

So, what to do? Cook my own rendang lah.


How did it turn out? Boleh tahan lah (Not too bad). I wanted to get some more lemang to go with it but DH said "You want me to die faster ah? So much coconut milk."

So, what's in my chicken rendang?
  • Blended shallots, garlic, turmeric, ginger and lemon grass
  • Fry all that blended stuff in some oil. 
  • Added some of my FIL's chilli. He makes a whole batch and keeps them in the freezer. Here is his chilli paste recipe.
  • Added in the chicken. I like to put salt on the chicken first before cooking.
  • Stir around for a few minutes.
  • Pour in the santan (coconut milk). How much santan to use depends on how much gravy you want. My family loves gravy, so I put in a bit more. If you like dry rendang, then don't put too much. Or else you'll overcook the chicken while waiting for the santan to dry out.
  • Let it simmer till chicken is cooked. Add in kaffir lime leaves and turmeric leaves while simmering. I shred the leaves into tiny strips first.
  • Add in the kerisik*. I took the easy way out and bought ready made kerisik from the shop. I used 2 small packets.
  • Before you finish, taste to see if you need to add in more salt or sugar.


*Lemang = Glutinous rice and coconut milk cooked in a hollowed bamboo stick. It's traditional Malay food found in abundance during the month of their Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration.
*Kerisik = grated, toasted and grounded coconut paste.

I cooked one whole chicken. So I used about 6-7 shallots, one whole garlic bulb, 1/2 finger length of tumeric, 1 finger length of ginger, 3 lemon grass. 
Sorry, I can't really give you exact measurements. When I cook, I just estimate and adjust according to the quantity I need to cook for my family. Don't be afraid to make mistakes.


Hope you enjoy the recipe.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday BabyK

Today my little girl turns 2 years old.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY CUTIE PIE!

I love my kids when they are at this age. They talk cute and do lots of cute stuff. They want to be independent and so are very willing helpers. Just the other day, I called from the back of my house (where I put the washing machine) for someone to bring me the dirty laundry. Who should answer my call? Yes, my little 2 year old runs to the laundry basket and delivers it to me. Never mind it is too heavy for her. She pushed it all the way to the back for me. And the other 3 older kids???? Playing deaf I guess.

She can say quite a few words like "atah" (water), stuck, rice, mess, "chit" (sounds the same of sit and sleep), walk-walk, shtoo (school), "tar" (car), no, yes, "muk" (milk), tatoo (thank you), "pis" (please) etc.... She will say "hug me" when she wants to be carried. Actually, I'm not sure if it is "hug me" or "help me".

She can finally now call me by the correct term "Mommy". Before this I was called "papa". Actually, everyone was called "papa". Now strangers outside the house like the mailman, neighbors and the guy who collects rubbish is called "nana".

We've gone swimming a few times. Initially she was scared and clung to me for dear life. Then she started to enjoy the water and she could float around without me holding her. These days when we go swimming, her favorite thing to do is to jump into the pool. She will do it over and over again. Just take a look at my little miss dare devil. I caught her on video.

video

My babies are all growing up. Sob! Sob!
So, what are we doing for her birthday? Nothing grand. She's only 2 years old and don't have any friends yet. She probably won't remember it either. Hahahah. After 3 kids, we (DH and I) have kinda wised up a bit. Celebration will be just us, the family. Chicken wings are marinating in the fridge, getting ready for a delicious dinner. I think ice-cream will be on the menu too. We'll also take her to the cake shop to pick out her cake. DH was thinking of a treat at Secret Recipe.

She was practicing her blowing for the birthday candles last night. We sang the birthday song and she would blow before the song finished. We had to tell her to wait. So cute. Let's see if she gets it right tonight.

Well, have a fantastic birthday little girl. Mommy, daddy, koko1, koko2, jie-jie, amah and kong-kong love you very, very much. MUAH!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cheese Baked Rice

This is another one of my DH's request: Cheese Baked Rice.
I've done something similar before but the recipe was different. Previously, my friend taught me to use chicken nuggets. Then pour mushroom soup onto the rice before adding the cheese on top to bake.

