Friday, April 27, 2012

Dad Shockingly Finds Out That Teachers Are Bullying His Autistic Son

I watched this video yesterday and felt enraged and sickened. I'm glad this father found out what was really going on with his autistic son. You see, there were complains from school that his son was hitting the teachers and that is not normal behavior for his son. After months of trying to find out why and coming up with nothing, this father finally put a wire on his son to record what was going on in school. What he heard was shocking and finally, he understood why his son was behaving the way he was.

The way the teachers treated the kids and the things they said were terrible. Can you imagine, the teachers were talking about their use of alcohol, joking about lying to parents and complaining about their spouses. They made fun of the kids, demeaned them and were just plain heartless. This father's son (Akian) was called a "bastard" just because he cried.

After giving the recording to the school, the teacher's aide got fired but the teacher was transferred to another school. If this happened to your child, how would you feel? Well, this dad wants justice. He is right, no teacher who humiliates and hurts children like that (whether special needs or not) should be allowed to continue teaching. We put our trust in teachers to educate, care and nurture our children. If they abuse this trust, they should be stripped of the privilege to teach.
Take a look at this video. If you want to support this dad, go here and sign the petition.

To this dad, I salute you for standing up for your son and all kids who has ever been bullied by their teacher. I hope you get the justice you seek and your son is fortunate to have a father like you.

Do you agree with what the father is doing?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Terrific Thursday Freebie: MyMemories Scrapbook Kit

Okay, this week scrapbook freebie is super cute. We're going to make Flower Cards.

Here's the preview to this week's scrapbook kit:

This kit includes 2 digital papers and 3 quick pages.

You can get it by clicking this link:

Using MyMemories Software to Customize your Flower Card

  • Download template file and install it into your software
  • Using MyMemories Suite, choose Create Album From Designer Template and find your project
  • Now you can print and enjoy the provided template, or customize it with your own papers and embellishments.
You can right-click on the white guide and lock it in place to keep it from moving while you are working. Make sure this is the top layer of your project before printing.

Instead of adding the paper as a background paper, you can add it as an embellishment so that you can move the paper around. This is especially useful when using papers with stripes or circles, so you can decide which part of the paper you want to use.

Once it is added as an embellishment, you can now select the paper and move it into the position you want it.

Just SAVE and PRINT on cardstock!

How to Assemble your Flower Card

1. Print your file on cardstock.

2. Take your card template page and fold at all fold lines. A bone folder helps make the creases nie and crisp to help your finished card to look nicer.

3. There should be a total of 9 folds when you are done.

4. Cut out your card.

 5. Turn your card over so that the printed side is down and pinch the sides of each petal together until all 6 petals are standing straight up.

6. Gently push all the petals in one direction until they lay flat.

7. You now have a flower card.

8. Tie a ribbon (not included) or something equivalent around the card to hold it closed.

9. Embellish as desired. This card was embellished with a circle cut out from a piece of background paper.

This freebie and tutorial are courtesy of MyMemories.

MyMemories Suite makes scrapbooking easy and fun. If you wish to buy MyMemories Suite, use my 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:

Hope you find time to do this cute little craft.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Choosing Body Parts

Have you ever asked your children hypothetical questions? Well, while we were in the car the other day, I asked my children this question:
"If you could be any part of the body, which part would you choose to be and why?"

K1: I want to be the brain because the brain is the smart one and controls the rest of the body.

D1: I want to be the private part because that's the part people keep safe. (That made DH and me laugh. DH asked him if he really wanted to look like a penis. He later changed his answer to teeth. Because after he dies, he can live again as in after the milk teeth drops, another set of teeth grows. Plus he can bite people).

D2: I want to be the heart because I love everybody.

It's quite fun asking your children these type of questions. I can see how the answers sort of reflect my children's character. K1 is a little bossy and loves to act like she is smarter than everybody. I can see how she would like to be the brain. D1 is a joker. It is no surprise that his answer is creative and humorous. D2 just earned the nickname Huggy Bear by a friend's daughter because he is always hugging people. Is it any wonder he chose the heart?

