Friday, November 15, 2013

Help Your Autistic Child

"A child with autism (three years old) po...
I am a true believer that a child's first and most important teacher is the parents. Teaching a child is no easy feat. Any parent will attest to that.

As I strive to teach my own children, I often feel frustrated when they don't listen to my instructions, turn a deaf ear to what I'm saying,  resist my attempts to teach, throw a tantrum or give me a bad attitude. My patience is constantly tested. I wish to cultivate in them good characteristics and be well behaved. I believe this is the desire of all, if not most parents. However, children are as varied as snowflakes: each different and unique. Each come with their own set of challenges.

I cannot imagine how much more difficult it is for parents with special needs children. I have a friend who has an autistic child. I'm amazed at her diligence, patience and strength in teaching this son of hers. I've seen the improvements in his behavior over the years. So much so that he is able to attend a normal school instead of a school for special needs children. Let me make it clear that he is not 'cured' from autism but rather, he has been taught the skills to function in our society.

I believe the most important step she took was to accept, from a very early stage, that her son was different and needed special help. I can see that awareness for special education and autism is increasing, especially in Asia. More parents have a better understanding of autism and are willing to take positive steps to help their child. Before, most old folks would brand a child with autistic traits as disobedient, stupid and useless. Some of them would even mistreat the child. All this because of their lack of understanding and ignorance.

We are lucky that we have the internet to do research. This is our advantage over the older generations. Surfing around the net, you can learn what is autism and read the many experiences of parents with autistic children. You can find teaching supplies such as toy games for learning, flash cards, activity kits, communication pictures, token boards and charts, visual timers, social skills curriculums and ABA language cards. There are forums you can join to gain support and ideas from other parents in the same boat. You can also search for centers that provide services to treat and educate your child.

No doubt it is difficult to raise a child with special needs. It takes lots of patience, dedication, prayer and unconditional love. Do not let pride or ignorance prevent you from giving your child the opportunity to learn new skills. With the right resources, support and education, they can improve. The benefits of early intervention should not be disregarded.
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Kuih Kosui Recipe

I learned how to make this Kuih Kosui from my mom's friend. She experimented with the recipe and finally found the right amount of ingredients that work. So, before I proceed to show you how make this yummy 'kuih', let me first say thanks to Aunty Karen Tam.


First thing you need to know is the cup that is used for measuring. It is not the standard cup but rather a standard coffee mug (like below). I did attempt to convert the recipe to the standard measurements. Unfortunately, I have lost that piece of paper where I noted down the conversion. So, until I get those measurements down again, just find a mug like below. And to tell you the truth, it really is easier just to measure with this mug when doing this recipe.


Ingredients

(Remember, the size of the 'cup' here is referring to the mug above. Please restrain from laughing :) )

Ingredients A:
1 cup plain flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Air Kapur (betel lime water)
3 cups pandan water (screwpine)

Ingredients B:
1 1/2 cups sugar (Mixture of white and brown sugar. Ratio of white:brown sugar depends on your preference. As for me, I just use 3-4 tbsp. of brown sugar)
1/2 cup water

Ingredients C:
100g grated young coconut (Here at my wet market, I just buy 1 packet which is RM1)
Pinch of salt

METHOD

1. Combine 1 cup of plain flour, tapioca flour and salt. Do not need to sift.


2. Add 3 cups of pandan (screwpine) water. Add little by little to initially make a paste. This way it is easier to smooth out the lumps. Once everything looks smooth (no lumps), add in the rest of the water.

How to make pandan water
What you do is take a few fresh leaves of pandan, cut into small pieces and put them in the blender. Add a little water and blend it. Strain to get just the juice. Give the pulp a squeeze to get more juice out. Then just add water to make 3 cups.

3. In a separate bowl, dissolve the sugar in 1/2 cup of hot water. Then add it into the flour and pandan mixture.


4. Last of all, add in about 1/2 - 1 tsp of 'air kapur'. You can get this ingredient at the Indian stores. I was told that you could substitute with alkaline water (Cantonese people call it "kan sui"). However, I have not tried it with any substitute. They say this ingredient helps to harden the 'kuih', so it is not soft and mushy.


5. Sift everything into a tray for steaming. The 'batter' is actually quite watery. I usually have lumps of 'kapur' in my sift. So I just smoothen it out on my sift.


6. Steam for 30 minutes. The more brown sugar you use, the more brown color your 'kuih' will be. After you steam, there will be some water on top of your layer of 'kuih'. Just pour it away.


