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Cleaning School Shoes

July 30, 2014 at 5:42 pm

When I was a kid, I hated washing my school shoes every weekend. I dreaded the chore. But wash I must. I was staying with a guardian in a different country so there isn’t any room for manja-ing. All of us had to do our bit in the house although there was a domestic helper who only did the chores for the guardian’s kids. (Another story for another day).

Anyway, now that we are without a full time domestic helper, the washing of school shoes falls onto the kids’ lap. I read that some people dump the school shoes into the washing machine. Sounds easy but I have not tried it. Don’t think I want to be mixing shoes with our clothes – especially Aidan’s school shoes. They are usually so dirty by day 2!

So the kids wash their own school shoes the traditional way. They’d soak the shoes in water, sprinkle some linen detergent on it and scrub away! I remember as a child, it was hard work to scrub and scrub and get rid of the dirt. A little hard work won’t kill the kids would it?

Do you let your kids wash their own school shoes? Any tips or tricks? Do share :)

How to Care for a Hamster

July 30, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Important notice : Do not let grandparents take grandkids to the pet shop without the presence of  the kids’ parent(s) because the result will be irreversible. The last time my kids went to the pet shop with their grandparents, they came back with 2 Goldfish and on a separate occasion, they came back with 2 hamsters.  (You can read about it here)

I thought caring for a dog is already a big task by itself because lots of love and dedication needs to be showered upon a dog as a pet. But when my dad bought my kids fish and hamsters, the condition that they had to fulfill was that they need to feed and clean the pet homes on a regular basis. I told them they if they forget to feed their pets and if their pets die of starvation, then it’s on them. Not me. So my eager beaver kids were all set to care for their latest addition to – Hamster.

I blogged before that we have  Pop and Park Ham-Star. 2 hamsters gifted to them by my dad. The kids were ecstatic.

6 months later, 2 evolved to 6 hamsters! Yup. We now have 6 little hamsters.

We had to upgrade their single storey home to a 3-storey home!

So how do my kids care for the hamsters?

1. First of all, it’s important that they have a reasonably big and stable cage as a home – equipped with a running wheel, a container for their food and a water dispenser. The hamster bedding is filled with wood shavings which eliminates bad odor.

2. We place the hamster cage at a corner inside our house. No point leaving them outside because Sydney will harass them all the time – like so….

3. Every morning, some wood shavings end up on the table surrounding the cage so one of the kids will take turns to clean the area with a portable vacuum cleaner.

4.The cage is cleaned once a week (max once in 2 weeks). The bedding will be changed and the cage will be washed – by the kids. At the same time, the hamsters will have a sand bath.

5. Once the cage is cleaned (only with water) and dried and assembled, the hamsters will then be placed back into their cage with fresh bedding. Do not reuse the old bedding.

6. The hamsters need some tender loving care too. The kids spend time with the hamsters each day and play with them. They sometimes feed the hamsters directly from the hand as well as opposed to putting the food into a little bowl. I read somewhere that it’s better to spread the food all over the cage so to prevent the hamsters from overeating.

Overall, I’d say that caring for hamsters are pretty low maintenance.

The next thing my kids are eyeing on is the Sugar Glider! Oh nooo!

Picnic at the Garage

July 30, 2014 at 1:09 pm

The kids are on a 1-week Hari Raya holiday and since we did not plan on going anywhere, we are home most of the time. If the kids have it their way, they’d be contented by watching television or play games on the iPad the whole day. Unfortunately for them, TV and iPad time is limited. I would rather they read a book, play with their own toys or find something to keep them occupied. One of the things they enjoy doing is having a picnic at our garage in the company of our Labrador Retriever, Sydney.

Things they usually prepare for their picnic :

1. A picnic mat

2. Their cooking set

3. iPhone – so that they can play some music while they are busy playing.

4. Toy cars (for Aidan)

5. Dog food (for Sydney)

6. Chalk – so that they can scribble on the floor

7. Some snacks for themselves

In the past, I’d usually let them fill their inflatable pool with water but since there is a water shortage in Selangor, we decided to scrap that idea.

Here’s another time where they had a picnic at the garage.

