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, Motherhood, Parenting

Things I Never Thought I’d Say As A Normal Person (But Didn’t Think Twice About It Now That I’m A Mom)

1. Don’t eat that! That’s soap.

2. Can you not smell that. That diaper has poop in it!

3. Why are you licking the wall?

4. Please don’t try to eat your toes.

5. Don’t eat that. That’s.. What is that?!

6. That’s not my butt on my chest. That’s cleavage.

7. There’s no cartoon today because the people who works at the TV station is having diarrhoea.

8. We can’t eat chocolates for dinner because later worms will grow in your stomach.

9. For the last time, no you can’t use your toothbrush to clean the toilet bowl.

10. What am I doing here?

 

Toddler years are only for a few years, but they sure do do things to you.

What’s the weirdest thing you find yourself saying to your kids?

 

Motherhood

Posted in Children, Motherhood, Parenting

How Did The Baby Get Inside Your Tummy?

I’m having a bad menses cramp today, so I was curling on the couch with a hot water bottle pressed to my stomach.

Sophea: Mommy, what’s the matter with you?
Me: I got period pain.
Sophea: Why?
Me: Because I got period.
Sophea: What’s period?
Me: It’s when I got blood come out from me.
Sophea: Blood? But why? Are you going to die?
Me: No. It happens to every girl. When you’re big like Mommy, then you will have period too.
Sophea: So means I’m going to die too?
Me: Everyone is going to die, but not because of period.
Sophea: If you’re not going to die, then why you have period?
Me: It means that I don’t have a baby in my tummy.
Sophea: Why no baby? I like baby.
Me: Me too. But people don’t have baby in their tummy all the time.
Sophea: How baby go inside your tummy?
Me: When Mommy and Daddy love each other and we sleep together, then sometimes baby will go inside my tummy.
Sophea: But where that baby come from?
Me: It’s from Mommy and Daddy. We make it.
Sophea: What? You can make baby? You and Daddy got magic?
Me: It is kind of like magic. But it’s because of love.
Sophea: And love is magic?
Me: Yes.
Sophea: I don’t understand.
Me: You see, when Mommy and Daddy love each other, we feel love inside our hearts. And that love feels like magic. Sometimes when the magic is strong, Mommy and Daddy do a secret dance. From that dance, sometimes baby can happen.
Sophea: Happen where?
Me: Inside Mommy’s tummy.
Sophea: What secret dance?
Me: You know how you guys can’t go into Mommy and Daddy’s room? That’s why. It’s a secret dance for Mommy and Daddy only.
Sophea: So when Mommy and Daddy sleep in your room you do the secret dance?
Me: Yes. Well, sometimes. It depends.
Sophea: Okay. I don’t understand. Can I have a cookie?

I never thought this baby talk would come this early and it totally caught me off guard, least of all coming from Sophea. I thought Eros would be asking about it first.

Okay, I should be more ready in the future.

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 General, Parenting

Roaring with The Royals: Discovering Dinosaurs at Dinoscovery

I have always, always been fascinated by dinosaurs.

Growing up watching Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park gave me the right push I needed to start reading and finding out as much as I could about dinosaurs. However, when I was about ready to go to college in a few years, my dad said no when I told him my intentions of studying paleontology.

So long story short; when Eros started to show interest in dinosaurs few years ago, I was the first person to leap into the air.

I pestered Mohen to get as many books and toys on dinosaurs as we possibly could. I didn’t want Eros to feel that I was stopping him from liking what he likes, but Mohen cautioned me not to push it too far down his throat. I was excited to know that my son is most likely to share my love for dinosaurs and I can’t wait to talk about our favorite dinosaurs (yes, I already daydream that he becomes a paleontologist one day); still, I know where Mohen was coming from.

We want to encourage what our kids like to do without being too overbearing that they might feel we’re forcing them. We want them to discover their passion on their own. All we wanted to do is to expose them to as many things as we could so they can pick one that they like the most.

Mohen is on a long holiday because he wanted to be at home on his birthday (which is coming up reaaaalllll soon!) and also he wants to be able to watch the World Cup without having to worry to wake up early the next day. Since he’s at home for several long weeks, I thought we’ll bring the kids out for something fun to do because God knows when was the last time we went out.

I went online and started searching for few things we could do with our kids and I came across Discoveria at Avenue K.