7. Let cool completely. After cooling down, I like to put mine in the fridge for like 5 minutes. This is just to make the 'kuih' harden a little bit more.

8. Cut into squares and roll them in your grated coconut. Don't forget to add a little salt to your coconut first.

 
 

So far, I've only had praises for this recipe. Give it a try and tell me if it worked for you too.
Enjoy!

Friday, October 18, 2013

MAKING SAFETY YOUR CHILD’S COMPANION – INDOOR AND OUTDOOR

Kinderdijk Champions Child Safety Education with Aprica and Graco Baby Products Roadshow

KUALA LUMPUR, 17 October 2013 – As every parent holds their new-born infant, the overwhelming feeling of unconditional love and care envelopes the child the moment the baby is held in their arms. What’s more, the smile of the baby brings a sweet and warm joy to the parents knowing that their precious child is happy, feeling safe and protected. Nonetheless, deriving the reason behind the smile of the baby is what pulls experts at Aprica and Graco to engineer simple modern solutions to best enrich every family's journey to make safety the child's companion, inside and outside.

To ensure that infants grow happily in a safe environment, there are little things which parents can do to protect them from the more serious injuries that can lead to disabilities and even fatalities. Accidents can occur indoors and outdoors, and most of them can be prevented when safe and prudent precautions are taken. For instance, the increase in car accidents involving infants and children every year is a dreadful reality which highlights the issue of child safety.

A crash test analysis conducted by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) in 2010 revealed that an adult passenger will not have the required strength to prevent an infant or a child from being thrown forward during a collision at any speed applied. More frighteningly, at a vehicle driving at the speed of a mere 50km per hour, an unsecured infant weighing 7.0kg will actually be thrown forward at a powerful force of 240kg/sq2, which is an equivalent impact of an adult falling from a five-storey building. These numbers reveal that infants are the most vulnerable passengers and a high percentage of children in Malaysia were unfortunately killed during road accidents; more than any other causes known to date.

With this in mind, Kinderdijk Sdn Bhd launched a one-week Child Safety Roadshow Campaign that centres on Kinderdijk’s commitment to strongly remind parents and guardians to be wary and to take all necessary precautions to safeguard their children’s safety. The roadshow held from 14th to 20th October 2013 in Mid Valley Megamall, also showcased a line of Aprica and Graco child safety car seats, strollers, baby carriers and travel systems, all of which are designed in line with the principles of paediatrics and childcare engineering to enhance childcare and create a fun family life.

Gwei Tze-Co, Managing Director, Kinderdijk Sdn Bhd said, “Based on the statistics, more parents seem to assume that holding their child or letting them sit on the lap is enough to protect them from the impact of accidents. It is also becoming a worrying trend that the usage of child safety car seats and travel systems are not something that most Malaysian parents take seriously. Parents must understand that children are the most precious cargo on-board; hence safety should not be undervalued, nor taken for granted as it can benefit them in the long-run.”

“According to the study conducted by MIROS, an infant will be flung forward at a high velocity albeit being held by an adult during a vehicle collision at only 30km per hour and most likely will be killed as the direct result of such violent impact. Thus, being equipped with the right and comfortable baby travelling equipment can provide a peace of mind to parents when using the equipment while travelling,” said Jenny Kwan, Senior Sales Manager, Hong Kong & ASEAN, Newell Rubbermaid Asia Pacific. “Furthermore, parents need to practice buckling up and young children should be taught on how to use them. Safety is crucial to child development and it is imperative to cultivate the prudent habit from young.”

Understanding the Reason behind the Baby’s Smile

Psychologists have found that babies are the most happiest when they feel secure and safe in a trusted environment. A baby’s smile can bring wonders and eases the stress away. To ensure babies are safe, experts at Aprica are designing products that are developed with scientific approaches and medical science on babies and childcare engineering to provide comfort to the baby. Likewise, Graco is providing safety solutions that make childcare easier with products which are fully convenient and intuitive, catering to making a fun family life.

In light of this, Aprica has formed the 8.3.8 Principle to identify, protect and nurture the baby’s body and mind to create the best environment for babies with the development of comfortable baby products. Aprica has drawn out ‘8 Medical Structures to protect and nurture babies’ from the ‘8 Babies’ immaturity in body to be protected’ structure and ‘3 Baby’s emotional growth to be encouraged’ concept identified through researches on baby paediatrics and childcare engineering.

