Monday, September 24, 2012

Crochet Project: Bottle Covers

My mom has been making these for my kids: Bottle covers.

My daughter came home and told me that her friends liked it very much. They asked where they could buy it. When she told them her grandmother made it, they asked if one could be made for them and they would pay for it :)

The pattern is very simple. Not complicated at all. Sorry, don't ask me for instructions. If you know how to do some crocheting, this will be a very simple project. Just do a base to fit the bottom of the bottle, and then a simple chain of five for the sides. Change the color of the yarn to make it look nicer. Do a string to tie the top and add pom-poms.

Friday, September 21, 2012

How Old To Pierce Your Daughter's Ears

Finally got my little girl's ears pierced. My mom has been asking me when we were going to do it. So, when her 3rd birthday rolled along, we took her to the goldsmith shop and got it done.

I'm not sure if she really knew what was going to happen. The salesgirl brought out the earrings for her to choose. At first she pointed to the sparkling pink stone. Then the girl brought out some pearl ones and she quickly changed her mind and wanted that instead.

I told her briefly that it was going to hurt a little. The salesgirl was quite good too. Kept reassuring her that it was going to be okay. As the gun pierced her ears, there was a look of shock on her face BUT no tears, no crying... not a sound. She bravely let the girl do the other ear. When it was done, I quickly carried her to the mirror and kept telling her how beautiful she looked. That was my distraction plan.

It has been a few days now. So far no problem with the ears. I just keep dabbing the ears with baby oil.

With my eldest girl, my mom took her to pierce her ears very early too. Can't quite remember when... maybe when she was 2+. I know in the Indian culture, they pierce their daughter's ears very early, when they are still a baby.

I didn't want to do it when they were still babies because if it hurt or was uncomfortable, they wouldn't be able to tell and might even pull it with their hands, thus making it worse. The downside is if you wait until they are older, they might not want to do it and won't let you do it too.

So, did you get your daughter's ears pierced and how old was she?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Why Is It So Difficult To Say Potato?

Caught this cute video of my daughter trying to say the word "potato". It can be such a difficult word :) Oh, she did master it after one day. So I'm glad I didn't wait too long to video her trying to say it.

Mamas Parenting Tip
  • Don't be too lazy to grab that camera. Precious moments don't last very long. Catch it while you can.

Monday, September 17, 2012

My Little Girl Turns 3

Happy Birthday to my little girl. She turned 3 a few days ago. We kept the celebration low key. No big fanfare. Just got some junk food to make her a party pack. She ate junk food the whole day. We brought her to a toy shop. She chose a doll set with different dresses and a toy gun. Ya, great combination. We later took her swimming in the evening. Then out for dinner. Had her choose her own birthday cake at the shop. So cake was dessert, along with ice cream.

So, if you're a little bit Barbie and a whole lot Power Rangers, how do you blow out the candles on your cake? Watch this video. It is so funny and very unexpected.

So, using a term coined by a friend of mine... Happy Birthday Barbie Ranger!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Art Project Idea: Making Patterns With Yarn

Here's another art project idea my girl learned at school.

Basically you twirl some yarn round a stick (the length of a pencil). Tie to secure it to the stick. Then brush on some paint. Roll it on the art paper to make patterns. You can make circle patterns too. Here's a video so you understand better what I'm talking about.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Five ways to help kids boost their brain power

(ARA) - Everyone is born with about 100 billion brain cells. We form new connections between these cells throughout life, but the rate is particularly high when we're young. Since those connections facilitate thinking and learning, parents who want to help give their children an intellectual edge should consider the brain-healthy choices they make each day.

"Making the effort to nurture your child's brain with both proper nutrients and varied experiences, especially when they are young and developing at such a fast rate, is crucial," says speech pathologist Lauren Zimet, founder of Early Insights, LLC, and an expert on childhood brain development. "The connections in brain circuitry can be enhanced through the environments and activities a child is exposed to, and participates in, as well as the nutrients a child consumes."