How about I analyze you? What body part would you choose?
As for me, I would choose to be the mouth. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How To Encourage Children To Read

Recently in a forum, I encountered a question about how I encouraged my children to read. I know of many mothers who try their best to instill the love of reading in their children. Unfortunately, they are not seeing the fruits of their labor. Their child show no interest at all despite their efforts. They wonder what else they can do?

Well, I just want to share what I replied in that forum. May some of you find comfort and hope in my answer. Just want to relay what I've learned through my experience with my kids.

Sometimes, our young kids don't show too much enthusiasm for reading. But we should not give up and continue to encourage the love for reading. My eldest daughter (now 11 years old), didn't really do much reading on her own when younger. I was always nagging her "hey, why don't you pick up a book" or "have you finished reading the library book yet?". And then one day, she just started devouring books like there's no tomorrow. She would borrow like 8 books from the library and finished reading them in 1 week.

Recently I could see she has moved on to the next level. She read The Twilight Saga , now reading for the 2nd time The Hunger Games Trilogy . The last trip to the library she borrowed books from the 1st floor fiction section instead of the kids section.

The same thing is happening to my son (now 9 years old). Would not pick up a book unless I said something. The 2 books he borrowed from the library would be returned 3 weeks later unfinished. Well, the last time we borrowed books, he finished them before returning. This week, he borrowed 3 books and 3 days later, finished reading them all. In case you are wondering, he loves to read Beast Quest. (If you have boys around that age, you can recommend that book to them.) You can see that his taste of books is vastly different from his sister's.

I guess what I'm saying is that we don't know when our kids will suddenly change. One day they don't like books, then suddenly the next day they can become a bookaholic.

For parents who want to know what they can do instill the love of reading in their kids, these are some things I did. AND do start when they are young, it helps.
  •     Created a mini library at home. Went to book sales a lot and stocked up my shelves with books.
  •     Borrow books from the library.
  •     Attend story telling sessions (if any)... whether at bookshops or playgroups.
  •     Read to them since babies.
  •     When we go out, I would bring books instead of toys to keep them entertained.
  •     Show that you, as a mother, also love to read books. My daughter was like competing with me as we read the Twilight and Hunger Books. She wanted to finish the book faster than me :) Now that she is borrowing more "teenager" kinds of books, I also read the books she borrow (We borrowed a series called Fingerprints by Melinda Metz and I enjoyed reading it too). She would sit next to me as I read. If I'm on the couch, she is on the couch with me. When I move to my bedroom to read, she follows me. I asked her "why are you following me everywhere?" She said, "I want to sit next to you and read." So, that's a clue right there. Children love it when you sit next to them and read together.
If your kids love to read, hope you don't mind sharing what kinds of books they like to read. Just leave a comment below.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mom Confesses How She Avoids Playing Toys With Son

Not all moms are enthusiastic about getting on the floor to play trucks with their son. Well, one mom confesses to this and says she uses housework to escape playing with her child. This is a cafe mom video with 3 moms sharing their thoughts on this subject.

So, do you try to get out of playing with your kids too?

Mama's Parenting Tips
  • If you don't have time to play with your kids, don't just brush them off. Tell them when you are going to be free and set a time when you can play. For example, if I'm busy preparing dinner, I'll tell my kid "when I'm done with these 2 dishes, then I can play with you for a little while". That way, they don't feel too disappointed.
  • Sometimes I don't really feel like playing toys with my kids, but I do anyway. However, I will warn them ahead of time that I'll only be playing for like 5 minutes. Sometimes, that short time is enough to make them happy. 
  • With your first child, you'll have to make that effort to play with them when they're young. Don't assume that playing comes naturally. In the beginning, you'll need to teach them. They learn by watching you. For example, show them how to hook up those lego blocks together and what they can make. Once they know how, their imagination takes over and you can encourage self play.
  • This is one reason to have more than one child. Siblings make great playmates. Moms can take a break from playing then.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Terrific Thursday Freebie: MyMemories Scrapbook Kit

Need a craft to do this week? How about a gift bag? Just print this scrapbook kit and do a little folding. Use it for to package party favors or even wedding party favors. Only available this week. So download it now.

Here's the preview to this week's scrapbook kit:

You can get it by clicking this link:

 This kit includes 2 digital papers, 4 page elements and 2 quick pages.

