Posted in Parenting

Is Santa Real?

The kids have been watching Christmas movies for several days now and we’ve been talking about Christmas for quite a bit.

Sophea: Mommy, why our house don’t have a Christmas tree?
Me: Because we don’t celebrate Christmas.
Sophea: But I like Santa.
Me: You don’t have to celebrate Christmas to like Santa. A lot of people like Santa.
Sophea: Yes, because he’s so cute.
Me: Hahahaha that’s right. He is cute.
Sophea: Will Santa come to our house?
Me: No. Because Santa is not a real person.
Sophea: Santa is dead?
Me: No, no. Santa is not real because anyone can wear the red suit and be Santa.
Sophea: So Santa is pretending?
Me: Well, Santa can’t pretend because he’s not real. But there are people who wear the red suit and be Santa for other people, especially kids.
Sophea: So Santa is lying?
Me: No, it’s like this. You know how sometimes you guys wear pirate hats and all that and pretend to be pirates? It’s like that.
Sophea: But why people wear a Santa suit?
Me: Because it can make some people happy.
Sophea: What people?
Me: There are people who don’t have enough food or toys. So on Christmas, there are people who wear a Santa suit and give food and toys to these people so they can be happy because sometimes, for them, Christmas is the only time they get more food and toys.
Sophea: But why they have to wear Santa suit? Can they wear a pirate suit?
Me: Yes, they can. It’s just Santa makes a lot of people feel happy. You know how Daddy likes Mommy wears the blue dress? Because it makes Daddy happy to see me? It’s like that. Some people feel happy when they see a person in a Santa suit.
Sophea: If we give food and toys to people, are we Santa?
Me: Maybe they think we are. But we don’t have to wear the Santa suit to give people food or toys.
Sophea: So people wear Santa suit so they can make people see who is in their heart?

At this point, I just can’t. I was literally tearing up because I thought I was teaching her something, but as always, it’s the other way around.

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Posted in Children, DIY, Home Made, Parenting

DIY Play Dough

Preparation time: 5 – 15 minutes
Rest: 1 hour

I’ve pinned the recipe to this DIY play dough on my Pinterest for ages, but I’ve never really gotten around to doing it. One of the main reasons is that because I don’t want to mess it up and end up throwing out a batch of flour.

However, the other day a friend posted on her Facebook on how she made it for her daughter and it turned out great. Finally, I decided I should try it.

And I really should’ve done it a long time ago. My kids were literally occupied for 3 hours straight!

If you ever doubt it, I suggest you try it right away because it really is that easy and yes, foolproof.

DIY play dough

Here’s what you need:

1 cup of flour
1/4 cup of fine salt
1 cup of warm water
Few drops of food coloring

1. Mix the flour and salt
2. Make a well and add the warm water. Drop in a few drops of food coloring depending on how bright or pale you want the color of the dough to be
3. Mix everything into a dough with a spoon until you get the right texture

I love to bake and I love kneading dough with my hands. So what I did was, halfway through, I took out the dough and knead with my hands. If you’re accustomed to baking pies or bread, just knead as you would with a bread or pie crust dough.

Dust your work station and knead. You can sprinkle with flour as you go if you find the dough to be too sticky. Once you got the right pliability, you can let it rest.

Note: The dough will be stickier than the store-bought Play Dough because of the hot water. Don’t worry too much about it because once the dough cools, it will be exactly (if not better!) than the commercial product.

DIY play dough

Storage: My friend advised me to keep it in a Ziploc and put it in the fridge so that’s what I did. I kept the dough in the fridge at around 7pm and now it’s almost 3am. I just checked the dough and obviously it’s hard, but the great thing is that it’s not crumbly. So I guess I will have to take it out for a few hours before I let the kids play with it.

I also tried to wrap it in cling wrap just as I would when I’m resting my cooking dough in the fridge. It works just the same if you don’t have a Ziploc. And if you don’t have a cling wrap, I sometimes use this trick: Use any groceries shopping plastic bag, put the dough in and tightly twist the bag around the dough. I then tie it with a strong rubber band to seal it in. Works just the same as wonderful!