“At Kinderdijk, we understand that care and safety are essential to keep the baby comfortable and secure. The Aprica and Graco products distributed by Kinderdijk are innovatively engineered and carefully designed to provide convenience and security to parents, especially those who are leading a modern lifestyle,” Gwei added. Given that comfort and safety are vital to form the foundation of childcare devices, the following are the standards that guide Aprica engineers to develop baby products essential to make babies happy.





Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Homeschoolers May Excel Better Than School Bound Children

Many people these days are unhappy with the government's school education system. The idea of homeschooling is appealing to some but there is the fear of taking a path that is unfamiliar. Maybe this infographic will give you some confidence in homeschooling.

Homeschool Domination
Created by: CollegeAtHome.com

Although homeschooling seems favorable, the decision to homeschool or not cannot be made without doing some homework. Many factors have to be considered such as the home environment, parents' work commitment and also the child's attitude.

Whether you are homeschooling or not, you're welcome to share why you chose one over the other and how that is working out for your children.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Moms, What Do You Have In Your Wardrobe?

I have to admit, my wardrobe at this moment is quite pathetic. Since becoming a stay-at-home mom, my collection of clothes has become limited and very simple. I'm happy just wearing a T-shirt and 3/4 cotton pants every day.

The thing is there is no motivation to dress up when all I'm going to do is get dirty and sweaty from cooking and cleaning. Oh yes, I do go out but that is just to send and pick up the kids from school. I don't really get out of the car.

I used to have some nice clothes but after pregnancy, parts of my body have expanded, especially my chest and shoulder areas. Let's not even talk about the tummy. I remember a few weeks after having my 1st child, I tried to put on a button down blouse and I just couldn't get the button any where near the button hole. That was so depressing. But I knew then that I had to say goodbye to many of my nice shirts and dresses. I'm now at 4 kids and I know my body ain't going back to my pre-kid days.

So, some of us moms (me included) tend to settle for simple and unappealing when it comes to dressing; Well, because it is just more practical. However, I'm going to repent and try to shake off the grungy and sloppy look. I'm getting older but I don't have to look it right?

FASHION TIPS FOR MOMS

  • Don't just fill up your drawers with oversized t-shirts and sweatpants. Invest in some nice tunics. Try to be a little chic when you go out. It really does make you feel better about yourself. If you wear frumpy, you feel frumpy, and that's no fun at all.
  • It is so common for moms to put everybody else first. Don't neglect yourself. You deserve to feel good and look good too.
  • Shape wear garments helps to pull together your mommy tummy and whatever else that is loose.
  • Wear clothes that fit instead of oversize clothes.
  • Cardigan style sweaters that stay loose in the front works great in adding a little zing to your style.
  • Amy Tara Koch, author of Bump It Up recommends leggings, T-shirt dresses and ballet flats instead of sweatpants that make you look heavy. Consider stretch denim.
  • Get a clue from Princess Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge. She looks good as a new mom. Whatever she wears seems to sell out.
  • Make sure you have 1 or 2 nice evening dresses. It is so easy to get cooped up in the house. Find at least one occasion a year where you can dress elegantly and treat yourself to a nice night out. Just look at some evening dresses online such as Dress First and tell me if wearing something like that won't boost your self esteem?


  • Empire waistline dresses helps to hide your waistline.


So, what is in your wardrobe and what fashion advice you have for moms?







    Friday, September 06, 2013

    Art Idea For Kids: Zentangle

    The other day, I came across this art idea of Zentagle and thought it would be perfect for my kids. It is kinda like doodling and they say it helps people relax. Also for kids, they say it increases their focus and concentration.

    Here are some drawn by my kids and me.


    It is actually quite fun to do. I especially like how the drawings turn out. It looks stunning and all it takes is simple strokes. So simple even your children can do it.

    To get the kids excited, I bought a special notebook for us to draw in and also 2 special pens.

    Here's a video to get your started on the idea. In the video, you can pick up the different kinds of patterns you can do. There is no right or wrong. You just draw whatever your heart feels like. Great way to nurture the creativity in your kids.



    Recommended Books

    #3450 Zentangle Basics


    Design Originals-Zentangle For Kidz


    I hope you have fun tangling!


    p.s. The Zentangle® Method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com

    How To Get Children To Help With The Chores

    How to Get Children to Help With the Chores by Terrys Fabrics
    How to Get Children to Help With the Chores by Terrys Fabrics.