Zimet offers five tips to help parents enhance healthy brain development in their children, positioning them for success in school today, and well into their future:

1. Select a rainbow
It's no secret that the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables are numerous, but thanks to the results of ongoing research, you can confidently add brain health to that list. Encourage your children to eat a colorful array of produce (organic when possible) each day so they get the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals needed to nourish and protect their growing brains. If your child is resistant to eating produce, encourage them to come shopping with you and select something new to try. Kids are more likely to eat what they have selected themselves.

2. Relax the right way
While it's true that exercise boosts brain power, it's also important to teach children how to relax. Balancing activity with relaxation is important so that kids don't get too stressed, which can impact the brain's development and lead to learning and behavior problems. Teaching children early on the benefit of setting goals, working towards those goals, and giving their brain and body time to relax are important life skills. When it's time to relax, skip the TV and teach your child that taking a walk in nature, reading a book or drawing are great ways to unwind. Deep breathing is also an excellent practice to teach children of all ages.

3. Eat omega-3 brain food
Omega-3 essential fatty acids are critical to a child's brain development. They are called "essential" because we need them for optimal health. The problem is that our bodies cannot manufacture them and we can only get them from the food we eat or supplements we take. While fish, nuts and seaweed are good omega-3 sources, kids typically don't gobble down these foods. That leaves many parents worried that their kids aren't getting enough, and with omega-3 deficits linked to ADHD, dyslexia and other behavioral and psychological disorders, many are turning to supplements for their children. Experts agree that the safest, most reliable source of the most important essential fatty acids (EPA and DHA) is a high quality fish oil supplement. Fortunately, there are purified, molecularly distilled fish oil supplements that are manufactured with kids in mind. Parents should be sure to choose one of these chewable, tasty options like those by Nordic Naturals to ensure success in getting their children to take the supplements.

4. Happy brains are hydrated brains
Staying hydrated is important for growing brains and bodies. Water can improve energy, increase mental and physical performance, remove toxins and waste from the body, and keep skin healthy and glowing. Based on the trillions of cells in the body that need water to function, most nutritionists agree that children need more, not less H20. To estimate how many ounces of water your child should drink daily, divide his or her weight in half and aim for that number of ounces per day.

5. Be a positive support system early on
Learning is a complex process, but children will be more open to trying new things when they know their parents believe in them. Acknowledging effort, instead of the outcome, strengthens a child's belief in himself or herself. Teaching goal setting, prioritizing activities and working off of check lists exercises the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in the brain. Experimentation through trial and error is the way the brain learns best.

"Giving your child's brain what it needs to grow strong can help him or her at school and in all social situations," adds Zimet. "Utilizing these tips is a great way to help position your child for success in the coming school year, and beyond."

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Broga Hill: Great Place For A Family Hike

DH attended a church youth camp at Broga during the Raya holidays. One of the activities was to climb Broga Hill. He found the hike NOT too difficult and it takes about 45 minutes to get to the top.

So he decided to take our 5 year old on his first hiking trip. The 2 older siblings wanted to go too. Me? I stayed home with my youngest girl.

I woke them up at 4am. Why so early? Because the idea is to get to the top of the hill to watch the sunrise. That's what a lot of people do. Yup, this is quite a popular place and plenty of people hiking (especially weekends and holidays). They got to the place around 5:30am and according to DH, already so many cars there.

Anyway, my 5 year old managed to get to the top and enjoyed the view there.

I think my family will be making another trip up Broga Hill, this time I have to go along. According to my daughter, the climb down is more difficult than the climb up. She tripped and took quite a bad fall. Her right hand had some cuts and bruises. She complained that whole day and the next day Sunday. However, come Monday her hand was miraculously healed just in time to join our family badminton activity :)

So, if you're wondering what activity your family can do together, try a moderately easy hike. Cheaper and more healthy than hanging out at the mall.

