Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What is this called??

Mom used some of these flowers (which are riped, those shown in this picture are not riped) to boil this red drink - it tastes like Ribena.

I remember when I was younger, mom also used something like this which is dried to boil. But until now, I still have no idea what this plant is called.

KZ said she's seen this alot in Myanmar. And that it grows abundantly. She plucked the leaf and ate it. I tried and it's sour.

Books that caught me attention

Was in Times with some time to spare before Athena's music lesson.

And these books caught my eyes :

I know it's of vast difference in interest, but given my situation - *imagine a screaming mother who throws herself into fits which will subsequently turned into convulsions & a mother who wants to do some culinary in her interest - baking. Of course to make sure her cake turns into a cake and cookies turns into cookies. When it comes to baking I'd rather not have any magic show - imagine a cake turned into kueh bolu. Duh mummy!*

On a personal note, I think the parenting book will give me some solutions and how to enhance my relationship with my 2 children.

extracted from Post Gazette
Chill Out: Is scream-free parenting possible?
Sunday, January 15, 2006

Anita Dufalla, Post-Gazette
How to be a scream-free parent:
Respect your child's privacy, providing them with physical and emotional space.
Enforce discipline with consistency.
Calm down about the messy room. Beyond a twice-yearly thorough cleaning, let kids set the standard.
Let them struggle; don't be quick to provide solutions.
Don't preach or threaten: Let consequences speak for themselves.
"ScreamFree Parenting: Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool" by Hal Edward Runkel;
"Loving Without Spoiling & 100 Other Timeless Tips for Raising Terrific Kids" by Nancy Samalin;

The telephone receptionist's voice is calm and soothing, but her opening greeting is guaranteed to get the caller's attention:

"Scream-free Living, may I help you?"

Welcome to the offices of Hal Edward Runkel, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Atlanta, who is busy working to lower the decibel levels in American family life -- particularly the parenting part.

Author of the 2005 book "ScreamFree Parenting: Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool," Mr. Runkel is tapping into perhaps one of the biggest anxieties that parents face today: a fear they are spending much too much time yelling or screaming at their children -- and worse, to no avail.

In an age when child-rearing advice books number in the thousands, Mr. Runkel has probably hit upon the perfect way to separate himself from the rest of the pack. His cleverly marketed "Scream-free" program has recently expanded beyond the parenting book to include "living", "marriage" and "leadership." There's a Web site, e-mail newsletters, silicon wristbands, seminars, DVD's and a decidedly loyal following of parents who swear his approach works.

Not to mention a huge group of parents -- nearly everyone, it seems -- who yell at their children at one time or another.

A 2003 study of almost 1,000 parents by Dr. Murray A. Straus of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH, found that nearly all of the survey respondents used what the authors called "psychological aggression" to discipline children by the time they were 5 years old, including yelling and screaming, cursing and swearing, name calling, and threats of spanking. Moreover, nine out of 10 parents said they had used such methods on children aged 2 or younger.

And while corporal punishment is no longer the norm -- only 26 percent of parents of children under 3 years of age spank them, according to a study in the journal Pediatrics -- that same study found that yelling can have some of the same adverse effects on child well-being as spanking.

Mr. Runkel says his secret is to teach the parents to change their behavior first, not their children's.

In short, to chill out.

"The only way to retain a position of control over our children is to regain a position of control over ourselves," he says. "It's about how I can I stay calm and assured even when the kids are pushing my buttons." Mr. Runkel says he teaches parents to ratchet down their emotional "reactivity" and not to try to intervene so much, but rather let the children experience the consequences of their own bad choices.

"Let the consequences do the screaming," he said.

As an example, he cites the single mother of five teenagers whose youngest daughter always wanted her mother to drive her to school each day.

"It was an ordeal. The mother would nag, and yell, and the daughter would stall, and they both ended up late, to school and to work, and the mom just resented the hell out of her daughter."

Mr. Runkel advised the mother to stop reminding her daughter every five minutes that she was going to be late, "because the more you remind her, the less she has to remind herself."