Here is how you do it:
  • Open MyMemories Suite software and choose your album size (chose 8.5 x 11 for a printable project). 
  • Add the papers and elements you wish to use to create your own printable project
  • When you are finished, click: SHARE ALBUM ====> EXPORT PAGES and save as a .jpg!  The new .jpg papers you created are now usable as stand alone printable projects to use and reuse anytime! 
Take a look at how it is done:

The Freebies enclosed are just samples of the printable projects you can make!  Just print, cut, score, fold and use!  You can add a little ribbon handle, and voila!!  What a great way to give a gift!!  It's inexpensive, available at any time, and easy to personalize!! So many great uses - so easy and fun!

You can do so many interesting and beautiful projects with MyMemories Suite. If you don't have the  software yet, don't wait! Get it today! Use this 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:

Hope to hear from you soon and happy scrapping!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The ABCs of virtual school success

(ARA) - There are now about 2.5 million pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade students in the U.S. who get at least some of their education online. An estimated 250,000 students are getting their entire educations virtually, from full-time virtual schools.

While every family has its own reasons for choosing full-time virtual school, the majority have children who are simply not thriving, for whatever reason, in a traditional classroom setting. Many find increased personalization and flexibility of online schools enable their students to succeed academically, since they can work from home at a pace that is more in line with their learning style, and at a level that suits their educational needs.

But while many families are exploring full-time virtual schools as an option, it's important to remember that this form of public education isn't a good fit for every student, or every family.

"Virtual school is a great choice for many students, but it requires a commitment on the part of parents to be involved in their child's education," says Sylvia Pryor, director for community outreach at Connections Academy. "Although many students adjust quickly, not all students are suited to learning at home. At our information sessions for prospective families, we let parents and students know what they can expect in the virtual school setting. We want students to thrive in our program, and understanding how it works and what is required is essential."

Families interested in full-time online school should consider the following "ABCs" of successful virtual schooling to determine if this form of education is a good fit:

Availability and attitude of parent and student
At most full-time virtual schools, a parent or trusted adult monitors student progress in the home throughout the day and works with certified teachers who direct instruction. This requires a parent's time, especially when more than one student is enrolled. Virtual schools are not unsupervised, self-study programs. While online schools provide a flexible learning environment, parental involvement and responsibility are critical to successful participation. Students should also have the right mindset: being self-motivated, open to learning in a nontraditional setting, and having a comfort level with technology all contribute to success.

Beyond the traditional classroom
Online schools give students the freedom and flexibility to learn almost anytime, anywhere. However, it is important that virtual school students have a dedicated learning space at home. The learning space need not be large or a separate room, but it should be organized, with room to store books and school supplies, and located in a relatively distraction-free zone. When it comes to socialization with classmates, many virtual schools provide opportunities for students to socialize both in person and online. Online clubs, activities and field trips are both educational and social. And because they have a more flexible schedule, some students find they can participate in extracurricular activities that occur during the traditional school day. If you think your student would thrive in this environment, online learning may be a great choice. And although virtual public school students enjoy flexibility, it is important to note that they are still required to take the same standardized tests as all public school students.

Challenging, computer-enhanced curriculum
Students attending virtual schools like Connections Academy should be prepared for a challenging, comprehensive curriculum. Students master the core subjects - reading/language arts, mathematics, science and social studies - and can also take elective courses. At virtual school, the computer is a tool for learning -- which today's tech-savvy students usually love. Students also use offline resources like textbooks, science kits and more. Although training and technical support are provided, parents should have a comfort level with computers too, since online learning management systems are typically used to manage daily lessons and communicate with teachers.

If virtual school seems like a good fit for your family, do your homework and pick a high-quality school. Parents should look for a school with a track record of delivering student achievement and growth and high levels of parent and student satisfaction. Other quality benchmarks include accreditation from a recognized accrediting body, full-time certified teachers who direct student learning, state-of-the-art technology resources and learning materials and community activities like clubs and field trips for students.