  • Broga town is right at the border of Selangor and Negeri Sembilan. No kidding. Driving down one of the roads in town and you'll see the signboard that says you're now in Selangor.
  • To get to Broga from Kuala Lumpur/PJ, drive towards Semenyih. From Seremban, go towards Lenggeng. 
  • If you want to watch the sunrise, you'll have to hike up early in the morning while it is still dark. So bring along a torchlight. 
  • There's a Rabbit Farm nearby the entrance to the hill. They've got other animals too like goats. I think it is RM5 per entry.
  • If you get hungry after your hike, just eat at Broga town. Lots of "makan" shops/restaurants.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Back-to-school meals made easy with grapes

(ARA) - The summertime probably felt like it whizzed by, and now you're getting into the back-to-school mode. Luckily, you can keep a sweet taste of summer in meals and snacks with refreshing grapes from California.

Kids and families getting ready for busy mornings are in need of healthy, energy-packed foods to fuel tightly scheduled and sometimes hectic lifestyles. Start the morning with a Breakfast-to-go Smoothie, a blend of fruit, yogurt and crunchy cereal for a hearty breakfast. Kids - and probably you too - will relish this satisfying and yummy drink featuring grapes and grape juice, both of which, according to mounting research evidence, may help support a healthy heart.

Bulgur Salad with Grapes and Kale is also a hearty, very nutritious and delicious meal all by itself, and perfectly packable for bring-from-home lunches. Grapes are really the key to making this salad inviting and flavorful for all ages. The sweet accents and the crisp qualities of the grapes offer a nice contrast to the chewy bulgur, crunchy nuts and shredded kale, which doesn't go limp like most lettuce will.

Make a big bowl or container of this salad and have it at the ready for a mini-meal for students going through a growth spurt or who need more calories in general, such as athletes, dancers, marching band members, etc.  Adventurous little eaters will also enjoy munching on this salad during lunch or snack breaks at day care or preschool. And don't forget to pack a cluster of grapes, too, for more sweetness and good health during the day.

Having a bowl of fresh grapes handy for nibbling after school is a great alternative to chips, cookies and the array of mini-pizzas and hand-held manufactured foods that are generally expensive and high in fat and salt.

Grapes are considered a super snack for a variety of reasons: Grapes contain just 90 calories per 3/4 cup serving, are packed with flavor and sweetness, and create virtually no mess - no peeling, no slicing, no coring.  In addition, all colors of grapes contain natural plant components known as polyphenols, which recent scientific studies suggest may help protect and maintain healthy cells.

Back-to-school may mean families are heading away from summer fun, but make it easier and a bit brighter with the sweet juicy taste of grapes.

Breakfast-to-go Grape Smoothies

1 1/2 cups frozen California grapes
1 banana, sliced
1/2 cup vanilla or honey low-fat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup grape juice
1/4 cup wheat flake cereal

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend for 1 minute. Serve immediately. Makes 2 1/3 cups of smoothie.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 251; Protein 6 g; Carbohydrate 57 g; Fat 1.5 g;  5 percent calories from Fat; Cholesterol 2 mg; Sodium 47 mg; Fiber 3 g.

Bulgur Salad with Grapes and Kale

1 cup bulgur
Kosher salt
1 cup pecan halves, toasted and roughly chopped
2 cups halved seedless California grapes
2 cups packed finely slivered kale or Swiss chard leaves
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
Pinch cayenne
Black pepper

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the bulgur and 1/2 teaspoon salt and remove from the heat. Cover and let stand 20 minutes or until most of the water has been absorbed.  Drain well and press to extract any excess water. Let cool and stir in the remaining ingredients. Season well with salt and black pepper. Serve room temperature or chilled.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 289; Protein 5.8 g; Carbohydrate 33 g;
Fat 17 g; 50 percent calories from Fat; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 181 mg; Fiber 7.3 g

Grapes from California are available May through January. For more information, go to or