Instead, the mother calmly informed her daughter that she was leaving in 15 minutes and that she would "love" for the daughter to join her. When the girl didn't come down from her room in time, the mother left for work.

"The woman told me she didn't think about her daughter until noon," Mr. Runkel says, "when she got a call from her daughter, who demanded to know what she could have for lunch. When the mother asked why she was home, the daughter said, 'because you left me, mom.' Instead of yelling at her, the mother calmly told her why she had left and said the girl should walk to school and get an unexcused absence."

There was some more complaining, but faced with no alternative, the girl went to school, received a "zero" on a test she had missed -- and stopped being late.

When it comes to the vocal aspects of parenting, Mr. Runkel may be on to something, said Jeff Lawson, director of prevention and education services with Family Links, a local social service agency who works with special needs children in therapeutic situations.

"It's not the first issue that comes up, but after you talk to parents about life in their household, the issue of screaming does arise," said Mr. Lawson.

It is entirely possible, though, that this current generation of parents screams at their children more than their parents did, he and other experts say.

"We're a very results-oriented generation, we want immediate gratification, and we tend to think screaming is the fastest way to get that," Mr. Lawson said. The stresses of every day life, especially in two-income families where time is at a premium, means that screaming has become kind of a short cut to what would have been a more measured attempt at discipline in the past, he added.

It is possible, too, that in previous generations, when child-rearing was more authoritarian and disciplinary tools included spanking, parents had less of a need to raise their voices.

"When our parents screamed, it really meant something," Mr. Lawson said. "When your father raised his voice, chances are he got a response that was immediate because there was going to be a consequence that could have been corporal punishment or something else."

Nancy Samalin, a parent educator and author of the best selling books "Loving Not Spoiling" and "Love and Anger" agrees, although she doesn't necessarily regard the post-World War II authoritarian approach as optimal.

"Perhaps parents today scream more because unlike our parents, they are no longer comfortable using fear as a tactic for controlling kids' behavior," Ms. Samilin said. "What is really fear is often described as 'respect.' When someone says 'I would never dare talk to my parents the way my kids talk to me,' that can be translated as 'I was too scared to talk back to my parents.' "

Indeed, Amy Guest, a 38-year-old mother of four who lives in Ben Avon, has very clear memories of a strict upbringing, where back talk was not permitted.

"You did not mess with my mom and you did not speak to an adult in a certain way," Ms. Guest said, adding that she is trying to emulate her mother's parenting style --which includes firm rules and little, if any, yelling.

"We are a culture of overindulging our kids. We want to be "friends" with our children and we want them to have everything," said Ms. Grant. "I want to have a good relationship with my kids. I don't want to be a sergeant. But I really see that when you set limits and they know what's expected of them, and you follow through on that, they respect you more and love you more."

Still, even the strictest parent is going lose it sometimes, Samalin said.

"Every parent is going to yell at their kids at some point, because children can, quite simply, be incredibly annoying," she said. "But if you're always yelling, he's going to tune you out very quickly."

Ms. Samalin coined a phrase, "mother deaf" to describe the kid who blithely ignores his parent's operatic exhortations. "When my sons were growing up I nagged and yelled as much as the next person," she says, but by forcing herself to change "a little bit," by setting boundaries in a positive, non-accusatory manner, she was able to turn the volume down "and my sons turned out surprisingly well."

There are different kinds of yelling, experts say. The most acceptable form is the "warning" yell, to prevent a child from crossing the street, for example. More commonplace is the yelling that occurs when the child refuses to obey an order. The least acceptable? Hurtful yelling, when the parent says things he or she may later regret.

"No one likes to scream at their children, but we do," said Mr. Lawson, of Family Links. "But what is the underlying reason behind it? If you raise your voice to your children, do you step back and talk about what happened?"

Planning ahead is a good way to avoid yelling or screaming, Mr. Lawson tells parents. A child who is informed that he will be staying home with his parents for a "family night" watching a DVD when he had hoped to play basketball with a neighbor may balk, leading to a shouting match.