Cleanup: This is surprisingly really easy. The kids dropped bits and pieces of the dough onto the floor and it sort of hardened up. But just by rubbing my toe on it, I was able to sweep it off the floor and it doesn’t leave any greasy mark behind. I dusted the table on which they played the dough with corn starch. There were dough on the table sticking to the table even with the starch, but using a damp cloth, I was able to wipe them all away because the dough just dissolved.

After all this, I will never buy the commercial Play Dough. Ever again. And yes, I’m still kicking myself in the rear for not making this dough sooner. Hahahaha.

Posted in Children, Parenting

Wasabi Screams Like A Girl

We were watching Big Hero 6 (again) and it was the scene where the freight container was about to fall on the gang. Wasabi was screaming loudly.

Eros: He screams like a girl! *laughed out loud
Me: Why did you say that?
Eros: Because he scream eeekkk meeek meek meeeekkk
Me: Is that wrong?
Eros: Yes.
Me: Why?
Eros: Because he is not a girl.
Me: I see. How should he scream then?
Eros: HHHAAAAGGGGGGHHHHH like that.
Me: What if when you’re at school and you’re playing football with your friends and they started to laugh at you?
Eros: Why they want to laugh at me?
Me: Because they say you play football like a girl.
Eros: That’s rude.
Me: So don’t you think saying that Wasabi screams like a girl is rude too?
Eros: Yes. I think so.
Me: Is Wasabi a girl or a boy?
Eros: He’s a boy.
Me: So that means, when he screams or talks or laughs, what does it sound like?
Eros: Like a boy.
Me: And Go Go. Is she a boy or a girl?
Eros: A girl.
Me: And she likes to ride the bike really fast and ride the roller blades really fast. What does she look like?
Eros: Like a girl.
Me: Exactly. Don’t say something like that to anyone because it’s rude. If someone is a boy, then whatever he does is like a boy. If it’s a girl, then whatever she does is her way and it is like a girl. Understand?
Eros: Yes. I understand now.

As parents I believe we are the ones with most power to teach gender equality and in stopping sexism.

Even though he’s just 6 and doesn’t understand what sexism is, this kind of things are the reasons why sexism and gender inequality is so ingrained in our society. Because if we don’t tell our kids it’s wrong to say things like that, they’re going to grow up thinking it’s funny and continue perpetuating it.

By the time they’re adults, most of the times it’ll be too late to undo the damage done to their mentality.

 

Wasabi Big Hero 6

Posted in Children, General, Parenting

Get Your Stark On – Robotics Education At Little Botz Academy

I just found out something awesome.

My kids are really active and couldn’t really stay focus on one thing for long. No matter how engaging I think an activity is for them, they wouldn’t be able to stick to it for more than 10 minutes. Okay, I mean, 10 minutes could be considered long enough for toddlers, but I want to try other things to see what really pique their interest.

Then one day, Mohen bought for them one of those toys where you can take it apart and put them back together with tiny tools. He bought a set with a motorcycle, a truck and a train. They came with little screwdrivers, Allen keys, and wrenches where the kids get to use them to unscrew and fix the toy sets back together again. We were both amazed that they were at it for almost an hour!

Mohen and I were over the moon because we found something that finally engaged our kids’ attention longer than we could say “Let’s try this.” From then on, we know that our kids need things like these to keep them focused. The best thing was? They weren’t trying to annoy each other, which is one of the other problems that we had when we tried to get them involved in an activity.

Ever since that we’ve been finding for things for the kids to do and one day we came across Little Botz Academy.

Even though this academy is for kids who are older than ours, we thought it’s really great. Eros could probably enrol for the program soon since the youngest age they accept is 7 years old. And what’s even better is that they have programs for youth from the ages of 17 – 30 years old. This program is not just about early childhood education, it’s also about encouraging creativity and innovation at any age!

 

Little Botz Academy
Click here to check out Little Botz Academy on Facebook!