This recipe is from Tastes of Home. Their recipe is here.

But for you convenience, I'll write what I did here:
  1. Put about 1 tbsp butter into the wok. 
  2. Fry minced garlic with the butter.
  3. Add in chopped bacon. Fry until you get some bacon juice and you get that lovely bacon smell.
  4. Pour in your rice (You could use your day-old rice).
  5. Add in soy sauce, worcester sauce and a dash of pepper.
  6. Stir everything around until the rice is nicely coated with all the sauce. Take a taste to see if you need more soy sauce.
  7. Transfer to a baking dish big enough to hold all your rice (I cooked around 3-4 cups of rice).
  8. Sprinkle your grated cheese on top of the rice. I used both mozzarella and cheddar.
  9. Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes at around 200 degrees Celcius (or until cheese is nicely melted).
This is a dish that I will only cook occasionally. It is yummy but cheese and bacon are so expensive.

Enjoy!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Feeling sluggish? Follow these three rules for maintaining energy throughout the day


(ARA) -  Whether you're a busy parent, a career go-getter or both, modern life has never been more hectic. Busy days can leave even the most energetic people tired and drained. If you want to live a more healthful, energized life, some simple choices can help you make each day dramatically different.


Kathy Kaehler, author, celebrity trainer and mother of three, has devoted her life to helping people live happy, productive and healthy lives. Working with celebrities like Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston and Kim Kardashian, Kaehler knows how simple tricks can help keep you staying fit and energized. She suggests incorporating these three rules into your daily routine to begin feeling better every day:


Rule 1:  Exercise anytime

Exercise isn't just for the gym. The day is filled with moments where you can work your muscles and help energize your body. For example, almost everyone's day includes time at the office and time in the car.


At the office: A great way to grab some energy and get through the afternoon lull is to do a simple, yet effective exercise. Using a sturdy, non-rolling desk chair, practice standing up and then sitting back down.  Focusing on your legs and keeping your arms to your side, this easy exercise is fast, effective and great for the lower body. Not only will it elevate your heart rate and increase your breathing, but you are sure to feel its overall energizing effects throughout the day. Complete two sets of 15 repetitions to provide the burn you need to feel good.


In the car: All the minutes wasted stuck in traffic or waiting in the carpool line at school are perfect opportunities to flex some muscle power. While seated, squeeze your glutes (buttock muscles) as hard as you can. This will cause your body to rise and fall a few inches. After a set of eight to 10 reps, repeat the exercise, but this time focus on one side at a time.


No matter where your day takes you, always remember to keep some fresh water or 100 percent fruit juice and healthy snacks like Snack Factory's Pretzel Crisps(R) with you in the car.  It will keep you fueled and hydrated and prevent you from loading up on carbs and fat at the nearest fast food restaurant.


Rule 2: Snack healthy

It's important to keep your body fueled, but with the right kinds of foods, so skip the soda and chips. Instead, look for healthy foods that will keep you energized throughout the day. Pretzel Crisps are a great low-fat, low-calorie snack packed full of flavor and crunch, leaving you satisfied and ready to move on with your day. The flat-baked pretzel crackers have no trans fats, saturated fat or cholesterol, making it the perfect snack for at work or at home.


You can even add some pizzazz to your Pretzel Crisps and increase the nutritional value by pairing it with some healthy toppings and low-fat dips. Combine your favorite flavor with fresh-sliced cucumbers, rich hummus, zesty salsa, crisp apples or sliced cheese. Don't be afraid to challenge your taste buds and get creative with your pairings.  The sky's the limit when it comes to this satisfying, better-for-you snack. For additional pairing ideas and dip recipes, visit the company's website at www.pretzelcrisps.com and look for this tasty snack in the deli section of your local grocery store.


Rule 3: Prioritize sleep

Sixty-three percent of Americans say their sleep needs are not being met during the week, according to a 2011 poll by the National Sleep Foundation. For many people, sleep is the first thing to get cut when their day gets too busy.