In most states, virtual school enrollment is just starting for the coming school year. In states where virtual public schools are not available, there are tuition-based virtual private school options. To learn more about virtual school and if it's right for your family, visit

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Scrapbook Freebie: Freebie: MyMemories Scrapbook Kit

Did you know you can use MyMemories Suite to create gift bags? Yeah, next time you need to package a gift, you could just print this scrapbook kit to make it.  I'll give you another gift bag kit next week, so do come back.

Here's the preview to this week's scrapbook kit:

You can get it by clicking this link:
 This kit includes 2 digital papers and 2 quick pages.

Here is how you do it:
  • Open MyMemories Suite software and choose your album size (chose 8.5 x 11 for a printable project). 
  • Add the papers and elements you wish to use to create your own printable project
  • When you are finished, click: SHARE ALBUM ====> EXPORT PAGES and save as a .jpg!  The new .jpg papers you created are now usable as stand alone printable projects to use and reuse anytime! 
What it looks like:

The Freebies enclosed are just samples of the printable projects you can make!  Just print, cut, score, fold and use!  You can add a little ribbon handle, and voila!!  What a great way to give a gift!!  It's inexpensive, available at any time, and easy to personalize!!  What about making these for your child's birthday party favors?  Wedding Party Favors?  So many great uses - so easy and fun!

If you don't have the MyMemories Suite software yet, don't wait! Get it today!
You don't have to pay full price when use this 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:

Hope to hear from you soon and happy scrapping!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

How to Teach Kids the Art of Cooking

As more of us become dependent on ready-made meals, cooking is becoming a skill that is more and more rare in young people, despite the opportunity it offers to save a significant amount of money and contribute to better health. Teaching your children how to cook at a young age will save them a lifetime of instant food, expensive grocery bills and poor diet. Below, you'll find the five stages of teaching your children to cook, and by the end of these stages, your kids will be well equipped for college!

1. 3-6 Years Old: Helping with the Basics
At this stage, children can begin to participate in kitchen activities under close supervision. Try giving your children fruits and vegetables to wash, as this also teaches children about cleanliness. Your children can learn to wipe the table clean, make shapes with cookie cutters, and help stir batter. It's important that children only participate under close supervision at this stage in their development, as motor skills are still developing and a stool will likely be necessary for children to reach the sink and counter tops.

2. 6-10 Years Old: Math and Writing
As children become more confident in reading and writing, they can help create shopping lists, read recipes, and use measuring cups for baking and cooking. At this stage, children can also help with more intricate cooking tasks, such as removing the husks from corn, taking peas out of shells, scrubbing potatoes, and spreading butter with a dull knife. As children grow older, they can also begin to learn more about the concept of timing, and this is a great activity to practice telling time!

3. 10-13 Years Old: Transition
Once children understand the basics of cooking and have more confidence in performing tasks without direct help from parents, they can learn more complex tasks that require advanced judgment and planning. At this stage, children who have a good understanding of the basic rules of cooking can start to follow simple recipes unsupervised. No-bake cookies and sandwiches are a great place to start. Children can learn to use a microwave at this stage, and under close supervision, they can also learn to use a stove. Older children can also use a grater, a hand mixer and chopping knives, but only with supervision. Around this age, children can begin to use more complex recipes, or take on tasks in the kitchen unsupervised, such as mixing salad dressing or making scrambled eggs in the microwave.

4. Adolescence: Preparing for Independence
As adolescents crave more responsibility and autonomy, they can be rewarded with a greater freedom in the kitchen. This is an ideal stage to introduce the concept of meal planning, creating a menu for entertaining, budgeting for weekly grocery shopping, and creating balanced meals. A teenager can learn to operate blenders and food processors and make smoothies, cake batter and dressings. At this age, it's also important to teach children the importance of hygiene, including how long food can be stored, how to sanitize dishes, and how to reheat food thoroughly.

Guiding children through these stages will be a gift that they will take with them for many years to come! While it seems like a large amount of time and supervision is needed in the beginning, the sooner that children learn real life skills and independence, the easier their early adolescence will be for everyone in your home.

Drew Brock likes to write about cooking, family life & saving money at

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Family Time - The Glue That Holds Families Together

By Aurelia Williams, author of Finding More Family Time

With our busy life styles, finding family time can be hard. Most homes these days are two income homes. Kids are booked with activities from school to church to sports. The older the children are, the harder it seems to schedule family time with everyone in one place.