 

Little Botz Academy uses robotic education to teach children about the importance of understanding technology to fill in the gaps of human limitation using automation. Because children tend to think more creatively than adults and there is literally no limits to their imagination, Mohen and I think this program is a fantastic platform to encourage freedom of expression through science.

This academy is active in organizing activities for their students. Check out their YouTube channel here to see the activities they’ve organized! One of their upcoming activities this school holiday is The Power of Innovation thru Robotics. This robotic workshop is going to be held at Petrosains in Suria KLCC. The workshop is from 16 March – 19 March, held in two sessions.

 

Little Botz Academy
Click on photo for more details on the workshop

 

I’ve spoken to them last week because I was really interested in what they do and let me tell you this, it mad me feel like joining the program along with my kids! I was excited as though Tony Stark invited me to his workshop to teach me how he builds his IronMan suit!

I’m My kids are not able to join this workshop this time around, but I will make sure I get them into the next one! If your kids are like mine, why not grab this opportunity to let them explore their imagination? They might surprise you with what they can build! Heck, even if your kids don’t seem to be interested in robotics, bring them along nevertheless because I believe this type of education has the power to unleash more than what we think our kids are capable of!

 

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For more details, you can call the number on the poster.

Check out Petrosains on Facebook and twitter as well for other upcoming events that you and your family will enjoy!

Posted in Children, Parenting

Hi-5 House of Learning: Learn The Fun Way!

If you have kids, then you would probably know Hi-5.

I have been a mother for 6 years now and I don’t think there is one children edutainment program that my kids love more than Hi-5. I have to admit that I too always watch the program with my kids and we often sing and dance along to the catchy, upbeat songs. Besides that, I love how the show is extremely colorful and bright that it can keep young children adequately entertained.

Hi-5 started in 1999 and even after 15 years, they’re going on strong without any sign of stopping. Even though the cast was changed every now and then, the charm of the show and its message remain the same – having fun while learning through making music.

As luck would have it, I was invited to the launching of Hi-5 first learning center in Malaysia.

Known as the Hi-5 House of Learning, this place is like the real-life version of the TV show. With colorful interior and curriculum that is based on Hi-5’s learning principles, this school has got be one of the best schools I’ve seen and I have been to a lot of children learning centers to either teach the children or check out the places for my kids. I love how this school is equipped with all the things a child needs in order to have a wholesome and comprehensive learning experience and its facilities are all child-friendly and safe for their small size.

One of the many classrooms at the Hi-5 House of Learning

 

The library. I can stay in this room forever! Those comfortable bean chairs, the gorgeous chandelier that gives off soft reading light. It truly feels like a book lover’s haven!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know about you, but I despise rote learning. Sure, some experts argue that there is some benefits of rote learning (though I tend to strongly disagree), I still believe that it causes more harm than good for the children, especially for highly active and highly curious children. Hi-5 House of Learning uses what we may call edu-play, where children learn through a combination of hands-on experience and body movement and music. The curriculum for this school was developed by Helen Martin, an Early Childhood Advisor who has extensive experience in English literature, media, modern dance and drama. Her daughter, Dr. Catherine Martin also works with her in developing Hi-5 curriculum, not only for the school, but also for the TV programs.

 

The Hi-5 House of Learning curriculum is based on what they call the Learning Wheel.

Hi-5 House of Learning: The Learning Wheel
Hi-5 House of Learning: The Learning Wheel

 

As you can see from the image, it covers every aspect of a child’s learning development skills that makes a learning experience more wholesome and thorough. This learning wheel was based on Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence. Because there is not one child that learns the same way, this theory explores every aspect of the child’s intelligence and maximize it through experiential learning. Not only that, Helen and Dr. Catherine Martin also based their curriculum on Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development.

For me, I’ve heard and read of these theories and yes, I live by it.

Because Mohen and I made the decision to homeschool our kids years ago, we’ve been reading up on children’s learning theories as much as we can and we’ve come across Gardner’s and Piaget’s theories many times. When I heard that they use these theories to teach the children at Hi-5 House of Learning, I was plenty excited.