"But if you give him plenty of notice, then both of you are on the same page, and you can avoid a stressful situation," he said.

Ms. Guest says she doesn't yell at her children very much. Working from parenting advisor John Rosemond's playbook, she dealt with her 2-year old-daughter's habit of getting out of bed and into hers over and over again not by yelling but by calmly taking the child back to her own room -- amid loud protests, to be sure.

"After several nights of this, she realized, 'Mom's not going to cave,' and it worked," she said. "You need to mean what you say."

It was tougher, a few years later, when Ms. Guest had to tell her 4-year-old that because of some serious misbehavior she would not be permitted to attend a much-anticipated pre-school "beach party."

"It was the hardest thing. She was so upset by that. I can't tell you, though, how doing that one thing, really changed her behavior. It showed I mean business."

And Ms. Guest did it all without screaming, once.

"I'm more partial to the Vulcan grip to the head and speaking through clenched teeth," she laughs.

It's a ............

I decided to try out the baking cake function on our microwave.

And so I searched for the recipe, mixed and diligently whisked (really tired). And once done, I excitedly put the batter into the small pans.

Pressed the preset button and wait and wait. Half the time wondering if my oven will burn my house down. I thought the presetted timing is too long..but oh well it shouldn't be wrong right?

Umm............looks alright to me.

* ding *

Had a shock of my life. HARD LIKE A ROCK. I was making cake not
rockbun! Goash!

It's still edible..... and it tastes more like .......kueh bolu to me and sure does look like one too? Huh??

Photos of the disgusting, charred cakes kueh bolu

The Dora the Explorer, which didn't look like her - looks more like rugby ball to me.

KZ seems to like it, though it's very sweet. I had to ask her, if this is very sweet aren't chocolates even sweeter??

Never mind, Athena will like it - she loves kueh bolu.

Batch number 2

Now I used the manual baking

Looks better, softer to the touch - can't use it to hurl at anyone. Can see the contrasting colours, such colourful sight *yucks*

Still can't make out Dora.

Brought some over to mom for her to try, she likes the charred ones. Huh? To think that I left most of them at home coz' KZ say she likes it charred. And I thought give my mother the more presentable ones mah!
She said "yes, like what KZ said. You can bake some and keep it for CNY." I need to bake cakes not kueh bolu! least with my mistake I made kueh bolu and I can use my mistake recipe for it next time.
And I must get that cake right.
That night, I gave it to Athena to try and she loves it. She made sure she put the Dora cake kueh in her bag to bring to school today. Doesn't it feel good to have a spoilt food appreciated??

Monday, January 28, 2008

Mimicking animal sounds

Aricis tries to mimick animal sounds, she can do cat and dog well. But she needs prompting for other animals like lion, elephant, snake, horse.

Then KZ said "Aricia, you show mummy ghost" Prior to that, she was mimicking elephant which does sound like ghost to me. But I'm wondering why is she asking my daughter to mimick a ghost....
"quick Aricia, show mummy ghost. Baa.........baa........."
Ai yoh! goat become ghost!!

Please help, Please vote.

Put Aricia's photo in for an online contest.

Please help to vote for her. Thanks a million!!

Click here

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ignatius 1st Birthday Party

It's my little smiley-face and always so lovable nephew's birthday party.

It didn't seem that long ago since we welcome him into this world. And 12 months later he's all grown up to be such a sweet, smiley, obedient boy (um....if only Aricia has half of his traits) although I've been bullying him (heeheehee *evil laughter*)

The Birthday Invitation Card

On our way and in the car

The place all done up. Must give some credit to my Athena, who helped to pump some balloons the day before.
The other side of the wall is converted into a mini art-gallery
The FOOD!!
And........The BIRTHDAY BOY!!
The party has not even started halfway when my girl, the noisy one, was kicked outta the party...She was making alot of noises when KZ ws feeding her lunch. So we spared the guests from her ear-deafening screams by bringing her out to feed her. And I joked "my girl got kicked out of the party.."
So happened I gleefully (bad mummy) went to take a photo of her alone outside and mom and brother's godsister, Julie stood behind me - so I got them to pose for me.