Friendship Bands

July 30, 2014 at 12:12 pm

When I was in secondary school,  my friends and I used to make friendship bands for each other and we’d wear it on our wrists all the time – the more the better! It was the in-thing then. Last weekend, we went  to Popular Bookfest at KL Convention Center (which is on now until 3 Aug 2014) and we saw and bought a  Friendship Band kit (RM15) – which comes with some cross stitch floss, some beads and a manual on how to tie different types of knots.  I had fun making friendship bands again and back in my time, we didn’t have a manual nor youtube tutorial to learn how to tie the different types of knots for a friendship band. We learned by trial and error. Kids these days are very fortunate to have various learning aids to help them in whatever they want to pick up. The hubs have asked Ashley to make one for him. This will  definitely keep her occupied – at least before our Rainbow Loom order arrives.

Here are some interesting Friendship Band tutorials.

How To Train a Child to Clean Up After His/Herself

July 30, 2014 at 11:56 am

Both Ashley and Aidan are total opposites.

While Aidan is very diligent in cleaning up after himself, Ashley on the other hand simply wreak havoc. If not supervised, the whole house will look as though it’s in a path of a tornado.

Seriously.

This got me riled up this morning and I know, I shouldn’t sweat the small stuff but we are all human afterall.

So allow me to rant…..

The problem is that she doesn’t totally clean up her mess. There will still be bits and pieces of her items peppered in the living hall. Some rubber bands here and there, hair clips, her comb, her sock,  pencils etc will be in every corner of the house. When I tell her to clean up, she would  clean up 50% of it (ala dump it somewhere else) and I end up having to nag until everything is in place.

Her bedroom is a mess. She is disorganized and basically dumps her stuff carelessly.

How do you deal with a messy kid?
At this stage –  without a domestic helper and me in my last trimester, I find it really irritating and frustrating when things are not in their place.

Aidan on the other hand takes care of his things and makes sure that they are put back in place even without being told.

Since I am having nesting instincts now, I’m even more agitated when I see a messy room. I’ve started spring cleaning the room our domestic helper used to occupy. I’m going to spring clean the kids’ room next, throw out whatever is not needed and see how long the room will stay neat. Meanwhile, I am going to set up a reward chart for them (again) and ensure that cleaning up after their own mess is a task in the list!

MH17 : Lost Forever

July 23, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Photo taken at Frankston Beach, Melbourne in Feb 2014

By now, you’ve all heard that on 17 July 2014 (4 months after the MH370 tragedy), MH17 – a Boeing 777-200ER travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur  was shot down by a Surface-to-air missile near the Russian-Ukraine border. Everyone on board perished. Why this senseless murder happened is beyond me. When reading about the news in the papers, I couldn’t help but shed some tears. Aidan was next to me and asked me why I was crying? I cannot even imagine how the 295 people on board must have felt. I cannot imagine how much of sorrow and anger is running through the victims’ families and loved ones.

This is a grim reminder to us all to stop sweating over the small stuff.

Put away our distractions.

Focus on our family and loved ones.

Take the time to listen to our children.

Because we can’t control what will happen in the future but we sure as hell can control our time now with our loved ones.

May the souls of MH17 victims rest in peace.

Amen.

Monster High – Frights, Camera, Action!

July 23, 2014 at 3:14 pm

The timing was just perfect. We didn’t know what to get for Ashley’s birthday and then in comes an email BrandThink Malaysia on behalf of Mattel  offering to send us the latest installment of the Monster High doll – Frights, Camera ,  Action! along with the DVD in exchange for an honest review.

First of all, Ashley is a big fan of Monster High so this was a no-brainer. She has a huge collection of Monster High dolls and was very pleased to have Lagoona Blue added to her growing collection.  Her current favorite Monster High doll is of course Lagoona Blue since it is the newest addition to her collection. She’s always reaching out for it while the others take a back seat.

Both Aidan and Ashley watched the Frights, Camera, Action! ‘boovie’ (movie) .  The movie is about how the Monster High ghouls set out on a journey to find the true Queen of the Vampires. If you are new to Monster High, parents need to know that these ghouls are a bunch of high school students and like most high school students, they are preoccupied with celebrity crushes and have boyfriends or girlfriends. There are also instances where some couples hug, briefly kiss and call each other stupid/loser/cray-cray so if you’re concerned in exposing your child(ren) to these,  well, you’ve been warned :) Nevertheless, my kids have watched all the Monster High movies and we are ok with it.