This school is located at Persiaran Damansara Endah, Damansara Heights and yes, it is a tad too far from where I am. Even though we homeschool our children, Hi-5 House of Learning offers not only preschool programs, but it’s also an enrichment center. There are many enrichment classes such as swimming for infants and toddler (oh, they have an awesome heated swimming pool!), cookery class, instrument music class, yoga class and many more. I wouldn’t mind sending my kids to these classes at all, really!

The indoor playground.
The kitchen for the little budding chefs! And yes, those awesome ovens are not just for show!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outdoor playground.
The heated swimming pool. Gaaa!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The environment of this place is great too. It’s gated and guarded and the did I mention, colorful and bright? There is an outdoor playground, indoor playground, a pirate’s ship, rock climbing wall, awesome kitchen for the kids to learn cooking and a well-equipped music room.

Hi-5 House of Learning accepts students as young as 6 months old (for enrichment classes) and up to 9 years old. You really should give them a call and book an appointment for a visit so you can see them for yourself!

Posted in Children, Parenting

You Don’t Say It’s Love. You Feel It’s Love

I always wonder about the US kids who are always quoted about what they think love is and how to have a happy marriage and what is life and all that. And they are all like under 5 years old. Most 5 years old I know can’t even describe where their house is.

So I decided to try it on Eros.

Me: Eros, do you love me?
Eros: Yes.
Me: Why?
Eros: Because you cook for me and do my milk.
Me: Do you love Daddy?
Eros: Yes. Because Daddy buy for me bicycle and play with me.
Me: Do you love Sophia?
Eros: Hm, sometimes.
Me: Why sometimes?
Eros: Because she likes to beat me.
Me: What do you think love is?
*scrunching his face for a few seconds. Eros: I don’t know.
Me: How do you know if you love someone?
*scrunching his face again. Eros: I don’t know how to say.
Me: You don’t know how to say what love is?
Eros: Yes, because I feel love inside my heart.

I almost cried.

Little grown up Eros
Little grown up Eros
Posted in Children, Parenting

Launching Tell Me Mommy!

I guess all things great started out simple.

When I first created a group on Facebook called Tell Me Mommy, I wanted to have a place where all my friends who are mothers can share ideas, parenting tips and motherhood advice.

Most of the famous groups or pages on Facebook are rather international or the number of members are too large for close-knit friends to communicate frequently. When I started out, there was only about 50 or so members and these are all my personal friends whom are mothers or expecting mothers.

I shared this group with my cousin who is a mother of one.

We are best friends and ever since we could remember, we have always done everything and anything together. Or at least now share everything together since both of us have families of our own now. So it was only natural and little wonder that I invited her to be the admin of the group.

Then she invited her friends to join the group and her friends invited their friends and that friend invited other friends. I guess that is how social networking works and that is why so many people love it so much.

The next thing we know, Tell Me Mommy now has close to 300 members.

I mean, that may not be much, compared to those famous groups and pages but for us, it was amazing!

We didn’t want it to end up as a white elephant so we committed to updating the posts, sharing beautiful photos and inspiring articles. Once in a while we have trivia and fun questions so that we can get the members to talk to each other. We have albums of pre-loved items where the members want to give away or sell off any used baby items and many mothers have gotten items they wanted for a cheaper price.

It was great, and both me and my cousin take pride in our group.

Then we started to have more ideas. One thing led to another – we wanted to expand Tell Me Mommy!

So we moved our group to a page instead where it can be reached by a wider audience and open to the public, rather than it being a closed group where an approval is required to be a member.

A page works just like a group, members can still post anything on the wall but it will be public and anyone who has liked the page will be able to see and comment on the post. Plus, a page gives the admins so much more control on its managing features that it makes more sense for us to have a page now that Tell Me Mommy has grown.

So I am proud to share Tell Me Mommy’s brand new page!

I sincerely hope you will come and visit (yes, there are a lot more to be updated since we just opened, like, today! Hahahaha) and like our page. There are a lot more in store from us and we have so many things lined up to be shared.

We hope to see you there!

Tell Me Mommy brand new page!
Tell Me Mommy brand new page!

And oh, we’re on twitter too!