Family time is an important bonding time. It helps parents stay in touch with what is going on in their kid’s lives. It helps the children bond with each other and their parents. It is a significant element in families that is often pushed off to another time.

What qualifies as family time is up to your family (and I have plenty of tips for you in my Finding More Family Time guide). Not every family can enjoy a trip to Disney or fancy resort. While these are great getaways for the family, they are not the only way to enjoy time with your family. Look for opportunities for everyday family times.

Something as simple as a family dinner is great family time. Though it is often hard to schedule, do this as often as possible. If only a few times a week, it is a great time to gather your children around the table and talk about their day, what is on their minds or things that are happening in their lives or yours.

Even if only one parent can be present, show the children that you care enough to share a meal with them. A bucket of chicken with the fixings, shared together at the picnic table in the backyard, is a great family time.

Find a hobby that parents and children all enjoy. It can be stamp collect or roller hockey, just something that you all enjoy doing. You can find a new activity or enjoy an older love that you haven’t found the time to enjoy lately. The point is to share that time with family. It can be a hobby that is done at home or one that gets you all out of the house together.

Start walking or working out together with your kids. Most parents have goals of getting fitter. This may include walking, running or working out at the gym. Make this a family activity. Walking and hiking are great activities for the family to enjoy together. It is a great time to talk to your children while you are hiking along. It has the side benefit of sharing and teaching the kids about living healthy as well.

Institute a family fun night. A night at home watching movies, solving puzzles or playing board games is a great time for all family members. Let the kids take turns picking out the games or movies each week. Kids really enjoy these activities and doing them with Mom and Dad is even more fun.

You can turn any activity into family time, if it involves family members. Make a shopping trip a fun family time adventure. Get the kids involved. These can be bonding experiences for everyone. Show kids that you are interested in them and who they are becoming.

Need More Help?

Find even more family ideas in the Real Life Guidance to Finding More Family Time Guide. This practical guide will show you how to set reasonable expectations for all family members, balance work and life, get organized and more. Click here for more info.

Monday, April 09, 2012

An apple a day keeps the dentist away

(ARA) - More than two-thirds of children will have at least one cavity before their 19th birthday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. While tooth decay remains one of the most common health problems in children, it is also the most preventable, experts say.

"With proper education and regular dentist appointments, children can go their whole life without dental health problems," says LaVerne Johnson, dental assistant instructor at Everest College - Fort Worth South.

Johnson, along with the other dental assistant instructors at the Everest campuses across Texas, understands the importance of maintaining good dental health. Johnson has a few tips on what children and parents can do to protect and strengthen their smiles for years to come.

* Brush and floss daily - the right way. It's not new advice, but brushing and flossing remain the two most important ingredients for a healthy smile. However, to truly be effective, they must be done correctly. Parents should model and teach their children the correct techniques to keep their teeth healthy and clean. Brushing should require only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and incorporate circular brush strokes to reach all surfaces. Often, because of their limited dexterity, children will brush too hard, which can lead to increased tooth sensitivity and receding gum lines.

* Proper flossing requires wrapping the floss around the fingers and then gliding the thread between teeth in a C-shaped motion. This prevents plaque buildup between teeth and under the gum line. Make sure your child uses a new section of floss each time he or she goes between two new teeth to avoid spreading bacteria throughout the mouth.

* Limit sugary snacks and drinks. The bacteria that form plaque feed on sugar and use it as a glue to stick to teeth. Be aware of the snacks you provide your children. Foods like raisins, peanut butter, taffies, toffees, soft candies and pastries stick to teeth and provide a long-term feast for bacteria. When your children do eat sweets, have them eat them after a meal. When eaten alone, sweets are more likely to stick to teeth and bond until the next brushing. Crunchy foods like apples, carrots and other raw vegetables, as well as foods high in vitamin C, like citrus fruits and broccoli are not only healthier, but also naturally clean teeth while kids eat them. Limiting consumption of sugary foods and drinks will not only help promote healthier children, but will also reduce cavities.