Ignatius (the guai kia) was either crawling on the big floor rug.......

......or being carried from person to person (PASSING THE PARCEL?? - oops!)

Whatever it is, it's still mummy the best
A video montage was also played, I tried recording it but I had people walking to and fro. *sians*
Athena kept herself occupied with origami and colouring.
It was such a hot day that I couldn't take it anymore and ran upstairs to cool myself down. Aricia entertained me by her funny antics.

Then it was cake-cutting time.
Athena pulled a long face coz' she expected duagu to carry her but he carried the noisy girl since she was so small and size looks comparable and nice next to Ignatius. Ai yah! That sensitive girl!!

Here's a photo of the family

The children, ahem.. my Athena, enjoying the cake
Pauline giving out the favor bag to Eliysha
Ai yoh.. I tell you my girl 的妒忌性 (jealousy) is very strong. She saw brother giving out to other kids, came to me and whispered to me "mummy, how come dua-gu never give me any present?" I had to be so thick-skinned to remind brother to give it to her later and to appease her add more things (when 2 days before, I told him not to put so much sweets in her bag..of course he didn't give her lesser sweets lah! He dote on her so much!!)

We stayed awhile longer and made our way home after that. The kids were very tired, we were tired too!
Knocked out!!

Athena's favor bag

Aricia's favor bag

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Children

I look at the kiddos and see how the two of them play. Aricia is more responsive now, Athena seeing mei-mei responding to her; laughs out loud and by then they both compete who laughs the loudest. By then, we have a household which is superbly noisy.

Here in this video, I don't know what stupid thing Athena taught Aricia, and all I knew was the two of them were shaking their backside. Since that day (Tuesday), Aricia has never stopped shaking her backside.

I also don't know where Aricia got the idea on turning herself round and round, until she gets giddy and falls on her backside.
And the funny thing is, every time the moments she steps into the lift she'll laugh out loud and then turn herself around and she goes "oah...." When we're downstairs and there's a gust of wind blowing at us (also her), she'll stand there and say "oah..." and then laugh and turn round and round. If she's not turning, she'll be walking against the wind with the wind slapping on her face; laugh out loud. Very happy child I'd say. Half the time I look at her in amazement; at her little laughs and another half the time I worry if she'll get blown off by the strong wind. Ha!

Aricia is attempting to speak more words - which don't sound like the actual word.
eg. diaper (which she'll pull her shirt as if signing to us) - and then say 'poo pah'
She can't say 公公 but 爷爷 instead. (I think it's the word.. Athena also can't say 公公)
Tar as in car

Just the other day, I was mad at her and I told her "Aricia, mummy beat beat". Must be my tied up tongue that day, she looked at me; flapped her bib to me. ?!?!?!

Here she is trying to self-feed :

Tried putting her in the toilet seat, she screamed. She hates it! We have to hold on to her otherwise she will drop inside the toilet bowl. Now I need to buy a potty for her.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Why Aricia hardly goes out

Many a times I pity Aricia when she cries her lungs out; eyes swollen from crying; throwing tantrum at home by lying down on the floor and kicking her legs when I leave the house without her.
One reason is also because I am even more busy with two kids, so Aricia has lesser chance of being out with me jalan-jalan-ing. But everyone needs a break, including myself so when I brought her out by myself - she drives me crazy; she makes me want to tear my own hair; she makes me think twice in bringing her out alone. I can ask my helper to follow me, but sometimes we need space on our own right?