What do they like about the movie?
Ashley appreciates the play with words in the movie  - how London is called Londoom, Hollywood is called Hauntlywood, New Orleans is called New Gorleans…you get the drift. As for Aidan, he enjoys being with his sister – even if he has to sit through a Monster High movie :)

Dinoscovery by Dinosaurs Live!

July 18, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Last month, we were given the opportunity to visit the Dinoscovery by Dinosaurs Live! exhibition at Avenue K. This was similar to the Dinosaurs Live! Exhibition we went to at the National Science Museum 2 years ago except that this time round, they have brought it up a few notches.

Upon entering the exhibition,  the kids were transformed into a Paleontologist. Each were given a vest, a Dino Quest map, an RFID wrist band to help the kids with their scavenger hunt for dinosaur’s specimens, and the leader of the group was given a hat with a torchlight. Our group consisted of 4 kids and 3 adults. The adults were mainly there to supervise while the kids were doing all the work.

As we entered, we sat down to listen to a briefing about Dinosaurs on TV for about 5 minutes. After the briefing , the Dino Quest begun. The RFID wristband is a dino detector and will flash every time we were near a hidden specimen.

There were screens at each specimen and the kids had to flash their RFID wristband on the screen to find out the hidden specimens. After that, they had to paste the correct sticker (which were given along with the map) onto the correct spot as shown on the map.

One thing I’ve noticed though that Aidan (7yo) and Aaron (7.5yo) were more focused on finding the hidden specimens and were not so interested in the facts. They just wanted to finish the scavenger hunt as fast as possible so that they could be certified as a Junior Paleontologist.  As for Ashley (9yo), she took her time at each specimen to read up about the facts instead. There were also a set of questions at the back of the map where if they are answered correctly, they would be  a certified Expert Paleontologist. She worked with hubs to ensure that all the questions were answered.

There also other attractions which the kids enjoyed such as wall climbing to take a peek at a Pteranodon’s eggs, 10-metre race with a Gallimimus dinosaur (which btw was the fastest dinosaur in the world) , Dinoshooting range and lots more.

That’s Aidan on the left and Aaron on the right. The boys didn’t manage to take a peek at the Preranodon’s eggs though but Ashley managed to.


For Dinoshooting, each kid was given 8 pellets to shoot with. Though it was fun cause the kids were trigger happy, the kids didn’t know what the objective of the game was. There was someone there to assist the kids with the mask and load the pellets into the gun but no instructions and guidelines were given on how to hold the gun or what to look out for. That, we thought could be improved so that the kids could maximize their experience with Dinoshooting. By the time they realized  what needs to be done, they were done with their 8 pellets.

The kids enjoyed racing with the Gallimimus dinosaur.

Towards the tail end of the exhibition,  there was a playarea for younger kids.

There was also a 3D theater which filmed a documentary about dinosaurs – of which the kids were not interested at all. They played at the playarea instead!

We finished the exhibition in an hour.

The exhibition is open now until Feb 2015 and is open everyday including public holidays.

For more information about the Dinoscovery by Dinosaur Live! Exhibition, check out their official website.

My Little Helpers

June 24, 2014 at 4:21 pm

We’ve had live-in domestic helpers for the past few years and now that our help has gone back for good, the kids have been more independent as well.  It’s a good thing that they are old enough to help around the house.

Seen here is a picture of Ashley making her own instant noodles (supervised of course). She loooooooves Mee Sedap. We let her eat it once in a while. She was pretty proud of her accomplishment.

This lil dude is also a very willing helper. He cleaned the dining table today after lunch and washed up after that. A little encouragement goes a long way :)

I jokingly asked him if we require a domestic helper.

He said, “No need. We can save the money.”

What a sweetheart right????

A Short Getaway – Ubud (16 – 18 May 2014)

June 19, 2014 at 4:20 pm

It was a spontaneous getaway. I felt like getting away to chill with my girl friends. The usual suspects. Unfortunately 2 of them were not able to make it during  the suggested time frame and KP originally planned on going for a solo trip to Ubud and invited me to join her instead.