This advice is not just for older children. Many parents don't realize infants are also susceptible to cavities and often get "baby bottle cavities." Allowing a child to sip through the night on a baby bottle filled with fruit juice or milk can cause cavities.

* Protect their teeth. Using fluoride toothpaste helps your child's teeth to be less soluble to the acids created by bacteria. However, using too much creates a condition known as mottled enamel, which appears as brown spots on teeth. The key to avoiding mottled enamel is using the right amount of fluoride. For infants, a small smear of fluoride toothpaste is sufficient, and for children younger than 7, use no more than a pea-sized amount. It is also important to know if your child is consuming fluoridated water. Check with your local water utility to find out if your water has fluoride in it as well as the amount it contains. Along with fluoride, dental sealants are an excellent way to prevent tooth decay in children. The dental sealant procedure takes only minutes, is painless, is less than half the cost of a filling and is virtually 100 percent effective at stopping decay.

* Proper procedures can save teeth. Children involved in sports need proper mouth protection to prevent mouth injuries, knocked-out teeth and possible concussions. Ask your dentist about customized mouth guards. If your child knocks out a permanent tooth while playing sports, gently rinse the tooth off and place it in a cup of warm milk. If warm milk is not available, salt water or plain water will also work. Call your dentist and bring your child and the soaking tooth in immediately for re-implantation and stabilization.

* Make dentist visits fun. If children have a good attitude about their dental hygiene, they will be more likely to take proper care of their teeth. Appointments should be made right at the appearance of the first tooth, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). Early visits make for a more pleasant experience for the child and help prevent future health problems. In fact, studies done by the AAPD show improper oral hygiene may increase a child's risk of eventually developing heart disease or suffering a stroke as an adult. Be positive about the dentist and explain to your children that the dentist is a friendly doctor who is helping to take care of their smiles.

"The most important thing for parents to remember is that taking care of a child's teeth is very important for his or her future health," says Johnson. "Although your children will lose their baby teeth, that doesn't mean they are not important. Healthy baby teeth influence jaw placement and future alignment of permanent teeth, which is one of the reasons parents can end up spending hundreds of dollars on future dental work and orthodontics."  

With nine campuses located throughout Texas, Everest is a leader in training dental assistants throughout the state. For more information on Everest's dental assistant program, visit

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Should You Let Your Children Watch Hunger Games?

When my 11 year old daughter ask that I take her to watch Hunger Games, I said "okay". And then, I started to read some online reviews that mentioned how it was not very good for kids to watch the show. The idea of children killing children didn't sit well with them. So it got me thinking if I really should take my daughter to go watch it.

Well, to cut the story short, I did. I figured if it was really violent and graphic, I would be there to close her eyes. But the movie didn't have much violence. The only gruesome part was when the Game started, and some of the kids were fighting for supplies and weapons at the Cornucopia. Even then, it wasn't terrible like blood splattering everywhere or limbs getting chopped off. Actually, the movie is much more toned down than the book. For example, when Katniss went to get the bow and arrow from the dead girl, the book describes melting flesh but in the movie, she just pries it from the dead girl's fingers.

So, should you let your children watch the Hunger Games? To me, it depends...
  • My daughter read the trilogy already. She was excited to see how the characters in her head would come alive on the big screen. She already knew what the show was about. Heck, she's already read Mockingjay, so she already knows how everything turns out. She was also curious to see how well the movie would follow the storyline. So, in my case, it wasn't a matter of "should she watch kids killing kids" cause she already read it. Now, you might be thinking, "how could you let such a young girl read such atrocity?" Well, for one thing, when I let her read the book, I didn't know what it was about. I read the book too, after she was done, and it didn't horrify me. Actually, I didn't think of it as horrific until it was mentioned by some reviewers. After all, it's fiction. Anyway, I wanted to see what my girl got out of the book. So I asked her "What did you get out of the book? What is it about the book that makes it interesting to you?" She answered "I admire Katniss' strength. She is very resourceful and doesn't give up." From her answer I knew that she was focusing on the right thing. And that's why I took her to see the movie.