When I was out with Aricia alone, feeding her was a problem coz' she keeps taunting me and move around too much; cover her mouth; turn her head/body etc.... if helper is with me I leave it to her to do it so I can have my meal in peace and take over once Aricia finishes her meal and helper will eat; I take care of Aricia. So, can you imagine how I look gobbling down my food when I'm with Aricia alone?? If she's seated down quietly, still manageable. If she tries to get out of highchair... problem!
Okay, if the feeding didn't seem like it's no problem, wait till I tell you - she deliberately waste her time so I end up giving her small portions every hour or so. So what's the use of bringing her go gai-gai when I practically gotta stop every hour??
Feeding - problem. In the mall also problem. She wants to walk; refuses to sleep even though it's way past her naptime. When she walks, she looks at the ground and I have to keep running after her. Scenerio: she walks into a shop, I carry her out she follows me awhile then she turns back and go back to the shop. It happens a couple of times, then she repeats the same in another shop. Let's just say if I'm out with her for half an hour walking in the mall - 22 minutes is spend chasing after her, another 8 minutes for me to walk awhile, stop to look at her.

Now you know why I hardly bring her out, although I'd love to.

Blur me!

Blur me.. first I kept thinking today's Pilates class is at 9.20 in Novena and I rushed down.
Secondly, I can't find my lock but found my key.
Oh oh..... I think I lock an empty locker in Orchard last week. Hahaha!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fresh from the oven

Not that I'm bored or have nothing to do..I'm stuck at home with 2 girls and I need a breather.
Decided to bake.

Fresh out from the oven
packed into the cookie jars
whatever happen to my pandan cake?? Haven't baked yet. Finished this batches of cookies I was already tired. And I still haven't start Aricia's home session - it's 2+pm now, I need a break for the time being. Will do it later...

Why dermatologist?

I get questions from friends on why I need to see the dermatologist when I wrote about it yesterday.

Well, infact I had been thinking about going to the dermatologist for quite some time already. It started when I spoke to my beautician about my skin months back, and what they can do about it. The beautician explained to me on skin problems : skin tags, milia and warts. And I've got it all. Wah.... if only I can strike 4D so easily!!!
The solution was the the laser treatments which is going to cost so I thought I might as well pop by the dermatologist and see what Dr Lee says.

My skin wasn't so bad before. According to beautician, she says it's due to years of flying and dryness etc.. and in recent years I noticed it even got worse. Of course explanation was that it's due to hormonal changes. I don't know if any of you notice the changes in your skin after birth? Or is it just me??
Then, I noticed that there's more moles on my face. Isn't it worrying??

So, I didn't bring Athena to see Dr Chan and therefore didn't go to see Dr Lee. But I will.... maybe after CNY.

Something interesting I found on the web about moles :

First, check your face for any moles, and then look at the diagram above to identify the number(s) that are a closest match to the moles on your face. Usually, the moles only hold meaning for you if they are prominent and they are the only one. If your face if full of spots, acne or "little" moles, they do not count. When you've ascertained which position corresponds to the mole on your face, look up the meanings listed by numbers below.

Position 1 to 3
As a child, you are somewhat rebellious and a free spirit. You have an innate creativity and work best when you are given a free hand. Generally, your superiors like your avante garde approach to life. If you have a mole here, you are far better off in business and being your own boss rather than working for somebody. What is promising is that you have the luck to be your own boss.

Position 4
You are an impulsive person, often acting with a flamboyance that gives you charisma and a sparkling personality, but you can be difficult when there are too many opinions. You tend to be rather argumentative, but never to the point of holding grudges. This mole tends to give you an explosive temper and should you decide to remove it, you will find yourself becoming calmer and more at peace with the world.

Position 5
A mole above the eyebrow indicates that there is wealth luck in your life, but you will need to earn it and work harder than most people. All the income you make must be carefully kept as there are people who are jealous of you who might attempt to sweet talk you into parting with your wealth. Be wary of those who try to interest you in get-rich-quick schemes. If you have a mole here, it is advisable not to be too trusting of others. Follow your instincts and be cautious. And never allow other people to control your finances.

Position 6
A mole here indicates intelligence, creativity and skill as an artist. Your artistic talent can bring you wealth, fame and success. It also indicates wealth luck, but this can only be fully realized if you follow your heart rather than stick to conventional means of making a living. Success will come if you are brave.