    Saturday, July 13, 2013

    Violent Video Games Your Kids Should Not Be Playing

    Video games are part of our children's culture. They are growing up in a world where technology is striving. So unless you are living out in the jungle somewhere, your children will definitely seek out entertainment digitally. As parents, we have to sieve through the video games they play. A game that is popular does not necessarily mean it is good. Some are just too violent. Also, there may be profanity, sexual imagery, drug and alcohol references. It is just better that our kids stay away from these ultra-violent video games.

    You can check out the 10 Most Violent Video Games as ranked by Common Sense Media.

    As an alternative, here are some video games that are highly recommendable. They're highly enjoyed by kids, but most importantly, not ultra-violent.

    12 ALTERNATIVES TO ULTRA-VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES



    Tuesday, June 25, 2013

    What Do You Do If Your Child Wants To Quit The Piano?

    It's been a musical week in our house. The rai...
    It's been a musical week in our house. The rainy evenings are condusive to practice. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
    2 years ago when I bought a piano, my daughter would throw her bags down when she got back from school and head over to the piano. I wondered if her enthusiasm would eventually wane. Glad to say that it hasn't. The piano is still the first place she goes to when she gets back from school.

    Just this morning I came across some comments made by some children about how they hated the piano and wanted to quit. I wondered what could be the difference between my daughter and these kids? And this has led me to pen down a few suggestions on what parents can do when their child says "I want to quit the piano".
    • Ask yourself, "Am I nagging too much"?

      I know, most of the time we can't help ourselves but the constant reminder to practice, practice, practice may be the reason why they are starting to despise the piano. Kids will hate the piano when it becomes a chore. Tone down on the nagging and stop trying to push them too hard. I always ask myself, would I rather push a donkey from behind or dangle a carrot in front? Dangling the carrot is really the better way. Instead of nagging our children to practice, it would be more effective if we found a way to fuel their motivation to practice. Rewards and praises work better.
    • Find out the REAL reason why they want to quit.

      Are they burnt out from too many activities? Is it because they don't find it fun? Are they interested in something else? Or maybe, the piano lessons are boring and it is time to change to a better piano teacher. When it comes to kids, FUN is the key. No doubt learning the piano requires tons of repetition and that can really suck the fun out of learning. However, a good piano teacher will have ways to keep the fun alive. Not only that, a good teacher will never ever humiliate or put down a child.
    • Let them play music that they love.

      And this could mean opting to skip the piano exams. When I was learning the piano, I hated the exams. My grade 5 exam stressed me out so much that I decided I didn't want to go through that again. (BTW, I passed that exam). I didn't hate the piano though. I still love to play (although not so good). I wished I could just learn to play without having to go for exams. And this is what I've chosen for my daughter. I can see she loves to play. I don't have to nag her to practice as she is eager herself to get on the piano to play the songs she loves. I bet if she was nagged to practice her exam pieces over and over again whether she liked it or not, her enthusiasm for the instrument will slowly diminish.
    • Change your approach.

      Don't be too strict. Don't create rules that will cultivate hate instead of love for the piano. An example would be this: "You can't go out to play with your friends until you've practiced for 2 hours" or "If you are going to quit piano, then you must quit your basketball too". Playing dictator will not get you the results you want. If you want to get them to practice, you have to figure out a way to get them to do it willingly. It is the same with school homework. Maybe just sitting next to your child while he practices will do the trick. My son enjoys the piano more when I play simple duets with him. You might even want to consider where you put the piano in your home. Is it somewhere isolated? It might help to put the piano in an area where mom usually hangs out like near the kitchen. Sometimes they do better just being near mom. Be encouraging, not pushy.
    • Understand their frustration.

      Many times our children just want us to empathize with them. Do that and then explain that you understand that learning the piano is difficult. Nobody becomes an expert overnight. If they quit half way, they will forfeit the rewards later. Tell them a story of how you struggled to learn something (like riding a bicycle) but when you finally got it, how it felt to succeed.  Maybe make a deal with them. Ask them to complete the course or a set of lessons first and consider that a learning experience. If they still want to quit after that, they can. Or rather than quit, just give them a breather for a few weeks or months. See if they can come back with renewed enthusiasm.
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    Friday, June 07, 2013

    Badminton Training for Little Kids

    video
    I got this idea from another mother. Just tie the shuttlecock so it hangs. This way, I don't have to keep throwing the shuttle to my daughter. She can practice on her own.