Getting enough sleep is crucial to losing weight, reducing stress levels and being more alert. Make time for at least seven hours of sleep each night. Don't delay sleep by watching TV or playing on the computer.  Turn everything off an hour before your bedtime. Practice deep breathing, meditation or do some light reading. Skip food and any drinks that contain caffeine. Water is your best bet, but the majority of your liquid intake should be kept to during the day.


These healthy, better-for-you snack ideas and other tips will help you maintain your energy throughout the day, allowing you to feel your best and live each day to the fullest.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Piano Duet With My Son

This video is to make my son feel good about his piano playing. It feels good to be able to play a duet with him. I'm so happy that he not only learned the notes, but was also able to keep the beat and timing. I felt he deserved to have a video audience.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

What Happened To Min From the Barney Show?

My son put on Barney this morning and I wondered what ever happened to the little girl who plays Min. Her real name is Pia Hamilton. Well, if you're wondering too, this video gives you a glimpse of her life now.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

What Not To Do When Planning A Kids Birthday Party

I just had a birthday party for my 2 older kids. They are born in the same month and so, we had one party for both of them.

Initially, I didn't plan to have a party for them. However, my girl said her friends asked if they could come over to celebrate. This is the first year they are in this new school and so, I didn't want to disappoint their new friendships.

Okay, now that the party is over, I can tell you the one thing NOT to do when planning a kids birthday party:
DON'T COOK TOO MUCH FOOD!
When it comes to kids, they're not interested in eating, they just want to play.

I had 10 kids at the party. Their parents were invited too but they didn't want to come. All of them just dropped their kids off. I cooked spaghetti, fried mee hoon, chicken nuggets, fried crab balls, coleslaw, mash potatoes, a big tray of jelly and 2 birthday cakes. I think they ate only 1/3 of what I cooked. We ended up eating the leftovers the next 3 days.

So, what was the party about?

  • First, they played badminton in the garden. My mom even bought a badminton net.
  • Then they had some food.
  • I organized a game of "pass the parcel". I had them do things like hula hoop, jumping jacks, and charades. Of course I gave prizes too: junk food. Although I don't like to give children junk food to eat, it was the cheaper option. Sorry.
  • The game they all couldn't wait to play: WATER BALLOON FIGHT!
  • They were having so much fun getting wet, I almost forgot to bring out the birthday cakes and dessert.

I actually planned more games but already more than 2 hours had past. On the invitation card, I had the party down from 5:30pm - 7:30pm. So, we asked the kids to dry up and change their clothes before their parents came to pick them up.


Mama's Birthday Party Tips
  • Fill up the water balloons early. I was busy preparing the food the whole day, I didn't do the water balloons until later. My kids couldn't help either coz' they didn't know how to tie the balloons. Plus, the mouth of the water balloons was so small, there was only one tap in the house that could be used to fill the balloons. In the end, I didn't quite have enough water balloons for the kids. It would have been nice to have more. 
  • I had to put some water in the pail of water balloons. If not, the balloons stuck to one another and would burst when you picked them up. 
  • Make clear rules where they can and cannot throw the water balloons. Designate a "war zone". 
  • Remember to tell your guests to bring a towel and spare change of clothes.  
  • Remind the birthday kids to be extra nice to the younger non-birthday siblings. Tell them how tough it can be for the younger ones to see their siblings enjoying the spotlight. 
  • Don't kill yourself cooking tons of food. 
  • If the kids are older, you don't have to organize so many games. My kids were 8 and 10 years old. They seem to know how to occupy themselves. BUT computers are off limits. Yup, they did ask me if they could use our computers. 
  • Expect parents to come late in picking up their children. I had 2 parents come at 9pm. My DH wondered if the parents wanted their children back. Hahahaha. 
  • If you need idea for games, try Printable Kids Birthday Games*
*This is my affiliate link


    Monday, September 05, 2011

    Fun ways to keep your kids active and energized


    (ARA) - When you're a kid, a day packed with activity usually means lots of fun. For parents, finding different ways to keep your kids enriched and energized is the key to ensuring that their days are wholesome and enjoyable.