I know Avenue K can be accessed from KLCC and it will be packed especially during weekend, but Mohen is on leave so I decided we should go first thing Sunday morning. There will be less people there because who wakes up that early on a Sunday anyway? Plus, we’re going with my uncle, whom I owe a date with my kids because he’s their favorite granduncle and he hasn’t seen them in a long time too. My kids tend to listen to my uncle more whenever we go out so no problem there.

What am I talking about? Oh, didn’t I tell you?

THERE IS A DINOSAURS EXHIBITION, RIGHT HERE IN KUALA LUMPUR!

To be honest, I don’t know how many there have been in KL, but the last one I went was when I was 8 and it was in Isetan if I’m not mistaken. So naturally, I’m more excited than the kids.

Discoveria is an interactive venue with ever-changing exhibits and currently, they’re showcasing Dinoscovery. I mean, dinosaur animatronics? Dino treasure hunt? Excavating fossils? This is something I have to bring my kids to.

Discoveria Avenue K is on 4th floor of Avenue K and it was easy enough to find (hint: There are dinosaurs’ footprint stickers on the mall’s floor to help you!)

 

The kids were already shrieking the moment they saw the entrance to Dinoscovery and yes, to be honest, I did too.

 

Eros and Sophea couldn’t be bothered with taking photos because they can’t wait to enter.

 

Inside, before you begin your dinoscovery, you’re given a paleontologist vest to put on, a wristband and a map. With these gears on, you’re all set to start your hunt for dino treasures. Sadly, I couldn’t take photos at this point.

 

A map to guide you so you won’t get lost in time!

 

Inside, you need to follow the path which leads you to all the dinosaurs inside and teach you on what you need to know about them. Among the dinosaurs featured is the velociraptor, stegosaurus, diplodocus, triceratops (my favorite dinosaur!) and Eros’ favorite, the T-Rex.

They were a little scared at first because of the roars of the dinosaurs, but after they saw that Mohen and I weren’t afraid, they started to enjoy it and even dared to venture away from us a little. I think it was me who Mohen had to control because I can’t wait to discover the clues for the treasure hunt!

 

Dinoscovery Exhibit 1
Pachycephalosaurus [pāk’ĭ-sěf’ə-lə-sôr’əs], whose name means “the thick-headed lizard”.
Among all the dinosaurs, the kids were afraid of the spinosaurus the most. I mean, look at those mean teeth. I don’t blame them.

 

riding the dinosaur
I think was the only over-excited adult in this place. I wanted to bring this guy home!

 

This is the kids’ favorite activity – the fossil excavation pit! With a brush and a bucket, they need to excavate the sand pit for dinosaurs fossil. Heads up: There’re more than 3 fossils in this sand pit, so be ready to stay a while because if your kids are like mine, they want to find them all!

 

Eros and Sophea calling for help as brontosaurus towers above them.

 

Overall, the place is awesome. There are many more interactive activities inside, but cameras are prohibited so I could only take photos where I was allowed to.

However, as a parent of young children, I do feel the place was a tad too dark for kids.

I can see why it can be a little intimidating or even scary for little children. The sound effect was good – dinosaur roars and screeches and rustling treetops, but I guess for kids who are already spooked out by the dark and the idea of dinosaurs waiting for them there, it didn’t really help them much to feel better about the place.

You’re also given a headlamp when you begin the dinoscovery and I guess that’s why the place was a little bit dark because otherwise you won’t be able to feel as though you’re on an adventure. I speak based my kids’ experience here, of course, but the dark made them a little scared to venture much, which I can feel they really wanted to. There is a brontosaurus outside the exhibit area, where it was well-lit and my kids had no problem approaching it without either me or Mohen.

My kids have been watching documentaries and movies about dinosaurs ever since they were growing up and they were super excited to be here, but I guess nothing prepared them for an up-close experience such as this one. It took them some time to break in into the place and it didn’t help it that the dinosaurs tower above them by a good 4-5 feet, some even more! So if your kids get scared easily or they don’t like scaly creepy crawlies, then I suggest you to be ready to hold on to them.

But, at least for the first 30 minutes or so.

Because once my kids see that the dinosaurs can’t move and not going to pounce on them, I had to focus on telling them not to try and climb on the dinosaurs!

 

Gift shop. There are so many cute dinosaurs memorabilia that I had to stop myself – I mean, the kids from trying to get them all!

 

We all had fun that day and personally, I don’t mind going again because I think the kids would probably enjoy it more the second time. Plus, I had too good a time not to go again!

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This exhibition is open daily from 10am to 10pm and it runs until February 2015. For more information and ticket purchases, you can check out this link or visit Discoveria on Facebook.