So I did just that.

Bought the plane ticket on the same day and in less than a week, we flew to Denpasar - she from Jakarta and me from Kuala Lumpur and met up at Warung Made at Seminyak. The poor girl waited for me for hours because she flew in on an earlier flight –  plus it took me ages at the immigration at Denpasar. After taking some light snacks to settle my growing belly, we headed to Ubud. (We hired a driver for the day as it turned out to be cheaper than cabbing). About 1.5 hours later, we arrived at Maya Ubud Resort & Spa.

This resort was so nice and peaceful. It wasn’t fully occupied and I definitely felt very zen! The purpose of this trip was so we could rest and relax and that was exactly what we did!

So by the time we arrived at the resort, it was already in the evening. We got a corner room and got a breathtaking view of the padi fields.

The room was decorated nicely and I must say that I was very pleased by how well maintained the place is.

The bed faces the day bed – which can easily fit another adult.

This is the entrance. To the left is the bathroom. Surprisingly though, I didn’t take a picture of the bathroom – and it is a very lovely bathroom. Funnily enough, I actually enjoyed taking my shower in that bathroom. I know, quite an odd thing to say but the room wasn’t a typical hotel room. A lot of though has been put into the design and furniture used.

This is another picture of the beds taken during the day.

After settling down, we headed to Naughty Nuri’s Warung. Apparently there are 2 outlets at Ubud. The one we went to is at Jl. Raya Sanggingan (Depan Musium Neka), Ubud, Gianyar. Phone (0361) 977547. They are famous for their BBQ pork ribs here. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived there, all the ribs were sold out :(. We did however order other dishes e.g. pork steak, pork burgers, wedges and some german sausages. One thing to note though that the BBQ pit is situated at the front of the warung hence it’s best to dress casually and not get your hair done for dinner because you will definitely leave the place smelling of all the smoke from the BBQ :)

The next morning, while I slept in, KP went for a yoga class organized by the hotel (for free).  And by the time she got back, we got ready and headed to the breakfast hall for breakfast. We were very pleased with the breakfast spread.

See? Needless to say, we went for seconds and thirds….fourths maybe but by the time we walked out of there, my tummy was ready to explode. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This was our breakfast spot for 2 days.

See the straw bag on the right? That was in the closet in our room which was provided by the hotel. It’s details like this which makes me a very happy customer. They make sure that you’re at least handbag-ready for your holiday!

The hotel provides shuttle bus service to the city at regular intervals. We decided to go into the city to do a bit of shopping.

A trip to Ubud is not complete if you don’t at least try the Babi Guling!

It was a hot day out and after lunch, we headed back to the hotel to chill.

There are 2 swimming pools at the resort. This one is next to the spa which overlooks the Petanu River Vaslley if I am not wrong. It was indeed very peaceful. I cannot imagine my kids being there at that moment because their boisterousness would kill the zen-nes of it all.

We then adjourned to the other pool which was closer to the main building and chilled out.

Every day from 4-5pm (or was it until 6pm), they offered tea and snacks to the guests. (Part of the package). The snacks were great – especially the chocolate moist cake which I had many many pieces of.

For dinner, we took a cab from the hotel to Bebek Bengil. Also a must try if you’re every at Ubud.

The food was great – and of course so was the company :)

After dinner, the restaurant got a driver to send us back to the hotel for free. It’s a service which they provide to their customers. So if you’re worried on how to go back, well, worry not.

The next day, after a scrumptious breakfast, we chilled out by the pool for a couple of hours before we checked out of the hotel and head to the airport. On the way to the airport, we stopped by at Cafe Batu Jimbar at Sanur.

We had some local food. Again, it was so yummy. (p.s I love Indonesian food!)

KP lives in Jakarta and has been to Bali many times. Hence, lucky me !!! cause she knows the good places to go to to eat! :)

After our last meal at Sanur, we headed to the airport and parted ways.

It was a short getaway but we definitely achieved what we wanted out of the weekends – to rest, relax, chill and eat!

I would definitely go back to Bali again!

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