    It is a perfect way for little kids to improve their hand and eye coordination. It will improve their 'ball sense'. No point paying a coach RM60 an hour just so your kid can learn how to connect the racket and the shuttlecock.

    Thursday, June 06, 2013

    Family Outing: Fishing

    It's the school holidays and we don't have the money for lavish trips overseas. But that doesn't mean we can't have fun family activities.

    My brother is an avid fisher and he invited us to one of his fishing trips. I asked the kids if they were game and they said yes. So, off we went to spend a day with my brother. We stayed overnight at his place. There was a pool so they had a blast splashing around. We left for the fishing lake the next morning after breakfast.

    First thing was learning to put on the bait. Got to be careful with those hooks, they're really sharp. It involved getting the hands dirty and so the kids chose to leave this job to their mom... ME. They were more interested in casting the line and reeling in the fish.

    It wasn't long before D1 saw his rod jiggling around. Excitedly he reeled in the first catch of the day. It was a small fish.

    It is a catch-n-release pond, so we unhooked the fish and let it back into the pond again. A few minutes after, another fish took the bait. This time a bigger one.

    Since we didn't have to wait long to catch the first 2 fishes, the kids were under the impression that catching fish was relatively quick. Of course that is not the case. There was a lull time where we didn't catch a fish for about an hour or more. The kids became antsy and kept wanting to reel in the line to see if the bait was still there. My brother explained that if they fiddled with the line, the bait will drop. Unfortunately waiting is difficult for kids. So they didn't listen and kept pulling up the line and we had to put on the bait again.

    All in all, it was quite an interesting experience for the kids. My daughter K1 had fun reeling in the fish. My son D1 had too many encounters with the bamboo plant. 3 times he casted his line into the bamboo. That was stressful for me, trying to untangle the line. Kudos to my brother for being so patient with us amateurs. Hahaha.

    It was good that my brother already had all the equipment ready and knew what to do. We would have been lost without him.

     This was the last big fish we caught. 

     Patiently waiting for the bell on the rod to ring. Ringing bell means there's a fish on the other end.

     K1 happily reeled this one in. 


    MAMAS PARENTING TIP

    • Fishing is a good way to teach your children patience. If they have no patience, an iPad is quite helpful in passing the time while waiting for the fish to bite. A book is even better.
    • If you want to take your children fishing, make sure you go with someone who knows what to do and have spare fishing rods for you to use.
    • This fishing pond is in Semenyih. It's a catch and release pond, so there are plenty of fish. However, I think there are certain times that the fish don't bite, like in the afternoon. We had better luck in the morning and towards the evening. 
    • After this activity, you can teach your children about the different kinds of fish that we eat. Expand their knowledge about how different baits and hooks are used to catch different kinds of fish.
    • Bring a bandaid.


    Wednesday, May 29, 2013

    Candy Bouquet For Teacher's Day Or Any Occasion

    Candy bouquet with chocolates




    This is my candy bouquet for Teacher's Day.

    Teacher's Day rolled by and I figured I wanted to give something nice to my son's kindy teachers coz' they're really nice. They are dedicated teachers and I like how they are always smiling. That's a tough thing to do when you have to deal with so many young cheeky kids. Plus my son loves going to school there and it is because of the warm environment they've created that makes it conducive for them to learn.

    Anyway, I decided to do this candy bouquet last minute. So I scrounged around for stuff and I had what I needed: satay sticks, colored tape (ideally it should be green but I only had yellow), colored tissue paper, glass paper and ribbon. I remembered how some people put 2 Hershey Kisses together to make a rose bud, so I decided to go with that.

    candy bouquet with Hershey Kisses



    Around the rosebud, I wrapped the colored tissue paper. I cut the top so it looked frilly, like petals. Added some curly ribbons to make it look nicer. Used green paper to cut out the leaves and had my son write "Happy Teacher's Day" on them. The kindy only has 4 teachers so I figured I'd give 2 flowers to every teacher.

    My son loved the idea and the teachers were ecstatic to receive a unique, homemade gift.
    candy bouquet flowers
    These flowers actually turned out better than the Mother's Day candy bouquet I made. You could make these for any occasion: Valentines' Day, birthday, anniversary etc....



    You could also put it into a vase to make a centerpiece for your table.
    If you want to learn how to make candy bouquets (you could even start a business doing this), check out this book by Lana Glass. She has tons of ideas and she teaches you step-by-step: How To Make Candy Bouquets For Fun & Profit