    As your children head back to school and into the fall season, there's no shortage of activities to keep them occupied. Here are a few tips to help keep the fun going when your schedules are full:

    • Keep play simple. Take breaks to let your children play outside. Remember the fun you had at the neighborhood park, simply going down the slide over and over or even just running around and playing tag? Even in today's technology-filled world, there's still nothing that beats good old-fashioned outdoor play time. You might find it especially fun to teach your kids some simple games, like "Kick The Can," that you might have played when you were young. Encourage your kids to use their imagination when playing, as imaginative play can help foster their creativity.
    • Keep an on-the-go bag stocked with fun, convenient and wholesome snacks. For example, all-natural GoGo squeeZ is a no-spoon, no-mess way to enjoy fruit on-the-go. It's 100 percent fruit, squeezable applesauce for kids that is packaged in convenient resealable pouches that require no refrigeration. It is possible to find convenient snacks with no refined sugars or preservatives. To learn where you can find GoGo squeeZ, visit www.gogosqueez.com.
    • Find some time to volunteer. Introduce your kids to the power of doing good for others by signing your family up to volunteer somewhere that will provide a fun and fulfilling experience for everyone. You could offer to walk dogs at the local animal shelter or see if your  local senior living facilities have an activity day where children are invited to play. Sites such as www.volunteermatch.org can help match you up with child-friendly opportunities in your town.
    • Sing. Especially when you have younger children, nothing can brighten up an ordinary car ride like some of your favorite songs. Let each child - and even mom and dad - take a turn picking favorite tunes and you'll be at your destination before you know it.


    Keeping things simple and fun is a surefire way to keep busy days with your children delightful for everyone. The little things like packing easy yet delicious snacks, helping someone else or hopping out of the car for a no-fuss outdoor activity can keep you and your children energized and feeling good.

    Saturday, September 03, 2011

    ClickN Kids Promotion

    If you're looking for a reading or spelling software for your children, you'll want to check out ClickN READ Phonics and ClickN SPELL.

    ClickN READ Phonics and ClickN SPELL online learning programs have everything you need to teach reading and spelling guaranteed or your money back. Try 4 lessons with your child now, absolutely free! ClickN READ Phonics and ClickN SPELL are designed to teach beginning reading and spelling for children as early as the age of 3 years old. ClickN KIDS products are also a great solution for older children that may be struggling with their reading and spelling skills and have also proven to be very successful working with learning disabilities as well as individuals learning English as a second language.

    By the way, they have just launched their newest product, Looney Tunes Phonics with the zany antics of the lovable Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety Bird, Taz and friends. My son prefers the animations on this new one compared to the old one. Unfortunately, there is no option for us to make a switch. So, he'll just have to stick to the old one.

    Here's the promotion for the month of September 2011. Click on my affiliate links below to access the site.
    Buy 1 ClickN READ Student Get the 2nd FREE! Use coupon code: 2STUDENTFREE exp. 9/30/11

    Buy 1 ClickN READ Student Get the 2nd FREE! Use coupon code: 2STUDENTFREE exp. 9/30/11

    Friday, September 02, 2011

    She Loves To Wash Her Hands

    I really have to watch this girl of mine. She is now obsessed with washing her hands. Now that she's a little bit taller and can reach the tap, she is enjoying her new independence.

    The good:
    I can be a little lazy. I don't have to get off my chair to help her wash hands. I sit on my chair and watch her go to the bathroom to wash hands. Hahahah.
    She has learned to be hygienic. She's not walking around with sticky, dirty hands.

    The bad:
    Sometimes she does more than wash her hands. She'll fill up a cup and pour water into the toilet bowl. Then she gets her shirt and pants all wet.
    If she forgets to turn off the tap, we can expect a higher water bill. And the world will also frown on us for wasting water.

    But you know what? I'm all for independent learning. Can be more trouble in the beginning, but we got to give our kids some space to learn and explore. That's how they grow.

    Thursday, September 01, 2011

    What To Do With a Mosquito?

    This picture was taken by my son.

    So, what do you do when a mosquito bites you?
    1. First, you take it's picture.
    2. Then you whack it.
    Hopefully, it stays there long enough for the entire process.