    So, do take your child to see the movie if they understand what the story is about. Yes, the Hunger Games is about children having to kill other children to emerge as winner. BUT, there really is more to it than that. It is also about survival, love, rebellion, resilience, right and wrong. Maybe it would help if you talk about the story before the show. It makes a difference if you read the book first.
  • How mature is your child? As a parent, you know your children the best. Do you think they are mature enough to understand the show?
The way I see it, young children (maybe below 10 years old) will not quite enjoy the show, unless they've read the book. I took my 9 year old boy to the show with me and he was just intrigued by Katniss' bow and arrow skills. But I don't think he quite got the show like my eldest daughter.

So, if you're worried about the violence, it's really not that bad. But I think some maturity is needed to fully appreciate the show.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Choral Speaking Competition 2012

Once again, my daughter was part of her school's choral speaking team. They did better this year compared to last year. This year, they took 2nd place. Here's the video I took of their performance. They are talking about Malaysian Idiosyncrasies.

*Sorry, the sound quality is not so good. I was at the other end of the hall.


  • Don't compare your kids to other kids or even other siblings. My eldest daughter is quite the active gal. She isn't afraid to get involved in activities at school. My 2nd son, on the other hand, is more quiet. His sister will put up her hand and answer all the teacher's questions. He will stay quiet even if he knows the answer. BUT he is more talented in athletics. So, remember that each child has their own strengths and talents. Embrace and celebrate your children's differences.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Pillows That Encourage Your Kids To Read

As parents, we all know how important it is to get our children to love reading. When they love to read, their imagination soars and learning takes place automatically. Well, here is one way to foster they love of reading in your children... story book pillow. Here is a short review by Unique Baby.

A lot of people ask, what is story book pillow? Well it is a story book featuring 10 colorful pages to enhance your children interest to read, and yet a soft and comfy pillows for hugs and sleep. The material of the pillow book which is 100% cotton,your child will love to cuddle up to a nice soft pillow and story at the same time.

Babies love colorful things, which is why manufacturers make it a point to make books, toys and all baby products a lot more pleasing to the baby's exploring eyes. Story time and bedtime become one in this charming, plush, comfy pillow. It's an entire classic storybook tucked into a big, huggable bedside companion for your little princess/prince.

We need to cultivate the habits of reading to them since young, and reading to them improve the interaction and your relationship with your child. Such an interaction is priceless for both mummy and baby.

Before I end, the pillow books is actually meant for age 3 and above. Usage to children before 3 years old need to be under adult's supervision. Not only on pillow books, but pillows generally should not be put nearby babies in order to prevent suffocation. As long as you supervise your child while they are playing with the books or anything soft, that is perfectly fine.

The pillow books are available in 4 designs, and will make great gifts for children around the world. The colorful pages will keep the child interest to read them over and over again. For further information, please visit our facebook page at or email us at

Check it out. It would make a nice gift for your little ones.

Terrific Thursday Freebie: MyMemories Scrapbook Kit

Looking for a craft project to do with your kids? How about making a bookmark. This is a good idea for a playgroup activity or even Sunday School. Well, here is a free scrapbook kit that will help you craft this bookmark easily.

Here's the preview to this week's scrapbook kit:

This kit includes 1 digital paper, 6 page elements and 2 quick pages.

You can get it by clicking this link:

Below are instructions on how to design the bookmark with MyMemories Suite scrapbook software.
  • Open MyMemories Suite software and choose your album size (e.g. 8.5 x 11 for a printable project).
  • Add the papers and elements you wish to use to create your own printable project. The picture above is an example of a bookmark design you can create.
  • When you are finished, click: SHARE ALBUM ====> EXPORT PAGES and save as a .jpg! The new .jpg papers you created are now usable as stand alone printable projects to use and reuse anytime!
The paper and page elements in this kit can be used with any graphics software, not just MyMemories Suite. If you haven't got a copy of it yet, you can use this 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:

If you are interested in scrapbooking, you will love the MyMemories community. Lots of free stuff for you to download, plus they have a quick scrap event every Sunday. You'll be given ideas on how to do a scrapbook layout, which is great if you're having a hard time coming up with one. There are also tutorials that help you to discover the many features of the software.

Here's where you can get the software:

Hope to hear from you soon and happy scrapping!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Lean Pork, Mushroom, Ginger and Sesame Oil

Needed a new idea for cooking pork and I came across this recipe: Sauteed Pork with Mushroom and Ginger in Sesame Oil from My Asian Kitchen.