Position 7
Moles under the eyebrows indicate arguments within the extended family that cause you grief and unhappiness. This will affect your work and livelihood. It is advisable to settle any differences you have with your relatives if you want peace of mind to move ahead.

Position 8
This is not a very good position for a mole. Your financial position will constantly be under strain because of a tendency to overspend. You also have a penchant for gambling. The only thing is you must know when to stop. Meanwhile, someone with a mole here has a tendency to flirt with members of the opposite sex as well as with the same sex. Better be a little discerning where you exert your charms, or you might get into trouble.

Position 9
This mole position suggests sexual and other problems. It is an unfortunate mole and you are well advised to get rid of it. It brings a litany of woes and a parade of problems.

Position 10
A mole here just under the nose indicates excellent descendants luck. You are surrounded by family at all times and will have many children and grandchildren. You have the support of those close to you and will be both materially and emotionally fulfilled.

Position 11
Moles here suggest a tendency to succumb to illness. It is a good idea to have this mole removed especially if it is a large, dark-coloured mole. Otherwise use lots of foundation to cover it.

Position 12
A mole here foretells a successful but also a very balanced life. You are likely to be not just rich, but famous as well. But although you have every opportunity to live the high life, you will have a satisfying home and family life as well. Women with moles here are particularly lucky and tend to be beautiful and glamourous as well.

Position 13Your children will be a big worry in your life. Your relationship with them is not good. There is nothing much you can do about this except to learn some tolerance.

Position 14
A mole here suggests a vulnerability to food which can be a big problem in your life. You may have allergies against certain foods or you may simply be eating too much.

Position 15
You are a person always on the move and constantly renovating and redesigning your house. You like to be introduced to new things and see new places. You are not happy if you remain in one place for long. You enjoy travel and adventure, and have a very observant eye.

Position 16
You need to be careful when it comes to eating, and also when it comes to your sex life. These are your two biggest problems. You tend to have weight issues which can make you depressed. You enjoy romance, sometimes with more than one person, but because you are a person with some morality, you will feel guilty about it and this will cause you much stress.

Position 17
You will be someone of great social prominence. You are active on the social scene and an excellent conversationalist. There is a tendency to become bigheaded about your success, which could lose you your good name. This will affect you deeply because you draw your confidence and self worth from what others think of you.

Position 18
You are a person always on the move. There is a great deal of overseas travel in your life, but you should take extra care each time you cross the great waters, as your mole prefers you to stay at home.

Position 19
You have money luck and many good friends, so this is a good mole to have. Your weakness is that you tend to succumb to the charms of the opposite sex. In your life, it is this that could get you into hot water, so do cool your ardour!

Position 20
A mole here can be very lucky or very unlucky. If you have a mole here, you are destined either for extreme fame or infamy. You have great flair for creativity and are also highly intelligent, but your talents can be used for both good and bad. You are not a person to be trifled with for you are no pushover and do not forgive and forget easily. This mole is a mark of someone who will go down in history either as a great or as a tyrant.

Position 21
This is a good mole, as it suggests plenty to eat and drink throughout your life. This mole also brings fame and recognition.

Position 22
Your life is always happy and things go smoothly for you. You could well become a sports superstar if you have the passion for it. Moles at the end of eyebrows also suggest a person of authority and power, so if you are the CEO of a company, you will do very well.

Position 23
You have a high IQ, and you are both brain smart and street smart. You have a highly-developed survival instinct and will lead a meaningful and long life. You will be active until a very old age and will have friends and family around you till the very end.

Position 24
You will achieve fame and fortune in your young age and you are advised to use this period to safeguard your old age, as people with moles here tend to have a harderlife as they get older.

Position 25
You will enjoy good prosperity and recognition luck, but do be careful of excesses. Stay traditional in your attitudes and you will have a long and fruitful life.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Aricia teeth

Just realised that my lil' baby is growing 3 tooth-sies at the same time. No wonder she keeps biting and gets so cranky - really very very extremely cranky.