Sounded good, looked good and easy enough to do. I gave it a try and it was yuuuummmmmy.

I was kinda afraid I'd buy the wrong kind of pork but my butcher is a very old and knowledgeable guy. I just need to tell him what sort of dish I want to cook and he will give me the right kind of meat.

My DH and me enjoyed this dish. He made sure I didn't put in too much sesame oil. My kids didn't really like it though. 

For the recipe, just click the link I shared above.  Happy Cooking!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Saving money top of mind for cloth-diapering families

(ARA) - Having a husband in the military, a 2-year-old daughter and a newborn son hasn't been easy on the bank account for Linda Souza of Richlands, N.C.

"We've been a one-income family since I got pregnant with our daughter. We've had to cut back to necessities in order to save as much money as we possibly can, especially after we bought a house in 2009," says Souza. "Everything was feeling a bit tighter."

Families across the U.S. are feeling the financial crunch just like Souza. The financial pain can be especially hard when baby makes three. In fact, the average start-up cost for a new baby is more than $7,200 according to expert estimates.

In an effort to help her family survive the financial squeeze, Souza took matters into her own hands.

"I began to actively look for ways to save money. One option I found was cloth diapering. Cloth diapering seemed like a foreign language to me when I first started looking into it. Now I encourage every new mom who wants to cut costs to cloth diaper," she says.

Today, Souza estimates she saves at least $166 per month by cloth diapering her son, Evan.

"Being able to save money makes me feel like I'm contributing to our family in more ways than just staying home with my kids," she says. "It makes me feel a sense of pride that something so simple could not only be healthier but also beneficial to our family too."

Saving money is the top reason moms like Souza consider cloth diapers, says Kelly Wels, the author of the award-winning book, "Changing Diapers: The Hip Mom's Guide to Cloth Diapering."

Wels says the average family can save about $2,000 over the life of their baby's diapering years if they cloth diaper their baby instead of using disposables. She says the savings are even greater when you use the same cloth diapers for future babies too.

"While it's known that cloth diapering can help a family save money, what isn't known is just how easy cloth diapering can be," says Wels. "You simply wash your diapers at home and you're ready to go - and you never have to buy more diapers again. Of course one of the real draws to modern cloth diapers is that they are so cute and come in every color in the rainbow. Moms who use cloth quickly discover that diapering is fun."

Wels adds that with today's selection of modern cloth diapers, such as bumGenius, FuzziBunz, Rumparooz and gDiapers, families can find a brand that fits their lifestyles, needs and budgets.

Stay-at-home-mom, Grace Matthews, of Clarksville, Tenn. agrees that cloth diapering is a major money-saver.

"We went from two incomes to one when my daughter was 5 months old. I was a registered nurse but I couldn't get the hours that worked with day care while my husband was deployed," she says. Matthews ultimately had to give up her job to stay home full-time with her daughter.

Matthews' sister had tried FuzziBunz cloth diapers; while the cloth diapering system didn't work for her, ultimately she said her sister's willingness to try cloth diapers led her to try it too.

"My initial upfront cost was $400. We figure we're saving about $60 to $70 per month by using reusable diapers, $25 per month by using reusable wipes, and about $15 to $30 per month by not using diaper rash cream, which we don't need any more since we switched to cloth. I used to go through a tube of diaper cream every week when we used disposables," says Matthews.

Overall, Matthews says she cloth diapers her baby because "it feels right" for her family.

"I feel like I am doing something positive toward the bottom line each month. Because I am not contributing at all to the family finances, this [cloth diapering] can make me feel like I am doing something," she says. "Not having to buy diapers and wipes makes me feel like all our money isn't literally being thrown away each week."

Wels says that Matthews' family is like so many other families today.

"Every family is looking for ways to cut back, especially in recessionary times. Even moms whose full-time job is caring for the kids and home can feel like they are making a significant financial contribution by helping their families cut back on wasteful spending," says Wels.

Matthews agrees and says that cloth diapers offer her family a long-term financial benefit. "We will use the same cloth diapers with subsequent children and save even more. You can't beat that."